Since I launched the mad science experiment of a livelihood that is “Comedy Writing for Revenue Teams”, I’ve come up against more doubt than a flat-earther at a conference for sane people.
Some think that anything that anything with the word “Comedy” in it should be kept far away from sales.
Others don’t ask questions as to what this even is.
And some suggest to me that making others laugh cannot be taught and that it can’t be learned.
The same people then suggest that sales CAN be learned and that all reps need to do is:
– Master everything about your buyers and their industry.
– Learn to talk expertly about products & services you’ll never buy.
– Adhere to your sales executive’s favourite sales methodology even if none of it feels natural to you and your personality.
– Role play.
– Listen to call recordings & colleagues.
– Read sales books.
– Consume podcasts.
– Start one.
– Be curious.
– Ask your prospects questions.
– Grab attention.
– Hold it.
– Then hold your prospects’ feat to the fire.
– Take a negotiation course.
– Master LinkedIn to build your personal brand so buyers flock to you.
– Learn all that stuff.
Now THAT’S funny.
I have no clue why all this is more teachable than learning to get even the slightest BIT funnier.
There’s a difference between being funny and getting funnier. Unfunny people can’t become hilarious the same way sales trainers can’t convert the un-inclined into top performers.
But people with a sense of humor can learn to tell one joke to an audience that will appreciate it. For the purposes of sales “being funny” means you need to “seem funny”, which doesn’t even mean you need to have come up with the thing that gets prospects laughing.
When I started stand-up in 2011, I had no clue what I was doing. Other than presenting to prospects & my sales managers, I’d never performed. My jokes were kinda lame. I didn’t know how to make things funny. Confidence to be myself was sorely lacking. I had no clue how to react to the unexpected.
But much like a sales rep who wants to get better, I watched & listened to both other comics and the audience, asked questions, wrote, edited, worked, practiced, tested, failed, and learned. I hung around funny people. I mastered the craft – and it turns out birds really love that popsicle-stick bird-feeder I made them.
Based on that last joke (which as for me), I clearly haven’t mastered stand-up or joke-writing.
But I improved at stand-up by working at it and learned how to get a decent number of laughs. It was an investment of time & energy – one that did not result in a desired IPO.
What I do know is that mastering the key elements of a joke exercising creative muscles and figuring out how to deliver one right joke shows your prospects you’re insightful and different from every other other vendor they deal with.
Y’all can do it. I have faith in you. You’re curious enough to be reading this, I’m sure you enjoy laughing and making others laugh, and you know nothing is easy – except hitting ridiculous sales metrics, the best part of a career in sales!
Please note: I don’t teach or encourage sarcasm when trying to win over YOUR prospects. I’m just a weak, weak man, setting a terrible example.