Sales is one of the most difficult aspects of business. Sales staff needs to try to sell a product that may or may not be worth purchasing to a person or business that may or may not actually need it. Sales is its own art form. It takes an amazing grasp of the English language, strong interpersonal skills, and the ability to pick up on minute changes in behavior.
Most of all, it involves the ability to use persuasive language and well known sales techniques in order to do it successfully. One of the ways that employers like to check an applicant’s sales ability is by asking the applicant to “Sell me this pen.”
How to Sell a Pen
The goal of this question is to see that you have the ability to be persuasive about something as simple and random as a pen. Effective sales is not about listing off the features of a product. When you are selling on a pen, you do not want to pick up the pen and start listing off:
- It writes.
- It is pretty.
- It has a click feature.
- It is has a comfort grip.
That’s amateur sales. Anyone can list off the features of a product. It is not persuasive and doesn’t wow anyone. It’s a pen. What you want to do is sell the “client” (in this case, the interviewer) on the pen as a solution. Focus on what the client’s needs are, and how the pen meets those needs.
“Have you ever needed to remember something for a long period of time? Have you ever needed to write a check or sign a contract but didn’t have the tools on hand to do so? Allow me to introduce BIC pens. BIC pens are designed specifically help you write down items you need to remember, while it’s reliable ink is designed to withstand even the harshest environmental conditions. BIC is an industry leader in helpful writing devices that allow you the opportunity to keep track of thousands of items on all types of paper, all over the world.
“Easily portable, BIC pens have come with a year-long supply of ink, able to write any words you need to jot down at all hours of the day seven days a week. But that’s not all. Have you ever caught a coworker sleeping on the job? With a BIC pen, you can use the pointy tip to stab them into alertness. Our BIC pen tips are guaranteed to never dull…”
Other Interview Tips and Tricks
There is more than one way to approach this type of question. One applicant used a more interactive approach. He took a check out of his pocket, wrote out a $100 check, kept the name blank, handed the check to the interviewer and said “Wouldn’t it be great if you had a pen right now?”
Another aspect you will need to consider is how to handle concerns. Your interviewer may voice counter opinions of the pen and you will need to know how to address those counters. Do not get flustered. Keep your cool and focus on addressing the concern. Be willing to answer this question actively and show the employer that you are happy to take on the pen challenge.
Take Away Interview Tips
- Focus on how the product addresses the client’s needs.
- Be persuasive, confident, and fun.
- Avoid acting flustered by the question.