To get an idea of your sales skills, interviewers for sales and marketing positions may ask you to demonstrate your skill in selling a product as part of the interview process.
The hiring manager wants to learn about how you sell and what strategies you use to close the deal. They could use the “sell me this pen” interview question to ascertain your sales abilities.
If you take the time to prepare to sell something in advance, you will be prepared to answer the question successfully in job interviews.
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What The Interviewer Wants To Know
Interviewers ask job applicants for sales, marketing, and related positions this question and other related questions about their ability in sales because they want to know if candidates can sell and the techniques they use.
As well as showing your ability to sell, your response indicates your ability to apply useful skills and think outside the box, which is vital in this role. Your answer also demonstrates your communication skills.
It’s not always the pen in this interview question. The traditional choices for this question are apples or pens, but the interviewers may want you to sell any product, including one the company makes. The interviewer aims to determine how well you can sell and what sales techniques you use.
If you’re interviewing for a marketing or sales position, you should be prepared to sell a product or service.
Read also: Common Sales Interview Questions and Best Answers
“Sell Me This Pen” Interview Question: Answering Tips
You may be asked to sell a pen, pencil, stapler, apple, or other everyday items to the interviewer.
As with other hypothetical questions, there won’t be a right answer, but the employer will be interested in the sales process you follow, your verbal communication skills, and your enthusiasm and creativity.
Here are some strategies you should follow when answering this question:
1. Be Positive And Enthusiastic
Ensure you are positive and enthusiastic about the product when you introduce it. You might say, “I’m excited to tell you how this pen can help you write legibly, attractively, and effectively.”
The non-verbal part of your presentation will be just as important as your words, so ensure you present the product with an enthusiastic voice and facial expression.
Facial expressions can help convey excitement and underline your confidence in the product’s value.
2. Emphasize The Qualities The Interviewer Will Appreciate
When you get to know your customer, it paves the way for easy sales. So, you can try asking the interviewer to explain their possible use of the product in question.
3. Ask A Few Questions
The more you know about the interviewer’s needs, the better your sales. Review the interviewer’s answers to highlight some of the features of your pen that could help him with his activities.
For example, if your customer, in this case, your interviewer, mentions taking notes in meetings as a priority, you can say that your pen has a fine tip and doesn’t smudge, allowing them to take legible notes.
If your interviewer was frustrated with pens that didn’t write on certain surfaces or ran out of ink quickly, you could emphasize how freely the ink flows from the pen and how much ink capacity is available.
Asking questions allows you to customize your pitch and go beyond just listing the pen’s features.
4. Be Prepared To Sell
Some interviewers may not understand your efforts to gauge their preferences. So be prepared to sell the product without their external assistance.
Highlight the features of the product and the benefits the customer will get from owning and using it. When creating your answer, think about your own experience with the product and the possible experiences of other users.
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5. Probe For Reservations About A Product Or Service
Eliciting and overcoming product objections is a critical element of the sales process. After making a few statements about the product’s benefits, check with the interviewer to see if they have any concerns that would prevent them from buying.
- You might ask, “After hearing my opinion, is there anything standing in the way of you buying this pen?” If the interviewer mentions cost, counter with a statement like, “I was authorized to give you a 20% discount if you order three or more of our pens. We also have a money-back satisfaction guarantee.”
- You can also talk about the competition. You could say, “I know you mentioned that oranges are another popular snack. In comparison, apples are easier to eat without getting juice on your hands or having to peel them. Apples are the perfect on-the-go snack.”
6. Try To Close
The most significant demand is for salespeople who are willing and efficient closers. At the end of the presentation, don’t hesitate to ask the interviewer about his company.
Make an enthusiastic closing statement that includes a customer service request. Your ability to end sales will help you get the job.
7. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Creative
Interviewers will not expect you to be 100% factually correct when you come up with an answer on the spot, so be creative in your answer as long as your claims are credible and convincingly presented.
Remember that confidence in the quality of your product is the basis of effective sales.
Examples Of The Best Answers
"To help me gauge the importance of my product to you, I would like to know more about how you use the pen during your daily routine. When do you rely on your pen the most? When last did you use a pen? What was satisfying about that experience? Was anything missing or frustrating?"
Why It Works
Once you’ve heard the interviewer’s answer, you’ll need to follow up. When you start your answer with questions, you recognize that listening skills and understanding the customer’s needs are essential to being a good salesperson.
"My customers find our apples make a great healthy snack for families on the run or your kids' school lunches. Our apples are fresh and crisp because we pick them weekly from local orchards. We only sell organically grown apples without pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and our apples are loaded with beneficial fiber, vitamins, and nutrients. So, in addition to being sweet and delicious, they are great for your health."
Why it works
This candidate is prepared to present a persuasive argument in favor of apples, citing various positive attributes like customer appreciation, health, palatability, etc. This answer shows confidence and the candidate’s ability to make good sales.
"I would love to be your preferred supplier of the highest quality pens, and I will work hard to justify your trust in me and our product and ensure you are completely satisfied with the product. Can we move forward with your first purchase?"
Why It Works
Ultimately, the interviewer wants to hire a salesperson who can close the deal. This candidate makes a strong close. You need to be confident in your attempt to sell a pen; essential quality interviewers look for in candidates for sales roles.
Read: Interview Questions About: Why You’re Good At Sales
Best Answer Tips
Take the question seriously. How would you handle the sales process in real life? Try to show the strategies you would use in your answer.
1. Keep Trying
The interviewer may not be receptive to your attempts to ask questions or appeal to his emotion. Keep talking (and keep your confidence). Respond as you would if the client was challenging or quiet during the session.
2. Don’t Forget To Close
Try actually to close the deal. The good news is that this isn’t real life. So you can offer great deals to help research the customer if you think it will be a good tactic.
What Not To Say
1. I’m Not Comfortable
You have to answer the question. So any response that tries to avoid the question or says you’re uncomfortable responding will not be very helpful.
2. Go Beyond The Feature Description
The interviewer knows what a pen does (or why people eat apples). Try to make a connection in your answer – either an emotional appeal or a connection to the interviewer’s needs.
You can always guess why the interviewer will benefit from the pen – this is probably a better tactic than simply listing the features.
So, how will you respond to a “sell me this pen” interview question? With the guide in the article, you could give a positive and convincing reply or demonstration.
Remember to practice at home and be real about it. The role of a salesperson has so much confidence written all over it.