Sales professionals rarely use humor to improve rapport and improve negotiations. For some reason, when we walk through the doors at work, we’re all business.
Research shows, though, that people who incorporate humor into their business are more successful. We gravitate toward people who seem more like us, and humor helps accomplish that.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we’re talking with Marty Wilson, a pharmacist-turned-stand-up-comic who understands the power of humor in sales transactions.
Our brains naturally separate people into “us” and “them,” a throwback to the tribal days of humans. Each of us considers a small group of people part of the “us” group; the rest are “them.”
Humor builds rapport and helps people identify us as part of their group, so we’re no longer part of the “them” group.
Use humor to improve rapport
We’re all sales-savvy because we’ve been sold to so often. When we perceive someone selling something to us, red flags go up.
Sales professionals must convince people to “know, like and trust.” You can’t afford to be boring. The market is overcrowded, and you must somehow make yourself memorable.
Accomplish that by building rapport. Humans trust people who can smile when everyone else is stressed. It suggests psychological stability, and we gravitate toward it.
Funny makes ideas stick. We remember funny commercials and funny jokes because funny implants in our brains more easily than facts.
People listen to your message after you build rapport.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
There are three things you can always laugh at:
- common enemies
- shared frustrations
When you can laugh at things happening behind the scenes, customers believe that you understand the industry. If you tell funny stories about the things your customer laughs about behind closed doors, you become an “us” instead of a “them.”
Car salesmen, for example, might joke about the price of oil or government regulation in the car industry.
Take what you do seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. When you can laugh at yourself, or even at the difficulty of the negotiation process, it suggests an inner peace.
Acknowledge the obvious
Acknowledge the fact that negotiations are the most difficult part of the sales process. Make a good-natured joke about your sales competitors.
If you can prompt even 10 percent of the people in the audience to laugh, you’ll increase your likability, even among the people who didn’t laugh. Using gentle humor to acknowledge the stress in the process will make you truthful and trustworthy.
Marty Wilson has a new book out called More Funny, More Money plus a free Masterclass about using humor to increase revenue. You’ll also find information about private coaching, video courses, and Marty’s TED Talks.
Connect with Marty at martinwilson.com for keynote speaking engagements and a collection of informational videos.
If your sales results aren’t a laughing matter, consider joining The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, an online coaching program focused on building value and closing more deals.
Our new semester begins April 26, and we have a few seats available. We’d be honored if you’d join us.
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