Here are some of the types of job interview questions you are most likely to encounter in a sales interview. Interviewers are looking for leadership, creativity, teamwork, strategic thinking, analytical abilities and a general understanding of sales concepts.
1. Tell me about yourself
This does not mean tell me everything. It means tell me in a few sentences why you’re the most suitable candidate for the job. Talk about your relevant education, experience, key results and achievements. Remember to tailor your answer to the specific job using an example or two to back up your answer. If this was your one chance in the interview to sell yourself and tell the interviewer what you can do for them, what would you say?
2. Why do you want to work for us?
Here’s where your research about the company will help you to stand out from the other candidates. Explain how you’ve always wanted the opportunity to work with a company that, for example, is a leader in innovative products. The best source for research is the company’s website. Read through their annual reports, look at their products and services and try to gain an understanding of the structure of the company (size and number of employees) and the market it’s in. Also research the company’s competitors and other organisations operating in the same field.
3. What is your greatest weakness?
You should select a weakness that you have been actively working to overcome. For example, I have had trouble in the past with time management. However, I’m now taking steps to correct this. I have been on a time management course, have been making to do lists and learned effective delegation techniques. It’s best to avoid a generic answer like “I’m a perfectionist” and chose a weakness that’s not too serious and won’t affect your performance on the job.
4. What do you see yourself doing in five years time?
Emphasise that you would like to still be with the company exceeding targets, satisfying the needs of key clients and growing the business. A good reply is orientated toward growth and achievements.
5. What are your strengths and weaknesses regarding the sales process?
If one of your strengths is developing customer relationships, describe how this has helped you in past sales jobs. You could say something like, “I developed a relationship with a supplier that became one of the top revenue generators with sales increasing 55% every year”.
6. Tell me how you developed your largest account
Describe how you determined your customer’s needs and selected the most suitable approach to demonstrate how your product or service meets those needs, deciding on the right interpersonal and communication style, how you were able to anticipate and overcome objections and gain commitment from the customer and then went on to cross and up sell.
7. Tell me about a recent situation where you negotiated a successful contract with a tough customer
Describe how you explored the needs and concerns of the customer, determined areas of agreement and disagreement, worked out alternative solutions and reached a workable agreement for both parties.
8. Tell me about a situation where you had to change your approach with a potential customer because your initial approach did not work
You want to focus on your resilience and your ability to makes changes when needed. Your answer should also demonstrate your ability to take a variety of approaches with clients. When your initial approach didn’t work, focus on what you learned and how you would use it in the future.
9. Sell me this pen
You need to be able to identify the customer’s needs and why that particular pen would be the perfect one for him. Showcase the benefits and features of the pen. Address the similarities the pen has and how they fit the needs of the interviewer. Practice this technique before the interview and impress the interviewer.
10. Have you got any questions for us?
Asking the questions below will not only make you appear more committed as a candidate but will also give you better insight into both the challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead for you.
A) What are the reasons for this vacancy?
B) What will be my responsibilities?
C) Where will I fit into the team structure?
D) What are the company’s future plans?
E) What’s the mix of new to existing business?
F) How long is the sales cycle?
G) What concerns do you have about my ability to do the job?
H) What are the next steps?