16 Outside Sales Rep Interview Questions (With Example Answers)
By ResumeCat Editorial Team
Published August 11, 2022
It's important to prepare for an interview in order to improve your chances of getting the job. Researching questions beforehand can help you give better answers during the interview. Most interviews will include questions about your personality, qualifications, experience and how well you would fit the job. In this article, we review examples of various outside sales rep interview questions and sample answers to some of the most common questions.
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Common Outside Sales Rep Interview Questions
- What motivates you to sell?
- Why did you choose outside sales?
- What are your top strategies for selling?
- What do you see as the biggest challenges in outside sales?
- What industries do you feel most comfortable selling to?
- What do you believe is the key to success in outside sales?
- What do you consider to be your personal strengths and weaknesses when selling?
- How do you manage a sales territory?
- What strategies do you use to overcome objections?
- Can you give me an example of a time when you closed a large deal?
- Describe a time when you had to prospect for new business.
- Can you give me an example of a time when you utilized creative selling techniques?
- Describe a time when you had to make a cold call.
- Tell me about a time when you overcame a difficult obstacle in sales.
- What do you consider to be the most important skills for a successful outside salesperson?
- What are your thoughts on networking and building relationships in sales?
What motivates you to sell?
One potential reason an interviewer might ask a candidate what motivates them to sell is to gauge how well they would fit into the company's sales culture. It is important to ask questions about motivation early on in the interview process because it can give the interviewer insight into whether the candidate is likely to be a good fit for the role. If the candidate is not motivated by the same things that are important to the company, they may not be as successful in the role. Additionally, understanding what motivates a candidate can help the interviewer tailor their questions to elicit more detailed and meaningful responses.
Example: “I am motivated to sell because I enjoy the challenge of finding new customers and helping them solve their problems. I also enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that I am helping my company grow and succeed.”
Why did you choose outside sales?
There are a few reasons why an interviewer might ask "Why did you choose outside sales?" to an outside sales rep. One reason is to get a better understanding of the candidate's motivations for choosing this career path. It's also important to know if the candidate has any experience working in outside sales, as this can give the interviewer some insight into the candidate's skills and abilities. Finally, the interviewer may simply be trying to start a conversation with the candidate in order to get to know them better.
Example: “I chose outside sales because it allows me to meet new people and build relationships with potential customers. It also allows me to learn about different products and services, and how to best sell them. Additionally, outside sales provides an opportunity to earn a commission on sales, which can be a significant source of income. Finally, outside sales offers the potential for career advancement, which can lead to a higher salary and greater job satisfaction.”
What are your top strategies for selling?
There are a few reasons an interviewer might ask this question to an outside sales rep. First, they want to know what strategies the sales rep uses to sell products or services. This is important because it shows how the sales rep goes about their work and how they approach potential customers. Second, the interviewer may be looking for specific strategies that the sales rep uses to close deals. This is important because it shows that the sales rep is able to effectively sell products or services and is able to negotiate with customers. Finally, the interviewer may be looking for ideas that the sales rep has for improving their sales skills. This is important because it shows that the sales rep is always looking for ways to improve their performance and is willing to learn new techniques.
Example: “There are a number of strategies that can be employed when selling products or services. The best strategy depends on the product or service being sold, the customer base, and the competition. Some common strategies used in sales include:
1. Offering a discount - This is a common tactic to increase sales, especially in competitive markets. By offering a discount, businesses can entice customers who may be price-sensitive to make a purchase.
2. Creating a sense of urgency - This strategy is often used to encourage customers who may be undecided about a purchase to make a decision. By creating a sense of urgency, businesses can prompt customers to buy before it's too late.
3. Offering free shipping - This is another common tactic used to increase sales, especially for online businesses. By offering free shipping, businesses can remove one of the barriers to purchase for customers who may be hesitant to buy online.
4. Highlighting unique features - This strategy can be used to differentiate a product or service from its competitors. By highlighting unique features, businesses can show customers why their product or service is the best option available.
5. Focusing on customer needs - This strategy involves understanding the needs of the customer and then tailoring the pitch”
What do you see as the biggest challenges in outside sales?
The interviewer is trying to gauge the candidate's understanding of the role of an outside sales representative. It is important for the candidate to be aware of the challenges that come with the job, such as making cold calls and working long hours, in order to be successful in the role.
Example: “The biggest challenge in outside sales is finding new customers and building relationships with them. It can be difficult to identify potential customers and then to convince them to do business with you. Outside sales reps must be very proactive and have strong communication skills in order to be successful.”
What industries do you feel most comfortable selling to?
The interviewer is trying to gauge the Outside Sales Rep's understanding of their target market. It is important for the Outside Sales Rep to have a good understanding of their target market so that they can sell effectively to that market.
Example: “There are a few industries that I feel most comfortable selling to. These include the technology, automotive, and healthcare industries. I have a lot of experience working with these types of companies and I understand their needs well. I'm also familiar with the products and services that they typically purchase, so I can offer them tailored solutions that meet their specific requirements.”
What do you believe is the key to success in outside sales?
The interviewer is asking this question to gain insight into the Outside Sales Rep's motivations and what they believe is necessary for success in their role. It is important to understand what drives the Outside Sales Rep and what they believe they need to do in order to be successful. This question can also help the interviewer to understand if the Outside Sales Rep is a good fit for the company and the position.
Example: “There are many keys to success in outside sales, but I believe that the most important one is building relationships with potential customers. It’s important to develop a rapport with them and understand their needs so that you can offer them products or services that they’re actually interested in. You also need to be able to effectively communicate your value proposition and close deals. Persistence and resilience are also important, as outside sales can be challenging at times.”
What do you consider to be your personal strengths and weaknesses when selling?
An interviewer would ask this question to gain insight into how self-aware the outside sales rep is and how they view themselves in relation to their ability to sell. It is important for an outside sales rep to be able to identify their personal strengths and weaknesses so that they can sell more effectively by playing to their strengths and working to improve their weaknesses.
Example: “My personal strengths when selling include my ability to build rapport with potential customers, my ability to identify customer needs and my ability to close sales. My personal weaknesses when selling include my occasional shyness when meeting new people and my tendency to get too excited about a sale, which can sometimes come across as pushy.”
How do you manage a sales territory?
An interviewer would ask "How do you manage a sales territory?" to an Outside Sales Rep in order to gauge their ability to successfully sell in a specific area. It is important for an Outside Sales Rep to be able to manage their sales territory in order to maximize their sales and meet their quotas.
Example: “The first step is to create a sales plan. This will help you map out your territory, identify your target markets, and set sales goals. Once you have a plan in place, you can start working on building relationships with customers and prospects. It's important to stay in touch with your customers and keep them updated on your products and services. You should also look for opportunities to cross-sell and upsell them on additional products and services.”
What strategies do you use to overcome objections?
Some common objections that outside sales reps face are:
-The customer does not have the time to meet with the sales rep
-The customer is not interested in the product or service
-The customer is not the decision maker
-The price is too high
By asking this question, the interviewer is trying to gauge how the sales rep deals with objections from potential customers. It is important for a sales rep to be able to overcome objections in a way that is respectful and persuasive, without being pushy. The ability to overcome objections is a key skill for a successful outside sales rep.
Example: “There are a few key strategies that I use to overcome objections:
1. First, I try to understand the objection and where it's coming from. Is there a specific concern that the prospect has? Or is it more general? Once I understand the objection, I can address it directly.
2. Second, I emphasize the benefits of the product or service. What can this help the prospect achieve? How will it make their life easier?
3. Third, I provide examples or case studies of other customers who have overcome similar objections and been successful with the product or service. This helps to show that it is possible to overcome the objection and still be successful.
4. Finally, I offer a solution or compromise that can help address the objection while still allowing the prospect to move forward with the purchase.”
Can you give me an example of a time when you closed a large deal?
An interviewer would ask this question to an outside sales rep in order to gauge their experience in successfully closing large deals. This is important because it allows the interviewer to get a sense of the candidate's skills in negotiating and closing sales, which is a key part of an outside sales rep's job.
Example: “I was recently working with a client who was looking to purchase a new piece of equipment for their business. After doing some research, I found a piece of equipment that I thought would be perfect for them. I presented the option to the client and they were very interested. We negotiated back and forth for a bit until we finally agreed on a price. The client was very happy with the purchase and thanked me for my help.”
Describe a time when you had to prospect for new business.
Outside sales representatives are responsible for finding and developing new business opportunities. This can involve cold calling, attending networking events, and writing proposals.
Asking the interviewee to describe a time when they had to prospect for new business allows the interviewer to gauge their sales skills and see how they handle rejection and overcoming objections. It also allows the interviewer to see how creative and resourceful the interviewee is in finding new leads.
Example: “I was working as an outside sales rep for a company that sold office supplies. It was my job to find new businesses to sell to. I would go through the phone book and call businesses, or I would go door to door. I would also attend Chamber of Commerce meetings and other networking events. I would talk to people and try to find out if they were interested in buying office supplies from my company. If they were, I would set up an appointment for a sales presentation.”
Can you give me an example of a time when you utilized creative selling techniques?
An interviewer would ask "Can you give me an example of a time when you utilized creative selling techniques?" to an Outside Sales Rep in order to gauge their ability to think on their feet and come up with new and innovative ways to sell their product. This is important because in order to be successful in sales, one must be able to constantly adapt their methods to the ever-changing landscape.
Example: “I was working for a company that sold office supplies and furniture. We had a client who was interested in buying some new office furniture, but they were on a tight budget. I suggested that we could sell them some used furniture that we had in our warehouse. The client was happy with the idea and ended up buying several pieces of furniture from us.”
Describe a time when you had to make a cold call.
Some outside sales reps may have experience making cold calls as a part of their job. The interviewer is trying to gauge the candidate's experience and skills in this area. It is important for the interviewer to understand the candidate's comfort level with making cold calls, as this is a key skill for an outside sales rep.
Example: “I was working as an outside sales rep for a company that sold office supplies. I had to make a lot of cold calls to potential customers in order to generate leads and sales. It was always a challenge to try and sell something to someone who didn't know anything about me or my company. But I always tried to be friendly and professional, and I think that helped me to be successful on many of my cold calls.”
Tell me about a time when you overcame a difficult obstacle in sales.
An interviewer would ask this question to gauge a sales rep's resilience and ability to overcome obstacles. In sales, there will always be obstacles, whether it's a difficult customer, a quota that seems impossible to hit, or a product that's not selling well. It's important for a sales rep to be able to overcome these obstacles, because if they can't, they won't be successful in sales.
Example: “I was once tasked with selling a high-end product to a very wealthy clientele. The obstacle I faced was that the product was significantly more expensive than anything else on the market. I overcame this obstacle by stressing the unique features and benefits of the product, and by offering significant discounts to those who were interested in purchasing it. In the end, I was able to sell the product to several clients and meet my sales goals.”
What do you consider to be the most important skills for a successful outside salesperson?
The interviewer is asking this question to gain insight into what skills the outside sales rep believes are necessary for success in the role. This question allows the interviewer to gauge whether the outside sales rep has the skills necessary to be successful in the role and whether they are a good fit for the company.
Example: “The ability to build rapport and establish trust quickly is essential for an outside salesperson. They need to be able to listen to the customer, understand their needs, and then present solutions that meet those needs. They also need to be able to handle objections and close the sale.”
What are your thoughts on networking and building relationships in sales?
The interviewer is asking this question to gain insight into the Outside Sales Rep's thoughts on networking and building relationships in sales in order to gauge their level of experience and understanding of the sales process. It is important for the interviewer to know how the Outside Sales Rep views networking and relationship building in sales because it will give them a better idea of how they will approach potential customers and clients. Networking and building relationships in sales is important because it allows sales reps to build trust with potential customers and clients, which can eventually lead to sales.
Example: “I believe that networking and building relationships are extremely important in sales. By developing a strong network of contacts, you can not only find potential customers and clients, but also get referrals and introductions to other potential leads. In addition, by maintaining good relationships with your contacts, you can stay up-to-date on industry news and trends, which can give you a competitive edge.”