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SalesDog's Coffee with The Dog Newsletter
      Issue 699 SalesDog's Coffee with The Dog Newsletter August 13, 2015      
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Quote of the Week: "Do one thing every day that scares you." —Eleanor Roosevelt
 
 
Laugh All the Way to the Bank
by Michelle Nichols

In the sales world, one of the most common stumbling blocks is price objection. A potential deal may be moving ahead smoothly until numbers enter the conversation, when eager customers suddenly turn and flee. But I’ve found that humor can be an effective tool for moving the sale along at almost every stage of the process. Using humor doesn’t mean going overboard and acting like a goofball. Adding appropriate levity to a situation can increase your likeableness, and help establish that critical connection with customers. As a result, customers will listen more closely, and if trouble erupts, they’re more likely to cut you some slack.

Thankfully for the joke-telling-impaired among us, humor does not mean just delivering one-liners. It includes all sorts of things, including funny quotations, cartoons, lists, analogies, definitions, and amusing stories. Keep in mind that in a business setting, your goal is simply to lighten the mood, not leave them rolling in the aisles. And make sure your humor is not offensive in any way. Joking that is racist, sexist, ethnic, religious, risqué, or demeaning is obviously a no-no. Here are a few methods I’ve found effective.

Get personal. One of the most powerful sources of humor is stories from your own life. Personal stories are easier to remember, which makes it easier to tell them smoothly. A little self-deprecation never hurts. For example, if my prospects are parents, I might tell them about my daughter. When her junior high was having Career Day, I asked if she wanted me to speak, since not everyone’s mom is a columnist and speaker. "Oh great, how exciting," she moaned. "Why can’t you be a pharmacist, or something that doesn’t sound so boring?"

Go prospecting. I am always on the lookout for funny stories in books and magazines. After all, the truth is often funnier than any joke. I also keep a file of sales cartoons, which I can refer to or show the prospect. And I frequently browse large card stores or joke shops for postcards, greeting cards, bumper stickers, posters, or other products that can help make my point in a funny way.





Keep an eye out for wacky news stories that might help you spark a conversation. "Did you see this in the newspaper?" can be an effective opener. For instance, this true story made me laugh. In February, 2005, President Bush spoke in Great Falls, Montana (population 56,000). The president of the local Republican Club attended, accompanied by his wife and their children, except for the youngest, Tim. "He has a dental appointment," the father explained, adding how hard it is to reschedule a dental visit.

Find some props. A few choice items make for a more engaging sales presentation. I bought a $10 Tag Team Championship wrestling belt, about 10 inches wide, in a toy store. Sometimes I enter a meeting wearing it under my conservative grey suit, and make a point about teamwork or winning. I also have a rubber chicken named Larry, a huge eraser that says "For BIG mistakes," and a kit titled, "Grow a Brain." And I’m guaranteed at least a smile with my Hillbilly Calculator, a pair of wooden feet with the toes numbered 1-10.

Talk about price. I have an old Mr. Boffo cartoon subtitled "The further adventures of the Bargain Hunter," depicting a guy displaying "Ed’s Tattoo Parlor" tattooed on his chest in giant letters, saying, "Guess who got a free tattoo?" My point is, what is the real value of "free?" When I quote prices, the biggest potential sticking point, I like to say, "Your total is a mere $43,837.46." That always gets a laugh, and helps prospects over the price shock—at least for a moment.

Spin your weaknesses. Suppose you work for the IRS, and someone is mad about the complexity of the tax code. Author Malcolm Kushner suggests you might start out quipping, "The tax code is really very simple—if you don’t earn any income." The customer will probably laugh or groan, and you can go on to make some constructive points. If you spell a word incorrectly, volunteer that clear handwriting can sometimes be a handicap. If you lose your train of thought, say something like "My mind not only wanders, sometimes it walks right out the door."

Finish strong. À la David Letterman, an original Top Ten list of funny reasons the customer should buy from you, or buy right now, is an unusual approach—and could seal a deal.

Rib-tickling gags, self-deprecating humor, and even corny props put your customers at ease, and help make the sale. If you don’t have a funny bone in your body, try reading humor books or the daily comics as often as you can. Keep putting more humor in your head, and sooner or later, some of it is bound to seep into your selling. Remember: funny is money. Happy selling!

Michelle Nichols was the Savvy Selling columnist for BusinessWeek.com for six years. She now devotes her full time efforts to encourage working parents to hug their kids. Learn more here.


Written by an author included in Top Dog Sales Secrets. Get your copy here.

"One of these top dog secrets can earn you a fortune." - Jeffrey Gitomer, entrepreneur, bestselling author of Social BOOM!, and America's Leading Business Growth Expert

"It's like reading the best ideas from 50 sales books all in one book. It's awesome!" — Michelle Nichols, Savvy Selling International


 
Mark-Hunter
Top Dog of the Week
Mark Hunter
"When the salesperson gives once on price, the interaction usually becomes a game where the customer sees how low they can get the salesperson to go on price – and everything else. Profits continue to erode at a rate no one completely comprehends until the damage is done." —Mark Hunter

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter", is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability. Visit his website here.
 
 
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Trivia: What's the least expensive and most popular fruit? You'll find the answer here.
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Interesting but useless fact: Owls are the only birds who can see the color blue.
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Ubiquitous is the featured word of the week. Find the definition, pronunciation key, and an example of it used in a sentence here.
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Dogfucius Say: Isn't it scary that doctors call what they do "practice"?
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Word of the Week: Ubiquitous adjective [ yoo-bik-wi-tuh s ]
  1. existing or being everywhere, especially at the same time; omnipresent
Example Sentence: spacer
He aims to make his product ubiquitous by selling it internationally. spacer
Definition & Example courtesy of Dictionary.com

Trivia:
What's the least expensive and most popular fruit?

Answer:
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