Interview Questions About Long and Short Sales Cycles

Businesswoman conducting a job interview
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As a salesperson, you'll likely be asked during a job interview whether you prefer a longer sales cycle or a shorter sales cycle. It's important to remember that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. The main goal should be to show that you are knowledgeable about each cycle type, understand their differences, and can eloquently explain how your sales technique plays into the one you prefer.

It's perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that both approaches have value as long as you support your answer. Whether you prefer long or short sales cycles, or even if you’re equally comfortable with both, it’s important to take some time to prepare an answer to this interview question.

Sample Answer for Why Both Sales Cycles Have Value

"I think there are interesting points to both types of sales. On one hand, I value the longer sales cycle because it gives me time to get to know my customer. If I can spend quality time with them, we can build a rapport and establish trust. Also, I can spend time educating them about the various benefits and uses of the product they're interested in.

On the other hand, if I am using a shorter sales cycle, I typically don't have the time to obtain knowledge about the customer and I can't offer them lengthy explanations. While this may seem like a negative, it's not. Without a lot of available time, I need to hit the high-priority topics rather quickly, and this can facilitate a faster sale."

Why You Prefer a Long Sales Cycle

"I always prefer a longer sales cycle because the dialogue can be adjusted depending on the individual client I am dealing with. Some clients like to have a lot of information about a product from the start. They're information gatherers and want to be knowledgeable about the product, especially when it comes to having a lot of technical questions answered.

Other clients are information gatherers and have technical questions but are also interested in the personal benefits of a product. With a longer cycle, I am able to get to know the clients' needs better, and I can adjust my sales pitch accordingly. Also, having more time means I can educate my clients about all the features of a particular product and why it's the right product for them. The more time I have, the easier it is to get to know the clients' needs and adjust my sales pitch accordingly.

I've also found that the more time I invest in making a connection with the client, the easier it is to establish a long-term relationship with them and generate repeat business."

Why You Prefer a Short Sales Cycle

"I really enjoy the quicker pace of a shorter sales cycle. I like to get right to the point about the features and benefits of the product I am selling and showcase the reasons why it's the best choice for the customer. I make sure I am very knowledgeable about everything I’m selling, and I’m always ready with answers to any question that's put to me.

Also, the more I sell, the more commission I make and the more I make for the company. That said, I don't sacrifice creating a rapport with my clients, but I do believe that ‘time is money’ when it comes to selling."

Additional Sales Job Interview Questions and Tips

There are many questions your interviewer may ask you, so it’s important to prepare answers for a variety of sales job interview questions before you go to your interview. For example, the interviewer may ask behavioral interview questions specifically about you so he or she can learn more about your strengths, your weaknesses, and how well you’ll fit into the company culture.

You’ll want to make a good first impression, so be sure to dress properly for your job interview. You may want to dress in a business suit if that’s the expected attire for the job, or maybe business casual if that better fits the dress code at the company. If you’re not sure how to dress, you’re almost always better off dressing up rather than dressing down.

While you’re talking with your interviewer, be sure to get his or her email address so you can send a job interview thank-you letter right after your interview. Not only is it the polite thing to do, sending a thank-you note is a great way to ensure the interviewer keeps you in mind when it’s time to decide who makes it to the next round of interviews.

In addition, you can use the thank-you letter to clarify any answers to questions you feel weren’t complete or reinforce the main reasons why you’re the best candidate for the job.