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December 14, 2018

Sales and Marketing Advice

A funny thing happened on the way to the sales meeting...

Ron Stein | 10/8/2018

Know, like, and trust is a simple, yet powerful process for selling. The starting point is breaking through the doubt and cynicism that almost all buyers have.

It’s a deep-rooted psychological mechanism. People are almost always very skeptical when first approached by a perceived “pitch”. This is an It’s a defense mechanism hidden inside our brains going back millions of years. Pure and simple emotion.

Getting past the emotional gatekeeper of the brain is critical. Otherwise you may get stuck in a vicious cycle of proving your value with more and more “facts”. This seems reasonable, however the harder you push on this button, the more your buyer’s brain will shut you out. It’s the one thing you can always count on -- people buy on emotion and only then justifying their decision on logic.

A little humor will go a long way towards fixing this problem.

Humor when done right is much more than a technique to get people to smile. Humor operates on an emotional level and will drive your message home in a much more memorable way than just pontificating about your features and benefits alone.

Selling with humor breaks down barriers, putting your audience at ease and making them more receptive to learning about the value you offer. Plus, humor makes it easier to build rapport, particularly when your subject matter is complex and filed with dry facts.

Humor can be one of your most powerful marketing and selling tools. Here are a few ways to use humor in your business to increase sales.

Inject humor into your presentations. Can’t tell a joke? Don’t worry, because humor in business isn’t used just for the sake of making people laugh -- instead link it to your presentation to increase the impact of your message. One of the best times to use humor is to emphasize the seriousness of the next point you’re about to make. For example, at the beginning of a recent talk I had mentioned a quote by Phil Kotler, the father of modern marketing; “If you can differentiate a dead chicken, you can differentiate anything.” Of course, that got a good chuckle from the audience. Then I spoke to the severe consequences of not doing a good job of differentiating products and brands. A few times during the rest of my talk I’d bring up a situation all companies face and I’d say, “What would Phil do?”, which got more laughs and tied it to the theme of the presentation; differentiation. Don’t tell funny stories without a reason – have a point.

Advertise and promote with humor. People love to be entertained and it’s better when thy smile. Regardless of your company’s size and budget, instead of boring pitches try humor tied to your message. Don’t be bashful -- a little edgy is better than cute. Rule number one is that talking solely about your product or service doesn't work. Your goal is to first make an emotional connection so that anything you say beyond that is going to be more meaningful. Video is a top technique, yet it doesn’t have to be a pricey production. Try animated explainer type videos that are relatively inexpensive and can be quickly produced and posted to YouTube. Consider paid ads on Google and Facebook with video too. Run a social media campaign around your humorous ads, plus promoted them with news releases. As always, consider the target market to make sure they’ll “get” your humor.

Cartoons communicate at a glance. Cartoons are perfect for print communications as well as presentations and social media. Look at any newspaper editorial page to see how effective cartoon humor can be in simplifying complex subjects to drive home an idea. Cartoons grab your audience’s attention because they add a cheerful visual dimension to an otherwise boring print ad, PowerPoint slide, or social marketing post. It’s another way to use humor to differentiate your business and message from your competitor. The cost of obtaining the license to use a cartoon is surprisingly reasonable. For example, Dilbert  cartoons are my favorite to include in presentations or you can always use Fiverr  to have a custom drawing created. If you see a cartoon you like in a newspaper or magazine, contact the cartoonist via the publication and ask about availability and pricing.

Humor improves understanding and communication between people. Humor helps cut through the noise and helps your company and its offering stand out. Humor is more likely to gain the audience’s attention, enhance recall, and overcome sales resistance.

Use humor on the home page of your website and in emails, newsletters, training materials, ads, presentation visuals, and of course when standing in front of a new prospect. Humor summarizes and reinforcing points that would otherwise be lost.

We all want to be liked and humor is a good way to do that.

Ron Stein is founder of More Customers Academy, helping business leaders build strategic messaging and positioning that cuts through the competitive noise to grow revenue. Ron has developed his own highly successful 5-step Stand Out & Sell More approach to winning new customers as a result of his twenty-five years of business development, marketing, and selling experiences. He works with a range of businesses, from startups to large corporations across industries including technology and healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services and banking. Ron conducts workshops, leads company meetings, offers keynote talks, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or by email.

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