I never had formal sales training. I can’t tell you if that’s good or bad. My first job in direct, non-retail sales sat me next to one of my first and most memorable mentors. His sales technique went something like this…
Mentor Guy (MG): “Do you remember the first time you got old enough to start saying things like “back in the day?”
Customer: <laughs>… “Hi MG! No, why do you ask?”
MG: “I caught myself yesterday…driving my kids to practice start telling them a story and say “back in the day” and then…they all groaned. How long have I been saying that?”
Customer: <laughs>… “Well, at least you didn’t say “back in MY day.”
MG: <laughs>… “In the old cranky guy voice… <does an old cranky guy voice> …”you know…back in MY day.”
From there the conversation would lead to some market banter and maybe a sale but most likely not. Then MG would pick up the phone and have a similar conversation with Customer 2. Don’t look at it as a tactic because MG didn’t. He was present and curious to see where Customer 2 was going to take the conversation. The only thing MG knew for sure was that he was doing his job and having fun.
I know it’s not so easy anymore. Corporate procurement models no longer allow buyers to purchase from people just because they are personable and fun but still…aren’t we all being too darn serious?
As I’m coaching people who are dating….they will get a match on their Tinder or Bumble App and they will nearly start hyperventilating about finding the perfect question or comment to text. I typically can’t help an eye roll here…I feel bad about that…but in some ways…these Apps designed to make it easier to meet someone has taken the fun out it. I’m on a crusade to put the fun back in dating. Let me be crystal clear…this is both men and women. Here’s how it goes…
Client: “Coach…I want to ask him/her if they are serious or a player OR say something to make sure they understand how serious I am OR make sure they get how busy I am and how I practically have no time to date…so they better be “for real”…what should I say?”
Me: “Ask them what their favorite candy is or their favorite cartoon character?”
Client: <laughs> “Are you serious?”
Me: “No, you’re serious…too serious…let’s before anything else figure out if you have anything in common with this photo on your phone…and the best way to do that…is to see if you can have some fun with the actual person.”
I understand…I do. I’ve been there. I was the busy, traveling, single career woman with a rocking social life and didn’t have time for the players either. Why do they say…you find ‘the one’ when you aren’t looking? Because…my golly…you are having fun when you aren’t looking. You are being light. You are totally enjoying yourself.
This happens at work too. The best deals happen after everyone thinks they won’t…once the staff relaxes and accepts they lost the deal…someone brings donuts to the weekly meeting, people start joking around again, and in walks the boss with the good news.
And what about your upcoming Labor Day Celebration? What if…as everyone grabs a beverage and awkwardly looks for the conversation starter…you start with… “Do you know what old movie I saw the other day?” And for the love…do this before Uncle Cranky Pants starts complaining about his job or Aunt Hypochondriac starts talking about her latest diagnosis.
Share in the comments your best FUN conversation starters. How will you stop being so serious today?