How to Ace Interview Questions About Meeting Sales Goals

Sample Answers to Sell Yourself to an Employer

Woman being interviewed
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During an interview for a sales job, the interviewer will likely ask you a question about whether you’ve met your sales goals in the past. The main reason interviewers pose this question is to see if you will likely meet sales goals with their company in the future.

Acing a sales interview is all about whether you can sell yourself as the best candidate for the job. Answering this question well can help you demonstrate your sales skills, and impress the interviewer. If you've met your sales goals in the past, responding is relatively easy. It's trickier to respond to this question if you have not met your goals, but still doable.

Get tips for how to respond to an interviewer's question about sales goals, as well as some sample answers, which you can adopt to fit your own experience.

Tips for Responding to Questions About Sales Goals

  • Prepare Beforehand: Come ready to talk about your greatest achievements in sales. Before the interview, look back at your sales record. Note any periods of great achievement or success. By preparing beforehand, you will be better able to answer the question.
  • Go Beyond "Yes" or "No." It's possible that this question will be phrased as a yes or no question: Did you meet your sales goals at your last position? In your response, you'll want to go beyond that. This is an opportunity to show off your skills and provide context. Remember, you're both answering the interviewer's question here, and also highlighting your sales abilities.
  • Quantify Your Answer: Whenever possible, use numbers to quantify your success. You might mention by how much you exceeded a sales goal, how many times you exceeded a sales goal, or even how much money you made for a company. These kinds of answers show the employer how you will add value to their company.
  • Explain How: If possible, explain how you met your sales goals in the past. Perhaps you developed a new sales strategy or worked particularly well on team sales. Show precisely how you achieved success so the employer can better understand your skills.
  • Don’t Blame Others: Sometimes an employer will ask a question such as, “Tell me about a time you did not achieve your sales goals.” These kinds of negative questions can be tricky. However, avoid blaming others – such as your employer or coworkers – for a failure. Briefly describe the circumstances of the event, but then focus on how you improved your sales afterward. By focusing on the steps you took to achieve success the next time, you will show the employer that you are innovative and can handle a challenge.

Examples of the Best Answers

  • Yes, I have met or surpassed my sales goals every quarter over my five-year career in the business. For example, last year I led my team to exceed our sales projections by 20 percent — and we accomplished this in a very challenging market when most of the other teams in our group fell short. A lot of this success had to do with the strength of our team – I fostered a strong sense of teamwork among my staff, and this helped us surpass our goals together.
  • I have always met or exceeded my professional sales goals, and most often my personal ones too, especially during the last few years. With my experience, I have learned to set my personal goals at an attainable level that is very high but not unreachable.
  • During the course of my career, I've achieved several sales records. Between 20XX and 20XX, when many of my sales colleagues were leaving my industry and seeking other work in light of the recession, I managed to increase my production by 12 percent over the previous year by developing new sales strategies and techniques to help increase my success.
  • While I have been in the top 10 percent of my company’s sales staff for the past six years, there was one quarter when I did not achieve my typical high sales record. However, I immediately took action, making changes to my sales strategy the next quarter. In fact, I made a number of record-breaking sales that quarter. Whenever I have a setback, I make improvements and ultimately achieve new levels of success.