People tend to think of sales professionals as stone cold sellers. In reality, the best sales people understand that selling in the modern age calls for a different approach and different type of thinking. It’s no longer about guilt trips and high-pressure situations. Instead it’s about establishing trust, providing value and building meaningful relationships.
Providing value is inherent to the product or service that you’re offering. Yet trust and relationships are more linked to the ongoing efforts of your sales team and you as an individual. One tactic that isn’t discussed often but should be, is the importance of having a sense of humor in sales.
Over the last few years, I’ve come across a handful of professionals who sell for a living. Those who are the most successful, have a way with a person that allows them to connect on a level deeper than most business professionals. One approach that I’ve seen time and time again is built on a foundation of humor.
But why does it work?
Laughter makes it Easier to Build a Bond
In high-stakes environments, humor can quickly set the mood, remove tension and break that uncomfortable silence. Humor is an easy way to connect with someone or a group, as it’s the brains way of rewarding us for correcting errors in our thinking. This feeling of joy and laughter allows for rapport to be established as a joke is delivered effectively.
While it’s not often discussed in sales, it can truly make a difference in winning or losing a deal. Business is built on relationships and humor is an easy way to nurture and build them. It’s one of the oldest tactics in the book and is something we’ve used from the time we were kids. Take this version of the famous Marilyn Monroe quote,
“If you can make a prospect laugh, you can make them buy anything.”
Studies show that humor can make you more persuasive because it mentally disarms people. It allows them to put down their guard and fully be engaged in the moment. It allows you as a professional to get through their barriers as humor has the power to make a prospect more comfortable.
As a prospect becomes more comfortable with you and your organization, they start to open up more and share insights that you’ve been dying to know. The fact that they’ve opened up with you will allow you to dive deeper into understanding their needs and wants. Once you know more about their situation, you can better understand and deliver value as it relates to your offering.
But that’s not the only benefit.
A Laughing Sales Team is a Healthy Sales Team
We all know that sales can be a stressful job, which is why laughter and humor can provide benefit outside of the actual sale. Studies show that people who use humor to cope with stress have better immune systems, reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and have a tendancy to live longer. While there are other ways to help you stay healthy, humor is one of the easiest and most enjoyable.
Humor can be your personal competitive advantage. Sure, there are many ways for you to build trust with prospects and clients. But time and time again, humor proves to be an easy win. Using humor in your presentations, in your day-to-day calls and even during meetings can go a long way in building professional relationships.
Sure, you have to get a bit creative and learn how to be quick on your toes but the biggest secret is this: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take your work seriously. Take your clients seriously. But don’t take yourself too seriously as it’s a one-way street to failure.
Do you use humor in your work? What are some ways that you have used humor in a pitch or conversation that lead to success?