Job-Winning Sales Interview Questions and Answers

Common sales interview questions and the answers that get you the job.

These typical interview questions for sales job candidates explore your knowledge of sales techniques and your understanding of sales methods. They are frequently asked during the sales job interview but candidates are often unprepared and unable to answer fluently and confidently.

Stand out from the crowd with impressive interview answers.

What sales techniques have you found most successful in handling objections?

When answering this sales question acknowledge that objections happen frequently during the sales process but that you view them as a positive rather than a bad thing.

Make an objection

An objection is a request for more information from the customer and gathering and giving information is one of the key steps to making the sale.

Highlight how you view an objection as an opportunity to engage in conversation about something the customer is interested in. Then focus on an effective strategy that you use to work through the objection. This could include the following key steps to handling an objection:

  • listen to and acknowledge the concern
  • ask questions to clarify and ensure you have got to the  
    real objection
  • empathize with the objection
  • put forward a proposal to overcome the concern
  • confirm that you have answered the concern

In the current sales environment, what is the process you go through to qualify prospects?

This question is designed to evaluate your ability to assess what is a solid prospect and not waste your efforts on poor prospects. In tough economic conditions sales people can waste precious resources chasing every lead that comes their way. Focus on the characteristics of a good prospect including the actual needs of the customer, the customer's budget and the real authority of the customer to make the buying decision.

Sales interview questions and answers about your knowledge and application of sales techniques and skills include:

What do you consider the key skills in closing?

Key points to keep in mind when answering this sales interview question are:

  • recognizing buying signals both verbal and non verbal
  • not attempting to close too early
  • familiarity with different closing  techniques such as the alternate choice method
  • allowing the buyer the appropriate time and silence to respond to the close
  • to stop selling once the sale is  made

How do you know when to walk away from a sale?

Sooner or later it will happen that it is necessary to walk away from a customer. This sales question is asked to determine that you do not walk away from opportunities too quickly or for the wrong reasons. You should have a walk-away strategy that is based on valid and consistent reasons.

 These could include:

  • when legal and ethical standards may be compromised such as taking or paying a bribe or compromising your moral or religious beliefs
  • when time and resources do not allow you to provide the acceptable standard of quality or when you know you cannot deliver what is been asked. This can be viewed as an invitation to failure
  • when the time, energy and resources required to keep the sale or customer are no longer a good investment and the business becomes unprofitable
  • when the deal does not benefit both parties and is not a win-win situation, particularly when it is one-sided to your detriment

What is your favorite book about sales?

Sales interview questions and answers like this explore your attitude to professional and personal development. It is always impressive when candidates are able to list the books they have read. 

Include time-honored sales books like How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham as well as some current popular sales books. Make sure you have read the books and be prepared to answer questions like "What was the most important thing you learned from reading that book?"

Expect sales interview questions that explore your background research and knowledge of the company and industry including:

  • Who do you see as our company's biggest competitors, and why?
  • What do you see as this company's biggest challenges?
  • What are the changes that you see are taking place in our industry at the moment?
  • How do you see the future of our industry?

View more sample sales interview questions and answers

You can expect behavioral or competency-based interview questions that explore the skills required for success in a sales position. View these behavioral sales interview questions and use the sample answers to prepare your own good responses.

Prepare for these top 10 interview questions and be ready to face all the tough questions you may be asked in your job interview.

Are you going for a job interview for a pharmaceutical sales position? Go to pharmaceutical sales interview questions to prepare properly.

Retail Sales Interview Questions

Stand out as the best prepared and most professional candidate in your sales job interview. Go through the sales interview guide for all the resources you need.

Be ready with your sales interview questions and answers and get the sales job you want and deserve.

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