Episode #006: Be Funny…Unless You’re Not! with Stu Heinecke

In This Episode of The Buyer’s Mind with Jeff Shore:

Stu Heinecke, author of “How to Get a Meeting With Anyone” and Wall Street Journal cartoonist, talks about using humor with customers. Does it help make the sale or will it get you in trouble? We all like to think we’re funny but, as sales professionals, when is it appropriate? Listen and learn how to be funny…or not!



Topics we’re going to cover on today’s podcast:

  • [2:08] Quote of the Day
  • [3:28] Sales Tip of the Day
  • [7:22] How Did You Get Started
  • [9:54] The One Panel Cartoon
  • [11:41] Humor and Sales – Can It Work?
  • [16:16] Contact Marketing
  • [19:51] Doing Things Differently
  • [22:43] How Much Is Creative and How Much Is Guts
  • [30:14] Motivational Summary

More about our guest Stu Heinecke:

Heinecke is the host of Contact Marketing Radio, Founder and President of “Contact,” a Contact Marketing agency, and co-Founder of Cartoonists.org, a coalition of famed cartoonists dedicated to raising funds for charity, while raising the profile of the cartooning art form.  He lives on an island in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his wife, Charlotte, and their dog, Bo.


Links from today’s podcast:

Homestreet Bank

Stu Heinecke’s Website

Read Full Transcript

Jeff: How much humor should you attempt in a sales presentation? We’ll look into that touchy subject on today’s episode of “The Buyer’s Mind.”

Welcome to “The Buyer’s Mind,” where we take a closer look deep inside your customers’ decision-making mechanism to reverse-engineer the perfect sales presentation. Now please welcome your host, Jeff Shore.

Jeff: Welcome, everyone, to another episode of “The Buyer’s Mind,” where we investigate what exactly is going on inside the head of prospects who are considering a purchase decision. This podcast is all about taking a stroll through the buying brain. It’s about knowing the customers so well that the sale really beings to roll out right in front of you. And we like to have some fun along the way. My name is Jeff Shore. I’m your host. You can read the full bio in the show notes. Or you can go to jeffshore.com, all kinds of good stuff there, including our free weekly video newsletter, a little Saturday morning blast of technique and inspiration. Our show producer, Paul Murphy, also with us. Paul, let me ask you. Put yourself in a buying position for just a moment. You’re shopping for a car, a television, whatever. Do you want the salesperson to be funny?

Paul: Well, to be honest, few people can pull off funny. I mean, I’ve been married for over 20 years now and my wife looks at me when I crack jokes after hearing all my routines and says, “Yeah, you think you’re funny but you’re not,” which makes my kids crack up. So my wife’s found her funny but I seem to have lost mine. I think the same thing about sales. If the funny’s not right, you could lose me as a customer.

Jeff: Yeah. It is interesting when we look at it. I think we all probably think we’re funnier than we really are. So, you find yourself in that awkward situation where somebody thinks they’re being funny, and then you kind of have to laugh along, right, even though you’re deep down going, “Nah, you’re not very funny.”

Paul: Right.

Jeff: Hey, before I forget to mention, stay with us because we are continuing our launch contest for this podcast, chance to win some very, very cool prizes. But let me give you our quote of the day. This is from the speechwriter Nancy Duarte. I saw Nancy speak to a group of professionals at the National Speakers Association. Nancy Duarte is a speechwriter for some of those prominent names that you’re gonna see out there. Her client list is the who’s who. And she said this, and I’ll never forget it, she said, “When you are communicating, be funny, unless you are not.” And that’s really a good frame of mind for our show today as we talk to professional cartoonist, genius marketer, and ninja networker, Stu Heinecke. He’s a great guy. He’s really interesting. I’ve got to know him a little bit here recently, and he’s funny. So, stay tuned. I think you’re really gonna enjoy hearing from Stu Heinecke in just a little bit.

“The Buyer’s Mind Podcast” is, as always, brought to you in part by our good friends at HomeStreet Bank. This is my personal lender. I used HomeStreet Bank in my last home purchase and I have to tell you, extremely impressive transaction, and I’ve purchased quite a few homes. They are professional, dependable, great rates, great service. And if you’re a real estate professional, you’re just not gonna find better people to work with in taking care of your clients. Banking, home loans, credit lines, go to homestreetbank.com to learn more. That’s homestreetbank.com.

Coming up in just a few minutes, an interview with Stu Heinecke. And as we get into that, I wanna just sort of set the stage here. The theme is that humor is about truth revealed with a twist. That’s how Stu Heinecke defines this, humor is truth revealed with a twist. And with good and appropriate humor, customers see themselves. This is a story of life. And let’s just face it, life is often funny.

In the sales process, that humor can really serve to break down tension and make customers at ease, but here’s my premise and we’re going to test this with Stu in just a little bit. You have to earn the right to use humor. It’s not a given, it’s earned. And you’ve probably experienced this yourself. When you know somebody, when you trust somebody and they are funny, it’s funnier. It’s more enjoyable. It’s more relaxing. When you don’t trust them and they use humor, it’s just awkward and a little off-putting. Now, remember, the focus of this podcast is not the sales practitioner, it’s all about the customer.

So, you gotta ask yourself, what does our customer want from you? What are they hoping you bring to them? In other words, using humor is only appropriate when it’s good for the customer. That’s my take anyway. We’ll see what Stu has to say about that. Before we get to that, let me bring you our sales tip of the day, and it has to do with the same thought here along the lines of humor. Appropriate humor is about making the customer feel good. I think we can all agree on that.

So, let’s just continue with that theme here in our tip of the day because this tip comes in the form of a habit, and the habit is to smile before you meet the customer for the first time. In those few seconds, just before the initial introduction, I want you think about one thing. Think about facial posture, the lift of the face. You could try it right now where you are and my guess is many of you have already given it a shot, but think about lifting the face. We show this wonderful positive energy when we practice good facial posture, when we just have a bright face.

And when you look at it, there are people whose face is just…if there’s energy, they didn’t let their face know. It’s just down and sort of low. Now, the key is to not smile after you see the customer because that makes it look like you’re only smiling to serve your own interest. Let the very, very first impression be a very positive one, good facial posture and smile before you see the customer for the first time.

Before we get to our interview, I wanna tell you about an opportunity here, and that’s to be involved in our 4:2 Academy. Our 4:2 Formula Academy, this is an intensive training program specifically for real estate sales professionals where we’re using modern selling strategies and skills just for today’s buyers, just for today’s market.

The 4:2 Formula is the core real estate principle that we talk about at Shore Consulting. But it’s gonna give you several days and actually spread out over the course of an entire quarter a program that will allow you to just transform your presentation. We’ve put so many people through the 4:2 Formula Academy, always with tremendous results. You can go to jeffshore.com/events to learn more about the 4:2 Formula Academy.

Well, I’m thrilled to invite our guest today, Stu Heinecke. Stu is one of the Wall Street Journal cartoonists, a Hall of Fame nominated marketer, and a bestselling author, his book “How to Get a Meeting with Anyone.” Stu talks about contact marketing and the benefits there. We’ll get a little definition of that, but he’s just a really, really good guy. Stu, welcome to the program. Glad to have you here.

Stu: Hey, Jeff. Good to be here. I’m glad to join you.

Jeff: Let’s start with this idea. You are a professional cartoonist and I’m just thinking through in my mind the number of professional cartoonists that I’ve had the great privilege to talk to and it’s a very short list. In fact, there’s exactly now one person on that list. How does one become a professional cartoonist?

Stu: Well, first of all, I wanted to say I’m glad I made the list. But God, to become a cartoonist… You know, I started by just playing doodling on desks and so forth when I was a kid. And at one point in college, very end of college, a friend of mine had said he was taking a class at USC and he was telling me he was taking a class at the extension school at UCLA, and it was about cartooning. And it was being taught by our title bomb, one of the New Yorker cartoonists. And he was telling me, “My God, Lee Lorenz came in.” Lee Lorenz at the time was the cartoon editor at the “New Yorker,” and he was telling me all about this. And I said, “Oh my gosh, I should be able to do this easily. I’m really into doing this already.” And that started a long, long road of…

You know, you can really pretty much plan on a lot of rejection. In fact, you should expect it and kind of welcome it because you really…and one of the cartoonists that I spoke to a long time ago said, “You know, cartooning is like fishing in a barrel. You’re going through all these ideas in a barrel, and the worst ones are at the top of the barrel. So you have to go through ’em, and you should be rejected while you’re going through those crappy ones. But if you keep it up, if you keep with it, then you get down to the bottom where all the really, really good stuff is.” And by the time you’re there, well, you will have submitted a lot of work all over the place. And eventually, you know, your work starts to get recognized and picked up and people will say, “Oh my God, I’ve seen your work everywhere,” and I don’t know if that’s true or not but it’s like, “Sure, thanks. That’s great.” Of course, you have…

Jeff: But you’ve gotta have some mental fortitude, though, because you’re gonna get a lot of rejection along the way, and you gotta try and figure out how to not get your feelings hurt, right?

Stu: Yeah. Well, you know, you gotta do it for the right reasons. And so, if you’re doing it because you wanna be famous, well, that’s not a really…that’s a terrible reason actually. But if you’re doing it because you just love doing it, and you can’t help but do it, that’s the right reason to do it. And you keep doing it and you get better and better at constructing the gags. So yeah, it just takes a lot of practice and you need to know that it’s gonna take you a long time to get there.

Jeff: You know, as a reader of the Wall Street Journal, one of the things that’s interesting here is that you’ve got basically one panel, right? This isn’t…I don’t even know how Scott Adams does “Dilbert” in three panels, but you’ve basically got one panel. And yet, in a conversation you and I previously had, you said that cartoon is really telling a story. How do you tell a story in one panel?

Stu: Well, it’s a great question, really, and I don’t really think of it this way. But when Scott Adams or when any of the guys who do multi-panel cartoons, when they write, well, they’re setting…they create a setting and then they’re doing a buildup and then there’s sort of a punch line. Boom, they’ve taken you in a different direction. With a single-panel cartoon, you have, let’s say, maybe the middle panel of three. And so, there’s a setup, you don’t see it. There’s also what comes after what’s being said in the cartoon, you don’t see that. But I think, if you’re doing it right, you can infer it or the reader can infer what led up to it and what’s about to happen afterward.

So, for example, one of the ones that I’ve had in the Wall Street Journal was two guys at a conference, so they’ve got name tags on. One is saying to the other, “I’m terrible with name tags. Who are you again?” So, you know, they found each other in the previous panel and then he’s saying what he’s saying and then there’s gonna be some reaction. I don’t know what it’s gonna be, but you know that there’s gonna be some…I mean, the guy just said the most ridiculous thing, right? So, I guess that’s part of what gets you laughing is you know what…you sort of have this expectation of some kind of reaction afterwards. So, I guess, in a way, you end up with three panels anyway.

Jeff: Sure, yeah, yeah. It’s just the story is more inferred than blatant. Now, our podcast, “The Buyer’s Mind,” is really aimed at sales and marketing professionals who are, at this point, asking, “Why are we listening to this conversation about cartooning?” And what I really wanna do here and the reason I wanted you on the podcast is to talk about humor and the use of humor, about the way that we communicate with humor. And it’s a very touchy subject even as it relates to, say, a sales presentation because there have been a lot of times when, right now, our listeners are saying, “Yeah, I remember a time I tried to be funny and it was not funny and it actually cost me dearly.” So, would you mind getting just a little bit philosophical about what humor is and the place that humor plays in our society?

Stu: Sure. Well, you know, if you think about it, humor is about truth being revealed at a twist. Every time you’ve laughed at something, every time we laugh at anything…well, let’s say not every time but most times, when we’re finished laughing we go, “Oh my God, it’s so true. Oh my God. I’ve been through something just like that. I know someone like that,” you know. There’s some element of truth, something that gets people…you know, when they say, “Oh, man, I got it.” What they’re really doing is they’re agreeing with that point of truth. If we’re talking about cartoons, anyway, and probably jokes as well, but if we’re talking about cartoons, there’s always somebody who’s the butt of the joke.

Now, one of the ways that you can really go wrong with humor is making the person you’re talking to the butt of the joke. All you’re doing is insulting them, which is not a really good way to build a relationship. In the cartoons that I use in marketing and in the networking or really it’s contact marketing campaigns, one of the characters in the cartoon is the butt of the joke, not the recipient. Recipient is always coming out on top in the humor. It’s always something very complimentary to the recipient.

So, there’s one cartoon I use, it’s a bunch of people milling around in an art gallery and these two businesspeople are looking at this one piece of art on the wall that’s actually a sales graph with a chart, you know, with the trend going up in a positive direction. And one is saying to the other, “That would really look good in Jeff Shore’s office,” so of course, I’m setting it to you. “That would really look good in Jeff Shore’s office.” Or it could be also, “That looks just like the one Jeff Shore has in his office.” And either way, you’re coming out on top in the humor.

So, you know, if you’re gonna use humor, you do need to be careful because you really need to understand how it’s focused. And if it’s not focused properly, then you surely can insult people pretty easily.

Jeff: I had suggested earlier in this podcast that one of the things that we have to do here is earn the right to be funny. There are times when you can sort of get away with things or not get away with things, depending on the level of trust that you have.

Stu: I love your comment about trust and earning the right to use humor because, you know, I think this kind of relates to sales too because people like to or tend to buy from people they know, like, and trust. Well, if they know you already, that’s great. You can play around with them. If they trust you and like you, certainly that’s a great opening for being playful really. But sometimes you can be playful to strangers, just walk right up to them and I don’t know, you can…it seems like humor can also open that door and create that opening, which is what I depend on entirely in my own contact marketing campaigns. And I use cartoons to break through to people and I don’t know them yet, you know? But actually, the cartoon that opens the door and melts the ice, whatever metaphor you wanna use, is the cartoon that really opens a new dialogue and a new relationship.

Jeff: I think part of it in the world of sales might just come down to what your intent is from the beginning, are you trying to serve your own interests? And I’ve heard salespeople, you know, just…they think they’re being funny at a car lot. Somebody walks on and says, “Hey, you look like you’re in the market to buy a car.” Or, you know, “Hey, did you bring your checkbook today?” And, you know, they laugh at their own joke but I think, deep down, the customer just threw up in their mouth a little bit.

Stu: Yeah. You know, I would say that’s true. A lot of times people use laughter and it has nothing to do with humor. I mean, it could be just insecurity. I don’t know. And it drives you nuts.

Jeff: It does.

Stu: “But wait a minute, you’re not saying anything that’s funny.”

Jeff: Right, yeah. And then I’m sort of a victim, as a consumer, that I’m a victim of your insecurity if we’re trying it along those lines.

Stu: Yeah. At the very least, that makes you uncomfortable.

Jeff: Sure. I wanna ask you about your book, “How to Get a Meeting with Anyone,” and the concept of contact marketing and then, to a deeper extent, contact campaigns, you and I had a deep conversation about this. I found it really fascinating. So, just start by giving us a definition of what you mean by “contact marketing.”

Stu: Well, so, you know, when I first started my career, I had a degree in marketing and I was a member of the Cartoonist’s Guild, and one day, the Cartoonist’s Guild sent this piece of information out that changed everything for me. And it was an article from “Folio Magazine,” which is written for editors about their magazines, and it was saying, “You need to put cartoons into your publications because readers of surveys are showing that they’re the best read and remembered parts of anything they’re in editorially.” And another study said that they were better read…in newspapers, they’re better read than the front page, which is amazing.

The front page contains the most important news stories of the day, but people go right past that somewhere into the middle of a newspaper and find the funnies and read those. So, I wanted to combine the two. And so, I wanted to combine cartooning and marketing. And direct marketing had just become really a great force and we were just playing around with personalization. And I’d said, “Okay. What I wanna do is I wanna start creating direct marketing or direct mail campaigns that use cartoons and personalization. So the cartoons are gonna be about each recipient. I think that’s just gonna be a winner.” Well, what do you think that campaign did? What kind of response rate would you expect it might have pulled?

Jeff: Well, I mean, if it’s personalized marketing, I have to believe it was pretty successful.

Stu: It was really…it was. And it was kind of a leading question, I apologize.

Jeff: No, no, no. Yeah, I’m totally tracking with you because, when I look at things like…something as simple as a video email that takes you 30 seconds to record off of your phone, the power in that is amazing at zero cost and 30 seconds of time. But I’m just saying that from a recipient’s perspective, it’ll blow you away. So I have to imagine that if somebody’s getting a personalized cartoon, it’d be pretty hard to ignore at that point.

Stu: Yeah. Well, apparently it was because I’ll just tell you that, you know, in direct marketing, we used to be told that, if you get a 1% response rate, well, you’re doing pretty good. That’s kind of an average response rate. And there is actually no such number, that’s not really true. But if we applied that to my content campaign, 1% of 24 people wouldn’t even be a whole person. It wouldn’t have broken it through. A 10% response rate would’ve been a disaster. I needed 100%, which is exactly what I got. I broke through to all of them. All of them not only responded in open conversations with me but all of them actually became clients. So it was also 100% conversion.

And this was from a campaign…and by the way, this campaign that launched my business, it was worth millions of dollars to me. And it all stemmed from a campaign to 24 people that cost me less than $100 to put out. So that’s really kind of a good…that’s a great example of contact marketing. It’s marketing to a very, very small, very concentrated audience of people who can make the biggest difference to your business or your career. It really is pretty much an emblematic example of what contact marketing is, how it works, and how well it works. It’s just amazing.

Jeff: Some of this is really just about getting outside the box and staying away from, you know, what the typical…what everybody does, “Hey, let’s try an e-blast. Let’s post something on our social media page.” And I’m guessing that a big part of your push is to look at it and say, “You know, how can we use a personalized approach rather than just do what everybody else is doing?” And I’m trying to oversimplify this too, but it sounds like a lot of it is just sitting down long enough to get creative about what would really have an individual impact.

Stu: My objective always with these campaigns is I want that recipient thrilled that you reached out to them. And in fact, the thing I wanna plant in their brains is, “Wow, I love the way this person thinks. I’ve gotta get in touch.”

Jeff: So, to me, one of the things that makes this interesting is that what you’re really talking about here is the idea of, “How do I uncommoditize myself? How do I not look like every other salesperson? How do I not look like every other marketer or somebody who’s trying to, you know, make an impression in some way?” And I love…you know, it’s an experience from my own background, having interviewed a salesperson years and years ago who wanted a job and, you know, we had a low turnover rate. I was very selective with who I was gonna talk to. But we had a good interview and during the interview, it came up that I was a lifelong San Francisco Giants baseball fan. And after the interview, an hour later, delivered to the office is a baseball bat and he has written on the bat with a black Sharpie, “I’m gonna hit home runs for you, Mike.”

And I’ll tell you what, I mean, it was just…that was the type of thing that I looked at it and I said, “Here’s somebody who is willing to find something that I would personally connect to, that would connect me back to him and that would cause me to stand out so much more than the form letter email, “Thank you for the time. It was a pleasure. If I have any questions at all, please don’t…” you know, whatever.

Stu: You know, what a cool example that is. And I would call that contact marketing as well. He used a device to break through to you after the interview and really kind of steal the deal. But he did, I’m sure you…I would imagine you hired him.

Jeff: I did. And he was fantastic. He was fantastic. Yeah, he was great.

Stu: That’s incredible. And, you know, now here’s the thing. We were just saying you wanna find some way to stand out from the crowd. And, you know, certainly doing what everyone else is doing, as I just mentioned, is not gonna make you stand out at all. But I don’t know that you start by saying, “Well, what I wanna do is stand out from the crowd,” or, “What I wanna do is I wanna understand the person I’m reaching out to and I want to send them something that I think is really gonna resonate well, something that I think they’re gonna just say, ‘Holy cow, I can’t afford not to talk to this person.'”

Jeff: All right. So when you’re looking at this concept, your ultimate goal in the book is how do you get a meeting with someone. It’s just as we start to head into the wrap-up here, how much of this is creativity and how much of this is just playing gutsiness? The willingness to put yourself out there.

Stu: Well, I’d say it’s half and half. There’s this one story that I think really is pretty terrific because this person didn’t need to be a cartoonist, didn’t need to be famous, didn’t need to do anything except put themselves out there and really think way outside of the box. So, there was a…I can’t tell you the name of the company involved, but if you ever saw the movie, you know, Forrest Gump, at one point, he’s talking about a certain fruit company. I don’t know if you remember that but, anyway, well, we’re talking about that fruit company. And so this sales rep was calling on the fruit company’s engineering department, which sounds kind of crazy.

But anyway, he was calling on their engineering department and he was offering this software solution and they loved it and they said, “You know what, okay, look. We’re convinced, you sold us, but what you need to do now is talk to purchasing.” Well, purchasing wouldn’t return his phone calls and just shut him down, so he thought, “Okay, fine. I’ll just reach out directly to the CEO.” And if you caught my drift as to which fruit company we’re talking about, that CEO was the most famous CEO in the world at the time and he was not gonna be easy to reach. So anyway, so the rep sent letters and faxes and he called and he left messages with the assistant and, you know, he left voicemails, and sent letters, and etc., and nothing worked.

So one day finally, this box shows up at the front counter in the front office, and it’s this box with air holes in it and a handwritten note addressed to the CEO. So, amazingly, this box was delivered to the CEO. This box contained a pigeon. So, and the note went through the story, “I’ve been calling on your engineering department. They love my solution. Purchasing won’t talk to me though, and so I’ve been trying to reach you. I’ve sent everything I could think of, tried everything I could think of. So this is my last, final attempt to try to reach you,” which I think kind of perks up your ears because you’re saying, “Oh, this is the last time you’re gonna try. Okay.” That’s interesting. And a story emerges, you’re part of the story if you’re, you know, the recipient.

So anyway, the note went on to say, “So, if you look in the box, there’s a pigeon, and on the pigeon’s leg, there’s a capsule with a slip of paper inside. So, if you would take the slip of paper out and write the name of your favorite restaurant, a date and a time, put that back in the capsule and release the pigeon, and I’ll meet you there.” So, you know, the rep didn’t have to be creative other than just thinking outside of the box. And really, I would say it’s a big sign of creativity actually to put yourself out there, just to imagine, just to see yourself doing this. You can’t be thinking in non-creative and really security-oriented terms. You’ve gotta just really put yourself out there, which he did. I mean, look at the…we know who he went after, right? This is like reaching to the very top. Well, anyway, the pigeon came back and there was the name of a restaurant and a date and a time scrawled on the piece of paper. And so they met for lunch and the rep walked away with a $250,000 deal.

Jeff: Yeah. That’s great.

Stu: So, you know, I think that was awfully creative, but it’s not the kind of creativity that gets into the Wall Street Journal. It doesn’t have to be.

Jeff: Sure, yeah, yeah. Well, I’m quite certain now that the national association of homing pigeons is going to be our sponsor for the show going forward. So our thanks to that. Any parting advice there, Stu, for sales and marketing professionals who just wanna look deeper. Obviously, my advice, buy the book, “How to Get a Meeting with Anyone.” You could buy it on Amazon. You can go to Stu’s website, which we’ll put in the show notes as well. But any parting advice there for our audience, Stu?

Stu: Well, sure. Again, obviously, thank you. I would love to have them buy the book, and if you buy the book, start using some of the things that are in there. I’ve described 20 categories of contact marketing campaign types and I’ve been hearing from people constantly through social media. One guy said, “You know, I used your cartoon idea and my CEO saw what I was doing one day in the hallway and he said, ‘That’s never gonna work.'” And they made a bet. Well, his name was Lee Hancock. And Lee told me that he was getting 100% response rate to his contact marketing campaigns and he was out there reaching all these top accounts that he’d been assigned that nobody was breaking through to otherwise from his company anyway, and the CEO lost the bet.

Jeff: That’s awesome.

Stu: So, use the stuff, it works. And it expands your scale.

Jeff: Yup. Absolutely. Stu Heinecke, author of “How to Get a Meeting with Anyone,” Wall Street Journal cartoonist, really good guy, really smart guy. Stu, thanks for being on the program. I really appreciate it.

Stu: My pleasure. Thanks for having me on.

Jeff: All right. Stu Heinecke, “How to Get a Meeting with Anyone,” Murph, what do you think, buddy?

Paul: Very interesting guy and funny, very funny.

Jeff: Yeah, he’s great.

Paul: So Jeff, I’m just wondering, you know, humor is a great thing and I appreciate everything he had to say but how do we practically apply this as sales people?

Jeff: Yeah. I think there’s got to be a relational aspect. I think it’s probably safest, if you’re a salesperson, to hold off until you believe that there is a…the term that we use is “coffee-worthy.” How can I get to the point where my customer finds me to be coffee-worthy? That is…and I’m the type of person that they would wanna have a cup of coffee with. And when you think of a type of person that you wanna have a cup of coffee with, you’re probably thinking about somebody who is fun and interesting and who has a good sense of humor.

So, it’s probably just discretion is the better of valor early on in a conversation as far as the application of humor goes. Don’t take chances, especially early on. You gotta build up some strength there. And then I think to his points about contact marketing. There is that side of it that says, “You have to daring enough to step outside the norm.” And if you think that just another e-blast or, well, let’s just…I’ll just throw it back to you, Murph. I mean, how often do you get really, really excited about an email that’s clearly a form letter that’s been sent to thousands of people?

Paul: Yeah, not too excited. I gotta say.

Jeff: If you look at it from this perspective, what you’re asking your customers to do is pay attention. And if you look at that term literally, think of attention as a commodity, we’re asking our customers to literally pay attention. We’re asking them to give part of this commodity called attention to us, and in order to do that, I think we have to have something worthwhile and different and unique. And if we would just take a little time to stop and think through, “How do I break out from the crowd, it would go a long way.” Great conversation with our guest, Stu Heinecke today.

You know, several years ago, I went through this sort of mini existential crisis. I think I have a good sense of humor and I’ve been praised in the past for having written some pretty funny things, but I was at a point where everything I wrote was pure business, just sort of, you know, head down, get it done pure business. Everything was coming off as sort of procedural and professional, but it was missing some of the soul that I’m used to writing with. And I remember asking my coach at the time, “Why can’t I write with humor anymore?” And she turned it back on me and asked, “What changed to make you more serious, and are you okay with that?”

Well, what changed was that my business was absolutely booming and I was having a tough time keeping up with the demand, and my tendency is to get serious when I get stressed. And the problem is that it was affecting everything, my staff, my family, and my audience. They weren’t getting the humor that they wanted. So here’s my challenge to you. Take your work seriously, take yourself less so.

Now, for one, the things that stress us out at work are almost always temporary issues. They may be serious at the time, but they’re going to pass, believe me. The world is going to keep spinning whether you are lighthearted or whether you are serious. So ask yourself which you prefer. So listen, be kind. Have fun. Relax. Have a cookie, but mostly be the type of person that you want to hang around. Look, I get it. I understand that we get stressed. We all get stressed sometimes. But showing that stress and letting it get in the way from us being our best selves I don’t think is good for anybody. Relax. Enjoy life a little bit. Let it loose.

All right. Hey, at the beginning in this show. I told you that we’re running an ongoing contest related to the launch of the “The Buyer’s Mind Podcast,” and I’m gonna tell you, you have the chance to win Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. These things, if you’ve never heard it before, they’re absolutely amazing. I love these when I’m traveling, when I’m listening to a podcast, or when I want great quality music that blocks out the noise around me.

And for the winner, you can take your choice of either the over-the-ear or the noise-cancelling earbuds. Now, I listen to these and I love these so much that I actually own both. So, when I’m working out, I listen to a podcast, I listen to music, whatever it is, and it’s a fantastic experience. So, we’re gonna give away a pair of Bose headphones, but I’m also giving away several Shore Consulting swag bags. That’s five of my books, a coffee mug, my motivational CD, and a bag to carry it all in. And all you have to do is download all of “The Buyer’s Mind” episodes on iTunes and subscribe to the podcast and leave a quick review. It’s not difficult. It’ll only take you about 30 seconds.

When you’ve done that, go over to jeffshore.com/podcast and click on the contest link. It’ll just ask you for your email address and the name that you used when you wrote the review on iTunes so that we can pick the winners from there. And we’re gonna give away 10 of the Shore Consulting swag bags, and remember, that grand prize, your choice of either the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones or the QuietComfort 20 Noise Cancelling earbuds.

So there you have it. That’s a wrap on our podcast, “The Buyer’s Mind.” Hope you enjoyed it. You can find everything you need at jeffshore.com, but until next time, go out there and change someone’s world.

Get BRAND-NEW episodes of Jeff’s 5 Minute Sales Training sent to your inbox every Saturday!

Sign up below.


About the Author: Jeff Shore

Jeff Shore

Jeff Shore is the Founder and President of Shore Consulting, Inc. a company specializing in field-tested and proven consumer psychology-based sales training programs.

Jeff is a top-selling author, host of the popular sales podcast, The Buyer’s Mind, and an award-winning keynote speaker. He holds the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association and is a member of the NSA’s exclusive Million Dollar Speaker’s Group.

With over 30 years of real-world, frontline experience, Jeff’s advanced sales strategies spring from extensive research into the psychology of buying and selling. He teaches salespeople how to climb inside the mind of their customers to sell the way their buyers want to buy. Using these modern, game-changing techniques, Jeff Shore’s clients generated over $30 billion in sales last year.