Sometimes humor is a great way to build a rapport with a customer. Some prospects will appreciate well-timed fun and a joke is a great way to do it.
Humor That Works
When do you do decide to use humor, though, keep in mind that not every type of humor works for everyone. Here are some different types to consider. You can choose what fits best with your personality so your jokes actually come across as funny.
Self-Deprecating Sales Jokes
Lou Carlozo recommends you don’t make fun of your product, either, as it makes you look incompetent. However, making fun of yourself is perfectly acceptable.
Lou Carlozo recommends you don't make fun of your product as it makes you look incompetent. With that said, making fun of yourself is great.
For example, you might make a joke about your penmanship if you can't read your own handwriting. Describing yourself as disorganized, though, might send prospects some red flags. You could come across as ill-equipped to handle their precious business.
This may be a good tactic if things on the call aren't going well. If your customer lightens up, you may be able to use other forms of humor in further communication.
Canned Sales Jokes
When we think of telling jokes, we think of canned jokes. If you're a good joke teller, canned jokes will work well for you. Ian Adams and Vendere have some customers enjoy, as they're directed towards salespeople
1. Salesman: This computer will cut your workload by 50%.
Office Manager: That’s great, I’ll take two of them.
2. “Why would you hire me to help you streamline your B2B appointment setting processes?” the recent college graduate asked the human resources manager.
“See that man yelling at the postal carrier?” the human resources manager replied, “He’s trying to set appointments using voicemail.”
3. Sales manager addressing an under performing sales force at the start of a new month:
“We are going to have a sales contest this month. The winners will get to enter next month’s contest.”
4. “The person who answers the next question correctly doesn’t have to meet his or her sales appointment setting goals this month,” the VP of sales boldly announced to his sales team.
A headset promptly flew across the room.
“Who did that?“ asked the VP.
“Me!” cried a voice from the back. “Thanks so much. I’m really looking forward to taking a month off.”
5. How do salespeople traditionally greet each other?
“Hi. Nice to meet you. I’m better than you.”
6. Sales manager: How many appointments have you set today?
Sales rep: Three!
Sales manager: Do you think they’ll result in sales?
Sales rep: If it turns out my hairdresser, babysitter and therapist are interested in purchasing VolP phone systems, there’s always that possibility, right?
Adams recommends you memorize one or two and keep them ready when you need them.
Do you and your customer both have children? Perhaps you could tell him about something funny your daughter did last week.
Whether you tell your own stories or borrowed ones, storytelling can work well. If you have a knack for it, go for it. It does take longer, though, depending on the length of your story.
A Word of Warning
While humor is fun, you do have to be careful how you use it. Dan Siedman shares a story of joking gone wrong. A restaurant salesperson joked he was from the health inspector's office. It worked many times, but there was the one time it didn't. The experience ended with a dressing-down from his manager. Never insult your customer.
It worked many times, but then there was the one it didn’t. And it didn’t work in a very spectacular way. The experience ended with a dressing-down from his manager. Never insult your customer.
John Kinde points out there is a possibility of seeming unprofessional if you joke in your calls. To avoid this, he recommends mirroring your customer's conversation style. If your prospect is being funny themselves, they're likely open to humor.
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