In analysing the use of humor during a professional sales call, let us first look at the flow and skills applied during a professionally prepared and executed sales call.
- It starts with an introduction of all participants and an opening, aiming for consensus about the objective and the agenda in line with the available time.
- Followed by an enjoyable flow of information along the agenda topics. With us sales professional asking well prepared and timed open ended questions in line with the flow of information. Thereby establishing an understanding of the different buyer’s concepts (e.g. what each individual feels is important to fix, accomplish, or avoid?).
- Then we start gaining a common understanding by providing our perspective in response to the understood customer’s position. We explore consequences helping to refine or confirm the original needs.
- Now, we start introducing our solution through features and benefits addressing or not addressing the customers’ expectations within the customer’s thought process.
- Throughout our pleasant exchange, we are prepared for skepticism, misunderstanding and drawbacks and handle those, accordingly.
- Finally, we gain commitment from the buyers for moving forward and thank them for our productive meeting.
Such flow ensures productivity within an amiable atmosphere and provides clear mutually agreed outcomes. That’s fun!
But, there is hardly room for planned humor as wherever used in the conversation or however clever put. The risk of misunderstanding is far too high compared to the potential gain.
This is why we regard humor as the rare exception in professional sales calls. When humor goes bad in sales situations, the situation can quickly deteriorate with the client or customer resorting to a direct counter-attack, strong resistance or a the situation resulting in a stalled conversation.
So should one use it or not?
We dare say use humor, but only sparingly and carefully because using humor requires the situational skills and confidence of an exceptional and experienced professional. If you are not feeling up to it, just pass.