In a serious world, humor does a great deal to defuse tense situations and lighten conversations with people we have just met, as demonstrated by countless common phrases referring to it.
Laughter is the best medicine, we are often told. A poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox begins, “Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.”
Why not employ humor in your business? Multiple studies show humor has a positive effect on building trust with clients. Moreover, research also tells us that people make buying decisions based more on emotion than facts. Which suggests that, if you can make them laugh, you have a pretty good chance of making them buy.
There’s a time and a place to use it as a tool to help build your relationships and ease transactional stress. We share benefits of using humor in your sales practice, as well as a couple of dos and don’ts.
- Heightened perceptions of your skills. Multiple studies have been conducted to research how the brain perceives humor and affects future interactions. According to the Keller Center for Research at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, salespeople who use humor are perceived to be more successful and finding creative and practical solutions to problems. Additionally, the Keller study proved the ability to use humor created a positive influence on customer perceptions of the salesperson’s reliability and concern about buyer welfare.
- Turn negatives into positives.By deploying your funny bits strategically, you might even be able to get a second look on a tough to sell house. Consider the agent who was selling a home directly across from a cemetery – a challenging property, as some buyers are leery and superstitious due to cultural taboos – who posted the following phrase on the ‘for sale’ sign: “Quiet Neighbors Across the Street.”
- Don’t be afraid to get coaching.Not all of us – in fact, few of us – are natural-born comics. But the good news is that using comedy or humor can be learned and like any skill, benefits from practice. Seek out a coach that has aptitude with this set and can help you hone your use of humor.
- Humor allows you to stand out.Separate yourself from other real estate agents with whom you compete by employing quick wit. You’ll seem more approachable and showing a jovial demeanor also indicates your love your work: Who wouldn’t want to work with an agent like that?
- Be judicious and read your audience. Even well-meaning jokes can go awry, which is why coaching is important, as is being able to read your audience. Don’t crack jokes just to joke – if potential clients get the sense you are joking to call attention to yourself, you may be seen as exploitive rather than funny. Don’t look amateurish and unprofessional.
Armed with this knowledge, you may not be ready for a stand-up appearance, but you can certainly boost your career with gentle humor. Go forth and joke!
In an earlier post we looked at how to assess you strengths and weaknesses. How does humor fit into your profile?