Over the course of the past few decades, I have been a member of a few different Rotary clubs. One of the things I really like about Rotary is the four way test. Rotarians use this test as a litmus to doing the right thing in all projects.
Rotarians will often recite this four way test at the beginning of meetings. The really “cool” Rotarians always add a 5th question.
Will it be FUN?
That question is a primary driver for me. I certainly am goal oriented and on some days I work plenty hard, but even on the longest work days, I have fun, and I celebrate others who have fun. Fun and results are not mutually exclusive, no matter what you might have heard. You may hear some complaints about me, my training, my coaching, but the one I know you will never hear is that it wasn’t fun. I make it a priority to insert FUN in everything that I do.
Sales is by definition a tedious and emotionally draining endeavor. You face a lot of rejection, you face a decent amount of hostility and you even run into some aggression. Your day will be far more effective if you bring in the fun, especially into tense situations. You are not always going to be in a good mood, no one is, but you can make it a habit, and a default, to bring the fun. Here are a few examples:
– A friend of mine works as a police supervisor in a large city. He installed one of those bullhorn systems that plays different instrumental tunes into his car’s PA system. Whenever he pulls on to a site, instead of just using his regular siren, he plays a tune that relates on the PA. EG, he pulled up to a traffic accident site once where a bakery truck had been ripped open and many people were covered with icing and cake, and he punched in “here comes the bride” on the bullhorn thing.
– When I cold call someone on the phone and they get immediately hostile, I like to ask a ridiculous question to interrupt their pattern of hostility. EG Prospect asks “What do you want?” in a hostile tone. I respond with “Oh, wait, do you live on Cumberland St?” He says, “No, why?”, I counter with “Oh, well based on how you answered the phone, I thought you might be the owner of the house where my dog pooped on the lawn this morning”. (I don’t care if this converts the call, my intent is to make this hostile situation fun instead). Usually they laugh and apologize for their tone. I don’t care either way. I diffused the tension.
– One of my mentors responds to anyone hanging up the phone on him by immediately calling them back and saying, “Hey, it’s ____, we were just disconnected. What were you saying?”. It takes the negativity out of the air, but the number of times he re-engages the prospect with that is actually pretty scary. He even has a pre planned reply to the next few responses. I won’t steal his act by revealing them here.
– If I walk into a cold call with one of my clients, and the prospect visibly sighs or raises their eyes, I grab my phone and check it (like I’m checking an email), and then, using their name, I say “Your Bob right? Yeah, they called us and told us to come right over? Apparently, you didn’t get cold-called today so we are here to fix that”. Then I smile real big. They usually chuckle.
– This one I learned from my older brother when he was teaching me to drive. When someone flips you off or curses at you in traffic, instead of responding in kind, smile real big and wave enthusiastically at them like they are a good friend who you’re delighted to see.
– An SVP of sales I worked with once called on Mount Vernon (George Washington’s ancestral home), and before the meeting, he went into the gift store and bought a colonial outfit, which he wore during the entire presentation, without commenting on it.
– Bring someone cupcakes or donuts for no reason at work. Pretend you thought it was their birthday and act like you were pranked. Or bring them for the receptionists at your office.
The point isn’t to be really funny like a comedian. The point is to make the world associate you, and fun. People will want to take your calls. People will refer you more. Clients will look forward to meetings and conference calls. You will FEEL better on most days.
We all need to work to live, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.