Psychology and the Voice: 10 Ways to Change Your Tone and Close More Sales
Posted by Guest Author on September 16, 2013 in Sales 2.0 [ 0 Comments ]
Sales reps are always on the phone, influencing prospects and relaying key information to decision makers of B2B companies. During prime calling hours in the morning and after lunch, chatter resounds throughout the office; at times, the din is comparable to the atmosphere of a café.
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In the progressive business world, sales reps are not interacting with customers face-to-face as often as they once did. Instead, leads are passed over the phone. The sale doesn’t hinge on reps’ body language or attire anymore; it all hinges on their tone of voice. Tone is the quality of a person’s voice, or how a person performs vocally. Voice stimulates the right hemisphere of the brain, which generates emotions instead of logic. Therefore, tone can be changed over time and with practice and manipulated to yield a specific outcome. In sales, your voice is your instrument; take care of it and practice, practice, practice to see better results.
Here are 10 tips to hone your tone of voice for the sales environment:
- Warm up. As a sales rep, it’s important to start using your voice before your first call. Hum in the shower; have a conversation with your family; schedule dinner plans with an employee. Move those vocal cords so you don’t croak on your first call.
- Breathe through the diaphragm and use good posture. How you breathe influences your sound. Fill your stomach with air then let it out naturally, feeling your stomach expand and contract. Sit up straight (or even stand), and try not to jut out your chin, which obstructs air flow.
- Drink lots of water. Avoid too much caffeine. Keep the vocal cords healthy by drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day. Avoid diuretics such as caffeine.
- Use your tone to display emotion. Don’t be monotone; convey your excitement about a deal, your loyalty to the business and your elation about the conversation through your voice.
- Gesture and smile even though prospects can’t see you. The way you move influences the way you sound. Talk with your hands over the phone; the cadence of your voice will change to reflect that physical energy. Smile with your tone, and customers will hear your optimism.
- Concentrate on your inflections. Inflections are your voice’s change in pitch. For example, when ending a question, most people speak in a higher voice. However, in sales, it’s important to speak in a lower (not softer) voice, which exudes confidence and self-assurance.
- Record yourself. Use the voice recorder on your smart phone or computer to hear how you sound, and experiment with different phrases.
- Practice with a friend. Friends, especially within your company, are helpful; ask them what they would think as a customer hearing your pitch. Role play with other reps to understand your tone’s effect on others.
- Mix up the pace. Many sales professionals are guilty of talking too fast and having to eventually repeat half of their information. Instead, experiment with the pace and cadence of your sentences; slow down at important information, or speed up during a conversation.
- Remove unwanted words like “um” and “like.” Sometimes, sales reps fill empty spaces in their speech with words like “um” and “like” because they’re afraid of pauses. Instead, use these pauses to your advantage, as many professional speakers such as President Obama do.
According to ContactPoint, on the phone, tone is 86% of our communication. The words we actually use are only 14%. Therefore, as a salesperson, it’s important to take care of your instrument, your voice. Overall, convey your helpfulness: speak to your B2B prospect as you would to a business peer. Sound authentic, with a level of self-confidence and a sense of purpose. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, and don’t stress about the quality of your voice. Be your confident self, conveying your determination and poise through the conversation, and work on these tips bit by bit to see a change in your sales results.
Author Bio: Allison Tetreault is the Digital Content Intern at AG Salesworks, where she launches blog content, manages social media accounts and continues to learn about marketing strategy for the company. Follow her on Twitter for more blog posts about sales and marketing!
(Image: mrsiraphol via freedigitalphotos.net)