Sell Me This Pen

Sell Me This PenSell Me This Pen – That’s a line in The Wolf of Wall Street that has many veteran and successful sales people doubting their status, as they grapple with “How Would I Sell This Pen?”

If you’ve seen the movie, there’s a scene where Jordan Belfort is at a training seminar and he asks each person in turn to sell them this pen and each one fails miserably.

The line Sell Me This Pen is of course a trick question as it depends on;

  1. What Problem Do you Solve – Why someone needs a pen and what for?
  2. What’s Your Value Proposition – The promise of value; what attributes the pen has?
  3. Who’s Your Target Market – What type of person buys this type of pen?
  4. What’s Your Differentiator or USP – What makes this pen different?

Sorry folks, no quick fix here. We’ve covered the topic above here Questions Every Company Needs to Answer

Sell Me This Pen

Now, lovers of the movie will say but what about the fast food scene where Jordon Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) turns to Brad (played by Jon Bernthal) and says, Sell Me This Pen.

Picture the scene, it’s a fast food joint and Jordon Belfort is eating and talking with a group of his friends. In reply;

  1. Brad takes the pen from Belfort
  2. Brad turns to Belfort and says “write down your name on that napkin for me”
  3. Belfort says “I don’t have a pen”
  4. Brad says “exactly, supply and demand, my friend”
  5. Jordon Belfort says to the group “he’s created urgency”

Most professional sales people call urgency like this a ‘compelling event’, it’s very effective if it’s genuine and honestly executed. However creating urgency dishonestly is not a good sales strategy and will ultimately fail. Simply because people don’t buy from people they don’t trust! Not only will they not trust you but they may well plot against you – And you don’t need that.

Compelling Event

Compelling Event in Sales

Understanding a genuine compelling event in sales; that specific catalyst that drives demand, such as a compliance deadline is not only genuine, it’s also helpful. Understanding a prospect’s Compelling Event is all important and it’s a key part of a sales person ‘skills set’

So the next time you’re asked to Sell Me This Pen tell the person “there’s a right way and there’s a wrong way to do this, would you like to find out more?” You’ve just created curiosity! If you’d like to find out more about the power of curiosity look here
Why Cold Calls Fail


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David Doyle

David has spent 30 years in sales successfully building business from zero to acquisition. Having studied Electronics and Computer Science at DIT and Enterprise Ireland's Export Sales Development Programme, he has spent most of his time in selling technology. He is founder and Managing Director of B2B Sell and leads a small team of experienced business and technology trained sales professionals.

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