How to Answer ‘Sell Me This Pen!’ in an Interview

If you're interviewing for a sales position, you probably already know that the hiring manager may give you a pen to sell them. That's why you are here looking for answers. It's nerve-wracking to have to pitch yourself to a potential employer at the first meeting. If you want a better shot at getting the job, though, you need to be ready for it. How you perform on your first unofficial practical assignment will matter greatly. You can use the following advice to succeed at it:

Build Rapport

Always remember that you are talking to a customer, not your interviewer, so take on the role of a salesman and forget for a moment that you are a job seeker before a hiring manager. Ask the interviewer (now your potential customer)  how their day has been and engage in a brief conversation to establish a connection. It should be brief, friendly, and warm. Think about this: You can't just walk up to someone and begin to sell to them. A good salesman should know how to sell without being salesy. So taking a little interest in your customer gives a good first impression.

Establish a Need for a Personalized Experience

Your aim is to identify what your consumer needs and offer them the right solution. There can only be sales if there's a need. For all you know, you might be talking to the wrong person, who prefers to use pencils. Ask the interviewer about what kind of pen they prefer to use or if they use pens at all. Ask what type of writing they do and what they look for in a pen. Salespeople should not assume that their product is for everyone. Part of your job is to find the right fit for your product and sell it to them. This is good advice because it focuses on the customer’s needs. Your need may be to sell a pen, but that’s not the customer's business. They also have their priorities, which you should put ahead of yours. These are the qualities your interviewer needs to see.

Highlight The Features

Once you have established the type of pen the interviewer needs, highlight the key features of the pen you have, such as its smooth writing, its durability, its finishings, its cap bands, its secure pocket clips, and everything about its design. Highlight the pen's features or functionality, particularly those that are relevant to the customer's needs. For instance, a client who complains about weighty pens will find a lightweight-sized pen attractive. So you should mention that.

Emphasize The Benefits

The next question is how these features meet their needs, which is what benefits they offer. Emphasize the benefits of using this pen, such as how it can make writing easier and more enjoyable, how it can last a long time, and how it can make a good impression. Here, you must be truthful and avoid making exaggerated promises about the benefits your product can provide. If you give people the truth rather than a lot of fluff, they will appreciate you more.

Close The Deal

At this point, offer the client the pen. Let them feel it and get an idea of what it’s like using it. Give them time to explore the product himself. Ask the interviewer if they would like to purchase the pen, and make an offer. For instance, you can offer a discount and a good return policy if the pen doesn't meet their expectations, or even a one-week free trial. If they need more time to consider it, ask for their contact information to be able to follow up with them. If you're lucky and have impressed them, they may be prepared to buy. Offer to write up a bill of sale right away. You may offer them additional pens and suggest how useful they would be as gifts for friends, business associates, and colleagues.

Prepare for Refusal

Your interviewer might play the uncompromising customer, say no to your offer, and raise objections. Again, it's another opportunity to show your skill. Listen actively, understand the customer's objections, and try to understand their point of view. Address the objections by offering solutions and alternatives to address their concerns. Be honest and transparent about the limitations or drawbacks of your product. Stay positive even if they are being rude or dismissive. Being professional through and through will work in your favor.

Show Enthusiasm

Your interest in the pen and willingness to assist the interviewer will go a long way toward closing the deal, so make sure to exude both. Your enthusiasm should be driven by a desire to help your client, not by a desire to close a sale.

Be Confident

Confidence is key when selling. Show that you’re absolutely sure your solution will solve your client’s problem. Not saying that it is the best, but that it will sufficiently give the value that your client so desires and exceed their expectations.

A Good Example of a “Sell Me This Pen” Response

Here’s an example of the right answer to “sell me this pen” that uses the four aspects we mentioned correctly.

Interviewer: Sell me this pen.

Job seeker: (after exchanging pleasantries and being a little chatty) By the way, when did you last use a pen?

Interviewer: I used one this morning.

Job seeker: What did you use it for, and what did it look or feel like?

Interviewer: I used it to sign contracts for new customers. I can’t remember how the pen looked or felt.

Job seeker: aside from signing contracts, what else do you use pens for?

Interviewer: I use them to jot down notes during business meetings and for journaling.

Job seeker: What do you generally like your pen to look like?

Interviewer: Well, I haven't given much thought to that, but I care more about utility than aesthetics. But if I can get both, why not?

Job seeker: I have a pen that can give you both. It looks good and writes great. It’s a ballpoint pen with dazzling crystal flatbacks and a delicate star charm with a chaton crystal at its center. It has a sleek design and is also debossed with a wordmark. That way, it's easy to remember what they looked like or felt like when you used them. It writes beautifully, feels smooth with no dragging or scratchiness, and has the right amount of flex. On top of that, it weighs next to nothing.  There is no need to test the ink on a scrap of paper before writing. You should try it (hands the pen over to the interviewer). You can keep it for a week. If you don't like it, you can give it back. No obligations. Or you can buy it and get your money back if it doesn't meet your expectations.

Interviewer: That sounds like a good deal I can use.

Wrap Up

Basically, the right answer to “sell me this pen” involves these four processes:

  • How you round up the information you need
  • How you use the information
  • How you deliver the information back to your prospect based on his specific needs
  • And finally, how you close the deal

If you carefully go through these four factors, you have what it takes to be a successful salesperson. We cannot ensure all your conversations with your prospects will go the same way. But, if you customize your approach according to each client, you’ll surely ace the game.