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

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 April 2022

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.

'Why sales?' is an open-ended interview question that interviewers use to evaluate whether you're a fit for the sales role you're applying for. You can use this question as an opportunity to express clearly why you're choosing a sales career over any other alternative. Learning more about this question and reviewing sample responses may help you prepare for your next interview. In this article, we explain why hiring managers ask this question, discuss how to prepare for it and provide example responses you can reference.

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Why do employers ask the 'Why sales?' interview question?

The 'Why sales?' interview question is a common determinant in any sales job hiring process. Employers may ask variations of this question such as, 'Why are you interested in sales?' or 'What made you choose a sales career?' In an interview setting, the interviewer's primary goal is to assess your suitability for the sales role. The reason an employer asks this question is to understand your intentions, the motive behind your interest in the sales field and what you want to gain.

Employers hiring for sales positions typically seek self-driven individuals. They often want someone committed to a sales career who's focused on achieving results, without solely being motivated by the commissions and bonuses.

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

The best way to answer the 'Why sales?' question

The best way to answer this common hiring question is by demonstrating how passionate you are about this role. Show the employer you're looking at adding value to the business, gaining a skill, experience and advancing your career. For example, sales could be the field that makes you feel fulfilled because you're an outgoing person.

It's advisable to look at the company's values and goals before the interview. In your response, strive to point out their pain points and how you would help them reach their intended purposes.

Related: Common Interview Questions and Answers

Qualities interviewers look for with the 'Why sales?' question

Here are four qualities interviewers might look for when they ask you why you chose a sales career:

  • Assertiveness: An assertive person is goal-oriented, competitive and decisive. These qualities are often important in sales.

  • Amiability: Being an amiable person is a plus in a sales interview because it shows you're calm, friendly and open to challenges. They seek solid personal relationships, and they're good listeners.

  • Expressiveness: Being expressive in sales helps you to be persuasive, outgoing and creative. This quality can keep you going during challenges.

  • Analytic: Being analytical can show that you're serious, direct and prepared. Portraying that you've such qualities gains your interviewer's confidence in your performance abilities.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

How to answer 'Why do you want to work in sales?'

These four steps can help you answer the 'Why sales?' question efficiently:

1. Reevaluate yourself

The first step is to focus on your personal interests. Ask yourself about why you want to work in sales. Even before applying for a sales role, there may be some motivating factors that made you think sales could be a good fit for you. Think about those reasons, then provide yourself with an honest answer. It's good to think about what makes the field unique to you. For instance, in a sales career, employees work with targets. The bonus rewards or commissions may become an incentive to strive even beyond achieving the sales targets.

For example, you can point out that you have great convincing power and you're confident. Give a specific example of when you had to introduce a product to people and convince them to purchase something. That shows the employers that you know what you're doing, and they can trust you to deliver results.

Related: How to Assess Yourself With Self-Evaluation Examples

2. Conduct some research

Research helps you foresee possible questions, thus giving you time to prepare in advance to answer them efficiently. It's important to conduct research about the company you're applying to because that information may help you ace a job interview. When seeking a sales position, your research may revolve around understanding what the employer needs and how you can satisfy their wants.

Think about the reasons why the company needs a sales team. Research their objectives and goals. Analyse the job description to pick up those points. Knowing why people get into sales can help you understand why you might have gotten interested in the field. It makes it easy for you to answer why you choose sales. Then, to solidify your answer, you can talk about how best suited you are to handle the responsibilities listed in the job description.

Related: What Does a Marketing and Sales Professional Do? (With Skills)

3. Craft your answers

After research, it's time to craft your best answer to a 'Why sales?' question. It's good to include the following points in your answer:

  • your passion

  • reason you love sales

  • responsibilities in the job description that align best with your interest

  • skills you wish to apply on the job

You can have a draft of your answer in written form, but it's not mandatory that you memorise it. Instead, practise how to answer several times and, if possible, get a friend to do an interview scenario and listen to your answer. They can point out where you need some improvement and study your body language.

4. Be truthful

Inside sales questions can be tricky, but how you present your answers matters a lot. Confidence is essential. If you're unsure about what you intend to say, your confidence might be affected. The best way to avoid that nervous feeling is to be honest in your answers and practise.

You can convey passion and enthusiasm when you believe in what you're saying. That helps create confidence in your interviewers that you're a self-driven person. An excellent way to show that you're honest and confident in your answers is by giving specific examples of similar situations you have encountered before and have been able to go through. That shows that you're qualified for the role, and it gives the interviewer an idea of how you can help their company.

Related: How to Prepare for an Interview

Sample responses

Outlined below are three sample answers to the 'Why sales?' question that you can take inspiration from while crafting your own responses:

Example 1

'I have been working in a retail store where people come in knowing what they want to buy. But even then, I set targets for the month that I hit through upselling and cross-selling techniques I have learned along the way. I have strong, convincing power that gets people to buy what they didn't even think they needed.

Unfortunately, being in my current position does not allow me to exploit this gift fully. I want to move into a role that is focused entirely on sales because it's my favourite part of my current job, and I know I can do more. I looked at your company's objectives and noticed that you intend to move into new markets as your goal for the year. I know that my proven abilities can help you attain your business objectives.'

Example 2

'I enjoy helping people who are struggling to find solutions to their problems, and through this act, I have been able to make good sales. For instance, I am currently working as a real estate agent. I once met a lady who needed to buy a house but could not decide between somewhere near the city area or further out. I took her to a site we had further from the train station but with well-developed amenities. It was away from the central business district, but it had a modern architecture that made it appear better.

I helped her through the legal process of acquiring the property, and from that interaction, she has since referred five clients. I have seen that your company's core value is to have your clients' best interests at heart, and I would like to be part of the team fulfilling your mission.'

Example 3

'I like to work in an environment that presents me with challenges to solve. Working in sales is exciting because there's always something new to be done. There are new targets every month, and once you hit them, you only think of how to make more. It helps to craft a sales pitch once in a while and experiment.

I feel excited when a sales pitch performs exceptionally well. Likewise, I feel delighted when a sales strategy I created gives me results because it boosts my confidence. I like new experiences, new environments, and there's no better place to have that experience than in sales.'

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