Learn what being a member does for you
The Seller Styles
Learn the styles and take your free assessment
See a summary of all our programs and certifications
Certified Professional Sales Person(CPSP®)
Develop your potential as a certified sales professional
Certified Professional Sales Leader(CPSL®)
Grow your impact as a certified sales leader
Certified Master Sales Professional (CMSP®)
Join the elite group of sales professionals and leaders
Advanced Sales Influence (ASI)
Take your influence and leadership to the next level.
Learn foundational sales behaviors, strategies, and skills
Power of Contact Marketing
Learn from marketing expert and author Stu Heinecke
Join the top 1% of sales professionals in the world.
Next Level Virtual Coaching
Join our ongoing dynamic virtual coaching community
Explore job postings from some of the best companies in the country looking for sales professionals
Daily Dose of Influence!
Enjoy our video series of influence tips and strategies
Leads To Growth
Dig into our podcast featuring industry leaders and experts
Learn from our high-level sales coaching video series
Women of Sales & Influence – Facebook Live Series
Be inspired by our Facebook Live series spotlighting top women influencers
Women of Sales & Influence – Video Blog
Enjoy valuable, high-level sales strategies to empower your sales goals
The Growth Quotient
You’ve heard about IQ, but what is your GQ?
Our Commitment to You
We are here to help your approach to sales, how you interact with others, and how you perform and execute
NASP Sales Blog
Learn from our member-submitted articles for sales professionals
Write For Us
Share your sales expertise and insights with our community
About Our CEO
Standards of Conduct
Common Questions and Answers
This is one of the most basic of interview questions for sales reps, and the answer reveals so much about your previous training, your understanding of the sales process, and ultimately about what kind of sales rep you are.
So, what is the most effective way to sell a pencil? Well, first let’s look at how most sales reps go about doing it. When I’m interviewing sales reps I love using this technique. After letting a rep tell me how good of a closer they are, I pull out a pencil, hand it to them, and tell them to sell it to me. And off they go!
“This pencil is brand new, never used. It has grade “2” lead and a bright yellow color so it’s easy to find. It comes with a built in eraser,” etc.
Some reps can (and do!) talk about it for 5 minutes or more before they ask a question or ask for an order. As the sales rep rambles on, I begin to yawn, roll my eyes, etc. Amazingly, this just makes them talk even more!
“What’s wrong with this people?” I think.
As soon as I give a top rep the pencil, they pause, and then they begin asking me questions:
“So how often do you use a pencil?” “How many do you go through in a month?” “What other locations does your company use pencils, and how often do they order them?” “What quantity do you usually order them in?” “Besides yourself, who’s involved in the buying decision?”
Quite a difference here isn’t there? I’ll tell you right now, I listen to hundreds of sales reps in a month and they can easily be separated into these two groups: Those who pitch, pitch, pitch, and those who take the time to understand their prospect’s buying motives, and properly qualify to understand the entire selling process.
Now let’s see which category you fit in. When you speak with a prospect for the first time, how much of your script is focused on describing and pitching your product or service as opposed to questioning and uncovering buying motives?
If yours is like most scripts I review, then it’s filled with descriptions of what you do and how your product or service helps them. Most scripts attack the prospect with a barrage of “value statements” that turn people off and make them want to get you off the phone as quickly as possible.
Want a better way? Then take a tip from some of the best “pencil sales reps” and change your script and opening to focus more on questioning and discovering whether you’re dealing with a qualified buyer and what it might take to actually sell them.
Without knowing this, you’ll just end up with a lot of frustration and a lot of unsold pencils at the end of the month.
About the author
Do you have an underperforming inside sales team? Talk to Mike to see how he can help you and your team reach your revenue goals. To learn more about Mike, visit his website: http://www.MrInsideSales.com