person who has great sales and negotiation skills will find open doors in lots
of companies, in any industry and country. For a Sales Professional a job
interview is a real test, because this time it’s not about selling a product or
a service. The product that they need to promote to a Hiring Manager is basically
themselves, let’s call it “Brand Me”. How well is this salesperson able to
emphasize the good points and steer clear of the others? Candidates will have
to show right from the start how good their skills, experiences, personality
and motivation are.
are the four most important character traits of a top performing salesperson?
Apart from having full product/service knowledge it is crucial to be
persuasive, persistent, likeable and highly self-motivated.
are some questions which will help you to unmask the truly indomitable
salesperson. When hiring a salesperson, it’s not just important to ask the right
questions, but also to know how to interpret them correctly.
- What do you know
about our product line/service?
- What do you dislike
about most sales?
- What kind of rewards
are most satisfying to you?
- How do you plan your
- How well do you
- How do you feel
about out of town/overnight travel?
- I would be
interested to hear of a time when you proved yourself to be more tenacious than
- Please describe a
specific time when you greatly exceeded the norm.
- What percentage of
your sales calls result in sales?
- How long does it
typically take you from initial contact to close the sale?
- How do you turn an
occasional buyer into a regular buyer?
- What was the sales
volume when you started? What was it when you left?
- How do you go about
securing new prospects and clients?
- What kind of people
do you like and dislike to sell to? How do you manage to sell to these people?
- What steps are
involved in selling your product?
- Tell me about your
most difficult sale and how you approached it.
- What was the most
surprising objection you ever received, and how did you handle it?
- Sell me this pen.
- Give me an example
of a sale that was, for all intents and purposes, lost. How did you turn the
situation around and make the sale?
- Have you ever sold
anything over the phone?
- What special skills
or techniques are necessary to be successful over the phone?
- Tell me about a time
when you called a complete stranger on the phone. How did you start the
- How do you go about
gathering names of new contacts on the phone?
- What is your
personal most successful sales strategy secret?
- What will you do if
I hire you?
you want to put your candidate through a more rigorous test you might consider
applying the following strategy:
- Don’t respond to
your scheduled telephone call. See what the person’s reaction is.
- Send an email by
addressing the candidate with the wrong name. Wait and see what the candidate does.
- During the interview
ask the person to hold a presentation in selling the company’s product/service.
(How confident does the person sound? How familiar is the candidate with the
- Invite the job
applicant for lunch. See how the candidate talks and acts outside an office
environment. (Would you really want to do business with this person?)
- Write a rejection
letter. What is the candidate’s response to it? (Does the person still try to
turn the situation around?)
goal of this whole exercise is to find out in a real life scenario, how tenacious
and keen the person is to close the deal. Don’t just rely on asking
sales-related interview questions, instead try to put the candidate in
different situations. This approach will make it easier for you to make the
right hiring decision.