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Situational Interview Questions for Sales – Advanced Tip

In Sales Situational Interview Questions we cover the basics of how to use the SAR model (Situation, Action and Result) to answer situational interview questions. Should you find yourself interviewing for a life changing sales opportunity, the basics might not be enough. In Situational Interview Questions for Sales – Advanced Tip we’re going to show you how one especially talented sales professional separated himself from the competition. We hope that his example shows you how to do the same.

Do Your Homework.

One of the best sales interviews I ever sat in on was a display of the power of homework and preparation. Prior to his interview, the sales rep I’m referencing reached out to and connected with several of my client’s sales reps via Linkedin. From those calls, he learned 3 things. 1. The hardest part of the job is getting in the door (prospecting). 2. The Sales Manager focuses on this topic during an interview. 3. He knows his talents fit the position and that he would excel at the role.

At the interview, my client asked him, “how do you get in the door with a prospect?”

Rep, “Do you want my overall strategy or a specific example?”

Client, “For now, I’d like to hear how you get in the door with a specific company.”

At that point, the sales rep pulled out a folder and said, “I brought with me a list of the companies that are currently in my sales pipeline.” Pointing to a specific company (the Situation), he shared with us how he found the lead and the approach he took (the Action) to secure the appointment (the Result). With my client’s permission, he proceeded to give a brief synopsis of how he broke into every prospect in his pipeline. Needless to say, my client and I were both impressed.

“The victor only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterward looks for victory.”
Sun Tzu

Acing Sales Interview Questions for Sales.

The sales rep that I referenced above did a fantastic job of taking my client into a specific and convincing example of his prospecting prowess. He truly made the decision to hire him a no-brainer. It‘s worth noting that you often can’t get as much insight as he did prior to an interview. In these cases, focus your preparation on specific stories that showcase key strengths and wins. Many of these, you’ll be able to adapt to different situational interview questions. For example, the situation used by the sales rep above could be adapted to answer “What separates you from the rest of your sales team?” When preparing yourself to interview, look through standard sales interview questions (many can be found in our 26 Sales Interview Questions guide), and think of next-level examples such as the one above.

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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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