Can a Frog (Or a Little Humor) Boost Your Sales?

Can a little humor help you negotiate a better deal? A study conducted by Karen O’Quinn and Joel Aronoff suggests that it can. In their study, participants had to negotiate over the final sales price of a painting. The seller made a final sales offer in one of two ways: half the time the seller said he’d accept $6,000; the other half of the time he gave the same final offer, but this time he added a little humor into the mix by offering to throw in his pet frog. The impact of the humor was substantial. Regardless of gender and regardless of the degree to which the final price was above the amount originally offered, the potential buyers made much bigger compromises when they were offered a pet frog!

Similarly, another study by Dr. Paul McGhee found that when a salesperson used more humor, the buyer was willing to pay a higher price. His study found that humor helped break down initial objections and created an emotional bond with the seller. And another study (described in the book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be More Persuasive), found that simply sending a funny, inoffensive cartoon to a person you are negotiating with generated higher levels of trust and 15% higher profits. The use of cartoons resulted in shorter, more efficient negotiating times, and the recipients of the cartoons were more than twice as likely to make an opening offer that was deemed acceptable.

July, 2015. Michael Kerr is an international business speaker who helps organizations build stronger, more inspiring cultures – the kind of cultures that drive outrageous results. 

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