And business is always easier to conduct once both parties are in a better mood.
To a customer, the risk of spending money, whether it is their own or their bosses is stressful. Humor helps alleviate that stress, which help them clear their mind and have more of a willingness to make a purchase. In my case $30M penthouses to celebrities like Jennifer Lopez. I made her laugh, and she bought an apartment from me.
Another benefit is that people like to work with the person who laughs and is in a good mood. Everyone loves a winner, and true winners are happy people. A smile is everything, yet few people in the business world smiles, and I have always asked myself why?
There are benefits to laughter in addition to serving as a mood lightener. According to the American Heart Association laughing strengthens the heart. Laughing can increase the amount good cholesterol, HDL, laughter can decrease inflammation in blood vessels, and laughter can reduce the stress hormone called cortisol in your body. A reverse way of looking at laughter and health shows that people with heart disease are 40% less likely to laugh than those who don't have heart disease. So go ahead now and tickle yourself, get ready to smile--because I have built an entire career and sell over one billion dollars of real estate per year by making people smile.
Working with People Who Laugh
Why do so few salesmen tell jokes? When laughing with someone helps to forge a kind of bond and it adds a sense of comradely. Business is often stressful, high pressure and competitive, so stick out! Be different! Be fun! My customers get a boost in their own morale as soon as they see me (or another person they work with) who is able to make them laugh. If a salesman can make a customer laugh, the odds of making a sale increase, sometimes dramatically. If the customer has been having a bad day and the salesman can turn that around and make them laugh, the customer is more likely to make a purchase.
Take it from me. Laughter also helps show the customer that I don't take myself too seriously. I'm at the top of my game, I'm the number one broker in New York out of 30,000 licensed real estate professionals, but I got here by having fun, and more importantly: sometimes forcing people around me to laugh at my expense. It often takes some forethought to understand how to break tension with a well-timed joke. If prices have gone up or a product is disappointing, making a joke is sometimes the only way to help ease the tension. If a customer has placed bid that wasn't acceptable, humor can also take some of the sting away from the denial without being offensive.
Finally, not all humor is created equal. A salesman telling a joke might work. Someone making a presentation shouldn't tell a joke unless it moves the presentation forward. Humor that moves things forward and makes a point is the most effective humor in a presentation. And all jokes most be backed-up by being professional and he best at what you do. Boring never wins, and I always say to my assistants: none wants to work with someone boring.
Everyone likes to laugh. I certainly do. You do too. Are you smiling yet? If you do, I like you. We are friends now, because we are both smiling. We should look for humor with the knowledge that it can make us healthier, live longer, and it might even facilitate our careers. That's no laughing matter.
The only side effects? We will both be laughing on our way to the bank.
Fredrik Eklund is the star of Bravo's Million Dollar Listing New York and the Nation's #1 Real Estate Broker. His new book, The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone, is published by Avery Books and is available NOW. For more information, visit www.fredrikeklund.com. Connect with Fredrik on Twitter and Instagram @FredrikEklundNY.