It’s been known for a long time. Humor sells — a lot of people will agree! Here’s the thing: today’s corporate climate is a PC minefield. You know, you’re in it! That which makes or breaks an acquisition, merger, sale, or other transaction could be exceptionally minor, or it could be expectantly major; but either way, taking chances is a bad idea. Humor sells, but it has a subjective quality to it that makes concocting it on your own somewhat risky — seriously, do not take the next few sentences as a challenge.
The Art of Comedy
Comedians make it look easy. They make it seem like going on stage is as simple as stumbling up there and being funny about eccentricities of your life; then throwing in a few goofy mannerisms/accents/gestures to tickle the audience.
That’s not how it is. Stand-up comics don’t memorize monologues, they write material intricately. A comedian can spend months refining under-a-minute schticks. Just look at Jim Gaffigan’s sets. The man gets a laugh every fifteen seconds; but it seems like he does it every five seconds. Professional craftsmanship is every bit as integral as writing notes on a page, composing computer code, or devising a novel.
If you think you can devote the necessary time to comedy as a means of presenting marketing strategy, good luck, and God bless your ambition; but a much better option is to go with comedic choices which have already stood the test of time and gotten results. Nobody cares if you’re a “hack” comedian when your purpose is to sell products/services. Comics write their own material, but sales people don’t need to do that; they just need to tickle the funny bone of potential clients in a lucrative way.
A Curious Relationship
While salesmanship can actually lead to a career in comedy over time (Rodney Dangerfield, Ellen DeGeneres, and Kevin Hart were all in sales before they became comics), that’s a long road that takes years. But the two are similar in this respect. Sales require making a human connection — selling yourself as much as or more than the products/services you represent. So consider some safe comedy shenanigans, and how you may appropriate them.
Here’s a great example: Kevin Nealon of SNL as Mr. Subliminal. What he does is drop a specific word between sentences “under his breath” as a sort of outlining the “subliminal” technique we’ve heard about for years. Nealon is doing parody, satire, and commentary simultaneously through a very simple, easy-to-relate-to motif. You can do the same thing overtly, subtly, and hilariously. While doing your presentation drop subtle hints, like “buy”, “buy now”, “buy immediately” under your breath, and try not to smile as the room lights up.
Of course, you’re going to want to tailor your comedic sales technique to your audience. This is the most important aspect of comedy, and another reason salesmen often make the transition. You’ve got to know your audience to connect with them. With more important transactions, you’ll likely connect well with Kevin Nealon’s Mr. Subliminal, as it is evergreen material whose popularity was keen when those to whom you’re selling would have been regularly watching.
Millennials are seldom included in the higher echelons of business operation because those areas of expertise necessarily require experience, and few millennials have managed to obtain such success. Mark Zuckerberg is a rare exception to the rule. So generally, when you’re looking for material to help buff-up your act, think about what your audience would have liked when they were in that developmental period of youth. Nostalgia, like humor, is a big part of selling a product.
If your IT marketing pitch is sold through humorous nostalgia which positively connects to your audience, closing on clients will be a natural byproduct of interaction. Your clients feel they know you, because in a sense they do: together you’ve shared a humorous experience that brought joy, and carved a niche out in your memories. By connecting on this level, you send the message that you truly understand their needs and preferences. Couple this connection with an exceptionally informative, value-rich presentation, and you’re very likely to have continuously successful interactions.
Humorous Tips For Your Sales Strategy
IT marketing deals in cutting-edge technology, but relating to clients with nostalgic comedic routines presented as a kind of off-handed homage is a great way to secure their favor, and utilize the effect of nostalgia even on new technological breakthroughs. Humor, like sales, requires audience connection. Using evergreen material is also recommended. One last thing: truth. Comment on the truth of the moment in a funny way. This will sell you and your product especially well.
DCG Technical Solutions
Los Angeles, CA
Brent Whitfield is CEO of DCG Technical Solutions, Inc. providing IT Support in the Los Angeles area since 1993. He started DCG as a results-oriented IT solutions company for small businesses in 1990, and built it into a company that was recognized among the Top 10 Fastest Growing MSPs in North America by MSP mentor. Brent has been featured in Fast Company, CNBC, Network Computing, Reuters, and Yahoo Business.