Sales is an awesome job. However, when you’re first entering the profession, you probably have no idea what to expect from the application process. Get up to speed—and thus, nail the interview—with our handy “interview questions for sales reps” guide.
1. What motivates you?
Sales can be a demanding job—and if you don’t have a strong internal “why,” you’re likely to give up as soon as the going gets tough.
Plus, managers are looking for people they can guide to success. Knowing your reasons for showing up each day will help them help you.
How to answer: Be honest! Do you love the challenge of transforming a disinterested prospect into an enthusiastic customer? Are you drawn to the opportunity to decide your own salary? Does the chance to help people make you feel awesome? As long as you give an answer, you’ll be right, and closer to the right fit for your sales career.
2. Describe your definition of a great salesperson.
Interviewers ask this question to see whether your approach to sales matches the organization’s approach. To give you an idea, maybe you say, “The best reps only pursue the prospects who are a good fit for the product, even if that means their numbers suffer.”
If you’re talking to a manager from a team that’s really aggressive with buyers and only cares about meeting quota, that’ll be a huge red flag.
How to answer: Again, being honest is crucial. Using the last example: You don’t want to join a company whose culture will make you miserable. After you provide your concept of the ideal rep, it’s a smart idea to turn the question around. I suggest saying, “I’d love to know how [company] defines a ‘great’ salesperson.”
3. Do you follow a process?
Selling used to be like the Wild Wild West. Every sales professional had their own unique system—which usually meant that every person on the team was conducting outreach and learning about, negotiating with, and closing prospects differently. Unsurprisingly, it was total chaos.
These days, sales has become much more standardized. Companies want to hire people who can learn and follow a specific way of doing things.
How to answer: Explaining each step of your process is important. Providing the reasoning behind each step is even more important. You’ll prove to the interviewer that you’ve put thought into your process.
4. When was the last time you learned something new?
The way people sold ten, eight, even three years ago is pretty different than how they sell now. After all, most prospects are far more sophisticated and informed than they used to be.
With sales “best practices” changing all the time, employers want to make sure you’ll be able to quickly adapt and learn new methods.
How to answer: Pick something you learned that was out of your comfort zone. Suppose you played softball in college—telling your interviewer you learned a new pitching technique won’t be nearly as impressive as sharing that you just learned how to make a soufflé, design a basic app, or do something else that’s fairly new to you.