17 International Sales Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an international sales manager, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

The international sales manager is responsible for the company’s sales activities in foreign markets. The jobholder develops and implements sales plans, manages a team of salespeople, and works to increase the company’s market share in target markets.

If you’re looking for a job as an international sales manager, you’ll need to be able to answer a variety of questions about your experience, your qualifications, and your approach to sales. In this guide, we’ll give you some sample questions and answers that you can use to prepare for your interview.

Are you comfortable working with a team of people from different cultures?

Working with a team of people from different cultures can be an important part of the job as an international sales manager. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience working in these types of environments and that you know how to manage them effectively. In your answer, share about any experiences you’ve had working with a multicultural team. Explain what made it successful or unsuccessful and what you learned from it.

Example: “I am very comfortable working with a team of people from different cultures. I actually worked for a company where my team was made up of people from all over the world. We communicated primarily through email and phone calls, but we also met in person once a month. It definitely took some getting used to, but after a few months, we were able to work together quite well.

We even developed our own unique communication style. For example, when someone wanted to say something more complex, they would use emojis to help us understand. It was a fun way to learn each other’s language and culture.”

What are some of the most important qualities for a successful international sales manager?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills and abilities to be successful in this role. Use your answer to highlight some of your most important qualities as a sales manager, such as communication skills, problem-solving skills or leadership skills.

Example: “I believe that one of the most important qualities for an international sales manager is adaptability. You need to be able to quickly adjust to different cultures and customs when working with clients from other countries. Another quality I think is essential is flexibility. As an international sales manager, you may need to work long hours and travel frequently. Having flexibility allows you to meet these demands while still performing well at work.”

How would you go about identifying potential markets for your company’s products or services?

This question can help the interviewer assess your research skills and ability to identify new markets for their company. Use examples from past experience to explain how you would go about researching potential markets, analyzing data and making recommendations on which countries or regions to target.

Example: “I would start by looking at our current customer base to see where they are located. Then I would use that information to determine what other countries we could expand into based on similar demographics. For example, if a large portion of our customers are in Germany, then I might look into expanding there as well.”

What is your experience with developing and implementing sales strategies?

This question can help the interviewer gain insight into your experience with sales strategies and how you apply them to achieve success. Use examples from previous roles to explain how you developed a strategy, implemented it and measured its success.

Example: “In my last role as an international sales manager, I worked with my team to develop a sales strategy that would increase our company’s revenue by 10% in six months. We started by analyzing our current sales numbers and identifying areas where we could improve. Then, we created a plan for each of these areas, including new client acquisition, customer retention and increasing sales through existing clients. After implementing this strategy, we were able to reach our goal of increasing revenue by 10% within six months.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.

An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your customer service skills. They want to know how you handle conflict and whether or not you can resolve it quickly. In your answer, try to explain what steps you took to solve the problem and highlight any specific techniques that helped you improve your relationship with the customer.

Example: “In my previous role as an international sales manager, I had a client who was very demanding. He would often call me multiple times per day asking for updates on his shipments. This made it difficult for me to focus on other aspects of my job because I felt like I needed to respond to him right away. Eventually, I scheduled a meeting with him to discuss his concerns. During our conversation, he told me that he just wanted reassurance that everything was going smoothly. After that, I started sending him weekly shipment reports so he could see all of the progress we were making.”

If we were to visit your previous place of employment, who would we likely speak with about your performance as an international sales manager?

This question can help the interviewer gain insight into your interpersonal skills and how you interact with others. It also helps them understand who they might need to speak with about your qualifications for the position. When answering this question, try to name a specific person or two that you’ve worked closely with in the past.

Example: “If I were to visit my previous employer, I would recommend speaking with my manager and my team members. My manager was always available to answer questions and provide feedback on our performance. She was very knowledgeable about international sales and provided us with training when we needed it. As for my team members, I would highly recommend speaking with them as well. They are all hardworking individuals who have valuable insights into my work ethic.”

What would you say are the biggest challenges associated with being an international sales manager?

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your experience with international sales and how you’ve overcome challenges in the past. Use examples from your previous job to show that you’re capable of overcoming obstacles and adapting to new situations.

Example: “The biggest challenge I’ve experienced as an international sales manager is language barriers. In my last position, I had employees who spoke different languages, so it was important for me to find ways to communicate effectively without relying on translation software. I found that using visual aids like PowerPoint presentations or videos helped bridge the communication gap between myself and my team members.”

How well do you handle stress?

Working as an international sales manager can be stressful. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to handle stress and remain calm when things get hectic. In your answer, share a time when you experienced high levels of stress but still managed to perform well. Explain how you were able to manage your stress in that situation.

Example: “I find that I am most productive when I am relaxed. When I feel stressed or overwhelmed, it’s hard for me to think clearly. However, I’ve found that if I take a few minutes to relax, I can usually figure out what needs to be done. For example, at my last job, we had a big client who was unhappy with our service. I felt a lot of pressure to fix the problem, but I took a deep breath and thought about all of the steps I needed to take to solve the issue. After thinking through everything, I realized there was nothing more I could do. I called the client and apologized for the inconvenience.”

Do you have any experience traveling for work?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your experience with international travel. They want to know if you have any challenges traveling and how you overcome them. In your answer, share what challenges you’ve faced while traveling for work and how you overcame them.

Example: “I do have some experience traveling internationally for work. However, I haven’t had much opportunity to travel outside of the country. The longest trip I’ve taken was a week-long business trip to Canada. While I enjoy traveling, I find it challenging to be away from my family for long periods of time. To help myself feel better during these trips, I make sure to call or FaceTime my family every day. This helps me stay connected to my loved ones.”

When was the last time you had to adapt your approach to selling something due to cultural differences?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you adapt to different cultures and situations. Use your answer to highlight your ability to work with people from other countries, as well as your problem-solving skills.

Example: “I was working with a client in Asia who wanted me to sell them more of our products. However, I noticed that they were already buying quite a bit from us, so I decided to ask why they weren’t ordering more. They told me that their company had recently hired new employees, which meant they needed to order more supplies. I offered to give them a discount on their next purchase if they ordered more right away, and they agreed.”

We want to improve our sales figures in China. What strategies would you use to help us do this?

This question is a great way to show your knowledge of the Chinese market and how you can help improve sales figures. When answering this question, it’s important to highlight your understanding of the Chinese culture and how that impacts business practices.

Example: “I would start by researching what makes China unique from other markets. For example, I know that in China, there are different ways to communicate with customers than in the U.S., so I would make sure my team was aware of these differences. In addition, I would ensure our sales materials were translated into Mandarin and that we had local representatives who could answer questions about our products.”

Describe your process for hiring salespeople to work under you.

Hiring is an important part of being a sales manager. Employers ask this question to see if you have experience hiring people and how you do it. In your answer, explain what steps you take when looking for new employees. Explain that you want to find candidates who are motivated, hardworking and eager to learn.

Example: “I start by posting the job listing on our company website and social media accounts. I also post the listing with some external websites where other professionals might be searching for jobs. Then, I set up interviews with anyone who applies. During the interview, I try to get to know them better and understand their motivations for working in sales. I look for candidates who are excited about learning and growing as a professional.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates for this position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of the skills and experiences that qualify you for this role. Focus on what makes you unique from other candidates and highlight any transferable skills or knowledge you have.

Example: “I am an excellent communicator who is fluent in Spanish. I also have experience working with international clients and navigating different cultures. In my previous position, I worked with a client who was based in Spain. I had to communicate with them in Spanish and help them understand our products and services. This helped me develop my communication skills and learn more about foreign markets.”

Which industries do you have the most experience working in?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience level and how you might fit into their company. If they’re looking for someone with a lot of international sales experience, it’s likely that they’ll want to talk to someone who has worked in that industry before.

Example: “I have extensive experience working in the technology sector, which is why I’m excited about this opportunity. I’ve also worked in the food service industry, where I helped increase revenue by 20% over two years. My background in both these industries makes me confident that I could succeed in this role.”

What do you think is the most important thing an international sales manager can do to maintain good relationships with their team members?

An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your interpersonal skills and how you interact with others. They want to know that you can work well with a team, so they might expect you to mention some strategies for building relationships with your colleagues.

Example: “I think the most important thing an international sales manager can do to maintain good relationships with their team members is to be approachable. I try to make myself available to my team at all times because I believe it’s important to listen to my employees and help them when they need me. Another way I show my team that I care is by celebrating their successes and giving praise where it’s due.”

How often do you recommend making changes to a company’s sales strategy?

This question can help interviewers understand your approach to sales and how you might implement changes in their company. Use examples from past experience where you made recommendations for change that led to positive outcomes.

Example: “I recommend making changes to a company’s sales strategy when I see an opportunity to improve the results of our efforts. In my last role, we were struggling to meet our monthly quota because our target market was changing. We needed to adjust our sales strategies to focus on selling to new customers rather than continuing to sell to existing ones. This adjustment helped us reach our quotas again and grow our business.”

There is a new competitor in the market. What would you do to stay ahead of them?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you approach challenges and use your skills to overcome them. Use examples from previous experience where you faced a challenge, overcame it and achieved success.

Example: “In my last role as an international sales manager, we had a competitor who was offering lower prices than us for our products. I met with my team to discuss what we could do to stay competitive in the market. We decided that instead of lowering our prices, we would focus on providing better customer service and more value-added services to our clients. This strategy helped us win back many customers who were leaving due to the low prices.”


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