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Sell me this pen, can you?

by Chintoo S 2 years ago in business
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Sell me this pen? Which can just be the foremost used question ever asked by any buyer or an interviewer. How someone responds to those four words can tell you tons about how and the way a candidate goes to sell. But there are many approaches to find your answer to this question.

The Value-Added Approach

The first one is known as value-added selling, where a person tries to create interest, by highlighting the various specifications of the product that make it desirable. Like:

“Compared to other pens, this pen is extremely smooth and straightforward to carry.”

“This pen is easy to hold and write”

The majority of candidates that have no selling experience will use this method. It’s probably the most straightforward answer. The disadvantage of value-based selling is that you show null knowledge of what the buyer feels is important to them. To put it frankly, you’re throwing an arrow in the dark. If you get lucky, the situation will be different, but generally, this approach will not satisfy one’s question.

The Solution-Based Approach

The next one in this method is solution-based selling. This is when a candidate correctly asks questions on what I search for during a pen and if I ever have any problems with my current one. This way of solution is the safest approach to this question. Some examples are:

What are the main features you’re looking for in a pen? What colour pen are you considering buying? What features did your previous pen have? Candidates with experience in sales background normally demonstrate strength in this area. However, many of them still find some obstructions when the questions they ask lead to a conclusion where the customer needs a solution they can’t offer. For example, you can find out a customer is in the market for a pen, but they may need a blue one when you’re only selling black. Also, it’s not necessary that a buyer will keep answering your questions. They probably don’t even have any interest in talking about their problems with a stranger. The solution-based approach is better than the value-added approach, but there’s still a fair chance it’ll not be a perfectly built answer. That’s why I always look up to the third technique.

The Problem-formation Approach

Problem formation without question is the best way to “sell me this pen”. Instead of asking open questions, people use various types of tactics to ensure the buyer traps and can’t deny the solution. So, in this method, the buyer comes to a pre-set conclusion which a seller has already arranged.

This is the best possible method for good outcomes.

Any seller who can successfully take this path has the kind of grip which a buyer wants to see.

But let me tell you this method is not easy as it sounds, one has to be clear with the concepts to use the problem creation approach.

In the end, if they aren’t experiencing any problems with their current pen situation or don’t have an objective to improve their current state, you will simply just waste your time.

Note that before pitching for the product, one should ask prospect questions along the lines of:

What kind of pens do you usually use?

What are the main points associated with your current pen choice?

What is your ideal pen?

Are you looking for a stylish body pen or a simple one?

Information is everything — once you have enough data or insight about how a potential customer thinks and what they’re trying to find, it helps you sell the product in a way that’s relevant to them.

There are exactly four sales skills the buyer or interviewer want you to have:

How do you collect information?

How do you counter information?

How do you convey the information?

How do you ask or close the statement?


One should have in mind that if a person asks you this question, the four skill framework should be in the mind. Find out how they used a pen (gather info). Highlight the importance of the activity they last used a pen (response to information). Sell something bigger than a pen, sort of state of mind (deliver info). Ask for the buy (closing). Remember, it’s not about actually selling a pen. It’s about showing how well you’ll sell a product. And there is an infinite number of answers to this question, it’s easy to memorize an easy formula made by you. So, if you ever counter this question, never go for a simple answer instead give it some time and then answer it properly.


About the author

Chintoo S

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