Top 50 Sales Interview Questions (Example Answers Included)

By Mike Simpson

UPDATED 6/3/2022

There’s no question that sales job interviews (and the sales interview questions you will be asked) are some of the toughest types of interviews out there. First, an estimated 13 million people work in the field, creating a lot of potential competition. Second, when you sit down with a hiring manager, you’re not just highlighting your skills and qualifications; you have to sell yourself, which isn’t always easy.

Fortunately, you can nail it with a bit of preparation. Here’s a look at how to tackle interview questions for sales reps.

The Critical Components of Sales Interviews

The job seekers who fill sales positions are the ones who nail three key components in a sales interview:

    • Highlighting their relevant qualifications
    • Using those qualifications to sell themselves to the interviewer
    • Closing the deal (getting hired!)

All three of these are critical parts of landing a sales job and require a bit of prep and some pre-strategy before the interview, starting with identifying exactly what characteristics are common to a sales interview.

Unlike other jobs where much of what you are hired for can be highlighted in a resume through bulleted descriptions of technical skills and abilities, sales interviews require the interviewee to clearly demonstrate their sales skills and abilities through concrete examples and anecdotes from past work history.

When going into a sales interview, be prepared for not only traditional questions but behavioral and situational as well.

In fact we wanted to let you know that we created an amazing free cheat sheet that will give you word-for-word answers for some of the toughest interview questions you are going to face in your upcoming interview. After all, hiring managers will often ask you more generalized interview questions along with their admin assistant specific questions!

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How to Answer Sales Interview Questions

At their core, almost all sales interview questions can be answered using the STAR method. We’ve covered the STAR method before, but to quickly recap, STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. That means nearly every answer you give should include sales success stories and achievements from your own past.

You want to make sure you give the hiring manager the situation you were in, the task you were assigned, any challenges you faced, the action you took, and the result of that action. Ideally, you also want to quantify the details, as numbers often speak louder than words in the world of sales.

How to Answer Sales Interview Questions with No Experience

This is a question that we get asked often, especially when the STAR method is concerned. Since the STAR method draws upon examples from your past, “those of you that haven’t had a job before often panic because there is no work history to pull from.

This can be an even bigger pain point when one considers the nature of sales interview questions. Sales interviews often lean on work history more than any other type of interview, and for simple reasons. Generally, hiring managers like to see examples of you being able to sell and sell well.

However, one thing working in your favor is the sales industry often employs people with no or limited experience more than any other industry. This is for many different reasons, but two of the main ones are:

    1. Compensation is often based on commission, which prioritizes results and not your credentials. Either you sell, or you don’t. And because you are being paid by commission, you generally won’t be negotiating salary, which usually focuses on the amount of experience (or tenure) you have.
    2. Companies like to hire individuals with a “clean slate” that haven’t had a career of picking up bad habits. They can mold and refine you and turn you into the specific type of seller they want.

So having said this, there is an easy way to answer a behavioral question in a sales interview, and that is to draw upon your non-work-related experience. This may include extra-curricular activities, your academic history, any athletic experiences you’ve had, or perhaps some charitable work you have volunteered for.

The hiring manager will already know what your work experience is (at this stage, they’ve already read your resume), so what they are really looking for is for you to think critically. Demonstrate that you understand the question they are asking and that you have the qualities they are looking for, even though you haven’t been in the workforce.

Top 3 Sales Interview Questions and Answers

Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for: the top three sales interview questions and answers. Use these as inspiration, ensuring you’ll be ready for your next interview.

1. Sell me this pen

“Sell me this pen” is a classic in the world of sales interviews. It’s challenging because a pen is a pretty mundane item with few clear features. Plus, you’re usually handed a pen you aren’t overly familiar with, upping the difficulty.

As the good folks at Indeed point out, “the interviewer is not trying to confuse you. Instead, they are trying to learn how well you gather, respond and deliver information about the pen, and how well you are able to conclude the pitch with a persuasive statement.” By keeping that in mind, you can craft your own amazing answer, not unlike the one below.


“As a manager, I’m sure you’re busy. That’s why you need a pen you can count on. Whether you’re writing notes during a critical meeting or signing contracts to secure must-have services, you need a pen that’s reliable, offering a dependable experience day in and day out. That’s precisely what this pen provides. The ink flows smoothly, leaving even script. But it’s reserved enough that it doesn’t glob, preventing smudges. Plus, it’s evenly weighted and the perfect balance between slim and substantial, giving it an exceptional feel in hand. I’m sure you’d agree there’s nothing more you could need from a pen. So, should I put you down for ten boxes?”

2. How do you establish lasting relationships with clients?

Sales isn’t just about the short-term; it’s also about cultivating relationships with clients, allowing you to secure repeat business and maintain a positive reputation. Hiring managers ask questions like this to see how you approach building those connections that turn into low-maintenance repeat sales.


“In my last position, I found a particularly effective approach that allowed me to build lasting relationships with clients. Communication was ultimately the key. After an initial sale, I schedule follow-ups in my calendar. When I reach out again, it’s not about soliciting more business. Instead, I ask about their experience, see if they’re struggling with a learning curve, or offer tips to get the most out of the product or service. I position myself as an ally that goes the extra mile to ensure both their happiness and success. If there’s an issue, I learn about it proactively, allowing me to solve it quickly. If they’re happy, I’m still showing that I care about their views of the experience. In the end, that leads to a strong foundation, one where future follow-up continues to build goodwill and, ultimately, leads to more sales.”

3. If a client isn’t fully satisfied and tries to demand a discount or refund, what do you do?

While most sales professionals hope that the product or service they support always meets customer expectations, that isn’t how it usually plays out. Since that’s the case, the hiring manager wants to know how you’ll handle it when the inevitable occurs.


“If a client demands a discount or refund based on a poor experience, my first step is to use my active listening skills to find out more about the issue. Are they struggling with a feature? Was a direction about how to use the product or service unclear? Did they receive a defective product? Is it buyer’s remorse? Did the purchase unexpectedly strain their budget?

“By finding out the cause of the dissatisfaction, I can identify viable solutions that make sense for the situation. For example, if a product arrived damaged or defective, I may offer to arrange for a free repair or replacement. If they’re struggling with using the product or service, providing helpful documentation, offering training, or similar steps may remedy the issue.

“My goal is to focus on creating a satisfied customer, so I’ll explore every available avenue. While I’ll aim to avoid discounts or refunds whenever possible, if one is legitimately the best choice – and the move aligns with company policy – I’ll follow the approved procedure to handle the issue.”

47 More Sales Interview Questions

Here are 47 more interview questions for sales professionals:

    1. Why did you choose a career in sales (or why are you interested in a sales position?)
    2. Why are you interested in working for our company?
    3. How do you keep yourself motivated?
    4. How do you handle rejection?
    5. At what point do you stop working with a potential client?
    6. How comfortable are you with making cold calls?
    7. How do you view collaboration within a sales team?
    8. Tell me about a mistake you’ve made in sales and what you’ve learned from that mistake.
    9. What do you like the least about sales?
    10. What do you think is more important: new clients or long-term clients?
    11. Can you describe your sales philosophy?
    12. Which of your skills makes you particularly adept at sales?
    13. Are there any training or educational opportunities that you feel would make you a better salesperson?
    14. Describe the sales process from start to finish.
    15. If you’re given a lead that you were told was qualified, but it actually wasn’t, how would you proceed?
    16. If you received a call from a person that involved questions about an upcoming – but not yet released – product or service, how would you handle the conversation?
    17. Tell me about a time when you felt a colleague stole a sale from you. What happened, and how did you react?
    18. Have you ever taken a sale away from a colleague?
    19. How would your last manager describe your sales skills? What about your teamwork skills?
    20. Do you think your former coworkers would view you as a competitive or cooperative sales team member?
    21. Is there any aspect of our product or service that you think is hard to sell? What is it, and why do you feel that way?
    22. How do marketing and sales relate?
    23. Do you think our most recent ad campaign makes it easier or harder for our sales team to secure sales?
    24. What’s your philosophy regarding client complaints?
    25. What do you do to relieve stress after a particularly challenging call?
    26. Have you ever snapped at a prospective customer who became aggressive or insulting?
    27. How do you determine if a prospect is a good fit?
    28. Tell me about a time you missed a sale target. What happened, and how did you recover?
    29. Describe a time when you lost an opportunity. What occurred, and what did you learn from the experience?
    30. Have you ever sold a product or service you didn’t believe in?
    31. How do you respond to constructive criticism?
    32. What do you do if you get negative feedback about the product or service you sell?
    33. How do you showcase product or service differentiators to secure sales?
    34. Pitch me our flagship product or service.
    35. If I asked you to, would you jump on a sales call right now?
    36. If you had to choose between a guaranteed $9,000 sale or a chance at a $50,000 deal, which would you go after and why?
    37. What do you think is more important, hitting sales numbers or maintaining top-notch customer satisfaction scores?
    38. Tell me about your biggest sales achievement.
    39. Describe a time when you turned a repeat “no” into a “yes.”
    40. What do you enjoy most about sales?
    41. If you weren’t working in sales, what would you do instead?
    42. Did you intentionally start a career in sales, or did it happen incidentally?
    43. How do you stay informed about your target audience?
    44. Do you track upcoming releases from competitors? If so, how do you use the information to your advantage?
    45. If a potential customer confused our product with a competitor’s, would you move forward with the sale even though they believe they’re getting something else?
    46. Tell me about a time you collaborated with a cross-departmental team.
    47. What CRM solutions have you used before? 

Questions to Ask in a Sales Interview

Now that we’ve covered common sales job interview questions, it’s time to focus on the questions you should be asking the hiring manager. Remember, it’s a chance to determine if this job is the right fit for you, so it’s an opportunity worth seizing!

Here are ten example questions to ask in a sales interview:

    1. Is there travel associated with this position, and if so, how much?
    2. Can you explain the commission structure for this position to me?
    3. Are there bonuses for sales?
    4. When it comes to negotiating with a customer, how much flexibility does the salesperson have?
    5. How does the company motivate the sales team?
    6. Would you describe the sales team as cooperative or competitive?
    7. How does a typical day in this position unfold?
    8. What do your top performers have in common?
    9. How do you measure success in this position?
    10. If you could give a new sales professional in this role one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

NOTE: For more great questions to ask in an interview, check out our article!

Putting It All Together

Again, sales interviews are some of the toughest in the job market, but they don’t have to be impossible. Just make sure you do your research on the company ahead of time, target your answers to the position you’re applying for, and review sales interview questions in advance. That way, you’ll be ready to shine.

Now…go get ‘em!

And as always…good luck!

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Download our "Job Interview Questions & Answers PDF Cheat Sheet" that gives you word-for-word sample answers to the some of the most common interview questions including:

  • What Is Your Greatest Weakness?
  • What Is Your Greatest Strength?
  • Tell Me About Yourself
  • Why Should We Hire You?
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About The Author

Mike Simpson

Co-Founder and CEO of Mike is a job interview and career expert and the head writer at His advice and insights have been shared and featured by publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur, CNBC and more as well as educational institutions such as the University of Michigan, Penn State, Northeastern and others. Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.