celiadelaney

The funny thing about sales……

There’s a saying in speaking: “You don’t have to be funny to speak; but it helps if you want to get paid.”

I think the same is true for sales: “You don’t have to be funny in sales; but it helps if you want to get paid.”

I’m increasingly asked to speak about sales – it’s still such an in-demand topic – but people want me to do it in a funny way, because they mostly know me for my comedy these days. In fact, I’ve been teaching sales in a serious way for ten years, although not many people know that. I built up a successful franchise business in Devon and have run my own business, SpeakingSuccess for ten years now. At the same time I’ve become recognised as a comedian….so this combination of sales and humour is a fascinating one for me, given where I am today.

So why might you want to use humour in sales?

Firstly, it’s been my experience that if you can laugh with people you can also build rapport with them very quickly. This is the first step I teach people in the sales process. Human first, sale second. Concentrate on connection, not solution.

Making someone laugh makes them feel like they know you and (if you judge it right) like you…and then they start to trust you. Getting to trust quickly is a key component of the type of selling I teach, which is known as Relationship Selling or Consultative Selling.

I know I make sales easier for myself by making people laugh during the process. People ask ‘what is it going to be like working with you?’ and I say, ‘like slipping into a warm bath…’ which totally discombobulates them and so they laugh.

If they are in a dilemma about whether or not to buy, I chip in with: ‘As I often say to my husband: “Don’t struggle; it will only make it worse.”

Not only that but when it comes to the difficult bits of the sale – like revealing (or negotiating) the price – humour can really diffuse the tension of the moment.

My favourite part now is when we talk about price. For starters I like to tease reveal with a fake price-drop close (and I learned this from other speakers by the way) so I say, “It’s three million pounds (laughter) but I’m going to do it for you for three thousand”. That’s difficult to argue with.

The other day I quoted the price over the phone to a guy who wanted to book me to speak. He said, “What???” which is a variation on, “How much???”. I said, “Oh sorry…is it too low?” That made him laugh as I was calling his bluff. Of course, he booked me for that fee. He liked me and my cheekiness; my hootzpah.

If someone asks me: “Can you do anything on the price?” I say, “Sure. I can put it up.” ?

So next time you have to make a sale, just remember to include some humour and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

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