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Outside Sales Representative Interview Questions

An interview for an Outside Sales Representative position typically focuses on the candidate's previous sales experience, communication and negotiation skills, and their ability to build and maintain client relationships. The interviewer may also ask questions about the candidate's understanding of the industry and market they will be working in, their familiarity with relevant software and tools, as well as their willingness to travel and work independently. Questions designed to assess the candidate's ability to handle rejection and manage their time effectively are also common. Further, the interviewer may want to gauge how the candidate measures their sales performance and their thoughts on target setting. Lastly, as with all interviews, the interviewer may ask behavioural or situational questions to elicit how the candidate has handled difficult circumstances or conflict in the past.

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Interviewer: Good morning/afternoon! Thank you for coming in today. Can you start by telling me a little bit about yourself and your background in sales?

Candidate: Certainly. I have been in sales for the past five years, with a focus on outside sales. I have experience selling both tangible and intangible products and have worked with a variety of industries.

Interviewer: That's great to hear. Can you give an example of a successful sale you made in the past and how you accomplished it?

Candidate: One sale that I'm particularly proud of was when I sold a software package to a manufacturing company. I did a lot of research beforehand and was able to show them how the software could streamline their production process and save them time and money in the long run. They ended up signing on with us for a multi-year contract.

Interviewer: That's impressive. How do you go about finding and prospecting new clients?

Candidate: I use a combination of networking and cold calling. I attend industry events and trade shows to meet people and establish relationships. I also research companies in my target market and reach out to them via phone and email.

Interviewer: Can you describe your process for building a strong relationship with a client?

Candidate: It starts with understanding their needs and pain points. Once I have a good understanding of what they're looking for, I work hard to align our products or services with their goals. Communication is also key – I make sure to keep in touch with clients regularly to ensure they're satisfied and address any issues that come up.

Interviewer: That makes sense. How do you prioritize your sales efforts and manage your time effectively?

Candidate: I use a CRM tool to keep track of my leads and manage my schedule. I prioritize my efforts based on the potential for revenue and the likelihood of closing a deal. I also make sure to block off time in my schedule for prospecting and follow-up calls.

Interviewer: Can you give me an example of how you handle a difficult client or sales situation?

Candidate: One time, I was working with a client who was very hesitant to sign on with us. I was able to alleviate their concerns by setting up a meeting with one of our top executives and answering all of their questions in a transparent and upfront manner. Ultimately, we were able to close the deal.

Interviewer: Thanks for sharing. Can you talk about a time when you had to work collaboratively with another department or team to close a sale?

Candidate: Absolutely. In a previous role, I worked closely with the marketing team to develop targeted messaging and collateral that would speak directly to our target audience. By collaborating closely with the marketing team, we were able to close a number of deals.

Interviewer: Are you comfortable with setting and achieving sales goals?

Candidate: Yes, I am. In fact, I find it motivating to have clear targets to work towards. I'm used to setting both daily and monthly sales goals and tracking my progress towards them.

Interviewer: Can you describe your experience using a CRM tool?

Candidate: Yes, I've used a variety of different CRM tools over the years. Typically, I use the tool to keep track of all of my leads and opportunities, and I also use it to schedule follow-up tasks and set reminders.

Interviewer: How do you adapt your sales approach to different types of clients or industries?

Candidate: It starts with research. I always try to learn as much as I can about the company and their specific industry so that I can speak knowledgeably about their challenges and needs. From there, I tailor my approach to address their specific pain points and goals.

Interviewer: Can you tell me about a time when you overcame rejection or failure in sales?

Candidate: I think rejection and failure are inevitable in sales, so I try not to take it too personally. Instead, I use it as an opportunity to learn and improve. If a deal falls through, I'll examine what I could have done differently and incorporate that feedback into my approach moving forward.

Interviewer: How would you go about building a strong referral network?

Candidate: I would start by reaching out to current clients and asking if they know of anyone in their network that might benefit from our products or services. I would also look to build relationships with other professionals in complementary industries and offer to refer business their way in exchange for referrals to our company.

Interviewer: Finally, can you describe your experience with creating and delivering sales presentations?

Candidate: Yes, I have a lot of experience creating and delivering sales presentations. My approach is to keep it simple and focused on the client's needs. I'll prepare beforehand and rehearse several times to ensure that I'm polished and confident during the presentation.

Scenario Questions

1. Scenario: You are meeting with a potential new client for the first time. They express concern about the price point of your product compared to competitors. How do you handle this objection?

Candidate Answer: I would first probe to better understand their specific concerns and what their budget limitations are. Then, I would highlight the unique value and features of our product that set it apart from competitors and make it worth the investment. I would also explore potential discounts or package deals that could make the price point more feasible for them.

2. Scenario: A current client has been experiencing issues with the product they purchased from your company. They are frustrated and upset. How do you approach the situation?

Candidate Answer: First, I would apologize for any inconvenience or frustration they have experienced. Then, I would listen carefully to their concerns and complaints and make sure to fully understand the issue. From there, I would take action to resolve the issue as quickly and effectively as possible, whether that means sending a technician out to their location or providing a refund/exchange. It is important to maintain a positive relationship with the client and ensure their satisfaction with our product and service.

3. Scenario: You have been tasked with expanding our customer base in a new geographic region. How would you go about developing new leads and prospects?

Candidate Answer: I would first research the market and competition in the new region to identify potential gaps or areas of opportunity. Then, I would attend relevant networking events, trade shows, and conferences to meet and connect with potential prospects. I would also reach out to our existing network and ask for referrals or recommendations. Additionally, I would utilize targeted advertising campaigns and social media outreach to increase brand awareness in the new region.

4. Scenario: A potential client is hesitant to commit to a large purchase due to potential budget constraints in the future. How do you address this concern and close the sale?

Candidate Answer: I would address this concern by highlighting the long-term value and ROI of our product and how it can actually save them money in the long-run. I would also explore potential financing options or payment plans that could make the purchase more feasible for them. Finally, I would emphasize the limited-time nature of any discounts or promotions to encourage them to make the purchase now rather than waiting.

5. Scenario: You have a set sales target for the quarter, but are struggling to hit it. What steps would you take to turn things around?

Candidate Answer: I would first analyze my current sales strategy and identify areas for improvement. Then, I would reach out to existing clients and offer promotions or incentives to encourage repeat purchases or referrals. Additionally, I would focus on building relationships with new prospects and identifying any potential roadblocks in the sales cycle. Finally, I would closely track my progress and adjust my strategy as needed to ensure I am on track to meet my sales target by the end of the quarter.
Sample numeric data:
- What was your previous sales target and how close did you come to hitting it?
- How many new leads/potential clients do you bring in each month on average?
- What is the average value of a sale for your current product line?
- How many products have you sold in the past 6 months?
- What is your conversion rate for new leads to actual sales?
Other question specifications:
- Can you walk me through a particularly challenging sale you closed successfully?
- How do you stay organized and on top of your sales goals and targets?
- What is your experience working with CRM systems and sales tracking software?
- Give an example of a particularly successful sales campaign you implemented.
- Can you describe your approach to building and maintaining client relationships?