“Is there any evidence that using humor can help you sell more?,” a sales professional recently asked me. I’m sure there is evidence that more funny = more money, albeit most of it, frankly, is anecdotal.
We know from studies that 70% of award-winning ads make use of humor, so certainly humor can be an effective marketing tool to help your message stand out from the herd.
But what about using humor during the actual sales process? Risky or rewarding?
Certainly there is risk involved, depending on the style and nature of humor you use. The last thing any sales professional wants to do is to come across as:
– not taking the product/service or customer seriously
– not taking the customer’s concerns seriously
– racist, sexist or downright obnoxious
You might be thinking, “Well, DUH!” And yet, stories of sales people overstepping with their humor are legendary!
My take though is that it is worth the risk, but like anything else, you need to prepare for it, practice it and think it through. Humor can be a huge tool to help your come across as friendlier, more authentic, more trustworthy and even, when the humor is relevant to the product or service you are selling, more knowledgeable and competent, because an intelligent, thoughtful use of humor can demonstrate that you know so much about the product that you can find the humor in it.
Humor can also be an incredibly effective tool to help sales people deal with rejection and maintain a positive attitude during slumps.
So look for simple opportunities to practice some safe, authentic humor as a way of breaking down barriers, breaking the ice and building trust with your prospects and customers throughout the sales process.
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