One thing that's become clear to me since I began performing stand-up comedy, is that it's daunting to most. When people learn that I write & perform stand-up, I frequently hear that attempting stand-up “takes guts”. That's absurd. All stand-up takes is passion...for failure. Making crowds laugh takes resiliency - which is a nice way of saying "the groundwork is hellish, but what a payoff".
I hear similar (but far less dramatic) declarations about a career in sales ("OMG. I could never do that!"). Many break out into sweats from even contemplating the pressure of pitching, negotiations, and ringing tiny gongs in public. The correlation between the people who could "never do stand-up comedy" and the people who say they could "never be in sales" is higher than Bitcoin's value or confusion among the masses about what the hell Bitcoin even is.
Sales reps can really benefit from knowing how to craft and crack jokes onstage, but most are scared. I get the fears, but my opinion is that without even realizing it, you've been in WAY more stressful situations, and the upside to your sales game is tremendous. There's no equivalent of the rush you get when a roomful of strangers validates your random, bizarre observations & experiences, or thoughts on things like on how AI can play a role in keeping your restroom tidy.
Conversely, the consequences of not getting laughs are a mild loss of dignity, pride in self, and the realization that stuff you find funny - isn't. That said, if you bomb your 3-5 minutes of stand-up comedy the audience judges you temporarily and won't remember you. Audiences aren't as cruel as you think. Instead of replaying your ineptness over and over in their minds, you'll just be forgotten. Audiences rarely remember anyone once the show's over. In the fact that if the crowd LOVED the headliner, he/she will likely be forever known as "That Last One".
The repercussions of failing in sales are slightly more drastic. If you don't hit your quota, your employer asks you for your security badge back, while conveniently forgetting to pay you your base salary & commissions. Consider replacing that old headshot of you on LinkedIn where you're folding your arms for no good reason. All of this is extremely alarming.
Sales reps can benefit in so many ways from even attempting stand-up (it's all covered in my training & workshop). If you’re a sales rep thinking about getting into stand-up (and I don’t mean hitting an open mic just to make a few friends laugh with a wild story from your college days, ), and want to invest some free time in building 5 minutes of funny, I’m going to mentor you on this blessed, wretched journey in a way that only sales reps can appreciate. So, if any gardners or astronauts are reading this - you may not fully appreciate the next few blog posts.
Final announcement: I'm launching a new service to help SDR teams better connect with prospects. I'd like to pilot something with 2-3 sales teams.
Please contact me: jon at jonselig dot com.
Next post: "A Point of Clarification". Likely available, Tuesday, January 9th, 2018. Appreciate this? Subscribe to my email list, or share (like you promised you'd do in your 2018 resolutions).