A Sales Associate assists customers in the buying process. They create the customer experience for the company’s clients. A degree or diploma in Sales and Marketing or Business is an added advantage but not mandatory. If you are interviewing for this role, you need to be prepared for any possible questions.
Below we outline twenty questions that will help you prepare for the next interview.
1. Why are You Interested in This Role?
What made you make an application to this particular role? The interviewer is interested in knowing what attracted you to the role. Share what made you send in the application.
“I was drawn to this position because of my passion to deliver excellent customer experience and my great interpersonal skills. I like interacting with customers and assisting them to make purchases. I also have a year of sales experience and it meets the requirements for this position. I also like the commitment of the company towards great customer service and would love to be part of the team serving customers. I also see this as an opportunity to learn and grow my skills based on the company’s commitment to be a market leader. My career goals and aspirations perfectly align with your brand’s mission and I believe I will be a great addition to the team.”
2. What are the Roles of a Sales Associate?
The interviewer is interested to know if you can relate the roles to the job description of the advertisement. Share the roles you expect to play.
“As a Sales Associate, I will be at the forefront of the organization serving clients. I expect to greet customers and assist buyers in making product choices. I expect that I will share the product knowledge to assist customers to make informed choices. I also expect to be part of sales promotions, offers, and sharing the company’s loyalty program. I will also process orders on behalf of clients on the Point of Sale system. I will also play a key part in resolving return issues and any complaints raised by customers. Through this role, I expect to be a brand ambassador for the brand. I will work at ensuring the company maintains a great reputation in the industry based on the way I handle clients.”
3. What are the Qualities That a Sales Associate Need to Be Successful?
This role requires a bubbly personality. The interviewer wants to establish whether you can articulate the qualities needed for this role. Share the qualities while keeping to the job description.
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“To be successful you need to have great interpersonal and communication skills. This role requires a lot of interaction with clients from different walks of life. Some will be nice and others just plain nasty. You need to be composed well enough such that you are able to assist all of them equally. Product knowledge is also key for this role. You need to be able to explain a product’s features and how it is supposed t be used for optimum results. You also need to be self-driven and serving clients with a sense of urgency. Above all, you must have excellent customer service skills. I have developed my communications skills in the past year and feel I will be able to fit perfectly in this role given a chance.”
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face During Your Last Role? How Did You manage Them?
Managing challenges is a key trait in any role. Share with the interviewer what challenges you have faced and how you mitigated them.
“At the start of my career, I had trouble closing sales deals. I would pitch to a client and everything would go well until it was time to close the deal. The sales landscape has changed and now customers prefer to do the legwork for themselves. They know exactly what they are looking for and convincing an unwilling buyer is hard. I started getting tips from colleagues who were closing big deals with ease in order to improve my skills. Within six months, I was able to close many deals based on the skills I had acquired and I grew my confidence in handling customers. Now I close deals without much effort. When I take up this position, I plan to heavily invest in learning all about the products and then focus on closing deals.”
5. Describe Your Daily Routine as a Sales Associate?
The interviewer is interested to know what your day will be like. Share your expected routine tasks.
“I expect to handle walk-in clients as they come in. I will also ensure to know all the details of special sales and offers being run by the company. I will also operate the Point of Sale system and ensure all orders are captured, payments received and receipts issued. I will also answer emails and phone calls from clients making inquiries. I will follow up on potential leads in a bid to close the sale. I also expect to give reports to my supervisors of targets and how close I was to achieving or surpassing them.”
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
The interviewer is interested in this information to determine if you are the right fit. Share your work experience and the skills you have developed that are important for this role.
“I have a year of experience in retail sales selling beauty products. I saw this was a key requirement for this position. In the year that I have worked in this role, I was able to develop key sales skills such as interpersonal skills. I have developed my confidence to handle different types of clients and be able to close leads. Over the past year, I have developed my customer handling skills and undertaken courses to develop customer service skills. This I believe is at the heart of continuous improvement strategies of the company.”
7. What Kind of Strategies and Mindset is Required for This Role?
Keep the job description in mind while answering this. Try to relate the attributes of the job to the mindset and strategies you need.
“A Sales Associate should have an upbeat personality. He/she should be passionate, creative, and tech-savvy. The role requires a highly engaged individual with a go-getter mindset in order to close sales deals. I have worked at developing these attributes and I believe my skills will benefit the organization.”
8. What Is the Biggest Challenge That You Foresee in This Job?
Use this question to highlight your strengths. Share a challenge and explain how your strengths in the area will enable you to solve it.
“The biggest challenge will be keeping pace with online selling. I see the company has heavily invested in online marketing via different social media channels. I was looking to develop my skills in this area. This is a great opportunity for me to learn and grow my social media selling skills. I have the basics of online marketing and therefore this will be a great platform for me to grow skills in this area.”
9. How Do You Stay Motivated in Your Work?
What makes you tick? This could be a trick question. Connect this to the company’s goals and share how that motivates you. Go beyond the financial rewards attached to the position in your answer.
“I am motivated by meeting targets and learning new ways of doing things. As this company is committed to continuous improvement through learning new ways to do things, I believe it provides a great platform for me to upgrade my skills in sales. I also set personal goals that I work hard at realizing and it makes me motivated to go hard at it. Working closely with my colleagues also fuels me up. I enjoy being part of a great team that produces results and is committed to helping the organization realize its mission and vision.”
10. Describe a Time When You Failed in This Role and The Lesson You Learnt?
Sales is associated with failures of different kinds. Share the lessons you took from a past failure.
“In my previous role, I was hired with zero sales skills. The first month I barely made any sales despite having high sales targets. Through this failure, I invested heavily in my learning of different aspects of sales. I learned to sell like a pro and within four months I was surpassing the targets set. Through this experience, I learned that you can work hard at something and create your desired results.”
11. Why Do You Feel You Are the Most Suited for This Role?
You need to know what makes you stand out from other candidates. Use this chance to showcase that.
“My experience in sales of products in a similar industry place me as the best candidate since I already have knowledge on how to sell them. I would master the products fast because I have some background knowledge of them and the benefits they offer or problems that they solve. Also, my personal values and goals align closely with the company’s mission and vision. As such, I see this as a mutually fulfilling relationship whereby the company and I would both benefit.”
12. Share with Us Your Greatest Achievement.
When it comes to sales jobs, achievements may determine if you are hired. This role requires go-getters committed to delivering results. Share what makes you stand out.
“In my previous role, I managed to meet and surpass monthly targets six months in a row making me the first salesperson to ever achieve such results. I was then voted the salesperson of the year. This was a result of hard work and resilience in the face of obstacles. I invested in growing my skills and it paid off well. In the process, I learned my strengths and would love to deliver similar or even better results for this role.”
13. What Three Words Sum up Our Brand?
The interviewer is assessing how well you know their brand. What words can you use to describe them? Base your answer on what the brand is known for.
“The three words would be excellent customer experience. I like the fact that this brand is known for going above the normal levels of customer satisfaction. The brand aims to deliver a unique experience for each customer. This is what attracted me most to this organization. I would love to be part of the team creating these unique experiences.”
14. Have You Ever Had to Explain a Product Shortage to a Customer?
The interviewer wants to see your ability to think on your feet. Share a situation and how the customer responded to the information.
“In my previous role, we used to stock up on a lotion for people with sensitive skin. The sales were not much because most people bought the normal ranges. A customer came in when we had run out of stock. I had to explain that we did not anticipate that they will be bought that first. I assured her that an order has been made for the same as she said she is used to getting the lotion from our supermarket. I took her number and promised that when they are restocked, will inform her so that she can come to make a purchase. The customer was impressed that I would go to such lengths to make her comfortable. I kept my word and earned a loyal brand ambassador in the process.”
15.Do you Consistently Meet Sales Goals?
Sales goals are key in this role. Share your strategies for this and how you have implemented them in the past.
“Yes, I do. In the first three months of my career, I had a challenge closing sales. I would explain the product to the client but fail to convert that into a sale. I noticed the weakness and made effort to learn from others how they did it. After that, I have been meeting and surpassing the sales goals set every month.”
16. What Do You Do When a Customer Asks a Question That You Don’t Know How to Reply?
Challenging questions may be asked. Your ability to respond is crucial. The interviewer wants to know what you will do in such an instance. Share your strategy.
“In my previous role, everyone was assigned particular products that you had to master. You were needed to have general knowledge of the other products in the company. One time a customer asked about a product that was not on my master list. Based on the questions she asked, I noticed that I would easily give out misleading information. I asked the client to be patient so that I can get her the person who would best assist her.”
17. How Do You Determine if a Product is Right for Your Customer?
Matching customers with products is a skill that a Sales Associate needs to build. Share what makes you match them.
“I ask a customer questions to determine their needs. I always want to establish what they want the product to do for them. Also, what results do they want to achieve from using the product? Once I have established their needs it becomes easy to suggest a product for them. This strategy has worked well over the years in satisfying the clients I interact with.”
18. How Would You Sell the Same Product to Two Different Customers?
Different types of customers may have similar needs. Demonstrate how you will sell to them the same product.
“For one client, I will emphasize the problems the product will solve for them based on my assessment of their need. For the other, I will capitalize on the benefits that they will derive because of using the product. This will ensure each client is satisfied based on their needs.”
19. Do You Have Any Experience Managing a Cash Register?
This role may involve handling the cash register at some point. Having experience in managing it may give you an added advantage over the other candidates. Tell the interviewer what you know about managing the cash register.
“Yes, I have. In my previous role, I acted as a reliever cash register attendant for when the cashiers take their off days. Through this, I learnt how to operate the various payment modes. I am conversant with how to receive payment, issue changes and receipts for the goods. I am also able to give a summary of the transactions at the end of the work shift as well as account for all money received.”
20. What Key Words Would Your Colleagues Use to Describe You?
The interviewer wants to establish what you are known for. The way our colleagues describe us can give someone an idea of who we are. Tell the interviewer what your colleagues would say about you.
“My colleagues would use words such as go-getter, ever-smiling, resilient and hardworking to describe me. They acknowledge that I put my effort into everything I do. They also claim that I do not seem to be discouraged by any obstacle hence I am ever smiling.”
As a Sales Associate, you have unique skills to succeed in an interview. Picture yourself as the product. Package yourself well. Sell yourself to the interviewer using your selling experience. Ensure you leave a good impression.