Sell Me This Pen – How Should You Respond?
Sell me this pen is a line made famous by the movie The Wolf of Wall Street.
In the movie, Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) leans in and asks someone to sell me this pen. When the person starts presenting, he gives them a look as though they have failed and carries onto the next person.
So why did they fail?
And how do you correctly respond to the sell me this pen question?
In this article, we’ll look at the analogy surrounding sell me this pen, common and fatal mistakes people make in sales, and how to respond to sell me this pen.
What Does Sell Me This Pen Really Mean?
The first thing we should look at with the sell me this pen question; is that it is in fact an analogy, rather than just a question.
As the movie showed, people (and even Sales Professionals) naturally think that the right response is to go directly into pitch mode when asked the question.
They think that the best way to respond to sell me this pen – is do exactly that; trying to sell the pen by describing its features and benefits.
Selling features and benefits is a costly mistake in sales, and one that is commonly made.
By speaking about the features and benefits, you’re trying to sell people based on presumptions that you’ve made; hoping that something you say will stick, and that in turn then will buy.
This is what I call lazy selling; it’s very common, and it harms your sales.
The analogy behind sell me this pen, is that you shouldn’t sell the product itself.
Instead, you should focus on something else entirely – which we’ll be going into more detail shortly.
Related article: Selling Features And Benefits – Why This Is Costing You Sales
Sell Me This Pen – What To Avoid
As mentioned, the analogy behind sell me this pen, isn’t to actually sell the pen at all.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into why.
As per our featured article in Entrepreneur.com, we speak about the dangers of something we call premature presentation.
Premature presentation happens when Sales Professionals pitch their product or service way too early and go into their sales conversation without doing any of the crucial steps required as a part of their sales process.
By going into pitch mode, you’re making a number of fatal mistakes:
- Is the person the decision maker?
- Have they put aside budget, or can they afford you product or service?
- If you did sell to them; can you deliver within the right time frame?
- Do they have an actual need?
If you start going into presentation mode, you automatically put yourself into a position of being just another commodity; rather than positioning yourself as a Specialist.
Most Salespeople go into pitch mode, because they have never been taught any better.
In our 7 day sales challenge, we teach Sales Professionals a number of key things, such as:
- Ensure you’re speaking with the decision maker, or learn who they are fast
- Counter sales objections early, so they don’t come up later
- Make sure they’re qualified to listen to your offer, prior to any form of presentation
Contrary to what a lot of people think; not everyone will benefit from your product or service.
You can’t be anywhere at any time; so you need to focus your attention on serving people who would be the right fit for your product or service.
The sell me this pen analogy ties into this, because you initially want to ensure that the person has an actual need for the pen, before you start going into premature presentation mode.
Sell Me This Pen – How Do You Respond?
There are many scripts out there that tell you how to respond to sell me this pen.
We can easily add a few in here, however because I’m going to safely assume that you’re not actually selling pens; I’m going to give you something a lot better, more realistic, and beneficial that you can actually use to sell your products and services.
The response to how to sell me this pen, is taking your potential clients though something called a consistent sales process.
First of all, let’s break down what a consistent sales process means.
The first word is here is consistent.
Consistency means that it is something that you can use, over and over again to successfully sell your products and services, and secondly; sell any product or service.
Then we have the words sales process. A sales process is not a set of sales scripts.
A sales process is a structure, or consistent journey that you take your potential clients on, to consistently help them sell themselves; and you close more people.
The way to properly answer the sell me this pen analogy and learn and find out what it will mean when they own it.
Finding out what it will mean, is the most important part of your sales process.
By using a consistent sales process, you can help the potential client uncover what their issues are, what happens if they take no action, and what it will mean when they own a solution.
There are a number of key things you need to include as a part of your sales process.
These are, but not limited to:
The beginning of your sales process should consistent of building rapport, qualifying your potential clients, and doing something we call a pre-frame.
A pre-frame is setting up how the conversation will go and elaborating this to your potential clients.
This does a number of key things.
First of all, it allows you the opportunity to ensure all decision makers are present, and that you’ll be seeking next steps after the conversation.
Furthermore, it let’s them know you’ll be asking a lot of questions; this gives you permission to take a consultative selling approach; one that aligns with the sell me this pen analogy.
Finally, it also positions you as a Specialist; as mentioned previously, many Sales Professionals go into premature presentation mode. Instead, you’ll be asking deep diving questions.
The middle of your sales process should be all about intelligence gathering, and helping the potential client sell themselves. As mentioned earlier, sell me this pen is all about asking questions instead of presenting features and benefits.
This way, you help the potential client sell themselves, rather than you do all the hard work of trying to sell them.
There are a number of critical things you need to discover in the middle of your sales process. These are:
- Asking questions that uncover their situation, pain, and issues
- Finding out what their desired outcomes look like
- Seeing what the overall cost is by not solving the problem; and having them explain how much they’ll spend to solve it
The middle of your sales process is the most crucial, because when this is done correctly – the potential client will sell themselves on your products or services if there is in fact a need for it.
The sell me this pen analogy is completely surrounded by this premise; ask questions to help people sell themselves, rather than prematurely pitching and hoping something sticks.
Below are a number of recommended articles you should read, to help you become a sales master at asking questions.
The last part of your sales process, and to close off the sell me this pen analogy; is helping the person re-frame that your product or service is the right fit.
If you’ve done your job well as a Sales Professional, your questions should have helped them sell themselves that they do need the pain and problems solved; and that you may have the right solution to solve their problems.
The way you do this, is presenting your product or service in a way that counters objections, and bridges the gap of where they currently are – to where they need to be.
There are a number of key things you need to include in your sales presentation. These are:
- Ensure the right people are present (you can’t follow the sell me this pen analogy if they don’t need a pen)
- Use stories when selling
- Bridge to their pain
- Explain how you’ll solve their desired outcome
- Use proof
- Present in person when able to do so
- Ask questions
- Be visual
- Get feedback as you present
- Keep it short and not overly extended
We’ve written a comprehensive and detailed article, explaining how you can do each of these in detail. To learn more, read the related article below.
Related article: 10 x Effective Sales Presentation Tips You Need To Use
Sell Me This Pen – Final Thoughts
The sell me this pen analogy as you’ve probably already grasped from this article, isn’t about selling pens at all.
Instead, sell me this pen is an analogy is getting the right people together, asking them questions, and helping them sell themselves rather than you do all the hard work and selling.
Premature presentation is fatal in sales, because it works off assumption; which professionals should never do.
Instead, we recommend using a more consultative approach, which uses questions to help them sell themselves, and positions you as a Specialist.
If you would like to learn how you to can implement each of these steps and become a Master of Sales, register for our 7 day sales challenge here.