What motivates you to sell? – Tough Sales Interview Question

What motivates you to sell? – is a fundamental and important interview question.
If you answer it smartly, you will truly stand apart!

According to Ongig, around 44% of companies consist of a sales team, of which 21% members are salespeople and sales executives. It is evitable that sales jobs are more or less available in every company and this job has demand.

So, there are big numbers on the applicant list. According to an HR study, among 250 resumes, only 4-6 people get a call for a sales interview. So, interview preparation to get the final offer is really crucial. 

One very common sales interview question is, what motivates you to sell and the answer cannot be general. This one answer can be a key to many important sales questions as well as the preparation would help you to analyze yourself in a better way. 

Why do the interviewers ask – What motivates you to work in sales?

Unlike the technical questions or situation-based behavioral questions. This sales interview question is targeting your present thoughts and future targets.

Let us look at the main reason why interviewers ask you about your core motivations behind choosing a sales career.

1. The interviewers want to understand if you are capable and strong enough to take up a challenging job.

2. It is important for them to understand if your source of motivation aligns with the available role. 

3. This question can be asked in multiple forms. It has a broader aspect to consider before answering. Interviewers are gauging you on multiple levels when you answer it.

Don’t go overboard when answering this question and make up a story in the interview. Your answer can easily be tested and analyzed. So, you need to be truthful about your perspectives and triggers.


Interviewers might want to know if you’re a good fit for the requirements as well as the company work culture.

Also, this question wants to know your Enthusiasm, Sales skills, Motivation, and Working abilities. 

5. A salesperson should have the natural ability to sell a product or service and by this question. The hiring manager wants to measure if you have the ability to ‘sell’ yourself.

You as an interviewee need to show you have all the required abilities the company is looking up to. This one question can open the door to a number of follow-up questions. 

Also Check: Why did you choose a career in sales?

What motivates you as a sales professional?

Before you give the answer to the hiring manager, you need to analyse this reason by yourself first.

So, What Motivates You?

The best candidate for a sales job will be someone who is naturally energized by the daily targets and challenges.

Also, there are individual plans for everyone and that drives the motivation to try for a definite position. 

For example, when you’re interviewing for a sales executive position, you need to showcase your communication and time management skills. And these skills can only be developed if you’re interested in the position. 

And you cannot copy the available answers from the internet to tell the interview board what motivates you to sell.

Rather, you need to find your source of motivation and frame the answer in an appealing manner. According to neuroscience, a person’s motivation drives him to get a better routine and self-determination in anything he or she may want to do. 

To find your intrinsic motivation towards sales – Examine your goals and values. Then take out the core – the real story for this answer.

How to prepare your answer for – What motivates you in sales?

Let us look at the main steps or things you need to do to prepare your answer.

1. To prepare this answer, the top priority is to find your reason to apply for a sales job.

Find motivation that not only helps you to answer in the interview, but also focuses on your professional responsibilities. 

2. Take a piece of paper and fold it into two halves. On the left side, list down your motives.

And on the right side, write down the respective reasons. Try to find at least 3-4 motives first. Here is an example. 

MotivesReasons behind the motives
MoneyI want to let my father retire from his business and enjoy his life with relaxation. So, he can spend some quality time with the family. 
Become an expertI want to be a sales expert and let people understand that sales are not just about achieving daily goals but it is an important skill to present an ordinary thing in an extraordinary way. I want to beat my records and improve
LearningI love to learn every day and sales is a field where every day is different and comes with new opportunities. 

According to a study by Chester Elton, author of “Anxiety at Work” & “Leading with Gratitude” –

The top five motivations for the salesperson are, family, impact, learning, problem-solving, and friendship.

On the other hand, for 17% of people, money is the top-most motivation.”

3. Use a strong story.

It is not necessary if you have some true, unique story behind your motivation. Interviewers won’t believe it.

But, even if your story is not unique from the motivations perspective, it can be unique from a circumstantial perspective. 

Apply the CAR rule for preparing the answer to what motivates you to sell. CAR stands for Context, Action, and Result.

Here, context covers your key motivation and its reason.

It is followed by the action or what you needed to do to satisfy them.

Finally, You could draw a conclusion with the result you’re hoping for. 

So, if you can find the key motivation for yourself, it is easier to build your answer. Let’s see some sample answer. 

Sample Answers for – What Motivates you to sell?



I am highly motivated by new challenges and experiences. I believe that if I can face daily challenges and solve problems with my situation-handling skill, I can progress in my career. It would give me job satisfaction and I can learn something new with every new problem. I love to sell products or solutions with a unique approach and it keeps my confidence high. 


To achieve this goal, I practice time management and daily goal plans. I think it is better to follow a routine in a sales job to meet the target at the end of the day. To be successful in new challenges, I need to be confident and self-determined. I am an enthusiastic person and I take any small rejection positively to learn something out of it. So, even if I fail to convince someone after giving my 100% effort, I would like to analyze my performance for the next success. 


My ability to welcome challenges helps me to be positive at work. I believe it is important to be motivated as a salesperson to help clients and progress steadily every day. This opportunity to work with a new hope every day brings me into the field of sales. 

Why it works:

In this answer, you would mention your skills to be positive and enthusiastic as a sales executive. Also, the reason and its potential output are clear which might impress the interviewer. They would love to see your self-analysis. 




I am highly motivated by the opportunity to help others. In any other job, it is not possible to interact with the customers frequently and understand their demands. I like to sell anything with an approach to help. It keeps me happy to see others satisfied and it helps me to grow in my career smoothly. Also, the approach of helping improves the company’s customer-relationship image. And I love to represent the company with a positive sales pitch. 


To complete my goal, I worked on my soft skills like public communication, active listening, and presentation technique. I used to understand the product and service first and believe in it and try to find the queries related to it. After that, I pitch to my potential customer so that I don’t have to keep them waiting for an answer. To help the customers, I follow up on their demands and suggest accordingly. 


My communication skills help not only to sell a product but keep a long-lasting relationship with them. It helps to increase the number of existing prospects for a company replacing the one-time customers. 

Why it works:

As a salesperson, the ability to gain trust is the topmost priority. In this answer, all the necessary skills related to this requirement is mentioned along with the reason behind such motivation. 

Also Check: Tough Sales Interview questions

8 Tips to impress the interviewer when answering what motivates you to work in sales

1. Before the interview, it is advised to study the company culture for a better understanding of their requirement. Showcasing your motivations that align with their requirements gives a better chance to be selected. 

2. While answering, try to make an impact by being crisp. While answering, talk to the point and deliver a detailed answer.

3. While preparing the answer, try to find questions out of the context and think of the answers in an advance. 

For example, you may say, “I am highly motivated by money.”

So the next possible question in the interviewer’s mind would be, why money motivates you? Or what are the reasons behind this motivation of money? 

4. Do not forget to mention your key relevant skills, while answering the question.

Remember that the hiring manager wants to know if you have good communication skills, a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and sales focus. Specific answers instead of general, vague answers are always appreciated. 

5. They can ask you to show them how you can sell a pen to one of them or how you can sell yourself.

It is good to be prepared for such counter questions and answer them calmly. This is the opportunity to showcase your potential to be hired.

6. Avoid being shy and being overconfident. Coming across as confident and balanced is the key!

7. When you’re following the CAR method to express your answer, go step by step so they can visualize the story.

Don’t rush or try to memorize the answer. Be natural and confident while talking and expressing. 

8. You can also share your previous work experience as an example of your motivation when you answer. 

Similar Interview Questions:

  1. Why are you interested in sales?
  2. What made you want to work in sales?
  3. What motivates you as a salesperson?
  4. Do you feel motivated while working as a salesperson?
  5. Please share your reasons to choose sales as your career option. 

Mistakes to avoid while answering this question

Giving a Generic or Vague Answer

General answers like, ‘money motivates me’, or ‘I like to communicate with people’ won’t entertain the interviewers. This would imply that you have no such motivation or you’re not interested to work in this position.

Your answers should create an impact and cover all the necessary information that describes your skills and motivation. 

Focusing too much on Money

Money does motivate people to work in sales or in any other position. But only this motivation won’t sustain you to become a successful salesperson.

Other relevant motivations like helping others or working in a team should be mentioned while answering this sales interview question.

You can mention your motive to earn money as a secondary reason but it is better to avoid it as the key motivation to work in sales. 

Giving one Reason

Every candidate can mention one motivation that drives them to work in the field of sales. But it may not showcase a strong motivation.

Your answer would be far more impactful if you mention at least three motivations or contexts to support your answer.

It will showcase your strong interest to work in sales. It can also indicate how much you have thought about selling!  

For example, you can say that,

“I am highly motivated by innovation and love to work when there is an opportunity for direct communication. Besides daily challenges and a variety of situations, you face in sales make it very attractive for me.” 

Making up a Story

Out of anxiety, interviewees tend to forget answers or feel their answer is not up to the mark.

So, they make up a story to present. This is out of their imagination. In a way a white lie!

Note that, interviewers would ask further questions based on your answer. So, your story can quickly fall apart.

They can easily make out that you are making things up. So, it is better to be confident and present what you’ve practiced. 



[ Must Read before Next Interview – 20 Strong Examples of – Tell me about yourself for Fresher Sample Answer ]

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