Having the First Laugh Makes a Sale that Lasts.

Having the First Laugh Makes a Sale that Lasts.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.


Hey, I got a new photo. It’s about time – the other one was four years old. I’ve lost a bit of hair since the last one. Ok, Ok, I’ve lost a lot of hair since the last one. But I couldn’t tell, they fell out one at a time.

There’s two ways of looking at my hair loss:

1. Oh, my gosh, I’m losing my hair woe is me.

2. There’s not much more to lose.

I have tried to use my misfortune (if you want to look at the vain side) as an opportunity to poke fun at myself and make others laugh.

For example, in a seminar I’ll say, “I’m not actually losing my hair, I’m a hair donor. I give my hair to people less fortunate than myself.” And I’ll point to someone with lots of hair. And I’ll add, “The Hair Club for Men refused to let me join. They said you have to have some to get in.”

Or I’ll say, “I wear great ties, because I know no one is ever going to come up to me and say ‘Jeffrey, Great hair!'”

The hair thing has been beneficial financially too. For example, I use very little shampoo and even less conditioner. It takes me very little time to comb my hair, giving me lots of time to work on other beauty areas.

Last week, someone wanted me to describe myself so I could be met at the plane. I said, “I’m six feet tall, weigh about 185, have a beard, my hair is short and some of it’s missing (my customer howls with laughter).

One time in Dallas I needed a haircut and was in one of those snazzy hotels. I figured, “how expensive can it be?” and went ahead without asking the price. Fifty bucks they charged. I asked the guy “What is it a dollar a hair?”

Well the humor thing seems destined to be in my presentation material, because the hair thing definitely is not. What’s your humor point? Do you have one?

The Major Clue: Making people smile or laugh puts them at ease and creates an atmosphere more conducive for agreement. If they agree with your humor, they are more likely to agree with purchasing your product or service.

Pick something that’s funny to you. The lack of hair used to bug me, now it doesn’t (as much). Now I look for ways to laugh about it because I can’t change it.

Pick something that’s personal to you. If it’s about you, it’s comfortable to you.

Develop lines that are tested to make people laugh – nothing corny. Try out the lines on your friends and coworkers first. If they laugh, use them. If they groan, so will everyone.

Keep the lines clean. Real clean.

Be careful about ethnic or gender. My recommendation is don’t.

Poke fun at yourself. It’s OK if the finger points at you. It’s NOT OK if you make fun at the expense of others.

Don’t drag it out. Use it once or twice and move on.

Take small humor risks. If the other guy is bald, I say, “You know, the first thing I liked about you was your hair.” He laughs and we grow a bit closer having a “plight in common.”

I believe that making people smile is a major key in selling. The prospect may not be interested in hearing about your stuff, but they’re always looking to smile or laugh.

Want some safe topics?

  • Children (what they did or said)
  • Traffic (what you did or saw)
  • Repeating a sitcom or television line (with acknowledgments to the source)
  • Self-stuff (hair, clothes, makeup, shoes)
  • Self-abilities (golf, tennis, running, exercise)
  • Self-improvement (frustrations climbing the ladder or studying)

Developing humor takes time. Like all other sales skills, it must be learned. And yes, some people are “naturally funnier” than others. BUT if you’re not very funny, you can learn. The best way I’ve found is to pay attention to what happens to you.

The other day I was in the shower in a hotel and broke open a new bottle of hair shampoo. After I used it and put the lid back on, I remarked to myself, “You know you don’t have much hair when you use the shampoo and you can’t tell any is missing.” I laughed at myself. Do you?

FREE GitBit… You can be funnier and make more sales! Want a list of 15.5 things that you can do to inject more humor in your sales and more money in your wallet? Just go to www.gitomer.com click Access GitBit at the top, register and enter the word HUMOR.