Sell me that pen!

Most of us do know that iconic phrase from sales books or “the wolf of wall street” movie. Furthermore some of us have heard it in an Job-interview, as a kind of test-question. Nowadays it seems silly, as most of us know the correct way to handle that test – But in my first job interview for an apprenticeship at an international wholesale company, it was new to me. So I kind of improvised and got into quite an awkward situation.

Boss: “Sell me that pen”

She gave me the pen. I took the pen, looked at it and started thinking.

Me, whilst clicking and spinning the pen repeatedly in my hand: “I will think about that one. Can you tell me, how you founded this company?”

Then she started her story. How she founded the company in Taiwan, moved to the States and then to Germany – All that with the strange clicking of the pen in the background.

She told me, she waited in front of the office of a CEO for nearly a whole week, just to get 5 minutes of his time.

Click, Click.

This was the part she seemed really proud about. Me being so disrespectful and ruining this impressive story-part by clicking with the pen the whole time really annoyed her. She took her breath in and asked (quite calmly): “Can you please stop doing that?”

I froze, glimpsed at the pen and said: ”For 10€ its yours”

Suffice it to say that we both laughed.

Being a sales professional now, I would not recommend that technique for most products. But in this situation it worked. Maybe it was the humor at the end; maybe it had nothing to do with the pen at all – but I got the job and it really formed me for my future career.

When I hear nervous pen clicking now, I have to think back of how I started.