Sell me your pen

There is an age old question that seems to be asked in nearly every sales type interview. The question is “Sell me this pen”. The interviewer is looking for your ability to think on your feet and how quickly to can add value. If you are able to provide a succinct sales pitch adding value to such a seemingly meaningless item then you probably are on your way to a successful career in sales.

Most people struggle with this question even if they are tremendous sales people. The reason being is that the whole situation is forced, it is like role playing at a sales convention, typically not your best work. You are also trying to sell something that has very few attributes for which you can add value to. 

The best way to focus on this question is to focus on the emotional aspect. Yes, it is true that the pen is not that special but make me feel like I need to own it. Create a storyline that makes it impossible for me to not buy this pen. If you can do this you will be picking up the employers jaw off the table. 

Here is an example: 

Employer: Sell me this pen. 

Candidate: Mr./Ms. Employer, thank you for meeting with me today to discuss your need for a new pen. This is a top of the line Bic pen that is in limited production due to the fact that they are handmade. Our pens are used by only the best and brightest of todays minds, as a matter of fact 4 U.S. President are currently using this pen. Now, let me ask you something Mr./Ms. Employer? Do you sign important documents? 

Employer: Well yes I am the President of the company. 

Candidate: And what pen do you use to sign those documents?

Employer: I dont know whatever is on my desk. 

Candidate: As important a person as you are and as important as the documents you are signing don’t you deserve a pen that is memorable?

Employer: Well yes I suppose. 

Candidate: Here is what I am going to do for you, because we are at limited production for this specific pen I will get you a single case at a 10% discount. Unfortunately, this offer is only available today. 

If you can come up with something very similar to that on the spot in front of an employer I guarantee you will get the job. I have interviewed enough people for sales positions to know that most answers do not even come close to that. This situation provides the buyer/employer with a sense of urgency, true value proposition, emotional add, and demonstrates that you are a “Special Customer”. Focus on the emotional value when you are selling something, make the buyer feel what you are selling. Sounds cheesy but remember nobody wants to be sold something but everybody wants to buy something.  

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