From B2C to C2C (3/5) : why stand up comedy and sales management have more in common than you think

The “how to become a stand up comedian in 8 weeks” workshop went great . I learned tons of stuff. I learned that in order to make people laugh you had first to be authentic and then you had to talk about simple facts  of your  life and tell them in a funny way. I learned that you should ABSOLUTELY NEVER NEVER NEVER  TELL stories which was completely against my way of doing speeches.  I also learned that you had to follow a process and as an engineer I loved that part….- This was indeed an eye opening experience for me also because if there was one thing that I thought could not be done, it was to take the “art” out of humor. But if you could do it thanks to a process and make people laugh “on autopilot” (almost), then you could also probably take much of the “art” out of  sales management – my never ending quest if I wanted to scale my business “beyond” me.

almost beyond me…but not completely…

The final week of the workshop our teacher had planned a “graduation ceremony” at the Matthews Comedy Zone in front of a live audience…Open Mike : Amateur’s night…

OMG are you kidding me???

I was not a very good “student” – all other “would be” comedians were doing their homework consistently, following every rule by the book and I was just “winging” it, I could not invest as much time in this as they were – I was starting my business, beginning to take on a few clients and I was just investing 2 hours every wednesday night to be present at the comedy sessions. I had no intention of graduating anyway, but I was very participative  during the class, bringing a lot of ideas and being a pretty good “comedy buddy” as we stand up comedians like to say  (improving others’ jokes).

Then as the final week was approaching and I was slowly but surely trying to back out of it, our comedy coach Rob Wagman (Thank You Rob!) started being “tough” on me and told me that he was expecting to see me graduate too because  -as he put it – “I had something”…Not only that, but my wife started as well to tease me about it…Finally Rob promised to coach me for one private session together to go over some of the material I had created and to help me catch up with the others If, and only If, I was going to perform too…

I could not back off any more and that is when I really started getting really really scared…really.

To make a long story short everybody more or less “bombed” that night and I pretty much “killed”.

Once I finally got on stage my fear dropped : I was” in the zone”. I was quite used to speaking in public and I guess that showed a little, whereas the others really started choking and no matter how great some of their jokes were, the audience could feel their uneasyness and it became very uncomfortable for everyone…

I felt “high” that night after my performance like I had never felt in my life – indeed this was becoming an addiction…(until about 6 months later when I “bombed” for the first time…).

I now use this story in my trainings  to draw a pretty effective parallel between sales management and stand up comedy  (click on the link below)

Another transformation from that night was that people asked me to come back and   I started to perform every month…

Next : The rise and fall of the sales productivity Chef…


About Philippe Le Baron

is the authority on sales force productivity and sales management effectiveness. He's a sought-after corporate trainer to small businesses and global corporations like ORACLE, NCR and EMC. He's an accomplished entrepreneur. Philippe's focus is to get your new reps as productive as possible as fast as possible. His clients benefit from his revolutionary online programs developed under the

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