Sales POP - Purveyors of Propserity
How Do You Respond to “Sell Me This Pen”?
Blog / For Sales Pros / Jun 11, 2017 / Posted by Joel Comm / 8554

How Do You Respond to “Sell Me This Pen”?


It’s a pair of classic scenes from The Wolf of Wall Street. Former stockbroker Jordan Belfort, played exceedingly well by Leonardo DiCaprio, challenges top sales executives to sell him the pen he has just extracted from his pocket.

On the surface, it appears to be a major challenge for any sales professional, the kind of question that could potentially separate real salespeople from those who will generally fall short of their targets. Not surprisingly, it’s been copied and utilized by hiring staff everywhere. It’s a no-brainer: why dream up a tough interview question when Martin Scorsese just provided you one on a silver platter?

I’ve seen it and It still works–not because it’s tough, but actually because it’s easy. If your interviewee doesn’t know the answer, then he or she probably doesn’t know selling basics.

It comes down to one simple trick.

You have to know the buyer.

Belfort, now a motivational speaker, has explained it himself. If you want to sell the pen, you ask the buyer questions. You ask him how long he’s been looking for a pen, why he wants a pen, what owning a pen means to him. If a potential hire starts asking questions instead of looking for the pen’s USPs, you can be sure she knows what she’s doing.

It’s not a new trick. The first sales speaker I ever saw was Zig Ziglar, and no one knew more about sales and success than he did. There’s a story about Ziglar being interviewed by Johnny Carson:

Carson points at the ashtray on the desk and says: “They say you’re the world’s greatest salesman. So sell me this ashtray.”

Ziglar thinks for a second and replies: “Before I can do that, I’d have to know why you want the ashtray.”

Carson looks at the ashtray. “I guess it’s well-made, it looks pretty nice, and it’s a good ashtray.”

“OK,” says Ziglar, “but you’d have to tell me what you think it’s worth to you.”

“I don’t know,” says Carson. “I guess $20 would be about right.”

Ziglar smiles. “Sold,” he says.

In practice, pitches rarely go that easily, and when you’re selling, you’ll need to do a bit more work.

So the next step after asking enough questions to know the buyer is to build an emotional attachment. You can do that with a story.

You might point out that when presidents sign treaties, they use a different pen for each signature and they give the pen to one of the people who helped to make that treaty happen. The pen becomes a souvenir. It reminds them of a historic moment.

The same is true of the pen the interviewee is selling to the interviewer. It’s not just a pen. It’s the pen the interviewer used to sign her last deal and build her business. The pen is cheap, but the memories … they’re available for a bargain.

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling; you have to know the buyer, and you have to give him a story that builds an emotional attachment to the product. It’s not a big trick, and today’s sales channels have made meeting that challenge easier than ever … even when all you’re selling is a ball pen.

Pipeliner CRM totally empowers salespeople to know their buyers. Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.

About Author

Joel Comm is NY Times bestselling author, professional speaker, social media marketing strategist, live video expert, brand influencer. Two decade experience harnessing the power of the web, publishing, social media and mobile applications to expand reach and engage in active relationship marketing.

Author's Publications on Amazon

Every person has been created by God with a set of unique passions, talents, skills, abilities, personality, and presence which makes them completely unique from anyone who has ever or will ever, live. When you are doing what you were made to do, you have…
Buy on Amazon
In this special report, Social Media Expert Joel Comm reveals his strategies and techniques for using Facebook to build your online business.
Buy on Amazon
New York Times Best-Selling Author Joel Comm has been teaching people around the world how to make money with Google's AdSense program for publishers since 2004. As one of the first website publishers to "crack the code", Joel's books and ebooks have been read by…
Buy on Amazon
Are you an entrepreneur? Entrepreneurs are their own breed, unique individuals with very specific character traits and mindsets. In Self Employed, Joel Comm & John Rampton detail 50 different qualities that personify those who could do well as entrepreneurs. These 50 qualities provide a framework…
Buy on Amazon
From exceptional parenting and exciting adventure travel to growing a thriving business and dealing with issues of personal growth, "So What Do YOU Do?" will take you to new places and inspire you to share your genius with the world.
Buy on Amazon
Online marketing expert Mitch Meyerson presents you with an unmatched advantage into the world of social media the priceless secrets, strategies, tactics, and insights of more than 20 of today social-media elite. Handpicked to cover almost every aspect of social media marketing, Meyerson and this…
Buy on Amazon
Hidden on the Internet, scattered among billions of Web pages, are the clues to an incredible secret. For those who know the secret, the result is untold wealth. Each month, a small group of people - an elite club who have uncovered the mysteries of…
Buy on Amazon
In "The Fun Formula", Comm reveals that the best path to success—in work and in life—is to focus on our passions, curiosity, and the things that bring us great pleasure.
Buy on Amazon
Tweet your company to the top of the market with a tailored approach to Twitter Twitter Power 3.0 is the newly updated guide that shows smart businesses and entrepreneurs how to use Twitter to their advantage. This book is the best business leader's guide to…
Buy on Amazon

Sales Process Automation
This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this website you are giving consent to cookies being used. For information on cookies and how you can disable them, visit our privacy and cookie policy.