Salespeople have the highest employee turnover rates compared to any other industry. Three times higher, in fact. And while sales hires are easy to make, hiring the right salesperson isn’t quite so easy.
It is worth the effort, though, and one of the key ways to identify top sales talent is by crafting excellent sales interview questions.
Hiring salespeople takes, on average, a little over 6 months and it costs around $115,000 to replace a sales rep. Considering the average tenure for a salesperson is just 18 months, getting a sales position filled with the right person is crucial. The better fit a salesperson is, the longer they stay. Happy salespeople are more successful, earn more for the brands they work with and spend more of their day on sales activities.
Why Common Sales Questions Aren’t Enough
Interview questions are one of your main tools for getting to know candidates. The best sales interview questions are the ones that give you a window into what the candidate is really like. Not only do you want to know what makes them tick, you also want to be sure that they’re right for your business and prospects. This is how to hire top sales talent that is likely to stay with your company and boost your revenue.
Given the churn rate of sales staff, most seasoned salespeople will have heard the common sales interview questions before. If they’re any good, they’ll have prepared answers for them too. When you’re looking for the very best sales talent, you need outstanding questions to ask in a sales interview. The kind of interview questions that get to the heart of the candidate’s thinking, processes, relational intelligence and exposes their level of skill with sales tools.
Sales Interview Questions About Process
Top sales interview questions interrogate all areas of a salesperson’s approach to their role, not just their skills or experience. Sales interview questions about process are the ones that show you both how organized the candidate is and how well they think on their feet – two very important skills.
How would you approach me with your current company’s offering?
Understanding the potential salesperson’s engagement methods and opening a window to how they introduce themselves to prospects is a great place to start. It’s not completely out of the ordinary, yet it’s not so common that it can be answered without thought. It will give you a feel for their opening sales style.
Can you take me through your sales process?
Even if different from the sales development process your business uses, candidates that are able to give a lot of detail in their answer to this show their dedication to their profession. It’s likely they’ll be equally committed to your company’s sales process. An understanding of sales processes, being organized overall, and remaining present in the moment are strengths common to great sales reps across industries.
What makes you continually meet your sales quota and sets you apart from the rest of your team who use the same sales process as you?
Salespeople know what makes them successful, so they can continue to do whatever it is they do to hit their quotas. There is no way out of this question. If candidates don’t know how they win, they can’t replicate it – a big red flag for you.
Sales Interview Questions to Ask About Lead Nurturing
Sales is about relationship building and making connections. Prospects often need multiple contacts before they are ready to buy. This nurturing process is key to sales success, so include lead nurturing sales position interview questions for all candidates.
Tell me about a time when a prospect made things difficult for you and you won them over.
Tenacity is a necessary trait for successful salespeople. How this question is answered should show you whether the candidate can parse their feelings from a rejection or a hurdle placed in their path, and still move the relationship forward.
Have you ever decided a prospect wasn’t right for the product and ended the process?
Not every lead is a good lead. Although you don’t want a salesperson who gives up at the first murmur of rejection, neither do you want salespeople who are so pushy they’ll sell your product to prospects who just aren’t right. Turning away poor prospects is a sign of a confident and aware salesperson.
How do you go about establishing a relationship with prospects?
Salespeople who rely too heavily on a pre-established automated sales cadence are unlikely to meet their monthly quota, never mind exceed it. We live in a world where customers expect personal service, and if they don’t get it from you they’ll go to your competition. 80% of customers are more likely to buy from brands who personalize interactions.
Top Sales Interview Questions for Ascertaining Skill
Sales isn’t just about the process of turning one prospect into a happy customer, it’s also about generating new leads. A strong set of sales skills puts a salesperson, and the company they work for, in a good position for continuing to reach sales targets – even when the marketing team isn’t generating and qualifying leads. Sales interview questions to ask candidates that delve into skill should cover basic pitching and common pitfalls.
Pitch me on our product.
Ask the candidate to give you a pitch on your product after the interview. This will show you how well they do their research, how good they are at reading their prospects, and the tactics they use to sell. Are they product or customer focused? How long was their voicemail and how long did it take for the follow-up email to arrive?
How do you get around ‘just checking in’ with prospects?
If salespeople are opening their calls, email or any other contact with prospects by ‘just checking in’ they’re not adding value. They’re essentially spamming their prospects. No one likes to be pestered. Salespeople, just like every other member of your team, should add value and build trust with each customer interaction they have.
How do you ask customers for referrals?
The best leads a business can have are the recommendations from existing customers. Salespeople should be asking their happy customers for referrals and new introductions. That’s not to say they should be pushing all successful sales for new leads, but a polite request goes a very long way to growing your business.
Why Asking the Right Questions Matters
Better quality questions to ask in a sales interview will lead to a better selection for the company at the end of the hiring process. A bad sales hire can cost your business dearly – $2 million on average, according to HR Daily. Getting it right can lead to higher job satisfaction for the successful candidate and a long, happy and fruitful relationship between them and the business. Asking the right sales interview questions is one of the most important steps in hiring that ideal candidate.