First, humor is not universal. This means that what’s funny to you may not be funny to someone else. Secondly, your brand’s identity may be at risk when you encourage humor in sales training.
For example, Geico is well-known for using humorous ads to sell their insurance services, but they are still considered a reputable company.
However, a company such as Bank of America typically presents itself as a serious company, and therefore, using humor in sales training may taint the brand.
How Much is Too Much?
The key to injecting humor in the sales training process is to know how much is too much.
Including too much humor may make trainees feel that they can’t take the training seriously, while no humor at all might make trainees feel that your organization is stiff, rigid, and devoid of personality. In order to find the right blend, you might want to have various members of your team look over your materials before actually presenting to trainees.
In fact, an even better idea might be to present a mock training to a group of team members so that they can provide feedback.
Using this method, you have the added advantage of receiving constructive criticism from a variety of different personalities and senses of humor.
Making Humor Work in Sales Training
In the article, “Do Humor and Sales Training Go Together?“, the author discusses how the healthcare industry, while serious, can benefit from a bit of humor in the training process.
Points made include that humor can reduce boredom if a lead is seeming disengaged, shows humanity when connecting to a prospect, and in many cases, it can increase interest in a product or service.
Remember to Keep It Clean
Although this should be self-explanatory, it’s important to note that humor used in any type of business setting should be kept clean.
Off-color jokes can not only land you in trouble with your company, but they can also cause a very difficult situation legally if someone in your training class feels harassed.
In addition, if word gets out that you’ve used off-color humor in your company’s sales training; your brand may suffer dearly as a result, even if no legal or civil action is taken.
The bottom line?
Only use humor where appropriate for all audiences.
One final tip: if you are considering using humor in your sales training, pretend that a child is in the room at all times and only use humor that you would use in such a circumstance.
This should help you to avoid using inappropriate remarks.
About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include sales and marketing.