Sell me this pen


Picture the scene: You’re at a job interview for a Sales Consultant role at an innovative technology company. You’re feeling confident. Everything seems to be going well. You’ve responded to questions and built some rapport with your interviewer. Then, they take a glossy writing implement off the desk in front of them and say, “Sell me this pen!”

Whatever your inner thoughts (and turmoil), don’t be floored by this question. And don’t say “no” either! You’re going for a job in sales, after all. Your interviewer is testing your ability to think logically and creatively on the spot. This is your chance to shine.

So, can you sell me this pen? Here are some tips to help prepare you for this quirky, clever interview question.

Don’t launch straight in!

Ask your interviewer for a little time to examine the pen. A good salesperson needs knowledge of the product they are selling in order to provide an accurate, persuasive sales pitch.

Analyse the pen’s key features

As you hold the pen up close, consider its key features. Does everything fit nicely together (cap, ink barrel, etc.)? What is the finish like? Does the pen feel comfortable in your hand? Also make a note of the nib, ease of use, ink type and colour, and flow.

Quiz your interviewer

Before your pitch (and once you start, too), try to find out more about your customer. What are their preferences, wants and needs? Quiz your interviewer on their pen usage. How often do they use a pen? What for? And when? You might also ask them if they’ve had a bad experience with a pen. And what they’re looking for in their next purchase. The trick is to let them talk while you listen so you can build up a picture of who they are and what they are after.

Use your insights to inform your sales pitch

Key fact: The interviewer is your customer. Your pitch is directed at them and what they are looking for in a pen. Use the information you have gleaned and make it personal. Show empathy. Connect with them. If they suffer from writer’s cramp, for example, show them that this pen balances perfectly in the hand, making writing a supremely comfortable experience.

Go further

Now you’ve captured your interviewer/customer on a personal level, take your sales pitch up a notch by selling them a concept, not just practicalities. This is not just a pen, you might say; it’s an extension of your hand. Writing is part of your individual identity; this pen enables you to express your thoughts and views and share them with a wider audience. Create a story and run with it!

Win the sale

Close your pitch by summarising the pen’s advantages, or by confirming with the interviewer that this pen really does meet their needs. At this stage, you may want to offer a sweetener, such as a “try before you buy” or a special discount for an immediate purchase.

Yes, you can sell the pen, the apple, the sunglasses or whatever else your interviewer choses to throw at you.

If Sales is your thing, we might have just the role for you! Contact the professional team at Optimal Recruitment today on or 02 8416 4181.