I hope you enjoyed some of the videos on parts 1, 2 and 3 on “can you sell me this pen or pencil?”
What are the key takeaways from this question?
1). No one is actually hiring you to sell pens or pencils. The real goal is to see how what your sales process is, and how advanced you are as a salesperson. Are you jumping right in and talking about the benefits of the pen or pencil, or are you asking good qualifying questions first? Are you determining the needs or problems of your client, or you are doing a product dump and hope that something will stick? It doesn’t make any difference how great the pen or pencil is if your client doesn’t need it. Heck, he may have a whole closet full of writing instruments. The point is to qualify the client first because moving forward with the benefits.
2). Sometimes hiring decision-makers want to catch you off guard and see how fast you can think on your feet. After all, customers will sometimes ask strange questions or make unusual requests. How do you respond? Do you get flustered easily? Do you feel insulted by being asked such a ridiculous question? Or, do you remain cool, size up the situation, and put your sales thinking cap on? Always try to be prepared for the unexpected.
3). Sure, on some level, the question may be unfair. After all, you may have years of sales experience under your belt. You may have sold very complex products and handled long sales cycles. But if you think the interviewing process is unfair, what about selling? That’s not always fair either. For example, you may spend months working with a client, only to have him buy from a competitor, or leave the company, or not purchase at all because of budget constraints. Get used to it. It happens.
So, if you are ever asked “can you sell me this pen or pencil?”, how are you going to answer it?