Sharing a laugh can help warm up your prospects instantly, yet some salespeople underestimate the value of humor as a selling tool. Humor relaxes your prospects and makes them better listeners, which lets you present with greater impact. These humorous hints will help you put your prospect at ease so you can get down to the business of selling. Laugh And Your Prospect Laughs With You Nothing melts a person's defenses like laughter, and when your prospects' defensives are down, they're more apt to buy. Relaxed prospects are more attentive and find it easier to understand and retain information on your company and products. What's more, you don't have to be a comedian to loosen them up a little. Start by putting a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Instead of wearing a phony grin, think of something funny that will bring a sincere smile to your face. Chances are, your prospect will enjoy your lightheartedness - and most of us like to buy from people who make us feel good. To tickle your prospect's funny bone, make yourself the butt of a tasteful joke. A witty remark about your physical or other shortcomings helps put both of you at ease and establishes you as an easygoing, low- or no-pressure salesperson. To make sure your attempts at humor don't backfire, be sure to recognize the limits of good taste and judgment. Your prospect's office is neither the time nor the place for a stand-up routine, so don't go overboard. Bounce Back From Changes And Setbacks A second way to lighten things up is to stay resistant to obstacles, disappointments - all the things that can bring you down emotionally. As Zig Ziglar says, `It's not what happens to you, but how you handle it that makes the difference.` Learn to expect and prepare for the unexpected. Changes and obstacles may be demotivating initially, but in the long run we're stronger, smarter, better salespeople for facing them head on. Take your work seriously, but keep things in perspective and don't forget how to laugh at yourself and your circumstances. To help your customers deal with change effectively, send them articles that help them know what to expect in their industry. Keep them up-to-date on new technology that can help lighten their daily workload and reduce stress. Assume the role of a knowledgeable but unobtrusive business consultant. By reassuring your customers that you're there to serve them when they buy and even when they don't, you let them know you want this selling relationship to last. Clip and mail cartoons from trade journals, industry magazines or newspapers that will keep a smile on your customer's face - even in the face of adversity. Find Your Inner Child Many of us find children irresistible because of their unabashed affinity for the absurd. You can help make yourself irresistible in the same way. Sales professionals don't have to go around looking like somber-faced judges. Selling is a high-pressure business - give yourself permission to blow off steam by showing your ridiculous side from time to time. A foolproof way to induce laughter? Buy yourself a pair of Groucho glasses or a clown nose. When you start taking yourself too seriously, don your outrageous accessories and find a mirror. As for your customers, it's hard not to feel close to someone you've just shared a guffaw with, so you might want to get a second pair of glasses for a customer. After giving them to some of my customers, I've found they often work wonders for the selling relationship. This approach may not be well suited for every customer, but it shouldn't be too difficult to decide which clients will appreciate your sense of humor. One of the best ways to build trust quickly and effectively may also be the most fun. Show your customers that you don't use humor just to sell, but that you are a competent, knowledgeable professional who happens to have a sense of humor. Many of your prospects and customers may be long overdue for a good laugh. When you convince them that they can have a productive and profitable business relationship with you, and relieve some stress on the side, you may end up laughing all the way to the bank. Use Your Wit Wisely If you know how to use it, humor can be a valuable selling tool. These pointers will help you get a laugh - and maybe a sale from your prospects.
  1. Develop a style. Humor works more effectively if it suits your personality and sense of fairness. Use humor that makes people feel more comfortable.
  2. Decide on planned or `spontaneous` humor. Unless you're a natural wit, plan ahead. Carefully choose what you want to say, then wait for the right moment to say it.
  3. Perfect your timing. You might try using humor during your opening (to break the ice) and after an objection. In any selling situation, make sure the time is right before you speak.
  4. Make your joke appropriate to the circumstances. Stick to humor that's relevant to your presentation and doesn't divert your prospect's attention from what you're saying.
  5. Polish our delivery. Do what comes naturally without imitating, hesitating or intimidating.
  6. Use humor to bond with - rather than alienate - your prospects. Make jokes at your own expense, not your prospect's.
  7. Use humor sparingly and with care. What's funny to you may be offensive or out of place t someone else.
  8. Copyright © 1996, Vic Marcus • 508.435.0220 • Toll-Free 866.231.0100
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