40 Sales Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 23 November 2022

Published 4 October 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The goal of sales is to provide a pleasant client experience. Successful salespeople address customers' issues by providing valuable insights into the product or service while working towards meeting their sales targets. Sales interview questions usually assess how you can connect with your clients, so it's vital to exhibit your communication, problem-solving and critical-thinking abilities. In this article, we discuss some of the most frequent sales interview questions and answers and provide tips on how to prepare for a sales interview.

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Five sales interview questions and answers

In your response, offer examples of scenarios that illustrate your abilities, experience and knowledge, and describe the task you encountered and the steps you undertook to attain your goals. Discussed below are some common sales interview questions you can look out for at your next interview:

Related: 36 Common SDR Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

1. What leads you to a sales position?

Hiring managers ask this question to assess your motivation. This is your chance to showcase your passion for the position and your grasp of the work duties. Review the job description and match the requirements to your own experience and talents to provide an effective response. Demonstrate your interest in a relevant real-life experience that shows the interviewer how your abilities may help you succeed in sales.

Example: "I previously worked as a sales associate at a local furniture store. The business had reasonable prices but struggled to sustain consistent sales. I asked my boss about managing the sales team and teaching my co-workers new sales tactics.

I altered the sales team's approach to selling furniture with the consent of my company and the backing of my team by showing tactics that establish relationships with clients. This tactic not only increased sales but also generated loyal clients who returned to their favourite sales associates for more purchases and referred us to friends. That was my first successful sales encounter and it inspired me to pursue a career in sales."

Related: Sales vs. Business Development: What's the Difference?

2. What drives you to succeed as a salesperson?

Hiring managers may ask this to assess your sales abilities and work ethic. Sales roles may require optimism, tenacity and the capacity to solve problems. This question allows you to demonstrate to the recruiting manager that you have the desire to overcome problems. Concentrate on what motivates you and give examples of how your own objectives have driven you to achieve.

Example: "As a salesperson, my objective is to match clients with the greatest products that would provide them with the most happiness. I'm driven to excel because I want to make a difference in the lives of my clients. I usually set my minimum sales objective 8% higher than my team's because I want to push myself to accomplish more for my clients. Meeting high quotas and objectives inspires me to continue working hard."

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3. How do you feel about collaboration within a sales team?

Hiring managers may use this question to evaluate your teamwork abilities, which are often important in a sales role. Strong teamwork skills can help you and your team meet quotas and resolve customer concerns. Illustrate how you can provide value to the group in your response. Demonstrate to the interviewer that you appreciate collaboration by recounting an instance in which you worked with your team to close a transaction.

Example: "I appreciate cooperation since selling is a lengthy process that requires participation at several levels of a business. On my approach to meeting a key client, my contact requested a price-comparison analysis of our most popular software so that they may debate their alternatives during the conference. I requested my co-worker to run the report so I could present it. Her assistance enabled me to provide the most thorough presentation possible and offer the customer the knowledge needed to make a decision. She and I worked together to clinch the sale and we shared the commission."

Related: 'Why Sales?' Interview Question (How to Answer and Examples)

4. How do you deal with losing a sale?

As a salesperson, you may face difficulties, and hiring managers may use this question to see how you overcome this challenge. Your response may emphasise how you perceive possible losses and convert a rejection into an opportunity to develop and integrate criticism. Your capacity to learn from errors and convert them into strengths shows interviewers that you're capable of improving on the job.

Example: "One contact with whom I had been working for over five months picked a competitor manufacturer over my employer. He and I had signed a quality agreement for his firm, so I wrote my client contact and inquired about what factors impacted his decision. He informed me that while he was impressed with my presentation, we didn't provide enough alternatives at the price point he required.

I expressed my appreciation for his time and suggestions. I relayed this knowledge to my team and employer and we focused on increasing the diversity of our offering to attract more customers."

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5. What should the ideal commission structure entail?

The commission structure differs depending on the firm and sector, and hiring managers may use this question to assess your industry knowledge. Employers may calculate your commission percentage on your experience and whether or not you're in a leadership position. To compare wages and commission rates in the sector, look at positions that demand a comparable degree of expertise and tasks.

Example: "I have over seven years of combined customer service and sales experience. According to the industry average, my expertise in customer outreach techniques may qualify me for a 20% commission on gross margins. However, if the firm already has a policy in place, I'm eager to learn more about it."

Related: How To Answer Situational Interview Questions

35 additional interview questions for a sales role

Listed below are some additional sales interview questions:

  1. How long have you been in the sales industry?

  2. What is one question that you always ask prospective clients?

  3. How do you find new customers?

  4. How would you plan your day to fulfil targets?

  5. When do you call it quits on a client?

  6. How do you research potential leads?

  7. Do you feel at ease conducting cold calls?

  8. Have you reached your sales targets continuously?

  9. Describe your process for short and long sales cycles.

  10. How did you land your most profitable sale?

  11. What is one piece of advice you always follow?

  12. What is the most effective approach to building a relationship with a client?

  13. Please tell me about your previous sales experience.

  14. What is your most cherished accomplishment?

  15. How do you include social media in your sales strategy?

  16. What do you do to regroup after a difficult day?

  17. What techniques do you employ to stay in touch with your target market?

  18. How did you build trust with your sales team?

  19. How do you handle customers' complaints?

  20. What are three things you do to strengthen client relationships?

  21. How would your co-workers describe you?

  22. What would be your ideal working environment?

  23. What characteristics distinguish an excellent manager?

  24. How do you determine if sales is the appropriate career for you?

  25. What can you do to boost sales on a sluggish day?

  26. How do you remain current?

  27. Do you spend more time developing client connections or looking for new ones?

  28. How do you handle consumer complaints?

  29. What is something you've recently learned?

  30. What makes a good salesperson?

  31. How did you deal with tough customers?

  32. Describe your sales strategy.

  33. What is your least favourite aspect about sales?

  34. How does success look to you?

  35. Why are you qualified for this role?

Related: Interview Question: 'Why Should We Hire You?'

How do I prepare for a sales interview?

To ensure your sales interview goes well, you can consider taking the following steps:

  1. Conduct your research: Before your sales interview, gather information about the position, the company and your possible teammates. Conducting research can demonstrate your dedication to the business and your position.

  2. Practise your responses: Look up sales interview questions, especially challenging and open-ended inquiries and practise your responses. This can help you feel more confident during your interview.

  3. Leave a positive first impression: Making a good first impression on your interviewer can show that you have the abilities needed to gain the business of your clients. To do so, consider dressing professionally and arriving a few minutes early.

  4. Get specific about your work history: One way to show how much value you may offer to the firm is to discuss your job experience. When asked where you've worked, what roles you've had and how long you've been with each prior company, be precise and succinct in your responses.

  5. Emphasise your optimism: Sales professionals need optimism and perseverance. Hiring managers may assess how you can deal with rejection, and showing your optimism can demonstrate your resilience.

  6. Pose meaningful questions: You can use the interview to determine whether the company is a good match for you in the same way you're a good fit for them. Ask detailed questions to help you learn more about the role and culture.

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