When applying for a sales position or a role supporting a sales team, the hiring manager or sales manager will ask several sales interview questions. Many of these are common job interview questions that you can practice answering in advance of the interview, so you can nail the answers with confidence.
Here are the 100 most asked sales interview questions and answers to help you show that you are the ideal candidate.
Top 10 Questions and Sample Answers Asked of All Sales Candidates
1. How do you respond to negative feedback?
Important Points to Address: For this question, the best practice is to show how you handle constructive criticism and take responsibility for your actions. Prepare to demonstrate a positive attitude and a willingness to improve.
I welcome negative feedback because I know it provides an opportunity to grow and learn. I take it seriously and consider it carefully to see if there are any areas I can improve.
I thank the person for their honesty and for taking the time to provide feedback. I understand that feedback, both positive and negative, is essential for personal and professional growth. So I am grateful that they have given me information to help me improve.
2. Sales is a competitive field. How do you work in a team while maintaining your competitive edge?
Important Points to Address: Show how you balance competition and collaboration, how you motivate and support your team, and how you maintain your focus on individual goals.
I believe in a healthy level of competition. It drives me to perform at my best and to achieve my goals.
At the same time, I understand the importance of working as a team. I support and motivate my team, and I strive to create a positive and supportive work environment.
I believe that by working together and sharing best practices, we can all achieve more than we would individually.
3. How do you stay current with industry trends and developments?
Important Points to Address: Explain how you stay informed and educated about the industry. Give examples of the methods you use to stay informed and how this helps you stay ahead of the competition.
I make a point to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and developments by regularly attending trade shows and conferences, reading industry publications, and following influential thought leaders on social media. This helps me stay informed and knowledgeable about the market and allows me to bring new ideas and insights to my sales approach.
4. Can you tell us about a particularly challenging deal you have closed in the past?
Important Points to Address: When answering behavioral interview questions, a good answer will usually use the STAR Method to provide an answer. Make sure to use specific examples from past experiences.
The STAR Method follows the structure:
Situation – Describe the previous situation.
Task – State what task(s) you need to achieve.
Action – Explain what actions you took in the situation to complete the task(s).
Result – Provide the outcome that you achieved through your actions.
Example Answer (using STAR Method):
Situation: One of my most challenging deals was a large enterprise sale that involved multiple stakeholders with varying interests.
Task: To close the deal, I had to be creative and find common ground between all parties.
Actions: I held numerous follow-up meetings, listened to their concerns, and worked tirelessly to find a solution that satisfied everyone.
Result: In the end, I was able to secure the deal by demonstrating my commitment to their success.
5. How do you approach the sales process, and what techniques do you use to close deals?
Important Points to Address: Showcase your sales methodology and highlight your strengths, discuss your sales techniques, and how you tailor your approach to each opportunity.
I approach each sales opportunity with a consultative mindset, focusing on understanding the customer’s needs and pain points. I ask the right questions and present tailored value propositions. I provide product demonstrations to educate the customer and build rapport.
When it comes to closing deals, I leverage my knowledge of the customer’s buying criteria and timing to determine the best close.
6. Can you tell us about your sales experience?
Important Points to Address: Relevant sales experience, achievements, performance metrics, and the types of products or services sold.
I have five years of experience in sales, with a proven track record of exceeding my sales targets. I have worked in a variety of industries, selling both products and services.
My greatest strength is my ability to build strong relationships with my clients and provide them with customized solutions that meet their needs.
7. What are your top strengths as a salesperson?
Important Points to Address: Highlight the key strengths, such as your ability to build relationships, your communication skills, negotiation skills, persistence, and adaptability
I believe that my top strengths as a salesperson are my ability to build relationships and my excellent communication skills. I am able to establish trust with my clients quickly and effectively, and I am able to listen carefully to their needs and tailor my approach accordingly.
For example, in my current role, I secured a large contract with a new client by understanding their unique needs and proposing a solution that was customized to meet those needs.
8. Can you tell us about a time when you had to adapt your sales approach?
Important Points to Address: Demonstrate adaptability and flexibility in your approach to sales. Try to give specific examples to illustrate your points. The below sample answer uses the STAR Method. For an explanation of the STAR Method, please see question #4.
I understand that every client and situation is unique, and I am able to adapt my sales approach accordingly.
Situation and Task: In one of my previous roles, I was selling a product to a client in a highly regulated industry.
Actions: I was able to successfully close the sale by adapting my approach to address the client’s specific compliance requirements.
Result: I was able to demonstrate my understanding of the regulations and my commitment to meeting their needs, which ultimately led to the sale.
9. What are your goals as a salesperson?
Important Points to Address: Share your long-term goals and aspirations as a salesperson. Show how your goals align with the company’s goals and values.
My ultimate goal as a salesperson is to build a long-term career in sales, where I can continue to grow and develop my skills. I am particularly interested in this company because of its reputation for providing its salespeople with opportunities for growth and development.
I am eager to learn from the best in the industry and to contribute to the company’s success by exceeding sales targets and providing exceptional customer service.
In the short term, I would like to gain a thorough understanding of the company’s products and services and develop strong relationships with my customers. I believe that by setting specific, achievable goals, I can continually improve my performance and achieve my long-term career aspirations.
10. What do you know about our company and our products/services?
Important Points to Address: Demonstrate research and preparation, highlight your understanding of the company’s mission and values, and explain why the company and its products/services interest you.
I have thoroughly researched your company, and I am impressed by your commitment to innovation and sustainability. Your products and services align with my personal values. I want to be part of a company that is making a positive impact in the world. I am excited to learn more about your products and services and how I can help your clients achieve their goals.
Top 5 Sales Interview Questions and Sample Answers for Experienced Salespeople
11. Can You tell us about a time when you exceeded your sales quota?
Important Points to Address: When answering behavioral interview questions, the best practice is to use the STAR Method to provide an answer. Make sure to use specific examples from past experiences. Question #4 above describes the meaning and function of the STAR Method.
Example Answer (using STAR Method):
Situation: In a previous role, I was assigned to a new territory.
Task: I wanted to do well and impress my manager by exceeding my sales targets as quickly as possible.
Action: I researched my target market and identified the key players in my territory. I used a consultative approach to understand their needs and pain points. This allowed me to tailor my pitch and provide solutions that exceeded their expectations, leading to increased sales, repeat business, and excellent customer satisfaction.
Result: As a result of the carefully planned and executed efforts, I exceeded my quota by 50% in the first quarter and maintained these results for the entire year.
12. How do you handle objections?
Important Points to Address: Good salespeople can handle objections professionally and effectively. Demonstrate the different skills you apply to turn objections while maintaining customer relationships and converting an objection into a successful sale.
First, I try to avoid objections by reducing opportunities for the customer to present a valid objection. I do this by never selling features. I sell a solution to the customer’s problem. When an objection does arise, I use active listening and empathy to understand the underlying concern.
Then I identify if the objection is a real concern or a false objection and address it directly. By being transparent and honest, I can not only address the objection but also turn it into a great opportunity to build trust and rapport with the potential customer.
This leads to a more productive and positive sales experience for the customer. Using this approach, I build strong customer relationships that provide future sales opportunities leading to long-term sales success.
13. Can you walk us through your sales process?
Important Points to Address: Outline your sales process, including the steps you take to identify potential customers, make initial contact, build relationships, and close deals.
My sales process typically involves identifying potential customers, doing a little research about each online, visiting their website and social media pages, and then making initial contact through email or cold calls. This is how I create a qualified leads list. If it becomes clear that a customer is not qualified, I won’t give them any more time.
During the initial contact, I conduct a needs assessment, further qualify and rank the opportunity and set up a sales meeting with the relevant stakeholders. Before the sales call, I do further research on their company to assess which of our company’s products are the best fit for the customer’s problem. Doing this means I can think of the best way to approach the sale during the coming sales meeting or phone call.
Finally, during the sale, I present solutions to their problems, address objections, and close the deal. Qualifying customers during the cold calling phase and putting in hard work to understand the customer allows me to consistently achieve ambitious sales goals. Of course, I am always flexible and adaptable, so I can modify my process as needed to meet the unique needs of each customer.
14. How do you prioritize your sales leads?
Important Points to Address: Demonstrate your ability to prioritize effectively, the criteria you use to determine the priority of your leads, and how you prioritize your time and resources to maximize results.
I prioritize my sales leads by considering several factors, including the likelihood of closing and the value of the potential sale. I use this information to prioritize my time and resources and focus on the leads that are most likely to result in successful sales, beginning with the highest-value leads first. This helps me maximize my results and achieve my sales goals more efficiently.
15. What metrics do you track to improve your performance?
Important Points to Address: Sales metrics are key indicators of sales performance. All of the best salespeople know their metrics and how to manage them.
Past performance is a good sign of future performance. Because of this, I track my metrics closely to assist with guiding my professional and personal development goals.
There are five metrics I track to ensure that I can plan and progress my sales career effectively. Pipeline velocity allows me to keep track of my pace of sales and monitor my performance from first contact to close. My conversion rates, including lead conversion, appointment conversion, and close rates, ensure that I can see the effectiveness of my sales strategy and adjust if my strategy is not effective.
Monitoring my activity across channels allows me to manage my time effectively and determine which activities produce the most valuable results. I also track deal size to ensure I maintain a healthy balance of large and small deals and do not focus too much on one area. Finally, I also track customer satisfaction by seeking feedback and also tracking my repeat customers and their frequency so I can identify what I am doing that works and where I can improve.
Top 5 Sales Interview Questions and Sample Answers for Candidates (No Sales Experience)
16. How do you manage competing priorities?
Important Points to Address: Show your ability to prioritize, time-management skills, and problem-solving skills.
I use a combination of organization and prioritization to manage competing priorities. I prioritize my tasks based on their level of urgency and importance, and I keep track of my progress using tools like calendars, to-do lists, and project management software. When faced with conflicting demands, I take a step back and assess the situation to determine the best course of action. I then communicate my plans to all stakeholders to ensure everyone is aligned and working together to achieve common goals.
17. Can you give an example of a time when you exceeded expectations?
Important Points to Address: Demonstrate your ability to achieve results, go above and beyond what is expected, and show your problem-solving skills. The answer below uses the STAR Method in the response. For an explanation of the STAR Method, please refer to question #4 above.
Example Answer (using STAR Method):
Situation: I remember a time when I was volunteering at a local event.
Task: I was tasked with setting up tables and chairs, but I noticed that the event was running behind schedule, and many people were still waiting in line.
Actions: I decided to take the initiative and start directing people to their seats, making sure they were comfortable and had everything they needed.
Result: This extra effort made the event run smoothly and impressed my supervisors. It was a small gesture, but it showed my determination to help and exceed expectations.
18. Why do you want to work in sales?
Important Points to Address: Show your passion for sales, your ability to connect with people, and your ability to achieve results.
I have always been drawn to sales because of my passion for connecting with people and helping them solve problems. There are several reasons that I want to pursue a sales career.
First, I enjoy challenges and will thrive working to understand my customers’ needs and find solutions that meet those needs.
Second, I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from closing a sale and helping my customers achieve their goals. Third, I find it very fulfilling to be able to make a tangible impact on a company’s bottom line.
Finally, I enjoy fast-paced work environments and believe that my core values and work ethic make will help me to grow rapidly and become a great salesperson.
19. Can you tell me about your customer service experience?
Important Points to Address: Show your ability to provide excellent customer service, your communication skills, and your ability to build relationships.
I have several years of experience providing customer service in various roles. I understand the importance of building strong relationships with customers and providing them with the best possible experience. I always communicate clearly and effectively with customers, and I go above and beyond to make sure their needs are met.
Whether it’s resolving a customer issue or providing them with information about a product or service, I always strive to provide excellent customer service.
20. Can you tell me about a time when you successfully overcame a challenge?
Important Points to Address: Choose a challenge that is relevant to sales or a transferable skill (such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, etc.). Show what you learned from the experience and how it has helped you grow. This sample answer uses the STAR Method. For an explanation of the structure and definition of the STAR Method, please see question #4 above.
Example Answer (using STAR Method):
Situation: One of the biggest challenges I faced was when I was working on a group project in college.
Task: We had to present a proposal to a panel of industry experts, and I was responsible for preparing the financial projections.
Actions: Despite my efforts to ensure that the numbers were accurate, I realized the day before the presentation that I had made a mistake in one of the calculations. Instead of panicking, I quickly rallied my team, and we worked together to revise the projections. We also took the opportunity to double-check all the other figures.
Result: The presentation went smoothly, and we received positive feedback from the panel. This experience taught me the importance of teamwork and double-checking my work. It also reinforced my belief in the value of staying calm and focused under pressure, which is crucial in sales.
30 More Common Sales Interview Questions Asked (All Candidates)
21. How do you stay motivated and maintain a positive attitude during difficult times?
22. Can you describe a time when you went above and beyond for a customer or client?
23. Can you give an example of a time when you had to use your creativity in sales?
24. Can you tell us about a time when you had to manage multiple accounts or customers simultaneously?
25. Can you give an example of a time when you had to troubleshoot a problem for a customer?
26. How do you build and maintain relationships with customers?
27. How do you assess a potential customer’s needs and determine whether they are a good fit for your product or service?
28. Can you tell us about a time when you had to educate a customer about your product or service?
29. How do you evaluate your sales performance and determine areas for improvement?
30. Can you describe a time when you had to use your negotiation skills to close a deal?
31. Can you tell us about a time when you successfully upsold a customer?
32. How do you handle difficult or dissatisfied customers?
33. Can you give an example of a time when you had to work under tight deadlines?
34. How do you stay on top of your sales targets and meet your quotas?
35. Can you tell us about a time when you had to collaborate with a team to achieve a common goal?
36. Can you describe a time when you had to use your problem-solving skills to resolve a customer issue?
37. Can you give an example of a time when you had to handle a difficult customer complaint?
38. How do you plan and set sales targets for yourself?
39. Can you describe a time when you had to demonstrate your product or service to a potential customer?
40. Can you give an example of a time when you had to make a tough decision in sales?
41. How do you build and maintain a sales pipeline?
42. How do you approach territory management and prioritize which accounts to target?
43. Can you describe a time when you had to overcome a major objection to close a deal?
44. How do you manage and follow up with leads to ensure maximum conversion?
45. What kind of sales training have you received in the past, and what impact did it have on your performance?
46. How do you evaluate your own performance and set goals for improvement?
47. What do you think are the most important qualities for success in sales?
48. How do you handle stress and maintain your energy levels in a fast-paced sales environment?
49. How do you identify new business opportunities and generate leads?
50. Can you share your experience with sales technologies and tools?
30 More Most Asked Sales Interview Questions Asked (Experienced Salespeople)
51. How would you describe your management style?
52. How do you develop and maintain strong relationships with clients?
53. Can you walk us through your most successful sales pitch?
54. Can you describe your experience in prospecting and lead generation?
55. What methods have you used to increase your sales productivity?
56. How do you manage your sales pipeline?
57. Can you tell us about a time when you had to handle a difficult client?
58. How do you handle rejection or a lost sale?
59. Can you share your experience with managing a sales team and how you developed and motivated your team members to reach their goals?
60. How do you use technology and data to inform your sales approach?
61. Can you tell us about a time when you had to close a high-pressure deal?
62. Can you describe your experience with territory management?
63. How do you stay motivated and continue to hit your sales targets?
64. Can you tell us about a time when you had to exceed your sales quota?
65. How do you manage your time and territory to maximize your sales results?
66. Can you provide an example of a time when you had to collaborate with other departments to close a deal?
67. How do you assess your performance and set sales goals?
68. Can you describe your experience with negotiating deals?
69. How do you approach cross-selling and upselling to existing clients?
70. Can you walk us through a time when you had to work with a challenging sales team?
71. How do you stay organized and manage your sales activities and information?
72. Can you tell us about a time when you had to market a new product or service?
73. How do you use customer feedback to improve your sales performance?
74. Can you describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision in the sales process?
75. How do you measure the success of your sales efforts?
76. Can you tell us about a time when you had to build a new business relationship from scratch?
77. How do you stay up-to-date with market trends and developments that affect your sales performance?
78. Can you provide an example of a time when you exceeded expectations in a sales role?
79. How do you handle difficult conversations and objections during the sales process?
80. Can you tell us about a time when you had to overcome a significant sales challenge?
81. How do you approach sales forecasting and pipeline management?
20 More Most Asked Sales Interview Questions Asked of Candidates (No Experience)
82. How do you plan and prioritize your daily, weekly, and monthly sales activities?
83. Can you describe a situation where you had to use creative problem-solving skills?
84. How do you define success in sales?
85. Can you explain the basics of sales and how you plan to approach it?
86. Can you give an example of a time when you had to overcome rejection or failure?
87. How do you prioritize and manage your time effectively?
88. Can you tell us about your experience working in a team environment?
89. Can you explain the importance of customer relationship building in sales?
90. Can you describe your experience with CRM software and other sales tools?
91. How do you continuously improve and refine your sales approach?
92. Can you describe a situation where you had to make a difficult decision and how you approached it?
93. Can you tell us about your experience with sales targets and quotas?
94. Can you explain the impact of product knowledge on the sales process?
95. How do you handle rejection and stay resilient?
96. Can you tell us about a time when you demonstrated strong negotiation skills?
97. How do you build rapport with potential customers?
98. Can you describe your experience with data analysis and how you use it to drive sales?
99. How do you stay organized and keep track of customer interactions?
100. Can you give an example of a time when you had to work under pressure?
101. Can you tell us about a time when you had to take initiative and solve a problem independently?
In the sales job interview process, the most important things are to be personable and confident, while avoiding the wrong answers. With behavioral questions, open-ended questions, and all sorts of questions someone could ask, it is a very good idea to carve out enough time to go over all the possible questions and your bullet-pointed answers…several times. The questions will be designed to find the best candidate with the required sales skills, and with preparation, you can clearly convey that you are that candidate.
If you take time to prepare, and are somewhat of a charismatic or friendly people-person, you can do it. But it is critical that you practice giving the right answer.
On a technical level, a prospective employer will be seeking a good salesperson who is a team player with excellent communication skills and a proven understanding of the sales process. They want a sales professional with strong sales knowledge, and who is also the right fit for the company culture.
Your biggest challenge in the hiring process for a sales role will be committing that “right answer” (from a technical perspective) to memory so that you can connect on a personal level with your interviewer. You will want them to like you and think that the customers will like you as well.
With a little practice, you will get good at providing the best response to the common questions we have provided and make a great impression in your next sales interview, putting you on track to realize your long-term career goals as a sales representative.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.