Interviews can be tough for all candidates, but for people in sales, they represent a particular challenge. After all, if you work in sales, it's your job to sell.
Your most essential qualification is your ability to convince people to purchase products or ideas that may be new to them. So when you're interviewing for a role, interviewers will expect you to bring all those skills to the forefront and sell yourself.
During interviews, you can expect several questions about why you work in sales, from why you like it to what motivates you, and more.
What the Interviewer Really Wants to Know
For interviewers, your responses to these questions will be a test of your research abilities—preparation is essential for success in sales.
The more specifics you share, the clearer it will be that you've done your homework and are familiar with the company and its product.
Being specific demonstrates that you're interested in this particular sales position (as opposed to any sales role that will hire you).
How to Answer "What Interests You Most About This Sales Position?”
If your prospective employer's products or goals don't get you fired up and motivated to sell, then you're likely not a good fit for the job. But beyond the product, salespeople can be motivated by other factors, too. By asking this question, interviewers want to get a sense of makes you tick as a salesperson:
- Does money make you get out of bed in the morning?
- Do you like the challenge of selling something you've never sold before?
- Are you all about competition with your colleagues and a drive to surpass their sales?
Be honest when you answer. If it's money and the company is driven to hit killer numbers month over month, this is a good thing in their eyes. If it's competition and they post a monthly tally of everyone's sales to keep people on their toes, you'll be driven to work hard.
Examples of the Best Answers
In your answer, you can mention your positive feelings about the product. Or, talk about specific aspects of the role or company that you're particularly well-suited for. This is a great opportunity to share any similar or relevant sales experience in the product category or to the company's demographic.
See some sample answers that you can use to help you practice your own response.
I'm an avid amateur golfer, and I find your company's products to be superior and affordable for the average golfer. I believe selling something that I personally enjoy using so much makes me even more effective as a salesperson.
Why It Works: This answer ties the candidate's personal values and interests into the answer, giving the hiring manager a taste of his personality. It also demonstrates their knowledge of the product through first-hand experience.
I have worked in this territory for many years and would welcome the opportunity to use my contacts and experience selling a superior product such as this.
Why It Works: This answer demonstrates the candidate's experience in the industry while also focusing on the role of the product.
The opportunity to utilize my experience in international sales is what interests me most about this global position.
Why It Works: This answer gives a very specific reason which demonstrates the candidate's research and passion about the position. It possibly sets them up for a follow-up question involving international sales.
Your company has an outstanding track record in customer service, which I greatly admire. I have broad experience selling to your customer base, and I know how to feature the customer service component. For example, I developed a campaign last year that focused on the importance of customer service.
Why It Works: This shows the candidate's research and knowledge of the company while also demonstrating his own experience in the industry.
I am continually motivated by the challenge of selling something new. Crafting a pitch and landing a new client is a satisfying process that never fails to excite me.
Why It Works: This clearly shows the candidate's passion. The candidate also uses specific duties from the description, which shows his research, along with his passion.
Tips for Giving the Best Answer
Would You Buy It?: Prior to interviewing for a sales job, always ask yourself if you would buy the product or service. In sales, just as in life, you can't sell something that you don't believe in. Also, never take a sales job if you don't have confidence in the marketing department (if applicable) or the current marketing structure and tools. A poorly written, poorly programmed website makes for a hard sell, especially if your competitors have new ones.
Focus on Consultative Sales Skills: Remember that sales employers always want somebody who has what is most commonly referred to as a "consultative selling" approach. The term refers to a sales style that focuses on the client's needs rather than the product.
Remember That the Employer Is Your Partner: Salary negotiation is one of the most difficult aspects of the job search for many applicants in the sales and marketing arena. If you are not trained in negotiation, use what is referred to as the "work with" method. It means having the mentality that the employer is your partner, not your adversary, and together your job is to work towards a solution that will have you employed by the firm. If you think of negotiation in terms of winners and losers, you're going to end up the latter.
What Not to Say
Don't make it about you. Many questions about working in sales are open-ended, but that doesn't mean every answer is a good one. In your response, keep the focus on the company, position, or product. Do not focus on what the position will do for you. This means don't say, "I'm interested in this position because it offers a high salary." That may be one of your motivating factors for applying for the role, but it's not very compelling for interviewers.
Don't summarize your resume. Many candidates tend to launch into a recitation of their work history whenever an open-ended question presents itself. You should understand the question carefully and really try to answer the "why" here. Your employment history speaks more to the "what" and the "how" of your work, so you should demonstrate that through your why.
Possible Follow-Up Questions
- What makes you a good salesperson? - Best Answers
- What motivates you? - Best Answers
- Why are you the best person for the job? - Best Answers
- Research the position: Be as specific as possible in your answer.
- Be Honest: This is a chance to demonstrate what motivates you, and your passion will automatically reflect in your voice.
- Review the Sample Answers: They'll help you get to the perfect answer.
- Keep the Focus on the Company, Position, or Product: Do not focus on what the position will do for you.