Sell me this pen? Here is how to answer that question.

I personally never thought anyone would actually say, “sell me this pen” in a sales interview. I was wrong. It will happen to you too. And to avoid panic, you should know exactly what to say back.

I am going to give you the right sales framework to respond perfectly every time.

On a quick side note, did you know this sales interview question has been around for millions of years? Its origins date back to the earliest of cavemen. Selling slingshots cave-to-cave. Except back then, they asked, “sell me this bowl of crushed berries.”

Anyhow. The point is, one day it will happen to you and I want you to be prepared.

Because if you start to describe how smooth the pen feels and how shiny the pen looks, just like you saw in the Wolf of Wall Street…

You probably won’t get the job.

Why it matters to sell me this pen?

At first, I didn’t realise why it mattered. It just seemed like a silly question. But, you’ll see.

When you become good at answering this question, you actually become one hell of a salesperson.

And that’s why people still ask it in interviews. It shows your creative approach and how good you are at actually selling product (not just reading your resume).

There are exactly four sales skills the interviewer is looking to see when you answer:

  • how you gather information
  • how you respond to information
  • how you deliver information, and
  • how you ask for something (closing)

Now, since I had a lot of sales interviews lined up at the beginning of last year. I thought, I better practice my response just in case.

The “just wing it” strategy is best for making pancake mix, not for sales interviews.

So, let’s go through exactly what you can say to address each sales skill. Because when you do it right, you will blow their mind!

Here’s exactly what you can say

Just to back up for a second, I had 26 sales interviews in a period of three months. Someone was bound to ask me.

Ok. The Director of Sales stood up and said, “it was great meeting you Ian. Let me go grab the CEO to come in next.” Moments later, the CEO of the 30 person start up walked in the small conference room.

Shortly after initial greetings, the CEO wasted no time to start the interview.

I practiced my answer beforehand. I made sure my answer displayed the four sales skills the CEO needed to hear.

Now you can read it for yourself. And then use it for yourself.

At the bottom, you can see a simple sales framework to memorise that will make this work for you in any situation.

You can memorise the script, but more importantly, memorise the sales framework at the end.

Here you go…

CEO: Do me a favour, sell me this pen. (reaches across to hand me the pen)

Me: (I slowly roll the pen between my index and thumb fingers.) When was the last time you used a pen?

CEO: This morning.

Me: Do you remember what kind of pen that was?

CEO: No.

Me: Do you remember why you were using it to write?

CEO: Yes. Signing a few new customer contracts.

Me: Well I’d say that’s the best use for a pen (we have a subtle laugh).

Wouldn’t you say signing those new customer contracts is an important event for the business?  (nods head) Then shouldn’t it be treated like one. What I mean by that is, here you are signing new customer contracts, an important and memorable event. All while using a very unmemorable pen.

We grew up, our entire lives, using cheap BIC pens because they get the job done for grocery lists and directions. But we never gave it much thought to learn what’s best for more important events.

This is the pen for more important events. This is the tool you use to get deals done. Think of it as a symbol for taking your company to the next level. Because when you begin using the right tool, you are in a more productive state of mind, and you begin to sign more new customer contracts.

Actually. You know what? Just this week I shipped ten new boxes of these pens to Elon Musk’s office.

Unfortunately, this is my last pen today (reach across to hand pen back to CEO). So, I suggest you get this one. Try it out. If you’re not happy with it, I will personally come back next week to pick it up. And it won’t cost you a dime.

What do you say?

CEO: (picks jaw up off the floor) Yes.

See how simple that was. The CEO loved it. Why?

Because all four sales skills were displayed.

Here’s the simple sales framework I used to answer “sell me this pen.” Memorise it for yourself.

  • Find out how they last used a pen (gather info)
  • Emphasise the importance of the activity they last used a pen (respond to info)
  • Sell something bigger than a pen, like a state of mind (deliver info)
  • Ask for the buy (closing)
  • Does that make sense? Yes. OK, good.

Conclusion

Remember, it’s not about actually selling a pen. It’s about showing how well you can sell a product.

Take 15 minutes today to practice the script above. I promise you will benefit.

 

|Article courtesy of SenatorClub.co|

4 Essential Questions to ask at the end of a job interview

“I am always surprised how some interviewees tend to trail off towards the end of an interview instead of finishing strong and leaving a lasting impression,” says Zachary Rose, CEO and founder of Green Education Services, a green jobs training firm based in New York City.

Whether you’re a senior preparing for campus recruiting or a recent graduate still hunting for a job, here are the top questions experts recommend asking at the end of a job interview to leave a great final impression on hiring managers and establish yourself as a top candidate.

“Is there any reason why you wouldn’t hire me?” Kelsey Meyer, senior vice president of Digital Talent Agents in Columbia, USA says, “A recent candidate asked, ‘If you were to not offer the job to me, what would be the reason?’ This was extremely straightforward and a little blunt, but it allowed me to communicate any hesitations I had about the candidate before he left the interview, and he could address them right there.”

“This one question is something I would suggest every single candidate ask,” adds Meyer. It lets you know where you stand and if you need to clarify anything for the interviewer. “If you have the guts to ask it, I don’t think you’ll regret it,” she says.

Rachel Dotson, content manager for ZipRecruiter.com, says, “All too often you hear about candidates leaving an interview and thinking they aced it, only to get a swift rejection email soon after. Take the time while you’re face-to-face to ask about and dispel any doubts that the hiring manager has.” Make sure a key asset of yours hasn’t been overlooked.

“As an employee, how could I exceed your expectations?” Michael B. Junge, a staffing and recruiting industry leader with Irvine Technology Corp in Santa Ana, California and author of “Purple Squirrel: Stand Out, Land Interviews, and Master the Modern Job Market,” says that one of his favourite interview questions is when a candidate takes the lead and asks, “If I were offered this position and joined your company, how would you measure my success and what could I do to exceed your expectations?”

“The question shows confidence without being overly brash, while also demonstrating that you have an interest in delivering positive results,” Junge adds. What’s more, the answer you receive can reveal what the interviewer hopes to accomplish by making a new hire, and this information can help you determine whether to accept the position if you get an offer.

“How could I help your company meet its’ goals?” Dotson also suggests job candidates ask the interviewer, “How does this position fit in with the short- and long-term goals of the company?” The response to the short-term side of the question gives you further insight into your potential role and helps you tailor the remainder of the discussion and your interview follow-up, she says. “Second, by bringing up long-term goals, you are telling the hiring manager that you’re there for the long-run, not just another new grad that is going to follow suit with her peers and job-hop every six months,” Dotson says.

Junge also recommends that interviewees ask, “What challenges have other new hires faced when starting in similar roles, and what could I do to put myself in a better position to succeed?” He says few students or new grads will ask this question because most haven’t witnessed failure. To a hiring manager, this question demonstrates maturity and awareness, and if you’re hired, the answers can help you avoid the pitfalls of being new.

“What excites you about coming into work?” Murshed Chowdhury, CEO of Infusive Solutions, a specialised staffing firm in New York City, suggests that candidates ask the interviewer, “What excites you about coming into work every day?”

“This is a role reversal question that we often suggest candidates ask,” he says. People love the opportunity to talk about themselves, so this question provides an excellent chance to learn about the hiring manager and find ways to establish common ground. “This is also a great opportunity for the candidate to determine whether he/she is excited by the same things that excite the hiring manager to see if the culture is a good fit,” Chowdhury adds.

The Bottom Line Although it is important to provide a great first impression to a potential employer, as well as acing the basics of a job interview, closing the interview strong is just as important.

“Prove to your interviewer that you want this position and you are in this for the right reasons, not simply to fill your day with something to do,” Rose says. Ask these questions before you leave, and leave your potential new employer with a great impression.

Article courtesy of Forbes.com

Tough Interview Questions – Describe a major goal you’ve set for yourself recently.

Give an example of a goal you both set and achieved. Ideally, this should be a professional goal; such as improved time management skills, having achieved new performance targets, or learned a new skill. A personal example can also be appropriate if it reinforces your pattern of accomplishments. For example, if you take a great deal of initiative and quickly move into leadership positions, you might use a personal example relating to some recent community work e.g I organised a charity walkathon that raised £10,000 to enable us to purchase new computers for the local library. Talk about results of achieving your goal. This indicates you set realistic goals and that you can focus on end goals. Select an example that contains interesting outcomes that are related to your efforts. The example should showcase your skills and abilities.

Tough Interview Questions – Where do you see yourself five years from now?

This open-ended question is one of the most difficult and stressful ones job seekers face. Employers ostensibly ask this question because they are looking for people who know what they want to do and who are focused on specific professional goals. If you lack goals, you will have difficulty answering this question. Be sure you arrive at the interview with a clear vision of what you want to do today, tomorrow and five years from now. Be consistent with the objective on your CV and the skills and accomplishments you’re communicating to the interviewer. Your answer should be employer-centred. For example,

“In five years I hope to be working with an employer in an increasingly responsible position that enables me to utilise my talents and work closely with my colleagues in solving important problems. I see myself taking on new and exciting challenges in an enjoyable environment – hopefully this will be with your company.”

Do not indicate that you hope to start your own business, change careers, or go back to school. Such responses indicate a lack of long-term interest since you do not plan to be around for long. While some may respond that they honestly haven’t really thought that far ahead, the interviewer may infer from this that the applicant lacks vision and goals.

Interview Questions – Tell me about yourself

This is really more of a request than a question. But these few words can put you on the spot in a way no question can. Many quickly lose control of the interview during the most critical time – the first five minutes. This is not the time to go into a lengthy history or wander off in different directions. Your response should be focused and purposeful. Communicate a pattern of interests and skills that relate to the position in question. Consider your response to this question as a commercial that sells your autobiography. Provide an answer that includes information about where you grew up, where you went to school, your initial work experience, additional education and special training, where you are now, and what you intend to do next. One of the most effective ways to prepare for this question is to develop a 60-second biographic sketch that emphasizes a pattern of interests, skills, and accomplishments. Focus your response around a common theme related to your major interests and skills. Take, for example, the following response, which emphasises computers.

“I was born in Canton, Ohio and attended Lincoln High School. Ever since I was a teenager, I tinkered with computers. It was my hobby, my passion, and my way of learning. Like most kids I enjoyed computer games. When my folks gave me a computer as a reward for making honour roll my sophomore year, I mastered DOS, Windows, and WordPerfect within six months. I then went on to teach myself programming basics.

By the time I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to study programming. From that point on, everything fell into place. My life revolved around computing. By my junior year at Syracuse, I decided I wanted to work for a major software manufacturer. That is why I had an internship last summer at FastTrack Software.

I now want to work for a major player so I can be at the forefront of breaking trends and new technology. When my college roommate told me about his start in your department, I hounded him until he helped me get a referral, which brought me here today.

I am prepared to answer any questions you may have about my education and experience.”
This response sets a nice tone for starting the interview. The interviewee is able to say a lot within 60 seconds by staying focused. The message is clear: the interviewee has both passion and focus relating to the position. He stays on message and concludes by leaving the door open for additional questions about his education and experience. Unfortunately some candidates get off on the wrong foot by rambling on for several minutes about their childhood, family, hobbies, travels, and interests.

Repeat Key Accomplishment Statements

Throughout the interview you will be asked numerous questions about your attitude and ability to do the job. Whenever possible, talk about your accomplishments in terms of what you did and the results of your actions for employers. Give examples of your effectiveness, which should include specific skills and statistics.