Why Humor Sells

Note from Judy Dunn:

“Don’t you just love synchronicity?”

Why Humor Sells by Judy DunnI was just sitting down to write a follow-up post about a great weekly sales call presentation we had this week, “Humor Sells” with guest presenter Denny Andrews, when this tweet goes across my screen: What’s your marketing HQ (Humor Quotient)? How To Be Funny: Why Humor Sells from @CatsEyeWriter.

It was funny to me, because I know Judy, that she posted this topic the same day I presented the same topic on my Weekly Sales Call. Strange how the ideas that are floating out in the universe are sometimes manifested simultaneously. I liked her 5 tips on How To Be Funny and would like to share her post as a follow up to the call. See Judy’s original post or read it below.

JUDY DUNN, co-owner of Cat’s Eye Marketing, has written customer-focused sales and promotional copy for small businesses and nonprofit organizations since 1993.


“I like to enter the New Yorker cartoon caption contests. Haven’t won yet, but I’m working on it.

Have you ever thought about how making someone laugh brings them closer to you? If you know someone really well—say, your best friend—you can talk about anything, and even make fun of each other. It’s a sign of your closeness. You know their quirks and faults and they only make you love them more.

What might this mean for you? For your business?

I blog from time to time about my strange past, things like the time I made my hand puppet Pépe quit a job for me. I write articles about how to humanely dispose of your fourth grade teacher so you can write freely, and with joy. I am interviewed on topics like how to draw your customers in by telling stories and using humor.

Now if you are in the funeral business, you might not want to use humor in your sales and marketing. But I can’t think of many other businesses that couldn’t bring their customers and clients closer by making them laugh.

Why make your customers and prospects laugh?

Because it makes them see how much we are alike. That we have the same dreams, the same fears, the same screwed up perspectives of the world. You know, the we’re-all-in-this-together kind of thing?

Because they want to be entertained. Sitcoms, bad reality shows, Judge Judy, David Letterman, even the formerly dry news sites ——keep you listening by making you laugh. Just think The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. News and information with opinions that make you chuckle.

Because they’ll listen more to what you have to say. John Cleese, actor from Monty Python and creator of Silly Walks, says it this way: “If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas.” I’m not talking cruel, sarcastic humor here. I mean the kind that helps us forget our differences. The kind that brings us together.

How To Be Funny

1. Reveal a flaw. This is a great device for building trust and empathy. My blog post, Doing What You Think You Can’t: Marketing for Scaredy Cats,” reveals a flaw of mine. I can write almost anything in the world with confidence. But put me on a stage, like when I appeared on the Brent and Brandi radio show, and I get all jelly-legs. Letting people know that you are not perfect—and throwing in a funny story to illustrate it—will get your readers on your side faster than anything.

2. Make fun of yourself. This is a favorite of mine. (Maybe it’s because I have such good rich material.) Rather than making your reader the subject, if you are able to laugh at yourself, your prospects or customers will not be put off and may just see a little bit of themselves in it, too.

3. Use empathy. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. If your reader can see that you know what they are feeling, you have made a friend. Try writing from your reader’s viewpoint.

4. Exaggerate. Just take something simple and expand on it. Stretch it. I wrote an article recently about the explosion of “social media experts” and seven warning signs that yours might not really be one. One sign was that he was selling cars yesterday. Now this is an exaggeration (although I’ve seen “experts” who left a job selling insulation, so who knows?). Another sign your social media expert might be a fake: He or she wants to show you how to get 10,000 Twitter followers in 8 hours. I took an already inflated number and went over the top with it.

5. Let your readers in on secrets. My website bio tells what I love to do. It also tells readers that I know every line of dialogue from Spinal Tap, I can juggle, I’ve been to Timbuktu—literally—and I can say “four knives will be sufficient” in Swahili. Not your normal (dry, serious) bio stuff.

What do you think? Do you think that humor, used in the right ways, brings us together? Is there anything we have to be careful with when using it?”

JUDY DUNN, co-owner of Cat’s Eye Marketing, has written customer-focused sales and promotional copy for small businesses and nonprofit organizations since 1993.

Thank You, Judy for letting me share your thoughts on Why Humor Sells with my readers. …Howard 
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By: Howard Howell

 
Howard is an Internet Sales Consultant. He speaks professionally about Web Marketing and Sensible Selling from an experienced entrepreneur’s viewpoint. He also provides individual coaching, group training, and web marketing consulting services. Contact him now.
Published On: January 13, 2010  |   Updated On: April 18, 2010
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