“If you can make them laugh, you can make them buy” says one of my earliest mentors in sales, Jeffrey Gitomer. But, did you know that if you can make them laugh, you can also get them to give you a discount when you’re the buyer?
One of my content marketing clients recently received a renewal notice for a CRM tool they use, and it included a rate increase over previous years.
I checked the vendor’s website to see if there was another service package at a lower price that might work instead of renewing at the higher rate and there was — but it was missing access to several primary features which were important to my client.
I reached out to the vendor and let them know that we were concerned about the rate increase for the existing package being “too hard” and that we reviewed the alternative but it appeared to be “too soft” and wondered if they could customize a package for us that would be “just right” — and I signed my email “Goldilocks”.
I’m sure you get the references to the children’s story “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”. It’s become a metaphor for finding an item or a situation that is perfectly suited to your particular tastes and preferences.
The vendor certainly understood the reference because within 30-minutes I received a reply saying that the rate increase had caught many of her clients off-guard (and no one was happy about it), but wanted to especially thank me for my reply and genuinely making her laugh. She showed her appreciation by allowing us to renew our existing service for another year at the original (significantly lower!) rate.
Keep this in mind the next time you want to aggressively lay into a vendor for something you’re not happy about. Unless you’re speaking to the owner of the company, the person you’re dealing with likely didn’t have a whole lot of control over the change that has you so worked up. Humor wins more people to your side than anger will, and (no surprise here) people are more willing to help you if you aren’t yelling at them!
Use the opportunity to practice patience and understanding.
Flex those empathy muscles. Find the humor in the situation (things are never as serious as you think they are) and get the other person to laugh out loud (or at least smile) and you may find that you can catch way more discounts with honey (or should that be porridge?)