Best Sales Interview Questions To Ask A Candidate

May 19, 2023

best sales interview questions to ask a candidate

Determining a candidate's true potential during a sales interview is no easy feat. As a hiring manager or recruiter, you want to discover the perfect match for your organization's sales team — an individual who possesses the ideal blend of skill, personality, and drive.

In this blog, we will explore the best sales interview questions that will help you identify the perfect sales superstar for your team.

1. Can you share your experience in handling objections during sales calls?

Handling objections is a fundamental skill in sales. It is important to assess a candidate's ability to address customer concerns effectively, think on their feet, and communicate persuasively.

By asking this question, you can gauge the candidate's problem-solving skills, their level of empathy towards customers' objections, and their ability to turn objections into opportunities for further engagement and conversion.

2. How do you build and maintain relationships with clients?

Building and maintaining relationships with clients is crucial for long-term success in sales.

This question helps you evaluate a candidate's interpersonal skills, their ability to establish rapport and trust, and their commitment to providing exceptional customer service.

A strong relationship with clients leads to repeat business, referrals, and increased customer loyalty.

3. How do you leverage technology and sales tools to enhance your sales process?

In today's digital age, technology plays a significant role in sales effectiveness.

Understanding a candidate's approach to technology showcases their ability to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and stay ahead of the competition in a tech-driven sales landscape.

4. Tell us about a time when you exceeded your sales targets.

Sales targets are the backbone of sales performance.

By asking candidates to share a specific example of when they exceeded their targets, you can assess their track record and ability to deliver results.

Furthermore, the candidate’s answer reveals their motivation, drive, sales strategies, and their capacity to go above and beyond to achieve success.

5. How do you approach cold calling and prospecting?

best sales interview questions to ask a candidate

Cold calling and prospecting are essential skills in sales, especially for generating new leads. Understanding a candidate's approach to cold calling provides insights into their prospecting methods and their ability to build a pipeline of qualified leads.

6. Describe a situation where you had to negotiate with a difficult client.

Negotiation skills are vital in sales, as they determine the success of deals and the satisfaction of both parties involved. This question allows you to assess a candidate's ability to handle difficult clients, remain calm under pressure, and find mutually beneficial solutions.

7. What is your preferred sales methodology, and why?

Different sales methodologies exist, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

By asking candidates about their preferred methodology, you get insights into a candidate's adaptability, strategic thinking, and alignment with the company's sales philosophy.

You can also determine if the candidate's preferred methodology aligns with the organization's sales strategies.

8. Can you provide an example of how you effectively upsold or cross-sold a product or service?

Upselling and cross-selling are effective techniques for maximizing revenue from existing customers.

This question allows you to evaluate a candidate's ability to identify opportunities for additional sales, their understanding of product/service offerings, and their persuasive skills.

9. How do you handle rejection and maintain motivation in sales?

Sales can be a challenging and rejection-prone profession. To be successful in a sales role, individuals need to be resilient and self-motivated.

The candidate's response provides insights into their coping mechanisms, their positive mindset, and their determination to overcome obstacles and achieve sales targets.

10. Describe your approach to creating and delivering sales presentations.

best sales interview questions to ask a candidate

Sales presentations play a significant role in influencing potential customers' purchasing decisions.

By asking candidates about their approach to creating and delivering presentations, you can assess their communication skills, their ability to articulate key messages, and their presentation style.

11. How do you prioritize your sales activities and manage your time effectively?

Sales professionals often have multiple responsibilities and tasks to handle simultaneously.

This question helps you evaluate a candidate's organizational skills, their ability to prioritize activities based on their impact on sales targets, and their time management abilities.

Sales professionals need to have a thorough understanding of their industry and the market dynamics to adapt their strategies and stay competitive.

By asking candidates about their approach to staying updated, you can assess their commitment to continuous learning, their resourcefulness in seeking industry information, and their ability to apply market insights to their sales efforts.

13. Tell us about a time when you had to handle a dissatisfied customer.

Dealing with dissatisfied customers is a common challenge in sales. Therefore, you need to evaluate a candidate's customer service skills, their ability to empathize with customers' concerns, and their conflict resolution abilities.

Their answer to this question can help you assess whether they prioritize customer satisfaction, and are able to effectively use their problem-solving and communication skills in difficult situations

14. How do you qualify leads and identify potential prospects?

Lead qualification is crucial for optimizing sales efforts and focusing on the most promising opportunities.

This question enables you to assess a candidate's lead generation strategies, their ability to identify qualified prospects, and their understanding of customer profiling.

A strong candidate will answer in a way that demonstrates their research skills, their attention to detail, and their ability to prioritize leads based on their potential for conversion.

15. Can you share an example of when you collaborated with colleagues or other departments to close a sale?

Sales often require collaboration with other team members or departments to provide comprehensive solutions or address complex customer needs.

This question allows you to evaluate a candidate's teamwork skills, their ability to foster internal partnerships, and their willingness to leverage resources from different areas of the organization to achieve sales objectives.

Is there another way to assess sales skills?

This list of sales interview questions provides a starting point for you to gauge an individual's knowledge, experience, and approach to sales.

However, to obtain a comprehensive understanding of a candidate's sales skills, we recommended incorporating our sales skills test into your recruitment process.

Our sales test goes beyond subjective responses and provides objective measurements of a candidate’s personality traits and key sales skills such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork and decision-making.