Interview Questions About What Motivates You to Sell

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It's always a good idea to come to a job interview prepared to demonstrate your value – and if you can do it with a dollar sign attached, so much the better. At the end of the day, no matter what a company makes or manages or perfects or distributes, most are in the business of making money. That's especially true if you're seeking a position in sales.

How to Answer Sales Interview Questions About Motivation

As a prospective employee – especially one who works in sales – it's in your best interests to be able to show that you'll make a productive, money-making member of the team. Employers seek goal-oriented, motivated employees with the desire and drive to succeed.

When it comes to sales jobs, the need to demonstrate results is even more important. Your paycheck may depend on whether or not you can make a sale, but your employer's bottom line certainly requires you to be able to close the deal. Therefore, when you're interviewing for a sales job, you can expect to be asked what motivates you – and the answer is almost always some variation on "money."

When you are interviewing for a sales position, it's important to tie your motivation to sales goals. The interviewer is going to expect you to be self-directed and to be motivated by achieving sales goals and targets.

If you have sales experience, share specific examples of what motivated you to achieve success in your previous position(s). Again, the goal is to demonstrate that you can hit targets, that you're self-motivated, and that you can make money for the organization. Here are sample answers to the interview question "What motivates you?"

Sample Answers

  • I am motivated by a challenge. I enjoy spending the time to showcase a product and help the customer to understand the benefits to them.
  • I'm motivated by the desire to beat my last record. My goal is always to make larger deals and see bigger numbers and more clients.
  • What motivates me most is money. I enjoy making large sales, seeking out new clients and growing my department's earning percentage.
  • I am motivated by innovation. I like to try different things, and I love being in sales because every customer brings the opportunity for a new approach.
  • I like helping clients get the deal they need, even if they don't know it yet when we start talking. My goal is always to make a sale that will leave us both happy so that we can continue to grow our business together for years to come.

Sales Job Interview Tips

It's important to prepare for any job interview, but for a sales job, your primary focus should be on demonstrating value. Come to the table with data that show your worth, e.g. "increased sales volume over 10 percent for three quarters in a row" or "brought in three Fortune-500 clients in fiscal year 20__." 

This information should feature prominently in your resume and cover letter, as well, but you'll want to do some practice interviews ahead of time so that you'll be able to remind your interviewer of this information in a way that doesn't seem stilted. If you include numbers on your resume, you can share some of those statistics during job interviews. If you didn't list quantifiable achievements on your resume, job down some of your top accomplishments to mention during job interviews.

Research the company and its products or services ahead of time, so that you can speak knowledgeably about the organization. Don't restrict yourself to the company's website or PR materials; dig into recent news items about the employer, so that you'll have an idea of the issues facing the company in the market right now.

Finally, go over your elevator speech, the quick, 60-seconds-or-less overview of who you are and what you have to offer an employer. Remember, the goal of a sales job interview is to sell yourself. For this meeting, you're the product. Make the sale.