As salespeople, we are on the phone with clients and prospects every day. The ubiquity of this form of communication can obscure the phone call’s true value. Don’t take this powerful tool for granted! Freshen up your phone etiquette to maximize your sales potential.
Your voice immediately sets you apart. Your client or prospect needs to clearly hear your passion and enthusiasm for the opportunity, situation, and relationship. There is a balanced nuance to communicate your focused and engaged attention through your voice. You want to speak clearly and ardently. How do you accomplish this? Embrace the core basics of tone, tempo, and inflections in your voice.
Your voice is your main instrument in communicating over the phone, so pay attention to the basics mentioned above. Your overall tone should be positive, confident, and knowledgeable. Keep an eye on your tempo; speaking too fast will make you difficult to understand, but talking too slowly will bore and frustrate the listener. Speaking of boring, a monotone delivery will certainly put your audience to sleep, but over-inflecting will either make you sound patronizing, as if you’re talking to a baby, or incompetent. You want to sound enthusiastic and engaging, but mature and respectful.
Finding your voice can take time, and for many, it can help to seek professional guidance. I took voice lessons to improve this skill and transform my voice into a more effective tool. You may also record yourself speaking, listen back, and make note of ways you can improve your delivery.
Body Language Still Matters
It might be counterintuitive, but your non-verbal cues still play a large role when talking over the phone. They influence your vocal tone and overall delivery, so pay attention to what your body is doing!
A trick I discovered early in my sales career was surprisingly simple: having a small mirror at my desk allows me to see my facial expression and overall demeanor. Your smile transcends the ether and is evident in your voice. Customers hear the positive energy behind your smile and are drawn in by the subtext of your discussion. Along with smiling, nod and provide verbal signs of assent and affirmation when you are on the phone. Pay attention to your posture, as it is reflected in your attitude and voice. Imagine you are sitting across the table from your customer and present an image of assurance and confidence. These details will have both a conscious and subliminal impact throughout your conversations with or voicemail left for your prospect.
Utilizing a hands-free microphone is a must to deliver clarity and focus when you are on the phone. Being able to use your hands while speaking allows you to convey your passion and enthusiasm as you naturally do during in-person conversations. Many of us emphasize or illustrate points through nonverbal cues like hand movements. Your customer or prospect will sense your authentic, energetic connection.
My personal preference is to use a headset with microphone, as it centers my mindset on the objective of the call with laser attention. Having my hands free has the added bonus of making it easy to take notes and to immediately initiate the minimal actionable commitments during the call.
During your phone conversation, leverage the powerful pause to illustrate a point, generate a response, and actively listen. You need to stop talking to hear and fully comprehend the thoughts articulated by your client or prospect. Be aware of the cadence in the dialogue. Weigh your words and listen for the implied meaning within your customer’s discussion. Gaining a deeper understanding of your prospects’ needs and building rapport will dramatically improve when you focus your attention on listening.
These core elements will drive greater sales success during your phone calls. Your strategy is to always leave a great impression with quality communication. Refreshing our habits and behaviors when on the phone creates better opportunities to build our relationships and form deeper connections. It’s important for all sales professionals to regularly revisit the foundational principals for our intent and purpose with our phone calls. It clarifies our vision and the means to accomplish our desired outcomes.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.