How to Answer Interview Questions About Cold Calls

Convince your interviewer why you'll succeed in cold call sales

Businesswoman with headset working at computer in office
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If you’re interviewing for a cold calling sales position, you’ll need to convince your potential employer that you can to persuade complete strangers to buy the company’s product or service.

While your interview will include many different questions about your background, education, and sales experience, the questions about cold calling will be especially important. Here are a few examples of questions you might be asked and ways you can answer to prove your mettle. Be sure to customize your answers to play up your personal strengths.

What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?

This may seem like a rather general question, but it’s an effective way to show off your skills. Bring up strengths that are important for telemarketing or in-person sales, such being a good listener, understanding customer needs, relating to customers, and being a persuasive speaker.

When you point out a weakness, always follow up with how you’ve worked to overcome it, especially in a work setting. Don’t make excuses or blame previous bosses or employees for any situations that exposed your weaknesses — stay positive throughout the interview.

Are You Comfortable Making Cold Calls?

Don't just say yes — follow it up with an explanation of why you can do this with ease. For example:

  • “Absolutely. I enjoy reaching out to people with new products and ideas.”
  • “I am comfortable making cold calls. I have found that some of my most interesting sales have been the result of a cold call, to someone who was rather unsure of their interest in my product at our first meeting.”
  • “I don't mind making cold calls, but I prefer to start my sales cycle with a customer who has shown some interest in the product. Warm leads are proven to be more cost-effective in the long term, and they are a more efficient use of my time spent calling.”

What Motivates You to Sell?

With cold calling, keeping your motivation high is key. Convince the interviewer of your enthusiasm with these answers:

  • “I really enjoy educating people on products that could help them or make their lives more enjoyable. I like to keep in mind that they would never know about these products if I didn’t make that call.”
  • “I feel a lot of pride when I complete a sale and provide a great service to a new customer.”
  • “I am very competitive and enjoy achieving and surpassing sales goals.”
  • “I love the teamwork environment of working in a call center.”

How Many Calls Per Hour Can You Make?

You might hear this question if you come to the interview with prior telemarketing experience. Be prepared to share how long your average call handle time was and how many calls on average you accomplished per hour.

Explain any variables, such as if you used predictive dialing, and how those variables increased or decreased your efficiency. You could also use this time to ask what type of telephone system and equipment the company has.

How Do You Handle Negative Customer Reactions?

It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter angry customers who resent telemarketing calls. Explain your philosophy of handling such calls, and if you can, provide a specific instance that you handled well. For example:

  • “I know customers are not always in the mood to receive a call. I find that apologizing often calms customers down.”
  • “I always try to set up a callback time, because I don’t want the customer to miss out on the valuable product or service I am offering them.”

Is Cold Calling Dead?

Some interviewers may throw in this trick question to measure your level of enthusiasm or knowledge of the industry. If the answer were yes, you wouldn’t even be interviewing for this position. So, don’t let a question like this catch you off guard — prep yourself with a positive spin on the question:

  • “A lot of conditions in sales can change, but connecting with people never does.”
  • “Cold calling is alive and well. When I pick up the phone and call potential buyers, I control what I say and how I say it. I can keep the call focused on the customer and the value the product can provide.”

More Sales Job Interview Tips

Before you head out to your interview, make sure you review sales job interview tips so you can convincingly sell your most important product — yourself — to an employer who is well-versed in sales strategies.