Sales interview questions are designed in a way that is meant to test you on your ability to convince people and your cajolery powers. Specific sales executive interview questions may be straightforward enough, while other interview questions are meant to throw you off track. Here are some typical sales executive interview questions and advice on tackling these questions by applying some common sales answers.
A: This is a sales executive interview question that can be wrongly interpreted. The interviewer is not exactly trying to know about your degrees and schooling and where you live. Your potential employer judges how well you can communicate with others and how smooth and sophisticated your sales pitch can sound. If you go on and on about yourself, the interview will slash off your name from his list, for most of your replies are too wordy and irrelevant. The information about yourself must be brief and to the point. You should stick to the vital points about yourself related to your job-search with respect to sales. If you have worked in this kind of job before, you can focus on aspects of immense success. You ought to be very precise with your examples. Vague and generic replies are not exactly very appealing. The interviewer wants to know what qualities you possess that make you stand out from the rest of the hundreds of hopeful candidates. Therefore, examples must be stated.
2. Why have you chosen this line of work?
A: Some of the qualities that must be present in a salesperson are:- good communication skills, being polite, negotiating well with customers, holding a decent conversation with a customer, being a good listener, displaying future prospects of the deal, and excellent customer service. As a solid reply to this sales executive interview question, you can begin by saying that the reason you have sought this particular position is: you are interested in interacting with new people, and this field of work gives you an ample opportunity to do precisely that. If you do not give up easily and are resilient, and enjoy traveling, this is the kind of thing you are suited for. You could mention that this kind of job allows you to handle new challenges that put your behavioral skills to the test and that you love nothing more than to win a good challenge. It is a remunerative career that is gratifying, even though, at times, it can be quite vexing. You must think twice before answering this sales executive interview question because this question alone may let you win or lose.
3. Why have you opted for our company? Is there something particular about our company that interests you?
A: To tackle this sales executive interview question, you ought to show that you have thoroughly looked into the activities carried out by the company in question. The interview wishes to gauge if you are genuinely passionate about their products and services. Your potential employer will want to select you only if you like the kind of objects they specialize in. Do not gush, for it sounds conniving and fake, but let them know, in as crisp a manner as you can, that you have held them in high regard because of their superior customer services and their widespread, many-branched conglomerate. You should inform them that you like the efforts they have put in to expand their borders and that you respect and appreciate their ability. You must elaborate on the facets of their company that inspire motivation in you and the desire to work hard
4. What is it about this particular area of work that motivates you to reach greater heights?
A: The answer to this sales interview question can be dealt with by declaring that there is nothing more gratifying than sealing a contract with a customer. Sales jobs are based on salaries that are dependent on commissions, and thus it is rewarding to close a deal. If you are genuinely confident in your sales pitch, then that skill alone should keep you grounded and motivated in this type of job. Satisfaction on customers’ faces is another decent factor that should keep you motivated because it was your persuasive tone that provided said gratification. Therefore, your reply to this sales executive interview question should align with the company’s aims and horizons.
5. Tell us about your previous experiences as a salesperson.
A: You ought to recount all the deals you had closed whilst working for your previous company for this sales executive interview question. List your successes, however, try not to sound arrogant. Be humble. Brief them on your exploits with a few detailed examples, mentioning the name of the product and the identity of the client and the tenure of the contract of your deal. Let them know exactly how you managed to convince them of the benefits of the purchase and whether or not the customer was pleased with your services. This sales executive interview question is crafted in a clever way to gauge your focus. If you have informed them of a difficult situation where you landed the deal, it displays your resilience. Employers are more likely to hire someone like that. On the other hand, if you give them an example of a deal that was rather easy to close, it highlights none of your strong suits, and the employer is not really looking to hire a person who possesses next to no tenacity. The examples you provide them with must display your good points, however, rambling is a strict ‘no’. Your examples must show that you are interested in the thrill of the job and are not someone apathetic who merely looks for a job that pays and is uncaring about the company and the tasks commissioned as a whole.
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6. Have you failed at certain instances? For example, faced rejections? In that case, how have you dealt with a scenario of that calibre? What did you learn from such rejections?
A: Rejections are obviously annoying and frustrating. It goes without saying that a person is angered and irked by rejection. You must answer these sales executive interview questions after careful thought and consideration. However, it would not do if you state that you were on the verge of giving up and quitting. You should say that you, being a practical, pragmatic and realistic person, did not lose your will to plough on. You ought to mention to the interviewer that you have gleaned a lot from rejection, for it made you even more determined and motivated to follow up on and seal the next deal even better. Genuine feedback from clients is a good cause for motivation because that information may be put to good use for the sake of your company and rectify the company’s methods of handling those particular areas with better options for the future with higher prospects. The interviewer requires the knowledge that you are someone who handles rejection with maturity and moves forward without looking back. This sales executive interview question is meant to let your potential employer know that you will not be an employee who sinks into depression after one single failure, losing motivation in the process. No employer would want to hire a person who possesses no tenacity at all.
7. Think of me as a customer seeking to purchase a certain item. You are to act as the salesperson. See this fountain pain on my desk. Your task is to convincingly persuade me to buy this pen. I would like to gauge your attitude towards a customer and your sales pitch. Think of this as a simulation in real-time. Get into your role as a real salesperson.
A: Certain sentences you could use to answer this sales executive interview question goes as follows: “Good morning, Sir. Are you looking to purchase a fountain pen? What is your budget, if I may ask? If you are looking for a pen below Rs. 300, then I would recommend this one. It is quite thick in the middle and tapers near the top and the bottom. The sheen is really rather exquisite and the edges are gold-marked. The nib is sturdy and does not allow the ink to bleed into the paper. This pen comes in nine different colours: emerald green, orange, mustard yellow, red, navy blue, pure black, pure white, dull golden and pale pink. The actual price is Rs. 249. But I can give you a discount and reduce the price to Rs. 215. It is a rather good bargain, if I do say so myself. The ink bottle costs Rs. 20, and the ink is either blue or black, depending on whichever colour you prefer. There is another set of this particular fountain pen which has silver edges, and the price is the same. But in my opinion, the golden-rimmed ones look better. And as for the colours, I would say the pure white one is a personal favourite of mine, but I would not force my choice upon you. This pen has a very good grip so that your hands do not slip while writing. In terms of appearance and finish, this pen is perfect. So, do you think you would be satisfied if you bought this fountain pen, Sir?” This reply to this particular sales executive interview question ought to seal the deal.
8. How would you want your co-workers to perceive you?
A: This sales executive interview question is designed to let the interviewer gauge your attitude and behaviour with respect to your colleagues. The employer wishes to know what to expect from you as a colleague. You could reply by stating that you hope your potential co-workers would think of you as reliable and someone they can trust whole-heartedly. You could add that you also hope that you could turn into someone they will look up to and someone who inspires them to work harder. Highlighting resilience as your asset is a good way to get through this question. Persistence is a quality that lies at the core of a sales job and you would want your colleagues to respect that side of you.
9. Tell us about your long-term career goals.
A: You could answer this sales executive interview question by saying you hope to grow professionally in the long run. You want to hone your leadership and entrepreneurship skills and rise to a management position. The interviewer wants to see if you are an easy quitter and someone who hops from one job to another, a characteristic which is certainly not acceptable. You would want to add that you want to seal many more expensive deals with a wider spectrum of companies in the future with your negotiation skills and powers of persuasion.
10. At what point do you think you ought to retreat?
A: Even the very best of war generals know that at times it is better to retreat from the front lines in order to avoid more casualties. Knowing when to retreat is a show of wisdom, not an example of giving up. Persistence is a commendable characteristic, however, being much too assertive and obnoxious is just annoying for the customer. And it genuinely makes the customer turn away in displeasure. Besides, it also makes the salesperson feel pathetic on the inside. No one wants a plethora of ill feelings to linger. It just leaves a bad taste in the mouth. This sales executive interview question is designed to see if you can draw the line between two extremely fragile viewpoints which may be almost interchangeable
11. How will you keep yourself stabilized when burdened with too much pressure at your sales job?
A: There are a few key factors to keep in mind. Pressure is subjective. It is only regarded as a detriment if seen as a burden. Do not consider it pressure and it will cease to be a source of pressure for you. Always try to keep a positive mindset and cheer yourself up by repeatedly telling yourself that there is nothing that humans cannot do. Remember to take deep breaths and who knows, maybe the next moment will be a little better. Taking breaks intermittently is important, so do not deprive yourself of sleep even when piled with work. Sometimes, tension leaves your body after good long hours of slumber. You might not even experience pressure anymore and you would probably feel a lot more refreshened. Tension only gives you a handicap, so get rid of it. These are some of the opinions you ought to share whilst answering this sales executive interview question.
12. Do you still see yourself working at sales in the next decade or so?
A: You could reply with an affirmative with regards to this sales executive interview question. You ought to outline your career goals as meticulously as possible and let your interviewer know that your short-term aims are to learn more about sales from the employers and other senior employees of the company. Try to sound ambitious but maintain your humility at the same time. You could answer this query by informing the interviewer that in the next ten years or so, you wish to rise to the position of the director of the sales department and seek to become an employer who is good-hearted and not harsh with his subordinates. You could say that you also wish to become an ideal leader who improves the work ethics and culture of the company.
13. Do you think cold-calling elicits success?
A: While it is true that cold-calling results in negativity more often, a deal can be closed if the activity is carried out in a smart fashion. Most of the time cold calls go into voicemail, so it is necessary to leave a cleverly-structured voicemail that may spark an interest. The voicemail must not be too long, but brief and to the point. In the event you are rejected, make sure to politely ask the customer why they did not wish to purchase the object. Be a patient listener and do not immediately jump into your sales talk. Cold calls can be made at a time when the office workers are in their lunch period during the afternoon. During work hours, people tend to not respond to phone calls. Wasting the time of potential customers results in no success, so the calls must be brisk. Follow a set of scripted questions that do not sound tedious and annoying and make sure you do not seem like you’re mumbling off a practiced write-up. The questions are of the essence, and wrong words will make the customer slam down the receiver without so much as a reply. Use something along the lines of ”…. May I have a minute of your time, Sir, that is, if you’re not too busy at the moment?” This kind of query results in a positive response mostly. As for voicemails, get it wrapped within a span of 20 seconds and remember to add some semblance of urgency in your tone. You must not use your sales pitch in the voicemail. These are some of the factors that must be included in this particular sales executive interview question.
14. Do you think our company can improve further? If so, how would you go about improving it?
A: As a response to this sales executive interview question, inform the interviewer that you have thoroughly analysed every aspect of the company and believe that some areas could do with a certain amount of alteration and expansion. This tells the interviewer that you have done your homework and have researched a great deal about the company. You could begin by saying that the company’s social media page could be changed for the better, or, if they have no social media page at all, tell them that a page ought to be created. Your answers should not sound condescending and patronizing. Be constructive when you reply. Give a detailed response, outlining the inferences you have drawn from your research on the company. Do not go on and on with criticism, for it sounds rude. Keep your response short, but make sure your message gets across to the employer.
15. Do you believe social media platforms can help promote sales prospects? If so, then how?
A: Answer with an affirmative to this sales executive interview question. Social media is a platform where prospects are provided with a proper value whilst sales people answer open-ended questions. Some of these aforementioned questions are: a) ‘I would like to learn more about your business. So could you enlighten me?’ b) ‘Do you think that this product will aid you in your business?’ c) ‘How and when exactly do you plan on using this product?’ These questions help in building a pleasant relationship with potential customers. A survey has concluded that 91% of customers use social media to research products and items, 84% of senior workers use social media to help make decisions and 75% of customers are heavily swayed by whatever appears as promotional material on social media sites. The significance of social selling is not like cold calls at all, for it greatly reduces contact time and the rate of interaction increases because you are typing out comments while others reply to them. It is much easier than speaking over the telephone. No rudeness, no ill-feelings.
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16. Which social media platforms do you think are the most effective when it comes to sales?
A: Youtube, Pinterest and LinkedIn are probably the best social media sites. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram also prove to be excellent platforms. You can make a list of ten or twenty high-profile and well-known companies and follow them diligently, comment wherever you can on twitter. On LinkedIn, create a customer profile with attributes you prefer, and LinkedIn will send you notifications when a match is generated. You can follow up on those customers. You are free to share information and expertise with LinkedIn users in various groups if you sign up for them. You can also post regularly about your services and prospects and that will help you promote your content. This is an effective way to answer this particular sales executive interview question.
17. We wish to know how you strike a balance between your professional life and private life.
A: With this sales executive interview question, the interviewer wants to see if your home life will have a negative effect on your work ethics. Work and private life must be kept strictly separate. This can only be done if you enjoy your work so much that the workplace does not seem that much different that your life at home. However, that does not mean you have to turn into a workaholic and devote no time to your family. That, on the other hand, may have a wrong effect on your family members. Therefore, a fine line must be drawn between the two realms of your life.
18. Are you aware of the latest trends in sales?
A: Reply with an affirmative to this sales executive interview question. Let your interviewer know that you are up-to-date with recent patterns with respect to sales. Tell your interviewer that you have perused through several blogs, newspaper articles and magazine advertisements and watched numerous youtube videos pertaining to this matter, possessing quite a bit of knowledge regarding the latest trends.
19. How do you generate leads and close sales deals? Tell me about the methods you employ.
A: Tell your interviewer that you make detailed plans first, and then you apply your better-than-average communication and listening abilities. You also look into the requirements of your customer and provide effective advice to solve certain issues and problems related to your customer’s demands and need. Conclude by stating how swiftly you employ your sales pitch and create a friendly relation with your potential customer by maintaining a sympathetic demeanour. This is how you reply to this sales executive interview question.
20. Did you have a favourite superior? If so, then which qualities within him or her did you appreciate and respect?
A: “In my previous job, I was happy to have been the subordinate of Mr. ABC. He was friendly with all of his subordinates and provided us with valuable information about behaviour and morals which I shall carry with me for the rest of my life. He never imposed on any of us and was devoted to work. I learned a lot under his tutelage. You could say that he was my mentor. His compassion was his greatest asset and I held him in high regard. It was a real shame I had to quit that company because I had to move away. But that, in no way, will affect the respect I shall strive to impart to my current employer, should I get recruited in this company.” This is a decent enough way to answer this sales executive interview question.
21. The Barter System was the precursor to sales. Tell me a bit about whatever you know about it.
A: This sales executive interview question is aimed at your knowledge pertaining to history. Barter was an old method of trade in which goods (such as grains, food, tools) changed hands for other similar objects or services. For example, people exchanged butter for honey. The Barter system is different from gift economies in the aspect that in Barter, exchanges were made on an immediate basis. Barter may occur in a country during a financial crisis at a time in which money stops being a standard unit of economy.
22. Do you know when sales became a legitimate profession? Do you know anything about the history of sales? If yes, then enlighten me about whatever you know.
A: This is another sales executive interview question that is designed to test your history knowledge. The book ‘Psychology of Selling’ by E.K. Strong, published in 1925, introduced the concept that sales was a legitimate skill that could be taught and nurtured. Dale Carnegie, an entrepreneur, became a business trainer and helped promote the idea that sales could be seen as an occupation.
23. What do you expect from your profession in the event you get recruited in this company?
A: ‘I expect that I shall be travelling a lot in order to constantly handle prospects and sealing deals. I shall be handling all sorts of customers and negotiating with them. I shall be paid on the basis of commissions handed out to me. I expect that I will also have to carry out cold calls and report to you about competitions in the market with regard to prospects and leads.’ These are the likely tasks you shall have to carry out with regards to this sales executive interview question.
24. Which aspect of this sales job do you dislike?
A: This sales executive interview question must be answered truthfully. You could begin by saying that you do not like the behaviours and mannerisms of certain customers. Or you could state that a sales job is a harrowing task involving a lot of requesting and pleading. Be sure to follow up with the aspects that you like after this, or else the interviewer will believe that you genuinely dislike the entirety of this job and will slash off your name from his list of interviewees.
25. Are there any questions that you have for me?
A: “I have, Sir. Which department will I be a part of? Do I have to make cold calls? Will I be assigned a particular area and conduct sales within that region? Will I be a lone worker or a part of a team? How many tasks do I have to handle each day? Will the number vary from day to day? Do I have to manage accounts and make reports about auditing and financial management?” You, in turn, must also have a list of queries related to the sales executive interview. Otherwise, it seems you have no interest whatsoever in the company you are gunning for.
26. Do you possess any computer skills? If yes, then which tools can you handle?
A: Answer this sales executive interview question on a positive note. You can provide the interviewer with a detailed account of the software tools you can use, for example: MS Word, MS Excel. You can also state that you have learned quite a few computer languages. State that you are familiar with C++, java, php, python. Your knowledge of computer languages is an additional credit to your resume. It may help you rise to the position of director sooner than you would expect.
27. What sort of work environment do you expect from this company?
A: This sales executive interview question will make you ponder your heap of work, the team you will be a part of, the ambiance in the office, and the methods in which tasks are distributed for office personnel and delegated to each worker. This query should make you think about whether you should opt for a ‘lone-wolf attitude or a ‘team-player attitude and upgrade your skills daily. In other words, you are meant to improve daily. On day one, the tasks you perform should be of lesser quality and quantity than your work on day.
28. Everyone has a unique way of presenting their sales pitch. How would you describe yours?
A: You can answer this sales executive interview question in a manner that goes thus: “I pledge to be resilient, but I won’t be pushy or overbearing as it drives customers away. I shall try to keep my speech short but detailed. I shall be polite with potential customers and I will try my very best to seal as many deals as possible. Upon rejection, I will not throw in the towel but keep on moving forward. I agree to make cold calls and will try to sound convincing with my negotiation skills which I shall hone every day.”
29. What do you think your approach ought to be with regards to sales?
A: Answer this sales executive interview question after careful consideration. If you merely list off all your successful deals one by one and do not go into details about the step-by-step procedures you undertook, then the interviewer is likely to believe that you are not being entirely truthful. Therefore, go through the processes as meticulously as possible, describing every scenario along the way. This tells the interviewer that you will be beneficial to his company and bring in many deals and prospects.
30. Why are you trying to leave the company you are currently employed by?
A: A good way to answer this sales executive interview question is to compare the working environments of the two companies. You could say that the working environment of your current company does not align with your personality, ethics, and ideals. It chokes you; the co-workers do not work well with you, there are frequent disputes over issues most trivial. If you have way too many complaints, the interviewer is less likely to accept you in his company, for it suggests that you are the type of person who quickly blames others. Of course, you would not want the interviewer to think like that, so be humble and do not forget to list the good points of the company you are being interviewed for.
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31. Are you an organized person?
A: The interviewer wishes to know how you schedule your day with this particular sales executive interview question. Tell your interviewer that you divide your day into work hours, hours of relaxation, hours delegated to spending time with your family and finally hours for yourself. You should also let the interviewer know how you arrange your calendar and dashboard, setting aside time for sales management. You must begin your day with a routine full of clarity in your head and follow it diligently. Then, at the end of the week, look back on your calendar and see if you have met each of the goals you set aside for those particular seven days. This lets the interviewer know that you are an orderly person who can be depended upon for proper handling of time. Reliability is an important quality in every employee.
32. Do you think positively even on a day filled with hardships?
A: This is a sales executive interview question that is directly aimed at your personality. It is meant for you to reflect on your attitude to handle a nasty situation. It won’t do if you answer with an affirmative and then reveal your true colours on an actual day that was rather bad. Try to give a genuine reply, Something along the lines of.. “I like to think I am a fairly positive person and I will try my very best to channel my personality towards a direction that is bright and sunny. But every person reacts in ways that are unexpected. I will try to stay cheerful in the face of hardships, but not even I can predict how I shall act in a situation that is not to my liking.”
33. Tell me about a previous negative situation or a former dispute.
A: This is a curveball sales executive interview question. You have to answer wisely and with as much maturity as you can muster. Give your interviewer a brief detail about the scenario in question or the circumstances behind the disagreement, and then tell them about your part in finding a solution. You must not lie and must not whine by stating, “But it wasn’t my fault at all.” Instead, you must reply by declaring that you are always willing to find a relatively peaceful solution that is a win-win case for all parties involved.
34. Tell me about your academic background.
A: Although the interviewer has your resume with him, he still may ask this sales executive interview question to make sure that you are eloquent enough. Give the interviewer a clear background of your schooling, your college or university education, details about graduation, post-graduation and/or diploma courses (if any).
Now that you know the type of sales executive interview questions, you may be tested on making sure to keep a calm and composed façade, even if you are nervous. Then, ace the interview and get the job you have always yearned for.