The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    Peers share their 3 Best Sales Interview Questions

    by Kristi Shoemaker / June 6, 2011

    Posted by Kristi Shoemaker, VP Marketing, EcSELL Institute

    I belong to the Sales and Marketing VPs Group in LinkedIn.  One of the group members, Nick D'Ambrosio, founder of First Round Search, asked a smart question:

    "If you can only ask 3 questions of a prospective new sales hire, what would they be?"

    Following are some of the interview questions that these Vice President's of Sales and Marketing ask a potential sales rep.

    1. How do you determine what the prospective customer's business problem is and what do you do about it? This question will help me understand his/her Sales process to include how he/she accesses power within an account and uses resources.
    2. How did you prepare for this meeting?
    3. What has your performance been against quota over the past five years?

    1. Why have you typically won/lost a sale (top 3 reasons - be specific)?
    2. How do you typically align to the customer's buying process - take me through the stages?
    3. How have you performed against quota (% attainment) and peers in up and down markets (look for at least 3 years of data)?

    1) What's the hardest / toughest thing you have ever done?
    2) What would your best customer tell me about you?
    3) What do you like least about sales, and please don't say: "NOTHING - I love it all."

    1. What's the best sale you ever made, why/how did you do it?
    2. Tel me about your toughest loss, when and why did you lose?
    3. How/what can you contribute to my company?

    1. A customer calls you 3 years after buying from you and has a problem. In your company, existing customers are handled by the customer care team. For good reason, they are specifically trained to do so and your time as a salesperson is extremely valuable to the company. How will you handle this customer? (How they answer this will tell you if the customer really is their number one priority. This will tell you a lot about their integrity.)

    2. If you were to purchase a lottery ticket, do you believe it is possible for you to win? (A person who, when they purchase a lottery ticket thinks they can win is an optimistic person versus someone who just hopes to win. This kind of person believes in the possibility of a positive result when they do things even if there is a long shot. A true optimist takes each event and possibility and believes a positive result is possible. They believe in the possibility of things. A person who just hopes to win will say the odds are too great, but I would really like to win. An optimist will say it is possible to win. Optimism is extremely important in sales. It keeps you going day in and day out.)

    3. What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it? Admitting to failures and weaknesses is the most important factor in personal growth. Everyone has them, how we handle them, deal with them and learn from them will tell a lot about our future success


    What three interview questions would you ask?

    Enjoy this related white paper titled "Modern Science of Sales Person Selection", from the EcSELL Institute Resource Library.





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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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