Sales managers ask all kinds of questions during a sales interview. Some are generalized, some focus on your selling skills and experience, and some are just… burning and tricky.
The interviewer assesses how fast you can think on your feet and how good you’re at selling yourself based on your responses.
Your responses differentiate you from potential hires. The better the quality of your answers, the higher the chances of getting hired, and vice versa.
But there is one particular sales interview question that many sales professionals struggle to answer: “Why do you want to work in sales? ”
While this may seem like a simple query, answering it correctly can make or break your interview.
Why Sales? Three Reasons Why Hiring Managers Ask This Question
As a salesperson, your job is to convince your target customers that they need whatever you’re trying to sell—software, real estate, paper, pen. You have to sell yourself when answering the ‘why work in sales’ question.
There are other sales interview questions that will be thrown at you but this one is important for job seekers for a few reasons.
Shows Your Passion
Sales go beyond the desire to make tons of cash. It goes beyond having a fancy sales process and contacts at the sales department you’re interviewing to get into.
What’s going to inspire you to keep working if you miss your monthly sales quotas?
Having sales knowledge isn’t enough to succeed in sales. In addition, you must have the drive to keep working hard.
You must love sales and this question gives you an opportunity to explain this point in your job interview.
Imagine you’re interested in working with a SaaS company. Do you have the drive to develop long-lasting relationships with customers to convince them for upsells and updates?
Bottom line: Give the interviewer a witty and passionate answer, revealing what drives you in detail.
Separates Candidates Who Do Their Research From Those Who Don’t
You need a clear-cut response to why you want to work in sales—one that acknowledges your strengths and a few of the company’s attributes. The idea is to make it apparent you did your homework before you came to the interview.
Succeeding in sales requires prior preparation. You need to know about your prospects’ needs, preferences, and pain points. When you talk about the company and its key attributes, you show the hiring manager you have the research skills required to win the deals.
This is a key reason why the “why sales” tangent is a typical sales question that sales managers like to ask. .
Bottom line: Incorporate your strengths and the hiring company’s key attributes into your answer.
Puts Your Skills to Test
The ‘why sales’ interview answer is a great way to test your selling skills. Think about it: if you can’t convince the hiring manager you are the best candidate for the job, how will you convince a prospect to buy your product or service?
Bottom line: Showcase your ability to make you and your selling skills shine. It’ll reflect on your ability to make the company’s product or service stand out when chasing a prospect.
How To Answer ‘Why Work in Sales’ Interview Question
It would help if you had a well-constructed answer that highlights your passion for sales, showcases your researching skills, and proves your capability as a salesperson. However, coming up with a solution that checks all three boxes is easier said than done.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of a few helpful steps to help you come up with the perfect answer to this burning sales interview question.
Step 1: Assess Yourself
Why do you want to pursue a career in sales? Be honest.
Your answer will vary based on your interests, passion, and career goals. Try to think of the different aspects of sales that excite you about the role and make you happy to go to work every day.
Even better if you can include details about the specific selling skills you have or experiences that motivated you to pursue sales. Displaying you have the right experiences and qualifications to perform the job will help you get hired.
You have to sell yourself as a candidate. Tell the interviewer about a specific experience where you use your skills to meet significant sales goals, and then explain why that experience serves as motivation for your sales career.
Step 2: Research the Hiring Company
The best approach when answering interview questions is to tailor your responses to each company. It shows you’ve taken the time to learn about the company and helps you position yourself as an excellent fit for the company.
For the ‘why sales’ interview question, find how the company aligns with your interest in sales. For instance, you may be passionate about selling products that help people, and the company sells medical devices or medicines.
We also recommend looking at the job description to see whether the listed responsibilities resonate with you. For example, many sales professionals like how they get to meet new people every day. So, if the job requires you to travel and meet customers, you can incorporate this into your answer.
Step 3: Structure Your Answer
At this stage, you know your reasons for pursuing sales, as well as the methods to align them with the position to which you’re applying.
The next step is to put it all together to develop a clear-cut, well-thought-out answer that takes no longer than three minutes for you to convey and make a solid impression on the interviewer.
You can create a draft to prepare for the interview, but don’t try to memorize it—just focus on learning the key points. For example, you should know what aspects of sales motivate you or excite you and how the particular sales role fulfills that.
To take things further, take out time to practice your pitch along with a friend. Your friend can also give you feedback to improve your response. Doing this will help you feel more comfortable and prepared for the actual interview.
Everything counts—your words, body language, and tone of voice.
Sample Answers To ‘Why You Want To Work in Sales’ Interview Question
Here are a few examples of answers to help you prepare for your interview and improve your hiring chances.
Example 1: Responsibilities
Say you’re applying for a job selling restaurant technology.
“I have served as a manager in a well-renowned restaurant for over eight years. My responsibilities included lots of hands-on time programming and training employees on various POS systems. While I know the mechanics very well, what sets me apart is that I know exactly what clients need and know how to position a product as a solution to the client’s pain points.”
Example 2: Being them over
Suppose you’re already working in the same industry as the hiring company but want to switch to further your career. Talk about what you can bring to the table and mention why you want to make the switch.
“I’m currently responsible for the entire tri-state area at my current company. This makes me very familiar with the whole territory and potential customers. If given a chance, I’d love to bring my contacts to your company and introduce my connections to a new, more efficient, more affordable product.”
Example 3: Recent news
Prove your knowledge of the company’s industry. A good tip is to reference recent news stories (positive ones only—avoid mentioning anything negative). Alternatively, you can discuss something in the company’s mission statement that aligns with your core values.
“I read about your recent global expansion and the impending launch of Product ABC. Having previously worked on a team assigned with the job of marketing products to an international audience, I feel it’s the perfect time to bring my skills and experience to your company.”
Example 4: Be relevant
Highlight your sales skills in a way that’s relevant to the hiring company’s industry. For example, if you’re applying for a SaaS sales job, talk about your tech background and willingness to stay in the game for the long run.
“Having worked with web-based applications in the past, I have the expertise and experience to identify what customers need at every level. I also value customer relationships and try to create genuine, long-term associations. Some of my biggest sales came from long-time clients who trusted me enough to invest in upgrades and upsells every time I recommended a new package.”
Example 5: First experiences
Draw on your first experience in sales, regardless of how small it was, and then connect it to the current role.
“When I was ten, I hosted my first garage sale. Before the event, I extended invites to all my neighbors and created pitches for different products I planned to sell. I made $200 that day, but it put me on a path I have been following ever since. I loved getting to see the results of my hard work, even as a child.
Since then, I’ve held different sales-related positions throughout my schooling to develop my selling skills. As a result, I was named the best salesperson of the year by my employer at my last job consecutively three times. I’m currently looking for opportunities to achieve the sales goals I’ve set for myself, and I truly believe your company can help me accomplish precisely that.”
Example 6: Share interests
Highlight how your interests resonate with the job description.
“I find the challenges associated with sales exhilarating. When I land a new client or sale, it gives me a sense of accomplishment. In addition, I like to figure out how to develop a sales pitch and brainstorm ways to adapt my sales pitch to meet my customers’ needs. The whole thing is like a fun puzzle for me to solve.
I noticed your company is about to launch Product ABC, and I’d love to use my skills and passion to collaborate with your team and help develop sales pitches that make an impact on prospects, helping them convert into paying customers.”
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