Sell Me This Pen: Call Center Interview Question and Answer

Whether you’re applying for a sales or non-sales call center, rest assured your interviewer will still ask you this, “Sell me this pen.” As always, the applicants who get the handshake and sign the job offer are the most prepared ones. In this topic, we’ll get into details on how you can ace this interview question.

Sell me this pen: why do they ask this?

Most BPO companies who ask this handle an outbound account. As opposed to an inbound account, where you wait for calls from the customers, you, the agent, is the one making the phone call. Your job is to call prospects or buyers who might be interested on your products. Depending on the company, you could sell different things. Let me give you an overview:

Appointment Setting

For example, your company has just opened a spa. To drive customers in, your job is to call prospects and offer them a free or discounted service. This way, the company gets to introduce and promote their services to the public. Your end goal is to convince the prospect to say yes to the appointment.

Selling Products and Services

Instead of an appointment, your job is to straight out promote and sell a product or services to prospects.

Upselling

Now this one is generally a customer service task but includes sales on the side.

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For example, the company sells computer parts. Your main job would be to help the customers fix computer issues. However, if an opportunity to sell arises, (say, maybe the customer needs to upgrade to a higher memory computer), then your job is to convince the customer that he needs the new computer.

Now what do all of these clients have in common? Do they sell pen? Absolutely not. Therefore…

It has nothing to do with the pen after all

Instead, it has everything to do with your ability to sell. So to answer why interviewers ask this question, it’s to measure your ability to sell. Now the question is how do you effectively sell?

Step 1: Know whether the selling is going to be conversational.

Conversational means the interviewer and you will be interacting in a usual buyer-seller setting.

In this setting, the interviewer can respond to what you say, and you, in return have a chance to ask and convince some more. Depending on what you say, the interviewer can either ask more questions, reject, or buy your pen.

Most call centers, especially if you’re a beginner, choose to do it the easier way- the non-conversational way. Meaning, you’ll have to talk through the entire time and lay your sales pitch without the interviewer interrupting or saying anything- just listening to how you say your sales pitch.

Since you’re a beginner, I’m only gonna focus on the non-conversational one.

Step 2: Ask yourself: What would make someone buy that pen.

Since your job is to convince the interviewer to buy that pen, you must come up with good reasons why your product, the pen, is worth buying. Therefore, it is only common sense to highlight its feature or benefit which is: It can write.

Pretty boring, right? Besides, who cares which pen to use as long as it has a perfectly working ink?

Therefore, use your imagination. Since a regular pen has no special features whatsoever, why not make it an extraordinary pen or at least a pen with extra benefits? After all, the interviewer, won’t really tell you that the pen is just an ordinary one. That means, you can make up a whole new story about how amazing that pen is.

For example:

  • The pen can function as a grammar checker. Everytime you misspell a word or write wrong grammar sentences, it lights up in red signalling you that you’ve made a mistake.
  • Its ink can be easily erased without having to use a white-out.
  • It contains a unique ink that literally no other pen can copy.
  • It can function as a flashlight.
  • Best of all, it can function as a Taser (for self-defense).

Step 3: Tell a Story using those features.

Now it’s time to put together those features and advantages by weaving your story based on the features. How do you do that?

Simple.Use the FAB statement. I’ve created a detailed topic about FAB. To know more out more about it, read this.

So now, lets put together our sales pitch for the pen based on the features we’ve invented above.

As you can see, this looks like just any other pen. Except that it’s not.

Feature #1:

This pen is equipped with a grammar checker. This means everytime you misspell a word or compose a wrong grammar sentence, the pen lights up in red and automatically changes your writing to its correct form.

Advantage and Benefit:

Misspellings and grammars will never be a problem as it this will take care of the job for you.

Feature #2:

Not only that, making mistakes in your writing is not a problem. And you don’t need a white-out either. This has a special ink that can be easily erased using its tip.

Advantage and Benefit:

The result? A clean paper without the trace of the previous error. In short, you save money.

Feature #3:

Third, it contains a unique ink that literally no other pen can copy. It’s unique like a fingerprint.

Advantage and Benefit:

If you’re worried about someone forging your signature, this makes it absolutely impossible. If someone attempts it, it can be detected very easily with bare eyes.

Feature #4 & 5 :

I saved the best for last. You see, this is not just a pen that makes your office tasks easier. It can spare you the anxiety. Are you scared when walking home alone? Well, you have every reason to be.

Advantage and Benefit:

But with this pen, it’s going to spare you some security. This is equipped with a flashlight and Taser ready to immobilize an attacker for a good 5 minutes. It’s an amazing multi-purpose technology that doesn’t not only serve the purpose of a pen, but a white-out, a grammar checker, a flashlight, and a Taser.

The Whole Answer:

As you can see, this looks like just any other pen. Except that it’s not.

This pen is equipped with a grammar checker. This means everytime you misspell a word or compose a wrong grammar sentence, the pen lights up in red and automatically changes your writing to its correct form. This means misspellings and grammars are the least of your concern as it this will take care of the job for you.

Not only that, making mistakes in your writing is not a problem. And you don’t need a white-out either. This has a special ink that can be easily erased using its tip. The result? A clean paper without the trace of the previous error. In short, you save money.

Third, it contains a unique ink that literally no other pen can copy. It’s unique like a fingerprint. If you’re worried about someone forging your signature, this makes it absolutely impossible. If someone attempts it, it can be detected very easily with bare eyes.

I saved the best for last. You see, this is not just a pen that makes your office tasks easier. It can spare you the anxiety. Are you scared when walking home alone? Well, you have every reason to be. But with this pen, it’s going to spare you some security. This is equipped with a flashlight and Taser ready to immobilize an attacker for a good 5 minutes. It’s an amazing multi-purpose technology that doesn’t not only serve the purpose of a pen, but a white-out, a grammar checker, a flashlight, and a Taser.

What’s the point of this answer when these are not even real?

You might say, sure, if you sell that kind of pen, I’m sure everybody would buy it. But as great as it may sound, it just sounds ridiculous. Good observation! After all, I haven’t, in all honesty, seen a pen with an electronic grammar checker, let alone a Taser.

The point of this question is to gauge your ability to highlight the pen as the object of interest. They wanna know how you can get creative and use the principles of a common sense selling to convince the customer to buy. When selling, it is only logical to highlight the benefits of a product, right? In short, this question evaluates your ability to highlight the FAB statement of a product.

In your real job, you’re gonna be selling products. And those products will surely have their own benefits and advantages.

So whether what you’re saying about the pen is 100% factual or not, it doesn’t matter.

The interviewer is only interested on how you can deliver your sales pitch with confidence and enthusiasm.

Of course, this is only the basics of selling. There is much more to this which I’m not gonna talk about here as you don’t need it at this point.

There is, however, a different interaction about this whole pen thing—the conversational style—wherein the interviewer would chime in from time to time and respond to you, reject the offer or buy it if you’re good.

This is rare and they usually reserve it for experienced agents. And more likely, you’re not gonna encounter them.

I hope this article will help you with your interview. Goodluck!

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