5 Corny Jokes Will Get You Past Cold-Calling Gatekeepers
Use humor, like Disney's best ride, for better prospecting results.
The Jungle Cruise has been a fan-favorite Disney ride for decades, but it wasn't until Disneyland's Imagineers took the plunge and introduced the comedy aspect that people really started to take notice of this ride. Of course, Disney oversees which jokes can be told, but they allow for a variety of them to be told on the ride. However, the skippers are in charge of deciding which jokes to tell, and this spices up the experience. Fans are quick to correct any missteps by the skipper — if they forget a line or just can't think on their feet during the show. It's not uncommon for fans to shout out the lines when they know what is coming next on the ride.
It may be a little hard to believe that humor helped one of the most repetitive rides at Disneyland become a fan favorite.
For humor to work with cold calling, you don't need to become a comedian or have the Disney team write you some funny lines. There are plenty of corny jokes that you can apply to your prospecting calls. Here are the top five corny jokes that are proven to work well with getting past gatekeepers!
You're the grand prize winner
When the call screener answers and finishes her announcement, say, “You’re the grand prize winner!” Then use a pregnant pause and wait for the gatekeeper to ask what they have won. Then say, “You get to talk to me.” Do not forget to add the “just kidding.”
I want a million dollars
When a call screener finishes their announcement and asks, “How can I help you?” You say, “I want one million dollars (I love to use the Austin Powers Accent) in un-marked bills, a getaway helicopter, and a trip for two to Tahiti.” Usually, the call screener will start laughing and say they want all those things. Then I say, “Oh, you cannot help me? Then I will add your name to the list of people that want me to help them.”
When the call screener finishes their greeting you can say, “Happy un-birthday. A very merry un-birthday to you. Yes, you!” Try to use the rhythm from Alice in Wonderland. If they act surprised, then ask if they forgot today was their un-birthday and allow a fun discretionary conversation to ensue.
Good morning, good afternoon, and goodnight
Use this bit of corny humor when a gatekeeper slips up when they are supposed to say, “Good morning” and instead they say, “good afternoon” or “good evening.” I like to respond and say, “Good morning, good afternoon, and good night," in the style of the Truman Show). Then I like to remind them that unfortunately, it's still morning. This happens more than you’d think. Just be ready to take advantage of the error and use a bit of corny humor.
I am a snake oil salesman
Use this bit of humor when a gatekeeper asks, “What’s this call regarding?” I like to respond by saying in a very serious way, “I am a snake oil salesman?” Usually, the receptionist will be confused, blow a gasket, and transfer the call or laugh and then you can say you are just joking.
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Word of caution
When you first connect with a call screener, pay rapt attention to their pace of talking and overall demeanor. If they sound extremely busy or in a foul mood, then don't try to use any humor in your conversation. You want to listen for someone who is in a decent enough mood and who doesn’t sound overly busy on the other end.
The primary objection of using humor is to keep in the conversation nonchalant, and using this type of humor or banter with the call screener accomplishes just that. Secondly, you want to spend a little bit of time with the receptionist (when they don’t sound busy) to make them feel important as most people that call simply walk over them. Lastly, the idea is to distract the person from their usual routine, so they forget to screen the call.
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