Sell Me This Pen

I saw an interesting post on LinkedIn recently that prompted me to want to share insights on what the interview question “Sell me this pen” is used for.

I’ve asked this question no less than 100 times while interviewing both sales and marketing professionals.

Why?

Because it provides interesting insights into how someone views the sales process.

The Value Sales Answer

For example, some candidates respond by first asking me about my needs and then they make their case for how the pen fits my needs. I know they understand the concept of value sales.

The Benefits Only Answer

Some people immediately go into the benefits of the pen. I know they understand the concept of features but maybe not yet how to apply those to benefits. I know where training is needed if they join my team.

The Think On Your Feet Answer

Some people take odd approaches to being put on the spot, but at least they come up with something. I know they have the ability to think on their feet.

The Scripted Answer

Some people regurgitate answers posted for this question on the internet. I know they’ve been researching and preparing for an interview, and I know they’d be great in a scripted selling role.

But never once has someone walked out on me when I asked the question. Not sure in the “small world” we live in, why burning any bridge is considered best advice, even when written in jest.

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