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5 Business Developer Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

Describe a situation in which you lost a client while working as a business developer. 

A:

This question is a much more focused take on the old standby question that asks candidates to describe their weaknesses. While you won't be looking for someone who has never lost a client, you will be looking for a business developer who's able to address why they weren't successful. This forces your potential hire to address tougher parts of their career as well as address their own accountability. What to look for in an answer:

  • Accountability for past actions
  • Ability to reflect on mistakes in order to change them
  • Demonstration that they've learned from previous experiences
Example:

"At my last job, I lost a client because I was focusing too much on closing the deal. I didn't listen closely enough to them."

Q:

If you were able to pick the ideal client as a business developer, what types of traits would they have?

A:

This question allows you to see exactly what type of clients the applicant will seek out and whether those clients will be beneficial to your organization. This question also provides you with a clue about how the candidate views the organization's relationships with its clients. Finally, you'll be able to see how the potential hire will respond to any client proposals. What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to work with multiple clients
  • Understanding of the need to be flexible
  • Enthusiasm about working with clients
Example:

"My ideal client is one that's different from the one I had the day before. I want to always strive toward the next challenge."

Q:

Describe a time that you were able to overcome resistance from a client.

A:

Most of the time, clients will be resistant at first. While the goal must include overcoming that resistance, you also want applicants who will not make the company look bad while they're trying to close a deal. You'll want to find an applicant who doesn't get discouraged when they're faced with resistance but also ones who understand the importance of forging long-term bonds with potential clients. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to persevere when faced with resistance
  • Excellent listening skills
  • Understanding of how to address clients' concerns
Example:

"A client was unwilling to commit because they felt they didn't have enough money. I worked with them to find a better package deal."

Q:

As a business developer, what methods would you use to retain customers we already have?

A:

While obtaining new customers is always a goal of any company, you also want a qualified developer who understands that your business's ongoing success depends on keeping clients once you have them. This type of question will identify the difference between applicants who view the developer position as a glorified sales position and those who understand that it requires establishing a long-term rapport with people. What to look for in an answer:

  • A focus on communication
  • Familiarity with different methods for reaching out to existing customers
  • Understanding of the fact that existing clients are the company's backbone
Example:

"I think that frequent, friendly reminders that we're here for them are key. I like to send out emails and occasionally call former clients."

Q:

What role do you think you'll be playing in closing a deal?

A:

There's not a single right answer to this question. Every company has a different vision for how large of a role its business developer should play in closing deals. By asking this question, you'll determine whether the potential hire is willing to fit the role your company has in mind. Some candidates won't want to have closing responsibilities, so you'll need to know that ahead of time. What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to fit your company's needs
  • Knowledge of your company's policies
  • Past history with sales and closing deals
Example:

"My sales background includes closing deals, but I personally would prefer to establish the relationship and allow the sales department to close the deal."

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