Now more so than ever, companies need sales people. Especially so in the software and startup technology industries where the creation of products is becoming abundant but the ability to produce real revenues is becoming harder. As a sales professional, you will be in high demand. Experienced sales professionals should know the answers to these sales interview questions as they could be asked during the interview and vetting process. The purpose of the answers below is to act as interview prep questions for your new potential sales job. These questions and answers should be perfectly fine to use if you are looking to get hired out the technology industry or in it. Technical sales jobs require a basic understanding of the below.
1. How do you keep up to date on the target market?
Even if the target market of the last job is totally different from the one that you are interviewing for, this is going to illustrate one’s ability to find and keep up with the relevant trade publications and blogs. You can attempt to seek information from recent demographic mappings and listings concerning the area of choice. It would also be advisable to seek information from online forums and social media sites detailing information on what is going on in the target market.
2. In your last position, how much time did you spend cultivating the customer relationship as opposed to looking for new clients and what was the reason why?
Certain firms and roles are better for individuals that are better at farming or hunting though they consider a person that performs one of these tasks so as to exclude the other. Both of these happen to be vital to sales.
3. Are you more comfortable when it comes to cultivation of relationships or the identification of new opportunities?
I would say I prefer to cultivate relationships because they are a means through which I can earn more from the same group of customers and ensure a steady income especially if the product needs to be replaced periodically. Through the cultivation of relationships, it becomes more possible to get new opportunities from other clients towards the future as the reputation of an individual begins to spread.
4. What do you know about your customers?
This is a fundamental question to ask during the early parts of the interview stages, which many of the managers may ask. They want to see if the salesperson did their homework and how well they are able to chart and manage a market. The salesperson may be misinformed on who the customer is and if that is the case, it would be a chance for them to clarify on the matter. Give a description of the market according to hard data and preferences. This is a combination of the demographics such as the age, genders, work status, race and even religion. From there the description should go to spending habits, preferences and ideals, politically and environmentally speaking.
5. What do you know about the competition?
This is a question to see if they have done their research to see who else is within that particular space and what sets your product away from theirs. the statistics on this end should focus on the level of business the competitors transact which means their financial ability, workforce, and resources on hand such as vehicles and utilities and their market share. From there is should be easy to show if it will be easy to beat them.
6. What is the reason you got into sales in the first place?
The commission may be part of the motivation, but it is not necessarily the best response to the question. A good answer to this question would mean a good personal story or a real example, which shows the reasons why the candidate chose sales as the appropriate career path. The salesperson needs to claim they have intrinsic values, which make them better able to take on the position such as patience and drive. They may also claim they have a desire to make sure clients with their services or products.
7. What would be your approach to researching prospects before a call?
In addition to knowing the basics about the prospect, the main thing when it comes to building a great relationship with prospects is for the sales person to try and connect with them on a personal type level. This is going to assist the prospect feel a great connection to the sales person as opposed to the competition. This deeper connection is that which is going to assist with the closure of the deal. Through researching the prospects ahead of the pitch, the sales person then has a better chance at finding means to connect with them. In order to get better insight, the sales person should thus visit the company website of the prospect to gain a better understanding of their needs. They could even find a bio page on a particular prospect. If your candidate goes a step further and researches the specific prospect on Facebook or LinkedIn, which would be a promising sign that they make particular efforts to build a relationship with their prospects.
8. Which are the questions that would be appropriate for the prospects?
A number of successful salespeople put less of an emphasis on the actual pitch and more on asking the prospecting questions. This assists in further developing a relationship with the prospect while giving the sales person additional information on building a solid pitch at the end of the discussion.
9. How much time should one spend nurturing the customer relationship as opposed to searching for new clients?
There are two modes of sales roles, which are categorized as ‘hunters’ and ‘farmers’. It is crucial for the candidate to ascertain which one they would be better for or prefer before going for this interview. The farmer is one who nurtures relationships between them and the client while the hunter is the one who searches for new opportunities. Placing the salesperson in the role they do not fit in does translate to failure. If you are looking to fill a role where the responsibilities center on new acquisitions or searching for new targets all the time then you ought to be a hunter. If the open position requires lead and client nurturing as well as the maintenance of existing relationships then you would want to go the direction of the farmer salesperson.
10. What do you feel would be the best way to address the pricing with a prospect?
Following a sales process is significant and the response of the candidate to this will illustrate whether they plan to follow that process. Ideally they are to present the price through the first demonstration of its value.
11. How does one acquire leads?
If the company requires cold calls or even emails then the candidate that responds by claiming they only ever had warm leads is not the right fit. The candidate should be someone that gives particular details on getting leads by themselves. That is they ought to say how they will attain new clients through market searches and comparison with the competition.
12. How are you going to go above and beyond within this position?
This question does not have a wrong answer per se, unless the answer is the candidate is only going to do what is specifically asked of them because the question is based according to their extra effort. The ideal candidate is an individual that would be willing to put their effort and time to go beyond the minimal amount of expectations so they can deliver a high value to the company and the customers.
13. How are you going to deal with rejection?
This query is asked so as to know how the sales person will manage tough scenarios. a sales employee requires maintaining patience within their working environment. Considering in the sales field, the worker is supposed to approach several people for their business purpose. As it is, when it comes to business there are individuals that will behave in a different manner with sales workers. And this different behavior would make the sales employees undergo differences and this may cause an issue during the future. That is the reason why the sales employee would need to take rejection in a positive manner.
14. Are you comfortable with cold calls?
When a person starts to work within the sales field then it starts to become obvious the person would have to be comfortable with different services included within the sales area. However, the individuals in the sales field are meant to handle cold calling as a service. The interviewer would then ask particular questions on cold calling, as some of the candidates are not ready to begin cold calling. At that time, the candidate would then take a positive approach and move on with the task.
15. How do you approach a short sales cycle versus a long one?
The candidate needs to recognize these two sales cycles are different from each other. The most important quality for someone in a short sales cycle is the ability to close quickly. For the longer sales cycles, good sales people need to take a strategic and individually tailored approach.
16. How does one incorporate content and social media intro the sales strategy?
The ability to create relevant and engaging content and having an active presence on social channels is very important when it comes to modern sales environments. Even if there is no experience, the good candidates should be willing to experiment.
17. What is more important between meeting the sales targets or making the customers happy?
Both of these things are important and depending on the particular business goals of an individual, there may be more importance given to the prioritization of the sales volume over the satisfaction of the customer. In general, the sales representatives that are effective are those ones who can care about meeting the needs of the customers rather than just meeting the bottom line.
18. Are you comfortable with targets?
A sales job comes available with various target scenarios. there are people who enjoy working in an environment of targets. Targets in the sense, a sales employee would be required to sell items on an average basis according to the target. Therefore during an interview when the interviewer asks such questions the candidate would rely confidently they are ready to work under the pressure of targets. The targets also make their way go much faster and easier.
19. What would be the task or target in the first month if hired for the position?
This is a common question for each interviewer. Through that query the interviewer would search for the positive mindset of the candidate how they are going to begin a new position and new task. The willingness for one to work afresh with the new set of targets with a positive type of mindset is always welcomed by each and every manager.
20. When would be the best time to stop pursuing a client?
A salesperson needs to understand their limits and also to respect the image of the company for which the salesperson works. They need to be able to go to the extent of accepting the situation in step towards the protection of the image of the firm. In this query, the interviewer would want to understand these traits in a candidate.
21. What ought to be the reaction when a deal is lost?
The interview is sometimes technical as it is based according to the practical experience but a lot of the time it is set on mental ability for handling different adverse situations. this is one of the questions through which the interviewer would aim to understand the mind-set of the candidate in case they do not achieve the deal. How the sales person is going to act on it and what would be the gain from the situation is what ought to be highly judged by the interviewer.
22. Have you ever has a losing streak and how were you able to turn things around?
Everyone has a bad spell so you need to beware of someone that claims that they have never had a prolonged spell of bad luck. Nothing is wrong with a temporary slump considering everyone experiences it but the manner that you deal with it is what matters.
23. Have you ever asked a prospect that did not go through with the deal to explain the reason why the deal was lost?
What did they say and what was learnt from that particular experience? Following up on the deals in order to learn the means to do better next time increases the offs of one winning in the near future. The salesperson that takes the time to learn from both their failures and successes would be one of the better additions to the team.
24. What is the best way to exceed expectations within the role of a salesperson?
The best way to do this is to go above and beyond in every conceivable situation. This question is less about getting a certain answer and more about seeing if the candidate thinks outside of their particular job duties.
25. What are the traits of a strong salesperson?
The first thing would be determining what is needed for the firm and to see if the response of the candidate aligns with that which is being searched for. Research shows that for long-term sales success, the salesperson always has to have the drive, which entails personality traits including optimism, competitiveness and the need to achieve.
26. What are the best tactics for establishing a relationship with a potential client?
The sales candidate who relies on email and the occasional voice message is lazy and not focused on retaining that client unless there is already a special or obligatory relationship between the two. The best candidate is someone that researchers and spends their time building a relationship over the phone or in person.
27. What does the salesperson say in order to close a sale most of the time?
The ideal response for this question is something, which would not place pressure on the prospect and steers clear of manipulating them. The closing pitch of the salesperson needs to be natural and confident.
28. How should a commission plan be structured?
There are firms, which provide for high commission and then give low pay. The others do the opposite. There is also profit sharing, volume pay, territory and several other options. The correct answer to this particular query is not about telling the prospective employer the things they would have to do but it is actually about demonstrating that you get the company objectives and priorities and the manner they would align with your goals. This is one of the chances for the candidates to show understanding of winning scenarios and the appreciation that any of the commission structures ought to not only reflect their performance but also be tied to boarder objectives. Most of the employers seek the partners who may assist them to grow the company as opposed to sales mercenaries that hit their targets at any particular expense. It is frustrating for interviewers when the candidates begin to talk about commissions when they only have themselves in mind.
29. How do you organize your day?
The correct answer may sound a bit boring but that ought to be the objective. Sales jobs have a lot of excitement but there should be a day-to-day grind about the work. Thus, it takes endurance and organizational skills in order to get to the thrilling moments. The interviewers would want to know a candidate is willing to put in the hard and grueling work.
30. What would you do in order to consistently improve your sales skills?
That would be a commitment towards continuous learning, which is a sign the candidate is very caring about their future to the point they would be able to invest in themselves. The ideal candidate is going to illustrate they have an excitement to learn some of the new sales skills and they have the initiative to pull this off. The ideal salesperson likes to invest within themselves most of the time have a learning approach which is positive. They would enroll in practical and theoretical courses and learning exercises to better their skill set within their position so they and become excellent representatives and future leaders.
31. What would you plan to accomplish in the first 30 days of working in the organization?
This will assist in the determination of the goals of the candidate and their Drive towards success. The ideal candidate would probably be able to explain what they plan to accomplish and the manner they plan to make the goals the reality. This plan does not necessarily need to have a lot of detail. The basic thing is to make sure that you present yourself as a self-starter and someone that is motivated toward success in general.
32. What are your top three values at the workplace?
Drive is one of the best traits to advertise for as a candidate because it makes one present themselves as both capable and disciplined to take on the position. It also implies that you do not have to be supervised in that position. The other value to consider would be that of being able to work with others or being a people person. Several times in sales and at the office, there is a need for teamwork on a project or brainstorming in order to adequately penetrate a particular market. The ability to collaborate and bring the best out in others allows the team to excel and get better returns, which is basically great for the enterprise.
33. What is your take on collaboration when it comes to a sales team?
Collaboration may not be as important at some of the organizations as compared to others though the candidates that are not willing to collaborate would not add at all to the environment at work. They would also not make pleasant co-workers. Their uncooperative attitudes would also block the knowledge sharing.
34. Who are the clients that you are most comfortable selling to and what is the reason for this?
The candidate is to give the description of their idea buyer through a demographic description. For example if it is selling cars, they would opt for people between the ages of 17 to 25 who would buy the old or lower level product offerings as their first cars. Or they would prefer clients in their late 30s that would go for the more expensive SUVs and sports cars as things they would like to enjoy. The candidate is to give a very specific description of the client on where they work, their gender, and other habits to show the employer they know what they are talking about as they can almost visualize that client themselves.
35. Describe the ideal sales manager?
The sales manager who is responsible for leading the sales representatives within the organization. They are good inspirational individuals and know how to lead the personnel so they show the best version of themselves. They also set reasonable sales, quotas and build on sales plans, territories and mentor the members of the team where necessary so they do what is required of them.
36. How do you get referrals after a sale?
The candidates that rely a lot on the referrals may be a cause for concern. It may show they are not comfortable with prospecting for the new leads by themselves. Through pushing their present customers hard for the referrals in order to sustain the levels of sales, the candidate may also negatively affect their relationship, which they have built with the client. The best way to go about this is to build relationships with the customer so they do not only see you are interested solely on their money or treat you as just another business relationship. Show care and concern to their personal issues as well but only to a reasonable extent within the bounds of the job.
37. What should you say on a cold call?
As opposed to general answers such as, ‘you want to talk about the products or services of the company, the best thing would be a response which is along the lines of role play. It would need to sound as natural as possible and not scripted so there is interplay between the client and the salesperson.
38. If there was a magic wand and could improve three things about the previous job what would these things be?
This question does not have a specific right or wrong answer though the response to the magic wand query should give some information on which you are as a person. Considering the best predictor of the future behavior would be the previous behavior, it is then important to show that you had the right environment and mindset . this question can also provide insight to the previous work history of the candidate and it will make the sales person seem to be candid.
39. What role does content play when it comes to the selling process?
It is not necessarily a deal breaker if the salesperson does not actively share and engage with content on their social media accounts though they ought to be receptive in doing so.
40. What are the three adjectives that a former client would use to describe you as the sales personnel?
The salesperson should list synonyms, which are about helpfulness. The clients should say that the sales person was patient and informative in the way they handled their interactions.
41. What is your super power?
Everyone has something in which they tend to excel so the candidate can say they are very good at getting new clients or building a relationship with the present ones. There are different aspects to the sales relationship, which the customer can benefit from. The manner that the candidate responds will be an illustration on the various strengths of the personnel, which is the best selling point.
42. What are the places one would need coaching on?
• The reasons for this is it shows the candidate is self-aware and knows the areas in which they would need improvement. So the candidate can give an example of any of their weaknesses to the employers provided it is not too damaging. • It is going to determine whether the thing, which is needed, is something that can be coached or not. • This also provides a starting point once the candidate begins working with the company. The employer can set the sales persons goals and expectations for the next period.
43. Why would you want to work for us?
If the candidate struggles to come up with a solid answer for this one, the chances are they are searching for any job possible. The candidate should work on a response, which indicates they would want to work specifically for the company.
44. How do you define success?
The question is aimed for understanding and judging the mindset of the candidate. The answer should show how balanced the candidate would be in respect to the target achievement and job and also how they undertake the different means to reach the goal.
45. How do you plan to cover up in the departments where you are not experienced?
State some of the skills that you may already have and then explain on the way these are going to assist in learning or adapting the new skills. This is a valid question as you will need to be knowledgeable when it comes to the products being sold.
46. How flexible are you when it comes to working hours?
Retailing might need you to be working during an odd hours including late during the night. You ought to say that you do not have schedule restrictions at the time.
47. What are the salary expectations for the job?Instead of giving a straight figure, you need to give an answer that sounds like you have been thinking about it and so a person with the same experience would earn within a specific range.
48. Have you had issues with previous bosses?
You would be lying if you were saying no. State some understandable scenarios where you may feel like a given boss irritated you or made decisions to affect the performance overall. End this on a lighter note through mentioning some of the positive influences that the same boss had on your career.
49. What is the most interesting part when it comes to retailing?
This would be to test how well you enjoy your career and you can mention how fun it is to deal with entrepreneurs. You may also state how satisfying it is when you give a suggestion of ideas, which end up working great for the customers.