Consciously using your voice to sell your ideas, products and services will give you a competitive edge in the market place. Why? Because most sales people have no awareness of how they sound and that the sound of their voice is holding them back.
Many sales people, especially telephone salespeople, speak to fast, because they are working the numbers strategy which is if they speak to X number of customers per hour they are bound to close some of them. Of course this requires speaking fast and making a snap judgment as to whether the customer has the money and/or the interest in buying.
I trained 250 tele-sales people in a major company in three basic voice skills and the sales went up 2 % over a year’s time. My first premise is that every customer has the potential to buy either now or later and that spending time listening and finding out the needs of the customer is the first step. My second premise is that from the moment you start speaking your voice can both engage and persuade the customer.
Before training could begin in this company, I needed to convince the sales people that speaking well was indeed necessary to their success and that the investment of practice time was minimal compared to the increase in commissions.
The first challenge was to convince them to let go of the numbers strategy and take the risk of slowing down their speaking rate to 145-150 words per minute. I told them that doing this not only allows the customer to understand what they are saying but also to feel comfortable listening to them. If they slowed down they wouldn’t come across as being anxious, nervous or just plain disinterested in the customer. I asked them to test themselves by setting a stop watch and reading aloud for one minute and then going back and counting all the words. Many of the sales people in this particular company were speaking at over 200 words per minute. They were shocked.
The second challenge was to get their buy-in on speaking clearly. Now that they were slowing down it became apparent to them that they were dropping the ends of words, slurring their words and running words together. Even saying the company name and the product name was hard for many of the people.
I started them out with the idea that they couldn’t speak any faster than they could say the ends of their words clearly. Taking time to do this slowed them down. At first they told me that they felt weird and uncomfortable speaking so slowly and that they were afraid the customer would stop listening, hang up on them or interrupt their sales pitch. The sales people were genuinely surprised when none of that happened and instead customers listened, asked questions and got engaged in the sales conversation. Of course, it then became so much easier to close the sale effectively.
Now that they were saying the words clearly which caused them to slow down, I made them aware that trailing off at the ends of their thoughts made them sound negative to the customer. First of all people converse in thoughts and not in complete sentences. It is important not to allow your voice to trail off at the end of the thought. Or worse yet mumble the end of your thought. On an unconscious level the customer perceives you as throwing away your thought and therefor it must not have been that important or even valid.
If used consistently, speaking at 145 words per minute, saying the ends of your words clearly and never letting your voice trail off at the end of your thoughts are three basic speaking voice skills that will help you sell and close the deal.
If you would like to learn more and discover how you can improve your speaking voice. I offer you a 20-minute Voice Power Studios Accent Reduction & Speaking Skills Consultation, or call 877-783-2455