Behavioral Sales Interview Questions and Answers

Know the behavioral sales interview questions to expect, plan your winning interview answers and stay one step ahead. Get the sales job you want!

Although the sales role varies from employer to employer you can anticipate likely interview questions by reviewing the knowledge,skills and core competencies required for success in all sales jobs.

The knowledge requirements will vary depending on the organization, the product or service, the scope and seniority of the sales job.

Typical knowledge requirements for sales include:

  • sales and marketing principles, techniques, strategy and tactics
  • sales control systems 
  • sales computer software
  • sales administration processes

Expect sales interview questions such as:

"Detail a typical sales cycle in your last position?"

"How many appointments did you have in a typical week?"

"How much time do you spend directly with a customer or prospect on an average day?"

"What percentage of your targets did you achieve?"

Sales job interview questions and answers around the knowledge and skills requirements for a sales job.

Behavioral Sales Interview Questions

The sales interview will focus on questions that look for evidence of the core competencies or behaviors needed to succeed in a sales job. You will be asked to provide specific examples of when you have previously demonstrated the required behavior.

Think about your past experiences, select appropriate examples and plan your behavioral interview answer using the following STAR structure:

  • Describe the specific situation or task you were involved in
  • Detail the action and steps you took in the situation
  • Outline the results and outcome of your actions. What happened, what was accomplished, what did you learn?

Get help understanding the behavioral interview

Go through the sales interview questions that explore these essential competencies. Use the answer guidelines to help you prepare your own excellent sales behavioral interview answers.

9 Core competencies for sales jobs

1. Adaptability

Sales jobs involve dealing with a wide range of people, the ability to adjust your approach to the situation and customer is an important job requirement.

"Tell me about a situation where your contact person changed at a key account, how did you adjust to the new contact?"

"Give an example of when you had to change your approach to a prospect because the initial one failed."

In your interview answer show how:

  • you maintain performance and your effectiveness in different situations and faced with different people
  • include how you are able to adjust your approach to match different demands and challenges

2. Resilience

Key to continued success in sales is the ability to handle and move on from disappointment and rejection.

"Tell me about a time you worked hard for a sale but didn't get it in the end, how did you handle the situation?"

"Give an example of when you had to overcome strong resistance from a customer."

In your interview answer describe:

  • how you have maintained enthusiasm and performance after disappointment
  • how you are able to take negativity in your stride and bounce back quickly

Include examples of persistence and determination in finding solutions to obstacles or challenges.

3. Persuasiveness

Sales interview questions will focus on your ability to persuade and influence others to accept your product or service.

"Describe a recent approach you took with a brand new prospect."

"Tell me how you developed your largest account."

In your interview answer describe:

  • how you determine customer needs
  • select the most suitable approach to demonstrate how your product or service meets those needs
  • decide on the right interpersonal and communication style

Include how you are able to anticipate and overcome objections, and gain commitment from the customer.

4. Results-driven

A strong sense of purpose together with the ability to maintain a high energy level are important contributors to sales success.

"Tell me about one of the most time-consuming sales you have made."

"What goals have you set for yourself this year, how have you ensured progress towards them?"

In your interview answer show how you set yourself challenging goals and put in high levels of effort and commitment to achieve results.

5. Negotiation skills

A core sales competency is the ability to reach agreement through successful negotiation.

"Describe a recent situation where you negotiated terms with a tough customer."

"Tell me about an important negotiation that failed, what went wrong and why?"

In your interview answer describe your ability to:

  • explore the needs and concerns of the customer
  • determine areas of agreement and disagreement
  • work out alternatives and solutions
  • reach a workable agreement for both parties

6. Presentation skills

Sales involves presenting information effectively and convincingly to potential customers.

"Tell me about successful formal presentation you made recently."

"Give me an example of when you had to make a presentation to an unresponsive audience, how did you handle it?"

In your interview answer detail your research and preparation of material for a target audience. Describe:

  • how you establish the importance of the presentation to the audience
  • your ability to organize the content in a logical way
  • how you read an audience's mood and interact effectively with them

7. Motivation

Expect and prepare for sales interview questions that investigate your purpose and commitment, such as:

"What do you regard as the biggest challenge in a sales position?"

"What do you enjoy and what do you dislike about sales?"

"What attracts you to a career in sales?"

Get help answering these typical sales job interview questions

8. Impact

Your ability to make an impact, to create a good impression and command attention and respect will be observed during the interview.

Speak with a confident tone and make sure your posture indicates an attentive and open attitude. View these interview body language tips to make sure you are sending the right non-verbal message during your sales interview.

9. Communication skills

The way you communicate verbally and your ability to actively listen will be assessed as you interact with the interviewer. Speak clearly and concisely, choosing your words with care and using correct grammar.

Communications Skills Interview Questions

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Listen closely to the sales interview questions and ask for further clarification if you do not properly understand what is required. Get more communication tips for interviews

Typical Sales Interview Questions and Answers

A favorite interview question for sales jobs is Sell me This Pen. Get sales interview answers to this and other popular interview questions.

Sales Interview Strengths and Weaknesses

Sales interview questions about:

  • qualifying prospects
  • handling objections
  • closing the sale

This complete sales interview guide covers what you need to know to succeed in your next sales job interview.

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