When someone steps out to find a sales job, it needs some extra preparation beforehand. This is because the sales field is competitive and interviews for this position are complicated. But, let’s not demotivate in the very beginning. There are multiple scopes to find target sales jobs by clearing the sales interview properly. Only a resume is not good enough for the final call but your skills need to be showcased in front of the interviewers.
Cut to the point, what all do you need to answer an interview question to describe your sales experience? You need real experience, proper presentation, and sales skills. In this article, you would be understanding how to prepare these three important segments for your target sales job. If you have experience, know how to channel it in a well-structured answer. And if you’re a fresher, then know how to develop the skills.
There is an issue of the right perspective. Sales is all about rejection or sales is all about challenges and business progress. Almost every B2B and B2C business need an efficient sales team.
What is Sales Experience?
In a single sentence, sales experience is any past activity where you successfully convinced someone to buy a product or get a service in exchange for money. But in a larger explanation, sales experience includes different parameters and has multiple roles covered. Most importantly, you need to believe in what you’re offering to others.
In an interview, when answering the question, tell me about your sales experience, you need not only need to describe what you did but also mention its actual importance on the business. Sales make a very strong impact on small or large-scale businesses. According to Mint news, Paytm is planning to hire 2000 new sales executives in 2021 to promote Paytm’s different digital products to merchants and users. The starting salary would be around INR 35k. So, if you want to apply for such a job, you need to have a strong sales background. That is where you need sales experience.
Sales experience requires soft skills, management skills, and a past role in any position related to sales where you worked actively.
So you need to know which roles to include in your resume as well as speak about in the interview session as your sales experience.
Also, if you have a plan to begin a start-up at any point, this preparation and experience would help you again. Note that entrepreneurs need to be a salesperson as well. The better you know your target customers, the better products or services you can offer them.
Sales Experience Examples
Real Estate Agent
In my last job as a real estate agent, I have arranged 15 successful real estate transactions in a year. I got a client who was looking for a property to start a hotel. In the final deal with the seller, there was a legal problem. My client was really upset and frustrated.
So I managed that issue with one of my close land dealers and finalized the property for the buyer. They were really happy and recommended my name for some further projects. As a real estate agent, my job was not only to find the right property for my client but also to help them to get the deal without any major difficulty.
I worked as an insurance agent for EasyLife Agency for three years. I met a retired man who wanted to start medical insurance. My job as an insurance agent was to convince him to buy a service from our company. He finally agreed but after seven months, there was a banking issue. My client paid the monthly premium online but somehow our system is showing no payment received.
So, I personally met him and try to understand the whole process. I found the actual problem and discussed it with our finance department. Within two weeks the problem was solved. Even though this task was actually allotted to the customer service department, but my personal concern made both my client and my sales manager satisfied.
With my college studies, I had a part-time job as a cashier in a supermarket. I had a target to sell new arrival products to the customer at the counter as an offer. According to their cart items, I used to offer different new products to them. I worked in their customer service as well for some days. I achieved the sales target every month and received the best salesman of the month two times.
Usually, experience as a cashier is not counted as a sales experience. But if you’ve sold some products or services in this role, you can definitely include that in your interview answer.
Retail Sales Associate
As a retail sales associate at MyMart, I had the responsibility to greet the customers, answer their doubts, explain the benefits of multiple products, check daily stock once every day, etc. I continued this job for two years. I also led a team of five people in our sales associate department.
I, as an associate need to ensure that every customer is going back with their required products. I used to communicate with people frequently to find their products easily. If required, I also help people at the billing counter. My ultimate goal was to maintain customer satisfaction and keep the store organised.
In my final year of business management course, I had to work as a product demonstrator. I got water purifiers to demonstrate for a week in an electronics shop. I learnt from the other salesperson how to interact with customers in the first go. I convinced five customers in a week to buy a water purifier. With this project, I got learn new skills, understood how to work in a practical field, and convince customers.
One of them came to buy a new refrigerator. But I managed to convince them to buy a water purifier as well to avail a good offer and demonstrate all the latest features of the product. They were happy and bought that product.
Informal Seller or Agent
My uncle has a business of tours and travels. I worked as his assistant for six months before applying for this job. I used to go to his agency and communicate with people. Generally, I tried to find young customers as they became comfortable with me. I described the offers, made exciting videos for demonstration, connect personally for assistance. In these six months, I managed to get ten new customers and convinced seven existing customers for their next tour. There was a three-days short tour from Mumbai to Goa where I went with the tour guide to assist the customers.
These are the fields that count as sales positions and you can talk about them as your sales experience. Now, you may ask, why do interviewers ask this one common question to all the applicants even after showing their qualifications and experience in the resume. Here is the answer.
Why do interviewers ask, “Describe your sales experience“
Even after submitting your resume, interviewers ask questions related to sales experience as they want to know about it in detail. You only can give insights about your experience that drives the interviewers to hire you. Also, according to the job description, you can mention your relevant skills that help to justify your application. Similar to the last examples, you can share your sales experience that not only tell that you can sell a product or service but also establish that you have skills to handle responsibilities.
Also, interviewers need to understand that you have all the abilities to become a fit in the target sales position. So, let’s find out the skills you need to develop or highlight to get a green flag in the interview round.
Why is Sales Experience Important?
Sales work is challenging and rewarding. There is no other job where you can build a strong foundation for a successful career. This is because sales is everywhere.
The skill of describing something, make a warm conversation, understand customer’s demands and mentality, and finally convince someone to buy a product or service require sales skill and experience. You need to manipulate one’s decision through your sales skill. And that generates maximum revenue for any existing company.
Zig Ziglar, a salesman and author said that sales is all about five obstacles as no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust. And as a salesperson, you need to convert all of these NOs as YESs. According to Marketo, sales and marketing alignment can help a company to become 67% better at closing deals.
8 Reasons why Sales helps to improve the business structure
- In every business path, one thing is common and regular, that is NO. Be it B2B or B2C, at first it is H2H (or human to human). So, in every business human interaction plays a critical role and nobody better than a sales team can handle this. Sales teach you how to approach target customers directly and alter the negative responses.
- The salesperson knows how to improvise according to the customer’s mood. Improvisation refers to the action based on the real-time situation. You need public speaking skills and trust-building skills to improvise your pitch to close any small or big deal. Situation handling is one of the most crucial parts of sales and marketing.
- Similar to the last point, public speaking in sales also leads the salesperson to connect with others. You need to learn rapport building, or the habit to balance a harmonious relationship between people to understand each other’s feelings. That is how you can generate trust among people. And in any business, building and maintaining trust is the fundamental part.
- To build a business relationship, a salesperson should know what to ask. That needs potential research and ground-level knowledge. The right question is the key to make a strong relationship. Sales has an important role in this field as they can interact directly with people and continue H2H business.
- Nobody knows everything. But in sales, you have to pretend it. You should sound like an expert so the customer in front of you can believe you and listen to your pitch carefully. And for this reason, a salesperson needs to do a lot of research, develop his/her speaking and presentation skills.
- Salespersons are the ones who actually go to the potential customers and assist them to understand a product. So a salesperson needs to learn about the product first, then he has to find its benefits and finally according to the demand he has to showcase it. The sales department is the one that ensures that the company can generate maximum revenue.
- According to a study, those who have a goal would get 10 times more successful than someone who has to know regular goals. Also, when someone has written goals, can achieve even 30 times better success. So the picture is clear. Sales have regular goals to achieve and this practice eventually make a business successful. Setting and achieving goals is a habit for a proper salesperson.
- Salespersons are attentive and they capture every little detail. This help to do better research before making a final sales pitch. And a well-researched pitch always increases the trust from the customer’s side.
Now you may ask how to actually answer if the interviewers ask, describe your sales experience. So, here are the tips to answer interview questions related to sales experience.
How to answer “Describe your sales experience”
While answering your sales experience, you need to keep in mind all the upper-mentioned points. A well-structured answer and cited skills would make you exceptional in the interviewer’s eyes.
1. Review the job description of your desired job
It is important to go through the job description once again before the interview to point out all the necessary criteria they are looking for. For example, a company might require someone who has three years of experience with Hubspot. Or they are looking for someone who worked in a team for at least a year. According to their specific requirement, you need to highlight your skills in the answer. Also, try to understand the company culture from their websites, blogs, news or any close friend who worked (or is working) there.
“I worked in FastSale for the past two years and for first six months I was a junior sales trainee. As I completed all the monthly targets, I became a senior sales trainee and I led a team of ten people for the last one and a half years. We as a team, improved the annual sales revenue by 15%.”
[ To increase your chances of cracking interviews, read – 15 Important Skills for an Interview that Boost your Interview Performance ]
2. Highlight your Skills
When you can highlight your sales skill through your story of experience, you can also showcase how convincing you sound. For your target job, speak about the past role and emphasize the skills that would also help the current company.
Try to call attention to past achievements. All you have to do is make a connection between your prior role and your new position in the answer.
As mentioned in my CV, I have worked as a retail sales assistant for a year. With the skills of public speaking, organization, and multi-tasking, I completed all the given targets. With these skills and experience, I can work as a regional sales manager in Delhi. Also, I would like to mention, I am quite fluent in the regional language that would make the customers feel easy to get any assistance.
3 Important articles that will help you immensely in highlighting your skills are :
3. Study your self-growth
There are five steps to showcase your personal growth. This is important to let the interviewers understand that you are particular about growth and goals. So share your sales experience with the prior role.
Then tell them how to make a self-assessment, what you find, and what you decide then as further options. Tell them which relevant skills you develop to apply for a better position and try to mention them.
Finally, you need to talk about your performance, either in the second past role or in your upcoming role.
4. Prepare the Answers
Spend time n preparing the final answer. Major companies mention who would be interviewing you. So, you can research them and their business network in prior and connect easily with them. No need to memorize word by word but practice them frequently.
Also, understand voice modulation to avoid any monotony. Make a solid first impression with your answer that has relevance and skills.
Do you know, 48% of people consider a smile can act as a good first /impression. Also, make an eye-contact with everyone present on the interview board for indirect communication and get attention.
5. Practice your response
It is important to be frequent about responding. After talking about your experience, they can ask you further related questions about your experience or skills. So, you need to make yourself comfortable with rapid questions and answer them with the proper relevance.
Here is a list of similar questions that interviewers might ask you to understand your experience better.
Similar Questions about your Sales Experience
- Tell me something more about your previous sales experience?
- Why did you choose a career in sales?
- Please share your best memory of a sale you won?
- What was a mistake you made and what did you learn from it?
- Put these three words in order of importance to you – money, recognition, promotion.
- What do you do to regroup and recover when you have a bad day?
- Describe your favorite boss and what made them your favorite.
- When did you know sales was for you?
- Did you finance any of your college tuition?
- What have you done that has beaten the odds?
- Describe how/if you are a team player. What are 3 things you do to build rapport with a prospect?
- What is the first thing you would do when sales are down?
- How do you know you can sell? Sell me this pen. How do you handle disappointment?
If you want to kill it in your interviews and win top jobs, our “Fresher Interview Questions and Answers” section is a go-to place!
Don’t miss it!