Top 5 Sales Interview Questions
To get a good sales job you have to be able to answer quite specific sales interview questions. Unlike many other roles, this one is demanding even at entry level. Moreover, the interviewer will be testing you for both hard skills (exact knowledge about the subject of sales) and soft skills (related to your personality).
So, here are the top 5 sales interview questions you need to be ready for.
What is the difference between B2B and B2C?
This is a common question, and a fairly easy one. There are two basic types of clients that a business can have – Consumer (who actually consumes the product or service), or Business (another business that uses it and they give it to the consumer).
To take an example – a big supermarket will have sales staff who sell directly to the consumer, but they will have suppliers who will have sales staff who sell to business like theirs.
So, a Business-to-Business sales process is called B2B, and a Business-to-Consumer sales process is called B2C. Each of them have their own styles of operating and you can learn those on the job. There is also more scope for growth in B2B sales as you can handle bigger and bigger clients.
Are you comfortable making calls/in-person meetings?
Sales is the most external-facing role in any organization. Unlike others like operations, finance etc, where you deal with co-workers mostly, in sales you deal with consumers or other businesses.
A crucial quality you need to have is to be comfortable talking to new clients, be bold and confident, and to be pro-active about finding and contacting new people.
You will often find sales teams talking on their phones to people who they want to explain the company’s offer to and to set up an in-person meeting. They then go for these meetings to show the product and try to convince them to buy it. In fact, for each big client/consumer, you might have to make many phone calls and many in-person meetings.
You cannot be a sales star unless you are comfortable being out in the field meeting new people. And you cannot fake it, so be honest when answering.
How did you manage your biggest account?
In most big B2B businesses each sales person is given certain accounts to manage. An account is basically the total of a client company’s business.
For example, you may manufacture office supplies, and when you sell to a big company you will sell them hundreds of folders, hundreds of pens, hundreds of staplers etc every year. So the total business you are getting from them is covered in that account that you are managing.
If you have more than 2-3 years of experience, your interviewer might ask you about which accounts you have managed. This is where you should tell them facts like how much you grew the revenue (maybe it was Rs 1 lakh annually when you joined and you increased it to Rs 1.2 lakhs), how you increased the portfolio (they were only buying biscuits from you, but you also got them to buy corn flakes), and how you increased customer satisfaction by reducing processing time.
This will be specific to your experience so be ready with your own facts and data.
What motivates you to sell?
Sales is not a job for anybody and everybody. You have to be a very motivated go-getter to go out and find people and sell to them.
To know if you are the right person for a sales role the interviewer might ask you for your reason to wanting to do this job.
If you say it’s because it’s easy, or that you just saw the opening and applied, then the interviewer will reject you. Better answers are that you don’t like desk jobs and like being in the field. Or that you like meeting new people and are good with smartly telling them about a product.
The right sales person actually shows it in their behavior, more than their answers. If you are shy in the interview then you won’t be selected, and if you are an overall shy person you should not apply to such a job as it won’t suit you.
Sell me this pen.
What a delightfully simple, and yet complex question. What can be so tough about selling a pen? Actually a lot.
There are dozens of pen brands, and people may usually choose the cheapest. Also, most pens operate fine and people have to need to change to a new brand. So, how will you convince them to change something so unimportant?
That’s the challenge, and the best answer can only come if you are good at understanding what consumers like. It could be that if you say that a famous film star uses this pen, the consumer will be convinced. Or if you say that it has special technology. Or maybe that these pens come with a lifetime warranty.
It could be anything, but you should be able to explain why you think that is important for selling it. This is also where you experience shows, as only the smartest in this field can give a good answer to this.
Remember, the question could be about something else also, like “Sell me this watch”, or “How will you convince someone to use our product/service?”. But the basic principles remain the same.
When you go for a sales interview, remember that you have to show you knowledge of the field, and also that you are sharp at convincing people. It’s a combination of both that will get you the job.
For more articles on interviews, just click here.
For some videos to help you prepare, click here.
And if you are looking for Sales jobs, click here.
You may like to read this
MeraJob April 14, 2015
Interview Questions that You Should Ask the Recruiter
We often think of job interviews as Q&A sessions wherein the interviewer asks you certain questions to which you respond. Preparing for a job interview, however, should involve more than just thinking about your answers to the basic interview questions. One of the best ways to stand out among ot...
MeraJob June 3, 2015
How to answer the toughest interview question: “Why should we hire you?”
“Why should we hire you?” is an especially tricky interview question to answer. However, this is the one question to which the interviewers really want an answer! And if you’re not prepared for this one ahead of time, your response to it can make or break the deal. Your goal, during the int...