“What motivates you to sell?” is one of the most common questions asked during sales interviews. Preparing your response in advance can help you answer with confidence, highlighting important elements of your approach to sales. 

When crafting your answer, keep these tips in mind: 

Give a specific response. 

A vague, generic answer like “I appreciate a challenge” doesn’t help the hiring manager understand the unique abilities and experiences you bring to the team.  

Instead, spend some time thinking about what your answer truly is. What motivates you, specifically, to sell? Answering with insight into your own motivation demonstrates the self-awareness all successful salespeople need in order to learn. It also helps you and the hiring manager judge whether this is the right team for you. 

Don’t shy away from showing your character. 

It can be tempting to play it safe by focusing on motivations, like meeting sales quotas or outperforming your team members. The best answer to the question “What motivates you to sell?”, however, will teach the hiring manager something about your character as well.

Here, telling a story can be useful if it illustrates the answer to your question. For example, you might explain how you’ve loved helping people solve problems since you were five years old and discovered that you had a knack for picking potato bugs out of your neighbor’s garden. 

Talk about what happens when your motivation is challenged. 

When talking about what motivates you to sell, one effective way to approach the response is to name your motivation, then provide an example of when motivation didn’t get you what you wanted. 

For instance, if you say that your motivation is “to beat my previous sales goals,” you might follow up with a story about the first time you failed to do so. Talk about what that experience taught you. Did it redouble your motivation? Did it teach you the importance of strategizing?  

This type of answer allows you to showcase a number of important skills and strengths, like the ability to cope with disappointment and turn difficulties to your advantage. 

At SMR Group, our recruiters help sales and marketing professionals connect with some of the best opportunities and employers in the medical device, biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Contact us today to learn more. 


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