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This is Really Really Funny!

Posted by Frank Belzer on Tue, Sep 06, 2011 @ 05:56 AM
Frank Belzer is the Sales Archaeologist and Author of Sales Shift.

describe the imageHow many times has some humor brightened an otherwise dull day?

How often has a funny email from a friend helped to do just that?

Did you click on this post, this article because you hoped to read something “really funny”?

Don’t be embarrassed if you did, that is apparently our nature and you are not alone. Here however is the irony – my past 4 or 5 posts have received some of the best feed-back ever; people were helped, techniques tried and sales closed because of some of the tips and instruction provided and yet many folks simply passed them by, maybe you were one?

Why do we stop to look at a car crash? Why is reality TV such a hit? Why do we click on a blog post that promises “funny” over “useful”?  

To make the point further try this:  Create an email that you will send to 20 prospects, people that have not spoken to you or already engaged with you in some fashion. For the first 10 emails put something typical in the subject line – “great new offering from ____saves thousands” and then for the next ten put something like “check this out it is so funny” or "hysterical" and then start the email with something humorous that is happening in your space.

Put read receipts on both and watch what happens. People like Funny.

An old sales veteran told me once (when we were going dealership to dealership in the 80's) never to say I had something great or good - he would walk up and when asked "what are you selling?" he would say "oh nothing you want or need, just junk and trinkets and stuff" - Inevitably they would come right over and want to see everything and he would always sell!

Another rep I worked with was great at telling people that they couldn't afford what she was selling - another consistent over achiever by the way.

I heard a story last week from a sales manager about his best rep - she always starts with "you don't need it and you don't want it!" - turns out they do.

I think the reason for this then and now is quite simply that the pressure is gone. When you start by saying this is funny not serious, it won't fit, you don't want it or you can't afford it we remove the dreaded fear that prospects have of being closed - you can't close me because I don't need it - then natural curiosity just takes over.

Funny isn't it?

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OK - you got me with the "funny". Although I read it right away, I usually do read your articles, just not as quickly. Thanks for the always interesting articles.

posted @ Tuesday, September 06, 2011 7:35 AM by Robin Smith

As someone who migrated from the traditional advertising space, I was amazed at the frequency of humor used in ads. I love to laugh, however it got really old to see the next funny spot created. The tactic just seemed to dumb down the target audience and I've often questioned the effectiveness in the long-run for the advertiser. Perhaps it's just a hangup of mine.  
I'm curious, what's your take on humor in the long-run? Is it simply a great tactic to gain attention and remove initial objection? Do I need to lighten up?

posted @ Tuesday, September 06, 2011 12:38 PM by Ryan breske

There is a time for humor and then there is a time to be serious.I think Humor is great for lowering resistance and generating initial interest but eventually prospects want some substance.

posted @ Tuesday, September 06, 2011 12:45 PM by Frank Belzer

I still don't see anything funny here. Failing to deliver on your promise is a typical sales rep issue, and you have kind of done that. So in a roundabout way, your post is ironic. Good information to help sales reps, but creating a bad example of how to execute. 
Then again, you did get me here and provide unexpected value, since I was looking for humor.

posted @ Tuesday, September 06, 2011 5:51 PM by Art Flater

I confess, I was pulled in by the title and I did read the entire article, which was interesting and somewhat useful. However, I felt deceived throughout, and that significantly lowered my trust and acceptance of your message. That defeat of expectations is not a problem when you tell something "you won't need/want this" and it turns out that they do. There you have started by setting a low expectation. But the other way around, you start off from a negative place and you might not be able to dig your way out. You only have one chance to make a first impression.

posted @ Thursday, September 08, 2011 6:04 AM by Michael Kraft

Deceived? Defeat of expectations? I was totally confused by Michael's comment until I went to his website. Then it made sense. 
I still hold on to this: If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong. People don't want more expectations put on them- that is the whole point! By saying, you don't need it- the expectation to buy is gone, and you can have fun and be real. Not trying to put on airs or make a certain impression.

posted @ Thursday, September 08, 2011 11:13 AM by Carole Mahoney

I agree that humor is definitely a great tool for lowering resistance. I am quite new to sales, but I have already discovered that if I open up a phone call with a joke it puts both of us at ease right away. 
This also gives me some insight into the person's personality. If the person laughs and jokes back with me, that tells me that he/she is probably pretty easy-going and fun. And if he/she doesn't react at all, that tells me that he/she is typically very serious (or that my jokes really are as bad as people say) In the end though, I think humor is the quickest way to establish a relationship and get a conversation started.

posted @ Monday, October 24, 2011 11:31 AM by Blake Powell

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