A LinkedIn post discussing “empathy in sales” asked the question:

“Should tech sales pros learn to code?”

I commented “yeah, if they keep missing quota”.

If you’re not laughing, please remember that jokes are like grown-up rich kids – they don’t all work.

This platform’s fickle. Many want to learn about sales and selling through Drake memes. Or the meme with the boyfriend leering at some girl to his girlfriend’s disgust. Or the “Sideways-Looking Stuffed Monkey”-meme. Or the “Willy Wonka looking smug”-meme.

The rest of you want intelligent, tasteful, curious, sellers and marketers appreciate longer-form, non-templated, original, entertaining non-memed insights.

With these blogs, my goal is to share the skills and processes stand-up comedians use to connect with their audiences, so you can better connect with yours. On to this week’s thoughts:

Know what I neither trust nor like?

Recent claims that sellers need to be trusted, not liked.

That’s like saying you don’t need a decent salary – just a sizeable, gorgeous home in a desirable neighbourhood and as many 5-star vacations you need per year.

“Wait – those don’t just magically appear our lives? We have to pay for them with our hard-earned money??”

The stuff you want is preceded by a good salary. One can’t happen without the other.

The take I’ve been reading is technically true, but it’s presented as if being liked and trusted are mutually exclusive traits.

Let’s be clear: trust is a seller’s ultimate asset, particularly in complex sales. You can’t survive unless buyers view you as knowledgeable and credible.

Let’s be clearer: We’re hired to do a job – not to make pals…BUT….

With all this talk about “improving the buyer experience” some are forgetting that humans are part of making it simple, painless.

Turns out a pleasant buying experience isn’t scalable enough for some.

When was the last time a seller was cold, indifferent, gruff, disgusting or rude to you – and you gave them adequate time to demonstrate that they were credible and trustworthy?

Attention spans are short. We get one chance to make that first impression. Buyers need to be engaged long enough for them to see & appreciate that we know our stuff.

Hell, in stand-up, even edge-lord comedians start with safe, simple bits to get the crowd on their side and liking them. Once they do, they can try to take the audience to trickier places.

Your competitors are a Google away. Windows to make prospects feel at ease and that “like” us, whatever that means in 2022 (the term “like” in sales has evolved. It’s hard to build a true relationship with a prospect over a screen).

While I believe laughter and joy are currency that can be swapped for attention, you don’t need to zing ‘em with whack of jokes, be on the same page about what karaoke song you’d sing together, or perform an Irish polka for them – but they still need to appreciate and feel at ease with you.

For the doubters, try being curt and gruff with your prospects – especially if you work at an unknown company whose name is difficult to pronounce or fathom – for a week.

Make them forget you’re a salesperson and know you’re a person-person.

Comedy Recommendation: I like all forms of comedy (stand-up, sketch, movies, sitcoms, clean, offensive, etc.), but mainly into the funny kind.

Check Nate Bargatze. He doesn’t cuss, is extremely funny, and inexplicably so. If you have Netflix, check his 30 minute special as part of the series “The Stand-Ups”, and then move on to his 60 minute special the Tennessee Kid.

Hope you enjoyed this article and that you subscribe to this newsletter, ya jerks.

Geez, that wasn’t very nice of me. But – it’s too late! You already trust me, because you used to like me. I hope you still do 🙂

PS: if you want these and other nuggets delivered to your inbox…

News! I’m launching my first self-guided course (for both individuals and teams) in the coming weeks (way more details to come)! If you’d like to grab more attention, be relevant, and get laughs in your cold outreach efforts (or Linkedin connection request notes), check out Coldopeners.com. Of course, if you ever wanna see WTH else I do for sales & marketing teams, check out the rest of jonselig.com.