The classic sales interview question – “sell me this pen” – was brought to life in the Hollywood thriller The Wolf of Wall Street. The movie concludes with Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), now a world-renowned public speaker, posing the question to nervous audience members who proceed to regurgitate jumbled, inadequate responses (see video below). The scene conveys the point that being able to sell is a skill, and a difficult one to master at that. Yet the real life Jordan Belfort would tell you that there’s a whole lot more to sales success than mere persuasive talent.
In an interview in January 2014, Piers Morgan asked the actual Jordan Belfort to “sell him a pen.” Belfort responded by stating that he was going to give Morgan “a little sales training.” In the art of sales, the person you seek to sell to must have a need for the product you’re selling.
So Belfort said to Morgan, “If you would have said to me, ‘I don’t really use a pen,’ I would have said, ‘Oh really? Will you be in the market for a pen in the next few weeks or so? You’d say, ‘No,’ I say, ‘Have a nice day, I’m going to go find somebody that needs a pen.’”
Belfort’s sensible conclusion may surprise many eager-to-learn salesmen: “I don’t want to sell someone a pen that doesn’t need a pen. Otherwise, you’re just jamming a pen down somebody’s throat.”
Too often in the sales process, we jam pens down peoples’ throats. We attempt to sell to people that have no interest, need, or desire in the product or service we’re offering. We falsely think that by effectively talking and selling alone, the clients, customers, and revenue will follow.
So how do we reach those that demand what we’re selling? How do we avoid selling a pen to someone that doesn’t need a pen?
The answer? A targeted sales approach. You can be the most convincing salesman in the world, but if the person you’re selling to doesn’t need a pen, you’re unlikely to make the deal. Yes, closing is important; but the door has to be open for you to have a chance.
Through the Unomy Sales Intelligence platform, you can target individual people at individual companies within sectors that want what you’re offering. So at the start of your next sales search, first find the people that need the pen, and then convert those people into sales.