Humor in Sales, An Introduction

What do a salesperson and a comedian have in common? They both love callbacks.

The objective of humor is not necessarily to incite a laugh. It lies in grabbing attention with a hook and rewarding the audience with a twist.

Humor Me This

Just to make sure we’re on the same page, let’s understand what humor is. Humor is a quality someone possesses to make light of situations, especially where most people would clam up and retreat into a shell. Over time, this quality can be honed to the point where it becomes a skill. The secret is to achieve ultimate shamelessness.

“Success becomes more achievable when you shed all shame.” is a quote you wouldn’t have heard too often. That’s also because it was made up just this instant.

Rejection, Dejection, Resurrection

For aspiring comedians and SDRs alike, the first and most recurring obstacle is the fear of rejection. It’s not just rejection that’s terrifying, it’s the anxiety-ridden fever dream that is the anticipation of your worst nightmare.

This might often happen right before a cold call. Your body knows what to do because it’s muscle memory. But, your mind won’t stop coming up with worst-case scenarios. Even closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths might not work, and all the tips from Google searches may seem impersonal, generic, and condescending.

So, is there a silver lining here?

Think of it this way – you already know the worst-case scenario(s), so all you have to do is make the call. You are already way past “What’s the worst that can happen?” Use it to your advantage. Use humor like a shot of espresso, and remember to pace yourself.

Most performing artists, especially comedians will tell you that building immunity to rejection is almost impossible. While the terror may seem less potent over repeated exposure to an audience, it never disappears. But, being sure of your material and ability can serve as great insurance when in doubt.

Say Something, I’m Giving Up On You

Silence can be the cruelest form of rejection. Now you know where the term “silent treatment” comes from. Yet, silence is also a sign of an attentive listener. This double-edged lack of instant feedback can often present itself as a Catch-22 situation. Should you take their silence for disinterest, and wrap up quickly to save face? Or, take advantage of their attention and continue to try and seal the deal? 

The answer only comes from instinct, which only develops over time. Repetition doesn’t necessarily mean monotony. There are no manuals for public speaking, performance arts, or sales. The only way to persevere is through sheer stubbornness.

“Mastery is the journey between How-To and How-You” — Not Confucius.

Vicarious Learning

While nothing can serve as a substitute for experience over time, a few know-hows can give you the edge. Learning from past mistakes is important. But, learning from others’ mistakes means you’d be spending less time waiting to commit your own blunders.

Welcome To Humor In Sales

In this series, you will explore how humor can be incorporated into your sales conversations, be it emails, calls, or pitches. In the next edition, we will take a deep dive into one of the most underrated, behind-the-scenes activities in selling — Sales Emails.

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