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Sales Associate Interview Questions

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  1. As a sales associate, what is your experience meeting regular quotas? See answer
  2. What methods do you use to determine if a product is right for your customer? See answer
  3. Tell me about a time when you handled a situation regarding a customer who was upset about a shortage of a product they wanted to buy. See answer
  4. How do you respond when a customer asks you a question about a product that you don’t know how to answer? See answer
  5. Describe how you would sell the same product to two different types of customers. See answer
  6. What is your experience using POS systems as a sales associate?
  7. What strategies do you use to make a customer feel welcome and at-ease when they enter the store?
  8. What would you do if you noticed another sales associate struggling to help a customer or answer their questions?
  9. Tell me about a time that you experienced exceptional service from a sales associate. How would you apply your experience as a customer to being the person making the sale?
  10. How would you determine your priorities and stay busy when there were no customers actively shopping in the store?
  11. What would you do if you noticed a customer having trouble, but when you asked if they needed help they waved you away?
  12. How do you stay calm, respectful and professional when a customer is angry about their shopping experience?
  13. What would you do if you were about to close a sale when a new customer approached you demanding assistance immediately?
  14. Are you comfortable enforcing a strict return policy?
  15. Have you ever handled a customer dispute with a bank or credit card company?
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6 Sales Associate Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

As a sales associate, what is your experience meeting regular quotas?

A:

Sales associates are often required to close a certain number of transactions per day, week or month. It is helpful for the applicant to have experience hitting quotas. It shows their determination and ability to sell products efficiently. The ideal candidate will understand the importance of reaching goals in the workplace and have the drive to surpass their target number.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Sets goals for themselves and self-motivates
  • Has experience achieving sales quotas
  • Understands the importance of meeting required tasks in the workplace

Example:

“At my last sales associate job, I was required to meet daily and weekly sales quotas. I not only met the minimums, but I set my own goals to continue to excel.”

Q:

What methods do you use to determine if a product is right for your customer?

A:

When a potential client is searching for a new product, it is important for the sales associate to know whether or not an item is ideal for that individual. By explaining the specific steps that they would take, the applicant shows awareness for the customer’s needs. The candidate’s response allows you to determine how detail-oriented they are along with their critical thinking skills.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Awareness of customers’ unique needs
  • Detail-oriented sales pitches
  • Critical thinking skills to consider the best product choices for each customer

Example:

“When determining if a product is right for my client, I always make sure to focus on what problems they are trying to solve. I always ask important questions before finalizing a sale.”

Q:

Tell me about a time when you handled a situation regarding a customer who was upset about a shortage of a product they wanted to buy.

A:

In retail, there are times when popular items go on sale and they practically fly off the shelves. In such situations, customers who traveled a long way to the store might be upset because they planned to purchase the product. The applicant’s response to this question allows you to gauge how well they handle stressful situations and their ability to solve problems.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Calm demeanor under pressure
  • Good communication skills in times of conflict
  • Ability to provide out-of-the-box solutions to problems

Example:

“At my last job, we sold out of a speaker within 30 minutes, which resulted in one angry customer. I gave her a rain check so that she could buy it for the discounted price when it came back in stock, and I called her the day it was restocked.”

Q:

How do you respond when a customer asks you a question about a product that you don’t know how to answer?

A:

Sales associates should be knowledgeable about their merchandise; however, there may be times when they might not know how to respond to a client. In your company, you want someone who does not make false promises. The ideal candidate will know how to look for solutions that they don’t initially know rather than just make up an answer.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to follow up with customers
  • Knowledge of where to research answers about your products
  • Avoids making false promises

Example:

“Whenever a customer asks me a question that I cannot truly respond to, I always assure them that I will go and find the answer. Overall, I try my best to know about all of the products I sell to clients.”

Q:

What is your experiencing using POS systems as a sales associate?

A:

In the retail industry, it is essential for a sales associate to understand how to operate point-of-sale systems. Many different types of devices are used to finalize a transaction. The applicant’s answer to this question will allow you to assess what equipment they have used when closing sales as well as their basic math skills. Does the candidate have experience with the same systems your company uses?

What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience with POS systems
  • Ability to perform basic math
  • Computer skills

Example:

“I have six years of experience using cash registers. I have also used Square contactless readers as a POS system.”

Q:

Describe how you would sell the same product to two different types of customers.

A:

Sales associates should have a strong understanding of all of their employer's products, allowing them to emphasize different features based on what is most relevant to each customer. They should understand that some people respond to better certain sales strategies, so they need a plan for determining which style to use. This question helps the interviewer assess a candidate's ability to vet a customer and adjust their sales approach based on their feedback.

Successful answers will feature:

  • Observation skills
  • Flexibility
  • Strategic thinking

While there are many situations the candidate could come up with, here's one potential answer:

Example:

"I pride myself on being able to fit in with almost any personality type, and this skill applies well to my career in sales. At my last job at a shoe store, I learned how to better serve customers by observing their behavior and talking with them. For example, some customers are talkative and want to have the experience of being sold on a particular shoe, while others responded better to me bringing them shoes and being able to select their favorite on their own. I would start with light conversation and judge their body language to determine which course to take."

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