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Sales Situational Interview Questions

Situational sales interview questions are commonly used in medical and pharmaceutical sales interviews but are increasingly common with top-tier companies in other industries.

Below are common situational interview questions asked in sales interviews. Below this is the SAR (Situation, Action, and Result) Method that recommend to use when answering a situational question.

  • What separates you from the rest of your sales team?
  • Give me an example of a goal you set for yourself in the past and the steps you took to achieve it.
  • Give me an example of a creative way you closed a sale.
  • What types of things do you do to increase your overall effectiveness on the job?
  • Tell me about a time when you worked really hard for something and you did not achieve your goal.
  • What obstacles get in your way at work and what do you do to overcome them?
  • Can you give me a time you had to deal with a disgruntled customer?
  • Give me an example of a time you went above and beyond the call of duty?
  • Describe a typical day at work.
  • Describe a typical sales call.
  • What would you bring to my company?

How to Answer Sales Situational Interview Questions

The best way to answer sales situational interview questions is to give specific examples and follow the SAR model.

SAR stands for Situation, Action, and Result.

For example, let’s consider the question “Describe a typical day at work.”

Don’t give a generic answer. Give a specific Situation.

“May I share with you how I ran my day this past Tuesday? Tuesdays are primarily a prospecting day for me.”

Stop and wait for permission to proceed before moving into the Action.

“Here’s my calendar for the day. From 8-10am I researched the 25 companies that I planned to call and mapped out what my approach would be for each of them. From 10-12 I reached out to these prospects and recorded what happened in Salesforce.”

Stop and ‘Check in’ with the interviewer.

“Is this the type of information you were looking for and would you like me to continue?”

Either pivot or continue based on the response from the interviewer. When you’ve finished with a tight explanation of your day, move to Result.

“From my prospecting activities on Tuesday I was able to schedule 3 appointments, one of which I’m going to later today.”

Although this approach requires more preparation, specific answers are far more impactful and believable.

In addition to preparing for sales situational interview questions, be prepared to role-play a sales call!

Make sure you cover all the steps of the sales cycle.

  1. Build rapport.
  2. Probe for and uncover needs.
  3. Sell to the needs of the prospect.
  4. Trial close.
  5. Overcome objections.
  6. Close.

In addition to preparing for situational questions, you also need to prepare yourself to answer non-situational questions. You can read our top sales interview questions that includes specific answers to the most commonly encountered sales interview questions.

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Chris Carlson

My name is Chris Carlson and I’m the founder and President of Sales Talent. This blog grew out of my desire to document and share what I’ve learned in my two plus decades of sales recruiting and leading Sales Talent. Our posts are aimed at sales professionals and leaders that speaks to talent selection, team building, or career advancement. If you have a topic that you’d like my take on, please reach out to me.

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