Getting people to laugh helped me close more deals than every other method combined. Steve and I were negotiating our first deal. He was pushing me to the wall for a big discount. First, I was unwilling to cut my price. Second; I didn’t need to, because he had already made the emotional commitment to buy, which was why he was pushing so hard.
It got tense. You know the type of tense negotiations I’m talking about. This wasn’t a poker faced, behind the shades, all in Texas old ‘em negotiation. This was an in your face, blood on the wall, last man or woman standing deal.
Finding an opportunity to raise a smile seemed impossible, but Steve finally gave me the opening, “You have it and I want it, so let’s make this deal.”
Without hesitation and a smile I said, “Steve, having is better than wanting, and I have it and you want it.”
He had a hard time catching his breath and nearly laughed himself to tears. I knocked off less than 1% on a six figure sale and we did plenty of business together down the road.
A father and son team tried working me over on $60,000 piece of equipment we were dying to sell. The son offered me $48,235.61 or some hokey number very close to that. Our deals are rounded off to the nearest zero, so this smelled fishy.
“Do you mind if I ask how you came up with that number?”
“My dad told me to offer you that.”
“Do you mind if I speak with your dad?”
“That’s an interesting number” I chortled. “Do you mind telling me how you came up with it?”
“It sounded good to me” he laughed.
“Well, $60,000 sounds better to me.” We laughed. He then explained that he was teaching his son how to buy. We agreed that I would give his son a small discount and a feel-good moment. We settled at $57,000, which I was very happy to get. His son felt like a hero and his father appreciated the discount and my handling the situation with a good sense of humor.
Of all the closing tips, tricks, and manipulations, nothing works better than authentically making someone feel good. And the best way to do that is to put a smile on their face and a laugh in their belly. Joke telling isn’t the only way. Most often, when we’re in tight negotiations, there is something in the situation that is truly funny. Try not to take yourself and selling too seriously. When all else fails, self-deprecation works very well.
When you laugh, the world laughs with you, and so do your customers.