Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

“Sell me this pen.” More than just a sales interview technique, it’s effective in closing that deal! [Tuesdays: “Write with the Pen of the Masters”]

December 29, 2020

“Sell me this pen.”

Does this line sound familiar to you?

If you’ve watched the 2013 movie, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” then you probably know what this statement is all about.

This sales interview trick is also used as an example by SEO writer and CEO of Gerencer Creative, Inc., Tom Gerencer, in his book titled, “Think Like Google.”

Imagine you’re applying for a job in the marketing and sales industry.

As you sit quietly and nervously on the interviewee’s seat, the interviewer suddenly tells you:

“Sell me this pen.”

How would you respond to that?

In “The Wolf of Wall Street,” this sales technique was used twice.

Scene #1:

While staying in the cafeteria with his friends, the movie’s antihero, Jordan Belfort (portrayed by actor Leonardo DiCaprio), suddenly pops the statement.

One of his friends obliges, takes the pen, and answers him by saying:

“Do me a favor. Write your name on that napkin.”

Aware that his friend has the pen, Belfort responds:

“I don’t have a pen.”

What did his friend say after that?

Only one word: “SOLD” (Seeing that the only way for Belfort to write his name on a piece of napkin is to “buy” the pen).

Scene #2:

Belfort is now a sales consultant, strutting in a conference room full of hopeful sales representative applicants.

He says the same statement to one of the attendees.

The attendee gulps and states:

“Uh, it’s a nice pen… It’s made of silver…”

Notice the difference in answers?

Do you see how knowing how to properly respond to the sell-me-this-pen trick is crucial?

The real Jordan Belfort (the American author, not the character in the movie) gave a clue on how one should respond to that statement in his book titled, “The Way of The Wolf.”

In one chapter, he discussed a sales interview he conducted during the peak of his career.

A young applicant walked into Belfort’s office. To test the applicant, Belfort gave him a pen and used the same sell-me-this-pen trick.

The applicant confidently answered:

“This is the most amazing pen money can buy! It can write upside down! It will never run out of ink! It feels great in your hand!”

Do you think the applicant received a compliment?

Instead of a compliment, the applicant received a firm critique from Belfort, who said:

“Did it ever occur to you to maybe ask me a few questions before you attempted to ram a pen down my throat? Like, am I even in the market for a pen? Do I have a certain price range in mind? Do I prefer one type of pen to another?”

Going back to Tom Gerencer and his book, why do you think he used this example to get his point across?

If you want your articles to get on top of the search results on Google, you can’t just “wing it” without knowing if your content is relevant to your readers or online searchers.

You have to be sure that the information you provide is what they’re looking for.

In order for Google to rank your articles higher, you have to focus on what they’re focusing on―serving the readers.

How will you do that?

By knowing who you’re trying to reach.

You can’t serve your readers without knowing who they are. That’s why your messaging should be targeted, which means you don’t just write your copies for everyone.

Write for your target market and why it appeals to them.

Let’s go back to the real-life sales interview experience Belfort had, which we mentioned earlier.

The applicant failed to “sell” the pen because he didn’t make sure he was marketing it to the right target market.

What if the person he’s talking to wasn’t really looking for a pen, but for a keyboard?

No matter how great his sales pitch would be, if that’s not the product the person needed at that moment, it just wouldn’t work.

This concept also applies to writing copy for a brand, product, or service. You have to focus on who your target market really is.

Yes, writing for your target market means covering less of the population, but it also makes your writing and marketing goals more attainable―higher chances of increasing your sales conversion rate, engagement rate, brand awareness, etc.

Remember as well to incorporate these 3 essential elements in your copies so you get one step closer to “closing that deal!”

  • Leave no room for doubt and confusion. Be as specific as you can get and show your target market that your product or service can solve their problems.
  • Make sure your copy is conversational and concise. This will help motivate your target market to read until the bottom of the page.
  • Establish yourself as an expert in your area. By doing so, you earn your target market’s respect and they’ll also acknowledge your authority and credibility in the field.

Knowing who you’re writing your copies for can make or break your messaging efforts.

You may have an amazing product or service that is suitable for consumers’ needs, but if you’re not marketing it to the right target market, your efforts will just go to waste.

Take note of these tips as you write your next copy.

Just as Tom Gerencer said, if Google wants what the searchers want, then you also have to know what they want.

Don’t write copies about topics or messages they don’t want or need―that won’t appeal to them.

Give them the information they’ll be delighted and interested to read!

As you do that, you’re opening doors for more interaction with your target market and a higher rank on SEO.

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Write with the Pen of the Masters”

Who doesn’t find content writing to be a skill that requires a lot of practice and effort?

In fact, many people may even find copywriting very intimidating.

However, you can be a good writer as long as you have the right tools. You won’t always get things right the first time, but with enough time and practice, you’ll get the hang of it!

When you write a copy for any brand or for your company, your aim is to make an impact and…

…to get people to remember.

Getting people to remember means getting consumers to buy your product or to avail of your service.

And when you get your content to deliver the results you want, THAT is a great copy!

Every Tuesday, we publish content based on tips and insights from the masters of content writing, copywriting, and storytelling.

Become more familiar with ways to write great copy that helps you gain ROI from your efforts, drive profitability, and achieve your business goals.

Learn time-tested tactics that better capture the attention of your target audience, and maximize the benefits of great copywriting.

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Write with the Pen of the Masters!”


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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