How to Answer 'Why Do You Want to Work in Sales?'

Jay Fuchs
Jay Fuchs


"Why do you want to work in sales?" It's a question that just about any sales candidate is liable to run into when interviewing for a new role — one that can be tricky to maneuver when it comes up.

Answering it is a balancing act where you have to avoid being too arrogant, too vague, too long-winded, too passive, and too aggressive — all at once. Here, we'll show you how to handle the question and offer some solid example responses for you to reference.

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1. Be excited.

It might go without saying, but if you're pursuing a sales role, you should probably enjoy sales. If you're not actually interested in the field, you could be setting both yourself and anyone who hires you up for failure.

Interviewers know that, and that's why they ask this question in the first place. They're not looking to bring on new hires who are only going to be halfway invested in what they do. They want to see some sincere enthusiasm, and that has to come from a real place — so be excited, and let it show.

2. Know why you're excited.

This point is an extension of the one above. If you're sincerely excited, you should have a good grip on why. What about the field speaks to you? If you can only say something to the effect of, "I don't know why I love sales, but I swear I do," you're not going to make a particularly compelling case for yourself.

3. Research the company you're interviewing with.

Being able to incorporate some insight about the company you're interviewing with into your "Why sales?" answer can go a long way. Do your homework. Gather as much intel as you can about the business, its product or service, and its mission.

If you can touch on why you're interested in sales in the context of the organization you've applied to — not just sales as a broader practice — you can set yourself apart from other candidates.

4. Be concise.

Don't let your answer run too long. Think of your response as an elevator pitch. You're not supposed to list out every last career milestone or wax poetic about how you were born to sell for a few minutes on end. Try to contain your answer to 30-or-so seconds, and get some bang for your buck with what you say.

5. Stay focused.

This point ties into the previous one. Know what you want to say, and get to it. Lock in on a handful of key talking points, and don't leave too much room for excessive improvisation. While you don't want to come off as too rigid or rehearsed, you definitely don't want to let your answer get away from you.

6. Point to specific examples if you can.

A certain degree of specificity is your friend here. Prospective employers want to know you can back up what you say. If you can talk about some specific experience you have, point to concrete skills you've developed over your career, or discuss elements of the company's mission that speak to you, you can put together a particularly convincing answer.

7. Stress how you enjoy solving for the customer.

Sales, at its core, is customer-oriented. It should be about assuming a helpful, consultative role for prospects and pairing them with solutions that work for them.

Interviewers tend to be receptive to candidates who can sincerely speak to their passion for customer service. Being able to touch on that can show them that you're in the field for the right reasons.

Now that you know what goes into a successful "Why sales?" answer, let's take a look at some examples of top-notch responses.

"Why do you want to do sales?" Answers Examples

Speaking to Your Immediately Relevant Experience

"In my current role, I mostly sell to small to mid-sized construction firms. I would say I like what I do because of the relationships I'm able to establish with those business owners. The best parts of sales for me are knowing that the solution I'm selling is helping my customers thrive, staying in touch to make sure they're getting the most out of the product, and understanding I had a part in helping their businesses grow."

Why It Works

This example covers a few critical bases. It touches on relevant, applicable experience the interviewee can bring to the company while establishing that they're in the field for the right reasons.

Speaking to the Company's Mission

"This might sound a little cliche, but I enjoy working in sales because I like solving for the customer. I like knowing that I'm helping customers' businesses grow, and that's why I'm so drawn to this role and company. You're a mission-driven organization that's very customer-centric with a focus on expanding businesses ethically. My passion for sales stems from a similar mindset."

Why It Works

This example works because it both addresses the question and helps the interviewee demonstrate sincere interest by showing they did their homework on the company.

Speaking to Your Compatibility With the Field

"Sales suits me well. It's a field that aligns well with my skills, interests, and disposition. I have excellent interpersonal skills, and I'm passionate about relationship-building and customer service. Those traits have made me an effective salesperson — and simply put, I enjoy doing things I do well."

Why It Works

This is an instance where speaking with some bravado comes in handy. This example is an honest reflection on why the interviewee is in the field that alludes to some applicable skills without being too over the top.

Articulating why you want to work in sales can be tough, so it's easy to get a bit flustered when an interviewer puts you on the spot and expects you to get your passion for the field across in a single response. But if you come prepared and remain composed, sincere, and honest, you should have no problem nailing your answer.

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