10 Great Sales Interview Questions (and Answers)

sales interviews

If you hire for sales people you know the good ones are hard to find. This is especially true for 2017 which has a truly tight job market. We hear from employers nearly every day about the lack of sales talent out there. But when you do get them in the door, the questions below are good ways to filter out the bad ones.

Dive deep into the candidates motivation for leaving their current employer.

Q. Have you sold products or services before? How did you sell them?
A. See if they understand the difference between selling “solutions” and selling “products” or “services”

Q. Describe a past sales experience that demonstrates your work ethic.
A. Ask for a negative experience (for example, a time they failed and what they learned from it) as well as a positive one

Q. Describe to me, in detail, your most significant professional achievement.
A. Repeatedly ask for more detail in order to get an understanding of their work ethic

Q. Give examples of how you overcome buyer objections and how you handle price objections.
A. Ask if they can describe selling on value rather than on price

Q. What do you know about our company and this industry?
A. See if they have thoroughly researched your industry and company

Q. Give examples of ways in which you generate leads
A. A significant part of their answer should be asking for referrals from current customers

Q. Given a qualified lead, describe your sales process. How many contacts do you make on a qualified lead?
-Average number of contacts should be 12
-Logical first steps should include building a relationship and inquiring about the prospect’s needs
-Ask about the different types of contacts they make to qualified prospects

Q. Describe your goals for the past three years and if you met them. If so, how were you able to accomplish them? If not, why didn’t you meet the goals?
A. They should have tangible goals with metrics

Q. What type of goals are most motivating for you? How much compensation are you seeking?
-Should be a great deal of enthusiasm about setting and achieving goals
-Should be content with a large share (a minimum of 50 percent) of compensation at risk

Q. Describe how you plan to close sales. How can you tell when a buyer is ready to buy, and what closing principles do you prefer? Which closing techniques do you find work best for you?
A. Some answers to “what closing principles do you follow” include:

-Upon proposing a close, say nothing until the buyer responds
-Wait until the buyer is ready before attempting to close
-Stop selling after the sale is made
-They should be able to describe three separate closing techniques