1 June, 2021
By Mike Simpson
When you’re getting ready for a sales interview, you can’t just focus on your answers to the top sales interview questions. Why? Because when your interview is coming to an end, you’ll need to have some questions to ask in a sales interview ready, too.
By bringing up some of the best questions to ask in a sales interview, you can stand out from the competition. You’ll look more enthusiastic and engaged, making you seem like a stronger candidate.
Plus, it’s a chance to figure out if the job really is right for you, and that matters. By asking intelligent questions, you can get the dirt on the role, allowing you to make sure it meets your needs, too.
So, if you’re looking for fantastic questions to ask in a sales interview, we have you covered. Come with us as well to explore how to end your meeting with the hiring manager on the best note possible.
What Is a Sales Interview?
Before we take a deep dive into the best questions to ask in a sales interview, let’s take a quick second to talk about what a sales interview is in the first place. Sure, in the simplest sense, it’s a meeting with the hiring manager where you discuss how fantastic you are. But there’s actually quite a bit more to it.
First, competition for the highest-paying sales jobs can be surprisingly fierce. While sales is usually a pretty strong field, offering up a lot of opportunities, not all of the positions are created equal.
For example, some sales teams have incredibly aggressive cultures, and that doesn’t suit everyone. Others require a ton of cold calling, and that isn’t always the most comfortable.
On the other side, some sales teams are highly cooperative. Certain positions may focus more heavily on qualified leads, too, which can be less stressful.
Since some sales jobs are more attractive than others, more top-tier candidates go for them. And these aren’t regular candidates. These are people who “sell” for a living, so you know they are great at showcasing themselves as must-have candidates.
That’s why preparation is so crucial. You need to be ready to tackle any kind of interview question, both sales-specific ones and job interview questions.
How do you do that? With a great strategy!
Begin by getting comfortable with research. Learn the ins and outs of the role by reviewing the job ad carefully. Next, head to the company’s website to check out its mission and values statements, as well as product and service overviews.
Once you’ve done all of that, you can start preparing interview answers. If you’re looking for a strong place to start, look no further than the Tailoring Method.
The Tailoring Method helps you create highly relevant answers that speak to a hiring manager’s unique needs. It’s a great way to ensure every response is customized to that particular job, making it easier to determine which skills and experiences you want to showcase.
If you’re dealing with behavioral interview questions, add the STAR Method into the mix. You’ll turn every answer into an engaging story that way, ensuring the hiring manager is enticed by what you’re sharing.
So, what kind of skills do you need to highlight? Well, it isn’t always the ones that you think.
Working in sales can be incredibly difficult emotionally and mentally, too. It can involve a shocking amount of rejection. A mere 3 percent of people feel that sales professionals are trustworthy, so they automatically have doubts about what you have to say.
Overall, 60 percent of prospective customers will say “no” four times before they shift to a “yes.” That’s a heck of a lot of “no” to deal with before getting a chance for a win.
During a sales interview, you need to show that you’re up for the challenges. Resilience, patience, and dedication are all crucial traits, as well as the ability to stay calm under pressure. You also need to come across as personable, friendly, and welcoming, all while being incredibly agile, ensuring you can adapt to customer hesitation with ease.
Once you’ve covered all of that, you need to have intelligent questions to ask when your interview is about to end. That way, you’ll come across as enthusiastic, which works in your favor.
Top 25 Questions to Ask in a Sales Interview
Once the moment arrives where you get to ask some questions of your own, you need to make sure you have some great ones ready. Thoughtful questions show that you are genuinely considering how the role could be a great fit. After all, you wouldn’t ask if you didn’t care.
While you can certainly ask questions on the fly if something comes to mind during the interview, it’s smart to have some in your back pocket. That way, you won’t be at a loss when the interview is getting close to the end.
Do you need to memorize every question on this list? No, not necessarily. This just gives you an overview of your options. You can pick the ones that match the kind of details you want to discover.
In the end, these questions make it easier to figure out if the job is right for you. That’s an important part of the equation. Ideally, you want to find the perfect fit, so use the questions that allow you to pull that off.
So, if you want to make sure you ask the right questions, look no further. Here are 25 of the best questions to ask in a sales interview:
- Is the sales team culture cooperative or competitive?
- How do managers define success for this sales role?
- What kind of product or service introductory training do new hires receive to ensure they fully understand the company’s offerings?
- What is the biggest challenge the sales team is facing currently?
- Which is considered a higher priority, inbound or outbound sales?
- What percentage of customers are repeat customers?
- If you could give a new sales team member one piece of advice to help them succeed, what would it be and why?
- What tools or technologies does the sales team using regularly?
- Which trait do you think is most crucial to succeed on this sales team?
- What habits do your most successful sales team members share? What about your least successful?
- How are leads sourced?
- Once a lead is sourced, what process is used to qualify them?
- How are sales leads generated from outside of the sales team distributed among staff members?
- How is feedback delivered?
- What is the process for setting sales goals? What happens if I exceed those expectations?
- How do you keep your sales team motivated?
- Is there a quota associated with this position?
- What percentage of the team meets their sales quota? What percentage exceeds it?
- Does this position involve travel? If so, how much time is spent on those sales duties?
- Do members of the sales team have the ability to negotiate pricing directly with customers?
- Which product or service is the highest priority for your sales team today? Does the priority product or service change frequently?
- At what point are sales team members expected to stop pursuing a lead?
- Which of the products or services offered by your company do you like most? Why?
- How do sales team leads support the sales staff? What about upper management?
- What percentage of leads ultimately convert?
5 Questions to Avoid Asking in a Sales Interview
Wait? Are there questions you don’t want to ask during a sales interview? Yes, there are.
While asking thoughtful questions works in your favor, asking the wrong ones will actually work against you.
What kinds of questions should you avoid? Well, one of the biggest issues is asking anything that you should already know or could easily find out.
For example, requesting an overview of the job duties is a big no-no. Why? Because they are usually in the job ad. By asking, it looks like you didn’t even bother to review the job description, and that won’t win you any fans.
The same goes for basic questions about what the company does or sells. This is stuff you can find out with a quick Googling or a trip to the company’s website. If you go this route with your questions, you make it clear that you didn’t do your homework.
Finally, any question that could seem unprofessional, inappropriate, or presumptuous isn’t usually wise. The same goes for anything that might put your capabilities into question or that may make it seem like you’re hiding something.
So, what do some of those questions look like? We’ll show you. Here are five questions you want to avoid asking during a sales interview.
- If I miss my quota, how many chances do I get before being fired?
- How long do I have to wait before I can apply for something different?
- I’m not a fan of your product or service (or I think the competition’s product or service is better). Can you give me any tips to help me sell it?
- When am I allowed to start using my sick leave?
- Does the company have any plans to improve the product or service?
With the first question, you come across like you don’t think you can meet expectations. As for the second one, you seem like you only view the job as a stepping stone, and that isn’t something a hiring manager wants to hear.
For the third one, you’re admitting you don’t care for what the company sells. The hiring manager knows at that point that you aren’t passionate about the product or service, something they usually deem crucial on a sales team.
The fourth question could do two things. One, it may make them wonder if you have a serious health condition that will keep you from being able to work. Second, it could cause the hiring manager to assume that you intend on being flaky. In either case, that can hurt your chances.
While the last question might seem alright on the surface, it may come across like you’re trying to get dirt on their next design. It’s not a reasonable thing to expect them to share with a non-employee, so asking is going to come across as rude or entitled.
Putting It All Together
Now, you should have some great questions to ask in a sales interview at the ready. Make sure to keep a few in mind every time you interview. That way, you can figure out if the job is the right fit while also showcasing yourself as an enthusiastic candidate, creating a win-win for everyone involved.
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