The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    31 Interview Questions to Find Sales SuperStars

    by Kristi Shoemaker / February 14, 2011

    Posted by Kristi Shoemaker, EcSELL Institute

    Our research director came across this list of 31 interview questions to help a Sales Manager identify a sales superstar. This list comes from our friends at  If you are looking to increase the effectiveness of your sales talent identification and acquisition process, I encourage you to attend EcSELL Institute's 6 Pillars of Sales Productivity Workshop on April 6, 2011.  

    As a Sales Manager, your ability to attract new talent and hold on to top performers is the key to sustained growth. Why? Because human capital is a sales department’s  most important asset.  By understanding the crucial elements necessary for sales success and being able to identify the qualities of exceptional sales performers, you will have the information necessary to strategically upgrade your sales force.  The result?  Being able to achieve an even greater level of sustainable success. 

    During this workshop session, our featured instructor, Tony Cole of Anthony Cole Training Group, will share best practices to help you identify and acquire the best sales employees and equip you with tools to implement these practices immediately.  

    Please consider joining us or sending your front line management team to the Workshop. It will be worth their time!

    Here is the list of 31 effective interview questions to help you find your sales superstar!  Special thanks for


    Tell me about your last three days at work – beginning to end.

    How many first appointments do you have each week?

    What do you like and dislike about your sales process and why?

    What do you like and dislike about the products/ services you’re selling now and why?

    What attracts you to the industry?

    What are your long-term professional goals?

    What do you do personally for your professional development?

    What are your favorite selling books?

    What type of sales cycle is most rewarding to you? A long cycle for a big ticket item or a series of smaller, more frequent sales.

    As a sales professional, what do you see as your primary and secondary roles within a company?

    In your current position, how much time would you say you spend directly with prospects and customers throughout the sales day and what specifically do you do with them?

    Describe a situation with a client or prospect where you made a mistake. How did you handle the error?

    Describe a couple of instances, big or small, where you took a different tack in achieving an objective than was the company standard?

    Describe a time where a creative approach to meeting an objective didn’t work and what you did next?

    What sales skills do you think are most important to having success in sales?

    What are your top three open-ended questions for initial sales calls?

    In your current sales environment, describe the process you go through to qualify your prospects?

    What is the largest group you’ve presented to (externally/ internally)?

    How do you organize a presentation?

    What do you like and dislike about presentations and why?

    What do you see as the key issues in negotiating?

    What do you see as the key skills in closing?

    How would your present prospects and customers describe you as their sales representative?

    Describe a time your company did not deliver on its product or service and how you responded?

    Describe one or two of the most difficult challenges and/ or rejections you’ve faced in the past and how you responded?

    How many rejections do you take in a typical week?

    How do you move forward from a string of rejections?

    What would you say your one or two biggest failures or mistakes were? What did you learn from them?

    What are some of the challenges you see that are facing this industry?

    How would those with whom you work now, across all areas of the company, describe you and the work you do?

    Describe a time you led a group of people, the primary challenges you faced and how you handled them?


    The following resource was provided to the EcSELL Institute with express permission for use in

    our Resource Library and/or the Sales Executive Newsletter. EcSELL’s Research and Publications

    department has reviewed this piece, and though it may make reference to specific products from

    our partner, we felt the substance of the piece was worthy of publication. The EcSELL Institute

    does not publicly promote specific products from companies, but values the relationship and

    science our partners bring to our members as well as their own customers. EcSELL’s concern is

    providing our members with information, backed by science or best practice, which can be utilized

    to drive greater sales productivity.


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    Kristi Shoemaker

    Kristi Shoemaker

    Kristi is a marketing communications and public relations expert with over 30+ years of experience in a variety of industries. She was an integral part of EcSell's go-to-market strategy and execution from 2008 - 2012. Kristi enjoys taking a holistic approach by integrating all the key marketing disciplines to create synergies that generate maximum results. She is currently the president of KLS Consulting in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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