Best Ways to Answer “Sell Me This Pen”

In some interviews, you’ll get asked to “sell me this pen” or anything else for that matter.  It’s a simple question—typically geared toward candidates for sales positions—but it can be difficult and nervewracking to answer, especially if you haven’t planned out a response. In addition to showing your ability to sell, your response is an indicator of your ability to think on your feet. Fortunately, like any other type of job interview question, with a little preparation and practice, you can answer this question like a pro.

I’ll also let you in on a little secret, most employers and recruiters aren’t looking for the perfect answer or perfect sales pitch. Instead, they are looking at your overall demeanor. But, you still need something to say so here are 4 tips to craft an impactful to answer to this common interview question.

Be confident and positive

Remember, your interviewer isn’t so much focused on your answer, but how you react to a question that throws you off. Sit up straight, maintain eye contact, speak clearly, and smile. Those nonverbal cues will go a long way in making you seem poised and self-assured—regardless of the actual content of your sales pitch.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

An essential phase of the selling process is getting to know your customer, so you might try asking the interviewer for some clarification about his or her potential uses of the product. The more you know about your interviewer’s needs, the better your pitch will be. You might start out with a simple question like this: “To help me to understand better how my product might help you, I would love to learn more about how you use a pen during your daily routine.”  Asking questions will allow you to personalize your pitch, and go beyond just listing out features of the pen, solving real pain points!

Emphasize the features

Once you get to know your “customer”, emphasize the features of the pen that solve your customer’s problems.  For example, if your interviewer mentions taking notes at meetings as a priority, then you might say that your pen has a fine point and non-smearing ink which would enable her to take legible notes. Take a mental note of each reason why your interviewer might need your pen and use them when making your pitch.

Don’t Forget to Close!

The close is the most important part of the sale, but it’s also an easy one to forget when you know that the interviewer isn’t actually going to buy a pen from you. It can be tempting to end your pitch with something like, “Yeah, that’s how I would sell you a pen.” Instead, summarize the main points of your pen. Emphasize one final time how your pen can solve your interviewer’s pain points. It might look something like this: “With its comfortable grip and non-smearing ink, this pen can help you increase your writing speed, save precious time in your workday, and get more done. Should we move forward with placing your order?”

Yes, this situation is a bit strange. But you can still use the techniques you’d use in a real-world sales situation. It’s also important to keep in mind that the interviewer is really looking to see how you’ll perform in high-stress situations. So, take a deep breath and follow a few of our pointers to craft your best answer.

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