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10 Must Ask Sales Interview Questions (With Reasoning)

The 5% InstituteSales Leadership 10 Must Ask Sales Interview Questions (With Reasoning)
sales interview questions

10 Must Ask Sales Interview Questions (With Reasoning)

Whether you’re a Business Owner or Sales Manager; if you’re going to grow your team you’re going to eventually hire staff who can sell your products or services.

 

As a part of the hiring process, you’re going to want to hire the most capable people, with the best capacity to fulfil the role.

 

To make this easier, we’ve jotted down 10 very important sales interview questions to help you with this. Make sure you bookmark this page for future use or send it to your management team for refreshing.

 

 

10 Must Ask Sales Interview Questions (With Reasoning)

 

 

Sales Interview Questions About Their Intention

 

 

“What made you get involved in sales?”

 

The reason behind this line of questioning, is to learn what their internal and external motivations are. Things like ‘the money’ and other motivators can wear off. This sales interview question is to understand their underlying desire; which they may lean on when things get tough.

 

 

“What is your 5 year plan?”

 

Most people you interview may not have a 5 year plan. That’s not so important.

 

More importantly, you want to see how they answer this question. Let them sell you on what it is they want to achieve, and why.

 

This will give you an insight into their personal ambitions, may shed some light on the kind of person you’re interviewing, and thirdly give you an example of how they can sell big picture.

 

 

Process-Type Sales Interview Questions

 

 

“What sales process do you use when selling?”

 

The interviewee may be confused by this question, and like above; that is OK.

 

A person may be new to sales, but as long as their values and standards are high, they’ll be open to learning a sales process.

 

If the person has been in sales for a while though, it’ll be a red flag if they’re not using a system and are still winging it.

 

 

“Tell me about a time when things weren’t going well with a prospect – what happened and what did you do?”

 

The basis of this sales interview question is to learn how they deal with conflict.

 

Do they persist even when they shouldn’t? Do they put themselves before their prospects needs? Maybe they’ll have an excellent answer and example of how they dealt with the issue.

 

There could be many responses here; but most importantly is to see the rationale behind how they think.

 

 

“What should you do before you meet face to face with your prospect?”

 

Ideally you should be training your people in the fundamentals prior to meeting with your potential clients. This question will demonstrate their preparedness behind the scenes prior to meeting with potential clients.

 

An ideal answer may involve ensuring the decision makers are aware of your meeting, that they will be present for the meeting; and thirdly – countering the main objections before starting the sales dialogue process.

 

To learn more about countering objections up-front, read the related article below.

 

Related article: How to overcome the two main sales objections in two minutes

 

 

Integrity Sales Interview Questions

 

 

“Have you ever turned away a potential client?”

 

As mentioned; an important facet of the interview process is hiring people who align with your business’ values.

 

Integrity is crucial.

 

Your Sales Professionals are the face of your business when meeting your prospects. Sometimes in sales, your prospect may not benefit from your product or service, or in fact it may even hinder or hurt their business.

 

The importance of integrity here is to hire people who know and can sense this and would do the right thing in this instance.

 

That way, you’re not making a quick sale in exchange for a bad review or a long-term PR nightmare.

 

 

“What’s more important – not making quota, or selling something to someone they don’t need?”

 

Based on your company’s values; your answer will be unique to you.

 

 

This once again much like the question above, will lay out the kind of person you’re hiring, and whether they’re thinking short or long term.

 

 

Questions About Development

 

 

“What development have you personally invested in within the last 12 months?”

 

True Sales Professionals invest in their personal development, marketing and sales training on a regular basis.

 

This answer will give you insight into whether the person is looking merely for a job, or whether they’re true to their craft and serious about their personal growth.

 

A blank stare will probably mean they’re not a good fit.

 

 

“What’s your opinion on learning in sales?”

 

The 5% Institute have conducted training sessions internationally; and 99% of the time ‘The know it all’s’ in the room tend not to know much at all.

 

Hire people who are hungry for more knowledge and have a modest and mature understanding that knowledge never ends; and that we can always learn something new, even from a new and fresh salesperson.

 

 

A Reverse Sales Interview Question

 

 

“Tell me something I should have asked you?”

 

Or

 

“What’s a good question someone has asked you in a previous interview?”

 

These two questions generally throw people off, because they’re not regularly asked. The aim of the questions is two-fold.

 

Firstly, we want to see how they react under pressure and when things take a slight turn into unexpected territory.

 

Secondly, we want to too how they answer the question in itself – do they expand on themselves, do they show off, or do they give another selling example of trying to share why they are the right fit for the job.

 

This answer may give you some insight on what will happen from a behaviour point of view, when they’re with a prospect and they receive a question they’re weren’t expecting.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

 

There is a copious amount of sales interview questions you can ask your potential new staff member. What’s more important, is the rationale behind the questions, and their behaviour when answering.

 

Do you have any others you recommend sharing?

 

If so, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

 

Also – make sure to share this with someone who will benefit from this article.

Khabeer Rockley

Khabeer Rockley is a Sales & Business Trainer, and the Founder of The 5% Institute

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