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How to Answer "Describe the Ideal Sales Job From Your Perspective"

by Neil Kokemuller

"Describe the ideal sales job from your perspective" is a common interview request when you apply for many types of sales positions. Effectively answering this question is critical, given that the hiring manager wants to see whether your interests and abilities align well with the company, products and sales role.

Company Culture

A thorough answer to a question about the ideal sales job covers multiple facets of the work environment, including the company culture, the job and the role of the salesperson. In addressing the company culture, it is important to speak genuinely about traits you like in an organization while also touching on things you learned about the company in research. You could say, "First and foremost, I want to work in a positive environment for a company that has a good reputation for integrity in its business practices."

Products and Services

While many sales managers focus more on raw selling talent than familiarity with products and services, it may help to throw in preferences for certain product solutions if you have them. In addressing this component of the job for a car dealership, you could say, "While I've sold a number of products in my career, I have an especially strong comfort and passion for selling cars, as you can tell from my resume and work history."

Salesperson's Role

Different sales jobs involve different selling roles. Field salespeople travel and sell face-to-face, for instance, while inside reps more often contact prospects by phone and e-mail. Some salespeople actively build relationships while others work with a high volume of prospects each day. Depending on your preferences, you might say, "My favorite part about selling is getting to know customers and helping them solve their problems. So, I'd much prefer an environment where building and maintaining customer relationships is key."

Selling Philosophies

A final component that you can add to your answer if possible is selling philosophies. Different organizations often have different values in the way they approach selling and customer relationships. You could say "I've worked in sales organizations that were customer-centric and some that put more onus on pitching products. I prefer to work for a company that takes a customer-first point-of-view because I think this is important to long-term success for both the company and me." This particular response makes sense if your research shows the hiring organization has such a customer-centric philosophy.

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