If you are someone who loves marketing, sales industry, you must have heard about the famous “How to sell this pen” question. Various corporate companies still use this to examine the presence of mind during job interviews.
Before reading the answer, we would like to discuss why this question is so important for people who want to work in this industry.
People have well planned CVs but that one page isn’t something that can define a person or its approach towards life. The answers to such questions show your creative approach and how good you are at actually selling a product.
Mainly there are 4 sales skills the interviewer wants to check when you answer. These are:
- How you gather information
- How you respond to information
- How you deliver information
- How you ask for something
So, if you are one preparing for one such interview, the below answer will help you win the hearts of employers.
CEO: Do me a favor, sell me this pen.
Me: When was the last time you used a pen?
CEO: This morning.
Me: Do you remember what kind of pen that was?
Me: Do you remember why you were using it to write?
CEO: Yes. Signing a few new customer contracts.
Me: Well I’d say that’s the best use for a pen (we have a subtle laugh).
Wouldn’t you say signing those new customer contracts is an important event for the business? (nods head) Then shouldn’t it be treated like one? What I mean by that is, here you are signing new customer contracts, an important and memorable event. All while using a very unmemorable pen.
We grew up, our entire lives, using cheap BIC pens because they get the job done for grocery lists and directions. But we never gave it much thought to learning what’s best for more important events.
This is the pen for more important events. This is the tool you use to get deals done. Think of it as a symbol for taking your company to the next level. Because when you begin using the right tool, you are in a more productive state of mind, and you begin to sign more new customer contracts.
Actually. You know what? Just this week I shipped ten new boxes of these pens to Elon Musk’s office.
Unfortunately, this is my last pen today (reach across to hand pen back to CEO). So, I suggest you get this one. Try it out. If you’re not happy with it, I will personally come back next week to pick it up. And it won’t cost you a dime.
What do you say?
CEO: (picks jaw up off the floor) Yes.
See how simple that was. The CEO loved it. Why?
Because all four sales skills were displayed.
Here’s the simple sales framework I used to answer “sell me this pen”. Memorize it for yourself.
- Find out how they last used a pen (gather info)
- Emphasize the importance of the activity they last used a pen (respond to info)
- Sell something bigger than a pen, like a state of mind (deliver info)
- Ask for the buy (closing)
Remember, it’s not about actually selling a pen. It’s about showing how well you can sell a product.
And even though there are an infinite number of answers to this interview question, it’s easy to memorize a simple formula.
Now that you have a formula, next time you need a quick, go-to answer, remember the Senator Club formula.
Credits: Prashant Dedhia