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Would You Be Able to Sell Me This Pen?

In this article, I present a four-step process to answer the common sales question, sell me this pen? Learn how to sell anyone anything from reading this.


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Tavian jean-pierre

3 years ago | 5 min read

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

Before we delve in, I can guarantee that many of you who clicked on this article believe you can. We have all heard the number one salesperson question, and it has become a test to see if you would be a successful entrepreneur.

Despite hearing the question repeatedly, many still do not know how to answer it. And that is because many people do not know how to listen effectively.

Before we jump into learning how to answer the question, let us dive into its three major components. The first essential word in the question is “sell”.

To sell something means to give or hand over something in exchange for money. Some definitions say to persuade someone of the merits of something.

You will find that most people start with the second definition to lead into the final one. People try to persuade you that the pen is worth it before asking you to buy the pen. However, in a nutshell, selling is giving something in exchange for money.

The second word is “me”. If you have not realised yet, this is the keyword in the question. You are no longer trying to sell the pen to the market. You only have one customer, the person sitting across from you.

Finally, the second most important word is “this”. Meaning you are limited to the pen in front of you. I can not tell you how many times I have seen people make things up to make the pen better than it is. They will say things like it can automatically refill or it never runs out.

Although those things would be wonderful to have, it is not the pen I want you to sell me. So, do not bother mentioning it.

The secret behind selling anything is how good you are at listening and presenting an opportunity. The most innovative ideas come from those who listen to the market day in and day out. They understand the customer pain points and come up with specific ways to fulfil that need.

So, here is how I would go about selling the pen to you.

1. Single the Pen Out as a Tool Not a Solution

A lot of the time, people do not listen to the problem. They jump straight into how the pen can solve things like:

  • Not being able to write notes
  • A quicker way to jot things down
  • A safer way to keep track of your ideas because your computer could fail

All of these solutions would be great, but the person has not told you their problem yet. Maybe the person is not in a rush, so why would they need faster note-taking. And who said the person even has a notepad to take notes anyway.

All of these assumptions are coming from preconceived knowledge we have about pens. However, that does not help us sell to this individual customer. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs get caught up in this. They do loads of market research and identify the potential, but the potential is not what sells. It is the solution.

Highlighting the potential is not how you sell it. It is how you intrigue your customer. See it as the advertising done before someone clicks to find out more.

By singling out the pen as a tool, I highlight its potential uses. I may say something like:

“Many great speeches, letters and signatures have all been done with a pen. Even some of the greatest ideas, formulas and lessons are planned with one.”

Once you have your customer intrigued, you move to step number 2.

2. Make Them the Power Behind the Solution

This step is small but the most vital. Once you have highlighted the opportunity as a tool, make them the focal point of the solution. You will realise that the best sells pitches make the customer feel like they have a part in the solution.

It is their actions and the type of person they are that makes the world a better place. The product or service is only there to assists them in that journey.

One of the best examples of this is when Facebook first started. Their whole pitch was around connecting great people like us to other great individuals. As consumers of the service, we felt like we had a part to play in making our connections with one another more effective and better.

So, step 2 is a great way to learn more about the person you are trying to sell to whilst making them feel like they are part of the solution. I would turn the focus to them by saying:

“So, as you know, this is a pen. But the pen does not hold the power. It is you. All those great things I spoke about before did not come from the pen, they came from the people using them. So, tell me a little more about yourself and what you do on a day to day basis?”

Once your customer is the focal point, you can move to step 3 that involves active listening.

3. Actively Listen for Places Where the Opportunity Aligns With the Person

Now the person knows they are the key to making the opportunity a reality, they are likely to open up. As customers, when we feel like we are helping and are part of something, we tend to be happy to get involved.

Businesses receive a lack of engagement not just because their products or services are bad. It is often because the customer feels distant from the opportunity or solution. In other words, they feel as though they are just there to be taken from rather than contribute.

When businesses do not show that they value their customer’s input, they stop engaging. And less engagement with products and services means fewer sales. Step 3 is all about allowing your customer to engage with your opportunity.

By actively listening to what they do and what they like, you can tailor your pitch for your pen. See this stage as gathering analytics and then making a decision from there.

Your customer may say they like reading. As an active listener, you can dig deeper by asking them what type of books. And then try to identify a problem. Maybe they always forget good points in their books and struggle to find them.

Whatever it is, here is where you align your opportunity to your customer’s needs. Once you have this, you are ready to sell them the pen or anything for that matter.

Final Step

Your final step is all about relating the opportunity to their life. It is often done through a story that allows you to express your empathy for your customer.
Your customer’s problem may have been capturing keynotes from their books. So, to show how the opportunity aligns with their problem, You may say,

“You know, when I was a student, I used to do that too. I would always spend ages trying to find the key points in my books to write about in my exam.”

The little story lets your customer know that their problem was once yours. It increases their trust in you as you are someone who knows their struggles. Once you have elevated their trust, you can now ask:

“By the way, a pen helped me out because I could highlight the points I needed. So, what do you say? I have this spare pen here. Would you like to buy it off me for $5?”

Before selling anything to anyone, think of this four-step process. If you follow this step-by-step, I assure you that you will find much more success in selling to individuals and your customer base directly.

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Tavian jean-pierre

I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.


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