When you use your telephone, your voice is the singular medium to transport your message. Since your respondents can’t hear you they will inevitably concentrate on your voice. It is only human nature that they will concentrate initially more on your voice then on the content of your message.
How you say the things you say will be more important at this early stage then what you have to say.
People will pick up quickly any insecurity or even fear that is transmitted and in that case would try to end the conversation as fast as possible. Nobody likes to listen to someone who’s voice is trembling, or who is losing the thread and in addition to that uses to many “umms” and “ahhs”.
These are all signs of insecurity, all too well amplified by the medium telephone. The underlying message is if we feel insecure about ourselves, we feel insecure about our product too. How can we expect our prospects to feel good about our product and to buy from us if we can’t do that in the first place?
In order to build a good rapport we have to instill confidence right from the start.
Here are some easy but very effective tips to use your most important tool, your transmitter of your messages, your voice, to the best effect:
Combat fatigue – if you are tired you most likely sound tired. Take care of yourself and try to get enough sleep at all times.
During your working ours try to sit in your chair as straight as you possibly can, stretch your arms over your head at the same time and stay in this position for up to a minute. Repeat this exercise as often as you like. Never slump on your chair whilst on the phone. It suppresses your voice to a degree and makes it sound hollow.
Whilst speaking on the phone always remind yourself of sitting straight, or better still, stand up. I personally like to stand up and even pace up and down the office, because I feel that it gives my voice a certain cutting edge and assertiveness that sometimes is needed to convince.
Speak loud and clear but do not shout.
Intonate your voice, it helps to keep your respondent interested. By “intonating” I mean to higher and lower your voice.
Smile occasionally whilst speaking. Of course nobody will see you smile but there will be a discernible difference in your voice, a bit of merriment and good spirit, and people will pick up on this. You simply sound different over the phone when you do that rather then keeping your mouth half shut whilst speaking.
Control the speech or tempo of your voice. In the early stages of a pitch I always copy my counterpart- if he or she is a slow speaker so am I. And if my prospect is a very quick talker I am going to copy that as well initially. After the first minute or so however, I will adapt to a speed that I feel comfortable with. Interestingly most prospects will adapt to my style. The slow speakers tend to pick up pace and the nervous and quick ones will slow down. Soon they will be in tune with you.
Last but not least: – Use good quality telephone equipment.
I find this tactic very helpful and empowering. Not only does it help you to control the conversation, but also to build better rapport. You will leave a positive impression and people can remember you better.
Many telesales people speak far too quick and tend to rattle on and on. These individuals tend to oversell and don’t take enough time to listen what their customer might have to say – often missing vital clues and information. I am fully aware that this is a mistake too easy to do, borne out of nervousness and sometimes boredom. At the beginning of your career you might feel more nervous during these first few months, but if your pitch is a very rigid one, you soon know every word you are going to say by heart and a natural reaction is to get through it as quickly as possible. Time to go over your pitch and tweak it a bit to give it more punch and to keep you on the toes.
I try to remind myself that my pitch might be second nature to me and I might know it by heart. As for my prospects, for each one of them it is always new and interesting information.
Let’s make it easy for them to relax a little and to enable them to concentrate on what we got to say by being relaxed but professional ourselves.