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Ahh the old ‘sell me this pen’ classic sales interview question!
We’ve all been there when the interviewer leans forward, takes a shiny ballpoint pen (who really uses fountain pens these days?) from their lapel, places it in front of you and asks you to answer… can you sell me this pen?
Most sales interviewers ask this question to test the prospective sales rep for confidence, to determine their sales style and level of experience. In reality, being able to sell a pen follows the same principals as being able to sell any product or service. You start with qualifying and needs analysis and end with closing the sale like a pro.
As most of us know, a consultative sales style usually works best with prospects and also ensures that the company will be represented in the way in which they expect from the people they work with.
Asking you to sell them a pen, a post-it note, an apple or any other object, forces the applicant to think on their feet when selling even the simplest of products.
But believe it or not, selling a pen takes skill and when executed correctly, the prospective sales rep will demonstrate a real understanding of the art of sales.
So how do you best answer the question? We’ve compiled a list of 8 sales training videos which will teach you the fundamentals and not only help you become a better and more skilled sales professional, but to smash your interview also.
8 of the best sales training videos to help you answer the classic sales interview question: I want you to sell me this pen…
How To Answer: Sell me this pen like a pro - method #1: Put the focus on the importance of the pen. A sales person’s pen is the most important tool in their possession. Why? It’s used by the customer to sign on the dotted line!
How To Answer: Sell me this pen like a pro - method #2: The methods used to sell this pen by overcoming objections is slightly more interesting and uses overtones of NLP to physically remove mental barriers put up by the customer.
Now, we’re not necessarily condoning this exact method as some would agree that the sales person is using fancy persuasion tricks and tactics to get the customer to buy. Nonetheless it’s an interesting watch so here it is…
How To Answer: Sell me this pen like a pro - method #3: We obviously had to include the ‘sell me this pen’ scene from the famous movie ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’. This method focuses on creating urgency based on supply and demand.
It’s not a very practical sales technique and probably won’t score you high in an interview as it’s a hard sell and doesn’t demonstrate a consultative sales style, but nevertheless, it’s worth a watch:
How To Answer: Sell me this pen like a pro - method #4: Demonstrating an understanding of the complete sales process is important when it comes time to convert your sales leads into paying customers. Start with qualifying questions and gaining a really good feel for the customer’s requirements.
How To Answer: Sell me this pen like a pro - method #5: This time a rather edgy interview between Piers Morgan and Jordan Belfort leads to the Piers asking Jordan… sell me this pen.
What we like about Jordan’s answer is that he stresses the importance of qualification first. If the prospect isn’t in the market for a pen then don’t spend all of your time trying to desperately sell to that person, but instead go and find someone who does require one.
How To Answer: Sell me this pen like a pro - method #6: Engaging with your prospects and making sure they are part of the buying process is vital. Ask questions and avoid information (features and benefits) dumping:
How To Answer: Sell me this pen like a pro - method #7: A slightly longer video this time but takes you through the entire sales cycle of selling a pen and the importance of being able to apply the same basic principals of this sales process to any product or service you may be selling. Earn the trust of your prospects.
How To Answer: Sell me this pen like a pro - method #8: A great sales video again, explaining the importance of qualifying and asking questions rather than listing off features and benefits: