Laughter is not only good medicine: it’s also a very powerful tool. It breaks down tension, endears you to people, establishes a level of commonality, and it really is amazingly good for your health.
Humor needn’t be relegated to your personal life, though; it can be most helpful in business, and especially in – yes, you guessed it – sales. A customer who’s having a bad day is likely to be closed to a sales pitch, but throw some humor in, and they just may open up to what you want to say.
Laughter offers a veritable plethora of benefits.
The following are just some of the advantages:
- Decreases stress/anxiety
- Improves mood
- Makes others more comfortable
- Lowers blood pressure
- Breaks the ice/decreases resistance
- Enhances immune function
- Lowers bad cholesterol (indeed!)
- Can reduce depression
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Increases memory
- Draws attention
Bringing laughter in to your work can certainly benefit you and those around you (whether colleagues or clients). Be creative in how you use humor in your sales pitches and transactions, because naturally, it should feel comfortable to you. Here are some suggestions for ways you can use laughter/humor to improve your day and/or others’:
- Share anecdotes of funny sales experiences.
- Read a favorite funny book or cartoon to start the day with a boost of enthusiasm.
- Poke fun at yourself – appropriately.
- Start a quirky habit. One salesman I know decided to start wearing a bow tie – every day. Perhaps you could try sunglasses, sneakers, suspenders, a hat… you name it. I don’t recommend the pants-so-low-the-skivvies-show look, though.
- Share a joke about sales to ease the tension in a cold call or initial meeting.
A few words of caution with humor in sales, though:
- Don’t deride others – individuals, companies, or products. It’s especially important not to make fun of your competition: that’s just bad form.
- Also avoid politics, religion, money, and ethnic jokes. Enough said.
- Keep it clean! Never use nasty language or references. Even if the client you’re talking with wouldn’t be offended, they may share the joke with others and credit you, and your blue humor may reflect badly on you in a wider circle.
- Don’t make jokes the main part of your pitch. Lighten the mood with laughter, but get back to business: you and the client should both remember why you’re there.
So when was the last time you invited humor to the table at a sales call? If it’s been a while, give it a try. As spirits rise, perhaps your sales will, too!