Answering the "Why Sales?" Interview Question (With Steps)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 11 December 2022

Published 16 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When applying for sales roles, you likely will hear some variation of the question, "Why sales?" Open-ended questions like this help employers assess your personality, qualifications and how you would fit on their team. While there is no right answer to this question, interviewers want to understand who you are and the motivations that led you to pursue a sales career. In this article, we explain why interviewers ask this question, along with steps to answering it and example responses.

Why Do Employers Ask Why You Want To Work In Sales?

The "why sales?" interview question is a common inquiry in sales-oriented job interviews. Employers ask this question to understand what motivates you. They often seek self-motivated employees they can rely on to perform their job independently, without extra oversight. They usually want to see your passion for the industry and what drives you to do your best.

Your response also serves as a way to demonstrate your sales skills. Use it as an opportunity to sell yourself as the best candidate for the job by showcasing your sales strengths and passions. You can also research the company's values and use that information as part of your answer to show your alignment with the role. They may be impressed that you took the effort to learn more about them, which might give you a competitive advantage.

Related: 30 Common Sales Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

How To Answer The "Why Sales?" Interview Question

Here are some helpful steps you can follow when responding to this common sales interview question:

1. Assess yourself

When you apply for sales jobs, it helps to have a clear idea of why you want to pursue this career path. Prepare by asking yourself the same question—why do I want to work in sales?—and providing an honest answer. This answer may vary based on your unique passions, interests or career goals. Think about what aspects of sales excite you about this profession and make you happy to work every day.

You may also want to include details about the specific skills you have or experiences that motivated you to pursue sales. Your interview is a chance to sell yourself as a candidate, so always showcase that you have the right qualifications to perform the job. For example, you may like working in sales because it enables you to set goals and achieve them. You can provide a specific experience where you met a significant sales goal, then explain why that experience serves as motivation for your continued career.

Related: Top 25 Sales Skills (With Examples and Tips)

2. Do your research

When interviewing, try to tailor your answers to each company. This approach shows that you took the time to learn about these companies and think about why you would make a great fit. For this question, try to find ways that the company aligns with your interest in sales. For example, you may be passionate about selling products that benefit lives, and this company sells medical devices.

You can also look at the job description to see if the listed responsibilities resonate with you. For example, you may love sales because it enables you to meet new people, and this job would require you to travel and meet customers. Include those types of details in your answer to demonstrate how the job fulfils your motivations.

3. Structure your answer

Once you have established your reasons for pursuing sales, along with ways to align them with the positions to which you are applying, you can put it all together. Develop an answer that takes no longer than three minutes for you to convey. You may want to write a draft to help yourself prepare for the interview, but do not worry about memorising it. Focus on the key points—what motivates or excites you and how this position fulfils that.

After developing a response, take time to practise it alone or with a friend. Practising on your own can help you feel more comfortable and prepared for the real interview. Having a friend conduct a mock interview can help you gain feedback on how well you respond. They can let you know whether the response is compelling and makes them want to learn more about you. This person can also assess your body language and tone of voice to ensure you appear professional and assured.

Related: How To Use the STAR Interview Response Technique

Example Answers To Questions About Why You Want To Work In Sales

When your interviewer asks you why you want to work in sales, it is a good opportunity to showcase your passion for the field. Your response to this question can also demonstrate your ability to communicate clearly, which is a key competency in the sales industry. To help you prepare for this interview question, here are some sample responses for inspiration:

Example 1

"As a child, I always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Whether I was holding a lemonade stand or selling baked goods to support my football team. I was constantly seeking ways to earn the benefits of hard work. That motivation continued throughout my childhood and into my teen years when I started my own business selling refurbished landscaping equipment and repairing small motors. I also worked my first sales job as a teen, when I set a branch record for sales at a local music store.

I kept that job through my time in university and until now, earning promotions to eventually become sales lead. Now, I want to join your team to continue learning and growing as a sales professional and reach my full potential."

Example 2

"I have always thrived in an environment where I get to meet new people and build positive relationships. Since my first role in sales nearly a decade ago, I have learned that this is the ideal career to do so. I get to build long-term, trusting relationships with clients and use those connections to help support their best interests and the company's profitability.

For example, I once spoke with a long-term client who was thinking about switching to another provider for our product. By engaging in an open dialogue about our product's benefits, I was able to retain that client with an upgraded level of service which supported their needs and increased our company's revenue. I am excited to experience similar successes if chosen for this role."

Example 3

"I am happiest in my career when I feel challenged, and sales is a great way to do so. I enjoy handling complicated situations and client needs, and I find that I excel when I can leverage my problem-solving skills in the sales field.

For instance, I once had a client who needed a suite of software security solutions on a relatively tight budget for a specific project in another country. I was able to find the right set of products for their needs in a timely manner, and within their budget, all while paying close attention to the logistics of the international setting. The client was pleased with what I offered them and renewed their contract for many quarters thereafter. I would love to apply my passion for problem-solving to complex sales challenges at your company as well."

Tips For Answering Interview Questions About Working In Sales

Here are some additional tips you can use when applying for jobs in sales:

Be confident

Conveying confidence can help you answer most interview questions successfully, including questions about why you want to work in sales. Project confidence by using a calm, collected tone and composed body language if you are interviewing in person or on a video call. If you are participating in a phone interview, be sure to speak slowly enough to communicate your ideas clearly. Practise answering this interview question ahead of time to feel even more prepared and confident when the time comes to answer it for a hiring manager.

Related: How To Prepare and Practise for a Mock Interview

Answer honestly

Questions about why you want to work in sales have many right answers, and employers use these questions to gain a sense of your own authentic motivation for working in this industry. Answer openly and honestly to help determine how well you fit with the company you are interviewing for. Explore your own interests and motivations in your answer to this interview question.

Emphasise the positive

This interview question can be a good opportunity to emphasise the things you love most about a sales career. Focusing on the positive aspects of sales can also demonstrate to your potential employer that you would maintain a similar outlook when you encounter challenges on the job. Think of several examples of times you succeeded in your sales career to help keep your response positive.


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