What do the following occupations have in common: surgeon, painter, navigator and salesperson? Answer: all use an instrument to practice their craft. The surgeon use a blade of razor-sharp titanium steel to make precise incisions. The painter uses the brush made with the finest bristles to put color on canvas in new and exciting ways. And the navigator uses a sextant to chart his position against the stars.
What does the salesperson use? On an introductory call, your voice is your instrument. During a face to face meeting, visual cues and body language are available to add layers of meaning, in addition to charts, graphs, handouts PowerPoint slides, and sales literature to support your verbal communication. But on the telephone, you have only your voice and your words. How you use this most delicate of instruments can make or break your conversation. To tune your instrument for great performance, do the following:
Monitor your tune. Imagine you’re telling a bed time story to a child. You wouldn’t drone on in a bored tone about the Big Bad Wolf. No! You would put fear and passion to your voice to make the story come alive for the child. Think about the introductory calls in the same manner. In essence, you’re telling your story to your prospect, and tone of voice plays an important role in determining what do prospect hears, feels and sees.
Pay attention to voice inflection. The emphasis on a particular word can totally change the meaning of a sentence. Let’s take the phrase, “She is not a thief”. If you emphasize “She”, the sentence means that she is not a thief, but someone else is. But if you emphasize “not”,the sentence is a defense. If you emphasize “thief”, the sentence implies that she is something else that you have not named. Think about the emphasis you wish to convey, and use your voice accordingly.
Rehearse your delivery. Look at each sentence in your sales pitch to determine what are you trying to convey, and the best way to do so. Try out different line deliveries until you are satisfied with the result.
Hear yourself as others hear you. Use a tape recorder to hear how you sound. When speaking, you hear yourself differently than others do. By listening to your taped voice, you will hear yourself as others hear you.
Listen for clarity, tone and energy. Listen for warmth and passion in your voice. Do you sound interesting? Convincing? Confident? Is your speech clear, professional and pleasant? Or do you sound angry, tired, tentative or bored? Is you speaking voice nasal, a monotone or singsong? Do you speak too quickly or slowly? Do you mumble? Most of all, do you sound like someone with whom you would like to have a conversation?
Once you determine what you which to convey to your prospect, practice your script until it flow easily. Call your friends and pitch them. Perhaps you can work with a colleague who is also making introductory calls. This way, when you have prospect on the telephone, you will be prepared to voice the message you want to voice, and can use your instrument like a true professional.
Source: Wendy Weiss