“Sell me this pen” is a classic test of sales skills. It’s an assessment technique that is used to weigh how effectively a sales person can sell an item as ordinary as a pen. The trick in getting a buyer is not about how well the pen can write but rather about striking an emotional chord that ignites interest in the pen. Passing the test needs word play as well being able to articulate value.


A well packaged product sells itself.

 If you can convince someone to buy an item as generic as a pen then you can sell just about anything right? What if you were the item up for sale? What if you only had a limited time, say two minutes? The time factor is the effectiveness behind what’s called the “elevator pitch”. This is a hypothetical scene in which you find yourself with a one on one opportunity to speak to someone of influence, such as a CEO, that you want to pitch to. You may be proposing that the CEO’s company hire you or enlist your services as a business owner. Much like selling a pen, the pitch is a game of tact & strategy. As with any interaction, the trick is to capture the listener’s attention with your first few lines. Such golden moments are hard to come by and so it’s best to bring your A game. Have a ready-made pitch in your back pocket. In the absence of one you will likely be unable to arrange your points effectively and may leave out key areas.

‘’Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor’’-H. Jackson Brown Jr.

The pillars of a solid pitch are:

  • It highlights only points that are relevant to the listener.
  • It carries a sense of passion & ambition.
  • Your goal is articulated.

The first step is to have a firm grasp of your strengths, skills and accomplishments. From these you derive the value that you are able to offer. That value is packaged as a brand. The brand serves as your promise. If we look at Nike and what its promise is, it’s safe to say that their adverts generally speak about quality and how Nike is associated with superior athletes. Crossing over to the vehicle space, BMW drivers are assured of superior technology and efficient engines. The question is what is your brand? What can you promise the CEO? Therein lays the foundation of your pitch. Learn how to package yourself and put your best foot forward.

Pako Moshaga is the founder of Talitha Cumi Personal Branding Consultants. To have Pako speak at your event or address your team, find contacts below.

Pako Moshaga

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