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45 Sales Consultant Interview Questions and Answers

Updated on Apr 19, 2023 5553 views
45 Sales Consultant Interview Questions and Answers

During a sales job interview, your biggest responsibility will be to sell yourself to the interviewer. And it’s even more tricky because you must be able to show your persuasive ability as a “salesman.” 

For this reason, giving well-composed and confident answers will be a key necessity to ensure you land the role of a sales consultant or sales representative. 

Go through this article to find out the most common questions you’d be asked in a sales interview and how you can persuade the recruiter with your answers. 

 

Who is a Sales Consultant?

A sales consultant is a salesman responsible for giving expert advice to customers and helping them find products and services that meet their needs. They identify new sales opportunities/leads and work to build a relationship with the potential customer with the goal of closing sales with the customer. To be effective in their roles, they usually work with other members of the sales team to develop strategies to achieve sales goals and targets. They are available to answer persuasively any questions a customer may have about a product or service, to enable them to make a final decision of purchase. 

 

In a nutshell, any candidate looking to find job opportunities in sales and secure a role must know that his responsibilities will probably cover the following

  • Promote and sell products/services using solid arguments to existing and prospective customers.

  • Perform cost-benefit and needs analysis of existing/potential customers to meet their needs.

  • Establish and maintain positive business and customer relationships.

  • Generate and reach out to new customer leads through cold calling

  • Expedite the resolution of customer problems and complaints to maximize satisfaction

  • Achieve agreed upon sales targets and outcomes within the schedule

  • Coordinate sales efforts with team members and other departments

  • Analyze the territory/market’s potential, track sales and status reports

  • Supply management with reports on customer needs, problems, interests, competitive activities, and potential for new products and services.

 

In order to meet up with these responsibilities, it is important that a sales consultant possesses the following skills

  • Excellent knowledge of MS Office

  • Familiarity with BRM and CRM practices along with the ability to build productive business professional relationships

  • Highly motivated and target-driven with a proven track record in sales

  • Excellent selling, negotiation and communication skills

  • Prioritizing, time management and organizational skills

  • Ability to create and deliver presentations tailored to the audience's needs

  • Relationship management skills and openness to feedback

 

Top 45 Sales Consultant Interview Questions and Answers

 As you’re preparing for your next sales representative interview, beyond the common interview questions and answers you should know, here are 45 interview questions you could be asked and the best way to answer them. 

  1. Tell me a bit about yourself.

  2. Where will your career be heading in the next 5 to 10 years?

  3. What motivates the work you do?

  4. Why did you apply for this position?

  5. What is your knowledge of our company’s product/service?

  6. What are the most essential skills for a sales representative?

  7. What makes you a good sales representative?

  8. What is your experience working with sales teams?

  9. What would your team members say about you?

  10. When was the last time you made a sale?

  11. Sell me this pen.

  12. Walk me through your sales process.

  13. Describe a time you lost a deal and how you followed up.

  14. Describe a time you fell short of a sales goal.

  15. Tell me about a sale you are so proud of.

  16. Are you comfortable with making cold calls?

  17. What sales software are you familiar with?

  18. Which industries do you have experience in?

  19. What do you like least about sales?

  20. How would you build trust with a new client?

  21. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a salesperson?

  22. How would you handle a demanding or irritating client?

  23. How do you determine if a prospect is a good fit?

  24. What do you think is more important, sales goal or customer satisfaction?

  25. Would you rather close a guaranteed R45000 sale or attempt an R70000 deal?

  26. Can you jump on a sales call now?

  27. Tell me about a time you persuaded a customer to move from a “no” to a “yes.”

  28. What would you do if you weren’t a salesman?

  29. How do you keep up with your target audience?

  30. How are you able to manage multiple clients at once and still give each of them the attention they need?

  31. Are you confident talking to people about their finances and other sensitive topics?

  32. If a client wants information about a product or service and you don’t have it, how would you go about it?

  33. What would you do if a client asked you about a product feature you know they won’t like?

  34. Describe a time when you upsold a customer.

  35. Are you comfortable/familiar with using social media to promote our products?

  36. What challenges have you faced in sales and how did you overcome them?

  37. Tell us about a successful campaign you’ve led before now.

  38. How do you generate new sales opportunities?

  39. Describe a time you didn’t get along with a team member and how you handled it.

  40. How do you keep up with the latest industry trends in sales?

  41. Have you ever had to break a deal with a client or prospect? How did you handle it?

  42. What do you do when sales are down?

  43. Have you ever implemented a change that increased sales?

  44. How would you handle an unresponsive prospect?

  45. Tell me about a time you received criticism/poor feedback and how you handled it.

 

Tell me a bit about yourself

This is the first impression you give to the recruiter. To make a good one, keep it simple and professional. You can give enough information to make the recruiter know that you have an experience in the field and you would be interesting to work with. However, do not share more than is necessary. For example,

“I am Kaya Michael, a professional and skilled sales representative for 6 years. I grew up in the south side of Johannesburg but I schooled in Pretoria. I am particularly excited about meeting people and helping them solve their needs through creative solutions. I guess that contributed greatly to my landing in sales. And after some years, I have come to see that I can sell almost anything!” 

Where will your career be heading in the next 5 to 10 years?

Every recruiter asks this question to know if they want to keep you on their team for long or not. Be clear about the goals you want to achieve, but to ace, this question, talk about how those goals fit into the organization. This is one good way to sell yourself when answering this question. 

“In the next 5 to 10 years, I still want to be in sales. I want to end up as a sales consultant, who teaches and coaches upcoming sales personnel in the field. In the next 10 years, I also want to be able to have grown in my skill and knowledge of human psychology as I have seen that it plays an important role in human relationships.”  

What motivates the work you do?

The recruiter wants to know what makes you tick as an individual and a salesperson. When answering this question, don’t just talk about financial benefits but talk about other important things that motivate you and keep your head in the game. 

“One of the things that motivate me is seeing myself achieve results and meet targets. Every time I meet a target, it literally feels like I can take on the next challenge and it helps me stay motivated.” 

Why did you apply for this position?

With this question, the recruiter wants to know your motivation for applying for the position. Whatever answer you give, must be tailored towards helping the organization/bringing value, or also being in a new environment that helps you grow. However, focus your answer more on the organization. Try to avoid answers that put your previous job in a bad light or answers that suggest you just want more pay. 

“Currently, I am looking for an opportunity to develop my skills more, while contributing value to an organization. I’m also looking for a position that is in line with my career objectives and this position fits it. Having gone through your website and seen what the company stands for, I have no doubt that my filling this position will be beneficial to the organization and myself.” 

What is your knowledge of our company’s product/service? 

Selling a product/service to a customer would be impossible without an understanding of the product/service and the recruiter wants t to be sure that you know that. When asked this question, know that the interviewer expects you would have done a level of research about the product/service the company offers, to be able to sell it when hired. It doesn’t mean you have to know everything, you simply have to know the most important details. When answering this, be sure to include that you are excited about their product, then go ahead to explain what you know about it. For example, 

“I know that you offer a retirement plan and consulting for people within and outside South Africa. I went through the website and saw that a lot of young people were even excited about the idea because it explains that they don’t have to wait till they are old to begin to plan for retirement. I also noticed however that the reviews were mostly from young persons. Are they the majority of your target audience?” 

With this example, not only has the question been answered, but you have also demonstrated an indication of interest in the direction of the company.  

What are the most essential skills for a sales representative?

In essence, the recruiter wants to know the skills that you have. So, do not talk about the most essential skills of a sales representative, but your most essential skills. With this question, you sell yourself to the employer as a good fit for the job.

“There are three essential skills I believe a good salesperson should have. From experience, I’ve seen that those skills are communication and interpersonal skills, strategic planning, and organizational skills. As a salesperson, you must be able to relate with clients well and communicate properly to build trust. Also, at different points, you must come up with new strategies to generate, convert and sustain leads. These are the skills that I have seen every good sales representative must have.” 

What makes you a good sales representative?

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and both of them add up to form your personality. This question helps the recruiter know if you are self-aware and if you can identify the personal qualities that make you who you are. However, whatever qualities you share must have a level of experience to back it up, showing how that quality has shaped your career as a salesperson. 

“My high interest in analytics is one of my biggest assets as a salesperson. No doubt I’m good at meeting new customers and building relationships with them as a sales representative. However, I’m usually fascinated by deep customer research that can help me find a solution to my conversion rates and then share my insights with the team.” 

What is your experience working with sales teams?

You are definitely not going to be the only one on the sales team. The interviewer wants to know your ability to function in a team and collaborate with other people to hit targets and meet expectations. To answer this question well, be sure to highlight your teamwork and communication skills. 

“I have worked in several teams as a sales consultant, both as a team member and team leader. In my last role, I had the responsibility of leading the sales team of the organization. During my stay, I was able to ensure that every team member went through training consistently to improve. Also, I was able to increase the motivation of the team by creating an internal reward system for team members. I was able to do this because I’ve developed my ability to listen as a leader and promote effective communication so everyone on the team is on the same page.”  

What would your team members say about you?

Well, it is one thing to think that you are a team player and it’s another thing for someone you’ve worked with to be able to say the same thing about you. Most companies ask this question to find out if you know how to get an honest review from your colleagues and also how you deal with such reviews and feedback. You can also give an example to buttress your point. 

“I believe my team members would say that I am a supportive member. And truly, I’ve gotten this feedback from them a lot of times. They always talk about my strength of being supportive even in the hardest of times. I remember one time when we had a target to meet as a team and one of the team members that was supposed to close a final deal with a client wasn’t going to meet up due to a family emergency. He reached out to me and I agreed to help out. We finally closed the deal with the client and met our target. I remember how he was so so grateful. That was the first time I officially earned the title of a supportive team member.” 

When was the last time you made a sale?

This is one question that will give the recruiter an insight into the level of experience you have as a salesperson. They ask this question to know what kind of results you have had in your previous job. To answer this question well, it is wise to talk about one of your most exciting sales experiences that you are proud of. 

“The last sale I made was about a month ago. I had this client that I had been following up on for weeks. Because I didn’t want to just come at him with the product, I took some time to develop some level of friendship and rapport with him. This made him loosen up and warm up to me. After a period of time, I was then able to sell the product to him with the full benefits and even got about three referrals from him.”

Sell me this pen

This is a popular question during interviews for sales consultants and representatives. The idea is that pens are very easy to sell and if you can’t sell a pen, then you cannot sell anything else. To answer this question, you must have a different approach to what people are used to. Focus on the benefits and not the features. 

“An average pen can write about 45,000 before it dries up. Now, that can only cover about three weeks of consistent writing, and as a manager, you need more than that!

Well, this gel pen I have here can write up to 70,000 words and comes with a refill, so you don’t have to spend so much money buying pens. I’d also love to take the stress of buying off you by delivering to your office for your whole team. Would you be interested in getting 100 pens with a refill for R5300 for a trial?” 

Walk me through your sales process.

Interviewers ask this question to understand your skill in managing clients. They are interested in knowing how you manage your time and deadlines, as well as the targets that you have. At this point, it is not so much about the results but also the process you use to get them. This is mainly because, in sales, relationships are important. It is necessary that you know how to manage the process. 

“My sales process always starts with identifying and understanding the customer’s needs and wants. I take time to understand their budget, timeline and anything else that may influence their decision. This helps me provide them with solutions. 

I also make sure to provide the client with the information that will help them make an informed decision. This enables me to build trust with the customer which will eventually pay off. I ensure to walk the customer through any challenges they may face in the process.  And at the end of the deal, I always ensure to appreciate the customer for the patronage.”

Describe a time you lost a deal and how you followed up.

You may not always win 100% of the deals you pitch for, however, a good salesperson knows that a lost deal is not a lost relationship. You must be able to communicate to the recruiter that you are able to manage and handle relationships, even if they do not give you immediate sales. This should also come with lessons that you learned and how you may have improved over time.

“I was recently working with a local restaurant in Cape Town that was interested in our point of sales (POS) systems. They wanted tablet stations for self-ordering and checkout, but the initial installation costs were higher than they expected.

I offered a few alternatives to reduce the number of stations. Ultimately, they decided to invest in better online ordering for customer use. I thanked them for their time and sent a survey link to provide feedback on our product and sales process. I also marked time to reach out after two and six months to see how their online solution was working for them and share any new products that may be a fit for their needs.” 

Describe a time you fell short of a sales goal.

Sometimes, some sales goals are usually difficult to meet. If there’s a holiday or an economic crisis in the country, hitting certain targets becomes far-fetched. And this can happen even to the very best of salespersons. However, what you do after this has happened is what is more important. This is why when answering this question, you must include strategies or ideas you implemented to improve your sales after the incident. 

“Last year, we were pitching our simplified version of software marketing to high-end freelancers and small businesses. We were hoping it would be a perfect fit, but we later found out that our software wasn’t suitable for small businesses. After some sales loss, we had to take in our feedback to product development for a redesign.” 

Tell me about a sale you are so proud of.

The only feeling better than closing a very successful deal is talking about how you did it and what it was like. Not only will you sell yourself to the interviewer by answering this question, but you show your confidence and ability to make sales. You also get to show the interviewer your potential in sales. 

“Six months ago, I had a prospective client who wanted to optimize her cosmetic page. However, her page had a larger issue and needed an entire redesign which her budget didn’t cover for. I was able to talk with her team to identify the core pain points for customers. I brought up some package options that would improve their page and checkout process. I also provided consultation on how they could clean their site while staying on budget. After a few months, we closed the R780 000 web design deal and solidified our relationship.” 

Are you comfortable with making cold calls?

Cold calls may not be an exciting part of the job of a salesperson, but they are still a valuable part of sales pipelines. Your recruiter would want to know that you are comfortable with making cold calls if need be. Here’s a good answer,

“Yes. cold calling has been a part of my sales strategy for a while now. I’m usually able to complete about 30 calls per day and I record a 2% conversion rate.” 

What sales software are you familiar with? 

You must not know all the software available. But a fair understanding of some of them gives you an edge before the recruiter. The world has gone far into technology and your recruiter also wants to be sure that you are keeping up with it. 

“I have experience with a few CRMs, but I have the most experience with Salesforce and Pipedrive. Salesforce is my personal favourite since it is so robust and I really like the added Sales Cloud feature with in-time customer data.”

What industries do you have experience in?

This question gives the interviewer an insight into your background and practical experience. Industries vary largely because of their target audience. However, your answer shows the recruiter where your passions lie. Also, if you don’t have any experience in the industry you are interviewing for, be careful to talk about the transferable skills you have and your interest to learn in order to do well in that industry. 

“Having worked for a period of five years, I have gathered experience in various industries. Cosmetics, technology and hospitality are some of the industries I’ve worked with. My recent role was in the e-commerce industry and I actually led the sales team there. I’m also open to learning more skills within the organization seeing that it is a logistics company which is a bit outside of the industries I’ve worked in.” 

What do you like least about sales?

It’s not always possible to like everything about your job. No one does, and the recruiter knows this. The recruiter wants to know how you honestly feel about your job and it is completely okay to share how you feel. However, do not share more than is necessary or anything that will be detrimental to your getting the job. Also, talk about how you manage your dislikes when answering the question. 

“Following up with a client after one or two missed calls is usually not my favourite. I know that some sales come around after a while, but I’m not particularly intrigued by the follow-up calls. So, to ensure that I keep my head in the game, I always set a reminder to follow up calls twice weekly. That way, I do not lose track of any clients and meet up with as many leads as possible.” 

How would you build trust with a new client?

If you’re going to excel as a salesperson and have your customers always come back and even make referrals, trust is an important factor. The recruiter by asking this question wants to be sure that you understand this. To answer it, talk about the soft skill of emotional intelligence and empathy and also give a practical example of how you build trust with a client. 

“I understand that building trust with a client is a necessary step in closing a deal and building a long-lasting relationship. To do this, I usually start by paying attention to the client and his needs. I try to understand what it is he needs and ensure I am transparent about what I can offer them to solve that need. I also try to give honest feedback throughout the process while keeping the client’s needs at the top of the list of what is important. To seal it up, I maintain communication with the client at all times and always follow up with any commitments I may have made.” 

What are your strengths and weaknesses as a salesperson?

When answering this question, your recruiter wants you to be as honest as possible. Focus more on your strengths and talk about how you’re improving in the areas of your weaknesses. This is one sure way to ensure you answer this question appropriately. 

“One of my strengths as a salesperson is my ability to communicate with anyone. I am skilled in communication and this helps me to hear the client properly. I am always able to understand what the client is saying and what the client isn’t saying. Also, my empathetic nature gives me an edge with customers. Clients always find it easy to communicate with me freely because I am emotionally intelligent towards them. I have also seen this build trust between us.

However, I am quite forgetful. I often find myself tending to wanting to have everything in my head. To combat this, I carry a small notepad and pen everywhere I go. That way, I don’t have to try to make a mental note of anything. I always tend to write.” 

How would you handle a demanding or irritating client?

Sales are never easy, and you will get to meet a lot of clients with different personalities and experiences. Some are easy to win over while others are hard to win over. Being able to manage your clients is one skill you must have as a salesperson and your recruiter wants to be certain about this. To get the recruiter’s attention with this question, you can use an example to show that you can rise to the occasion if need be.

“Sometime last year, I was pursuing a lead with a client in Pretoria in the company I worked. Initially, she was receptive and responded well. After a while, she became hard to reach, wasn’t taking my calls and wasn’t even replying to my messages. I was trying to figure out what was wrong because that wasn’t how we began. After a while, she started changing her needs and specifications for the product. This became irritating and difficult to manage. What I did, was to stop every sales conversation with her. I invested more time in listening to her and trying to understand her personality. I started building a more friendly relationship with her and even gave her tips on how to handle and improve certain things in her business. After a while, she became receptive again and even initiated the next meeting to discuss the sales.” 

How would you determine if a prospect is a good fit?

Making sales is bigger than identifying leads and making cold calls. Good salesmen know that at the end of the day, it is quality over quantity. This helps them channel their energy in the right direction and get the best clients they need to meet their targets. Answering this question shows the recruiter that you have the foresight and can identify leads that are worth pursuing or not. 

“The first step I’d take is to research the business and the industries itself to identify what challenges they may be facing and how our services can best benefit them. Then, I’d find out about the point of contact and make a connection with them. Once this is done, I then watch the business trends and pay attention to the prospect’s behaviour. 

Are they engaged in the conversation? Are they asking questions or just listening to me talk? Do they seem interested in what I’m saying? If there’s a concern about them seeming uninterested, I’ll draft a pitch to talk about our solutions to their business and ask them if they are interested or not.” 

What do you think is more important, sales goal or customer satisfaction?

This is somewhat of a trick question because both are important to have a successful career as a salesman. It is also important in maintaining the brand’s reputation. This is because meeting sales goals contributes to business growth and customer satisfaction leads to more customer leads. When answering this question, do not infer that anyone is more important than the other, and also state how both of them contribute to the overall growth of the company.

“I personally do not think that any is more important than the other, I think that both of them are designed to help the overall growth of the brand. Customer satisfaction guarantees a continued relationship with the client and you never know when the customer’s referral will come in handy. On the other hand, meeting sales goals ensures the business is kept afloat and financial targets are met. So, I believe there should be a perfect blend between the two to have a leading brand.” 

Would you rather close a guaranteed R45000 sale or attempt an R70000 deal?

Either of these answers could be the right answer, but it only depends on the expectation of your company. This is what the recruiter wants to make sure that you know. This question also helps you show the recruiter how you are willing to take risks for the business and you have the confidence to make the right decisions if need be. With this answer, do not just about what you would do but also the thought process that informs that decision. 

“Both are appealing I must say, but it largely depends on my sales goal for the month and the other prospects I’m nurturing. If I have a good number of midsize deals that are sure to close, then I could take the risk to go after the big win. However, if there’s been a decline in sales and there are important targets to meet, I do not think it would be wise to pass on a sure deal despite the size.” 

Can you jump on a sales call now?

Confidence is very important as a salesperson, but that’s not all you need to make sales. A good and thorough knowledge of the product is highly needed if you’d be able to make sales effectively and your recruiter knows this. So while it is important to show your level of confidence while answering the question, it is also important that you include the fact that jumping on a sales call is more effective if you have good knowledge of the product or service. 

“I’m a confident salesperson that enjoys making cold calls to prospective clients. I however know that I do not enough information about your product and service to make a good call with leads now. I’d be open to learning more about the company’s products and I bet I can jump on any call at all.” 

Tell me about a time you persuaded a customer to move from a “no” to a “yes.”

Not every client would be willing to patronize you at first. Some clients would be more difficult than others. Your recruiter wants to know how you are able to persuade customers to change their minds towards a product or service. This question shows your skill as a salesperson and the background of experiences you have. When answering it, always talk about the process you used to achieve this. 

“I’m not a stranger to the word “no.” Earlier this year, I was following up on a good client lead who had rejected our proposal last year. They were seeing heavy customer response and didn’t see a need for an extra expense. I knew they were preparing their budgets for some campaigns in March and I reached out to them again during that period. I shared with them some new features that we could incorporate in their designs for their campaign and how they can help their brand messaging better. This sparked their interest and they then responded positively to us.” 

What would you do if you were not a salesman?

This isn’t a trick question, so there’s no need to be scared. The recruiter simply wants to know more about you, your interests and also your passions. There’s no wrong answer really, as long as you can talk about other areas of passion you have and probably how they can fit into the organization.

“If I wasn’t in sales, I’d probably be in customer service. I love the process of relationship-building between an organization and a customer. Due to this, I would love to work in customer service if I wasn’t in sales. Another reason is that I love communicating and connecting with people. It just makes me feel alive knowing that I can communicate with people and help them meet their needs.” 

How do you keep up with your target audience?

A salesperson who keeps up with industry trends will likely connect better with clients while trying to understand their needs. However, beyond current trends, experienced salespeople look into the future so they can come up with creative ways to position their product as a solution to current and upcoming needs. This requires proactivity and your recruiter wants to be sure that you can be proactive.

“When I started working with my current organisation, I didn’t have much knowledge about the medical and healthcare industry. I started small with my specific need for healthcare solutions. I started by identifying the different types of healthcare people need and the common challenges in them. 

I also took time to find out thought leaders in the industry and started following up with them so I could learn and stay up to date with trends and happenings in the industry.”

How are you able to manage multiple clients at once and still give each of them the attention they need?

Interviewers ask this question to know your ability to multitask. Depending on your sales goals, you would always be required to handle more than one client per time. You must be able to sell yourself to the recruiter, showing that managing more than one client at once will not be a challenge for you. 

“First off, I understand that each client is different and so are their needs and preferences. As a Sales Consultant, I have worked with up to five different clients simultaneously in the past. To manage this, I set clear expectations for each client and prioritized their needs. This helped me meet up with their demands so no one felt neglected or ignored.”

Are you confident talking to people about their finances and other sensitive topics?

Interviewers often ask this question to know the level of confidence you have. Some conversations are tough and the recruiter wants to be sure that if need be, you can have these difficult conversations with clients and customers. In your answer, always explained how you’ve been able to have such difficult conversations in the past.

“Absolutely. I have a great deal of experience in sales and customer service, so I’m very comfortable discussing sensitive topics with customers. I understand the importance of being able to build trust quickly and maintain that trust throughout the conversation. I also have extensive knowledge of financial products and services, which allows me to provide accurate information and advice to customers. To do this, I am always patient with the clients and always pay attention to their needs as they talk.” 

If a client wants information about a product or service and you don’t have it, how would you go about it?

You would not have all the answers at all times, especially when you are just beginning with the role. The recruiter simply wants to know how you would handle this situation if it ever comes up. It also shows how you are able to research and ask relevant questions about the product or service.

“As a Sales Consultant, I understand the importance of providing clients with accurate and up-to-date information. If a client had questions about a product that I don’t know the answer to, my first step would be to consult any available resources such as product manuals or brochures. If these materials do not provide the answers needed, I would reach out to colleagues who may have more experience with the product in question. Finally, if all else fails, I would contact the manufacturer directly for assistance.” 

What would you do if a client asked you about a product feature you know they won’t like?

Some of your clients may object to the features of the products and services you have. The interviewer wants to know how you would be able to handle those objections if they come up and still maintain a great relationship with the client. They also want to know that you can be honest with the client while attending to their needs. For example,

“If a client asked me about a product feature that they wouldn’t like, my first priority would be to listen to them and understand their needs so they can feel heard and respected. After doing that, I would then explain why that feature may not be a good fit for them. Also, I would create an alternative option to meet their needs. This could be suggesting other products at a lower cost or other alternatives. At the end of the day, my goal would remain to ensure that the client experiences maximum satisfaction.”

Describe a time when you upsold a customer.

Upselling a customer is usually an added skill for a salesman. It involves selling a more expensive product or service to a customer. Recruiters ask this question to know if you understand what it is and how it can be beneficial to the organization. 

“At my last job in a phone store in Johannesburg, I had a customer walk in to get a new phone. He already had a phone model in mind that he wanted to buy and went straight to mention it. However, by the time we started interacting, I realized that he had other needs and features that the phone model he wanted wasn’t going to give him. I then tried to explain the benefits of upgrading the model he wanted, showing him how the new model would meet his needs. He finally agreed to this and went ahead to get a better phone model.”

Are you comfortable/familiar with using social media to promote our products?

Social media is currently a good way to promote businesses and generate leads. In a tech-savvy South Africa, the recruiter needs to be sure that using social media would not be a problem for you. Apps like Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram have proven to be effective in marketing businesses. This is why as a salesperson, you must have a basic knowledge of these apps and how you can use them. 

“Yes, I am! I understand the importance of social media in today’s world and how it can be effective in driving sales for a business. I’m actually a fan of having online campaigns to market products and services. Also, apart from apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I also have a good understanding of Google Analytics, how it works and how I can use it to get insight into interactions with our products.” 

What challenges have you faced in sales and how did you overcome them?

Recruiters often ask this question to gain insight into your problem-solving skills. You will be meeting challenges in the course of your career and it is important to the recruiter that you can navigate them when they show up. 

“I have faced some challenges throughout my career in sales. One of the most outstanding ones was learning how to effectively manage customer relationships and expectations. I however realized that taking time to listen to customers and understand their needs will eventually help me build strong relationships with them. This helped me to meet their expectations better and build long-term relationships with them.” 

Tell us about a successful campaign you’ve led before now.

Campaigns are often ways companies increase their brand awareness and generate leads for sales. This is one way to show the recruiter that you can help their customer succeed with your experience of selling. When answering this question, talk more about the results of your campaign than the campaign process.

“Last year, I led a campaign for a new product that we launched for the company at the time. Our target was to generate as many leads as possible and convert at least 10% of the leads we generate. I did research with my team on the needs of our target audience and how our products can meet those needs. Then we started marketing the product to them. At the end of the campaign, we were able to convert 15% of our leads into clients and it was rewarding. Months after, we kept getting referrals from the clients that converted.”  

How do you generate new sales opportunities?

One of the skills you must possess is your ability to generate new sales opportunities. New leads mean potential sales which ensure the growth of the business. The recruiter wants to be sure that you won’t be stuck with a few clients the company already has. Here’s how you can answer, 

“I try to generate new sales by always reminding myself of our target audience and the demography they are. This helps me narrow down to the people we have not reached in any company I find myself. Also, I utilize social media to generate new leads and then gein to work towards converting them to customers.” 

Describe a time you didn’t get along with a team member and how you handled it.

Salesmen are very passionate and are generally goal-getters. Due to this, they could sometimes clash in teams due to conflicting strategies and other reasons. Your recruiter knows that you won’t always agree with your teammate, but he wants to know how you are able to resolve it and move on. When answering this question, also highlight the aftermath of whatever conflict resolution strategy you took.  

“In my last role, I worked closely with a BDR with a very different communication style than my own. We clashed early on because I'm an external thought processor and he was an internal processor. Ultimately, we took some time together to work out ways he could be more explicit in articulating his ideas and how I could be more grounded in hearing him and offering feedback.” 

How do you keep up with the latest industry trends in sales?

When asking this question, the interviewer is trying to know your passion for your career path. This shows that you are interested in the career path and you are self-motivated at all times. 

“I stay in the loop on sales trends in many ways. I’m always reading the trending topics circulating my favourite business publications, and engaging in conversation over LinkedIn. I even have a growing collection of sales success literature.” 

Have you ever had to break a deal with a client or prospect? How did you handle it?

This question is the recruiter’s way of knowing that you can be proactive when need be and also manage relationships. Not all deals would go through, but knowing when to pull out of a bad deal is a very important skill. It is not for the faint-hearted but is necessary.

“There have been times when the product offering had no longer aligned with a client. While I want to meet the quota, I know when a product isn’t the right fit for a customer. I would weigh all options before coming to the conclusion, and would respectfully communicate that they would need to explore other avenues.” 

What do you do when sales are down?

Not every month will be very profitable to you as a salesperson. The recruiter is interested in knowing how you are able to identify it and deal with this issue whenever it shows up. This question sheds light on your proactivity and leadership qualities as a salesperson. 

“When sales go down, I try not to panic. Instead, I go back to the drawing board to try to identify where the challenge could be coming from and what I can do to improve on it. I also try to calculate how far away I am from my targets and begin to strategize to meet them.” 

Have you ever implemented a change that increased sales?

Creativity is a skill required as a salesperson. The employer wants to know how creative you are and how you are able to make meaningful contributions towards the company. To answer this appropriately, be sure to give details of an instance when you implemented a change and also state the exact outcome of the change. 

“In my previous role, I suggested a 360 marketing plan for the company. The goal was to increase sales by 10%, especially with the new product we had. Prior to then, all our campaigns had been offline only. I introduced the idea of both offline and online campaigns, and not only did we increase sales by 30%, but we also retained 10% of all our customers from that particular campaign.” 

How would you handle an unresponsive prospect?

One of the skills of salesmen is to know when to back off from a client, or at least handle them being unresponsive. The energy of a salesman can always be channelled to a better-responding prospect. However, be sure not to communicate cutting off the prospect entirely. This would not tell good of you at all before the recruiter.

“When a client is unresponsive, I tend to take some time off and let the person rest. In addition, I try to provide alternative communication channels to try and find out what the challenge could be. This way, I listen to the client rather than bombard them with calls or deals. Then, I give it time and try to meet the needs of the clients. However, I always try to ensure that all my energy is not focused on such clients to avoid burnout while I would have gotten other prospects and clients.” 

Tell me about a time you received poor feedback/criticism and how you handled it.

Criticisms are part of your job as a salesperson, and your ability to look beyond it, learn from it and move on is a huge advantage. The most important thing the recruiter wants to know from this question is how you handled the criticism and what you did afterwards. 

“I had a particular case where a client was not satisfied with the services I provided. According to her, she expected me to follow up with her staff while installing the software. Now, this particular review was sent to my supervisor directly and was not done in a nice way. Even though I felt betrayed considering the level of work I had already put in before then, I reached out to her and apologized for what happened. I then asked her what her expectations were that were not met and offered to finish them off. In the long run, she then understood that she too didn’t communicate clearly her expectations and e resolved the matter, with both parties being happy. I learned from that experience that you must make extra efforts to understand clearly the expectations of a customer.” 

 

Being able to answer and ace these questions give you an opportunity to land the role of a sales consultant in any organization. Remember that the idea is to tailor the answers to your own experiences and skills. With that, you personalize it and convince the recruiter that you are the next person for the job. 

Feel free to drop your comments and questions and we will attend to them.

Best of luck!

Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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