The Green Sheet Online Edition
February 26, 2018 • Issue 18:02:02
What does your voice say?
While technology provides an increasing array of options that enable ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) to communicate with merchant customers and prospects ‒ social media platforms, text messaging and video conferencing among them ‒ the old-fashioned telephone remains an essential tool.
Those involved in telesales are reliant on their speaking skills, and according to Paul H. Green, author of Good Selling!SM: The Basics, the manner in which one speaks during a phone conversation constitutes 85 percent of the message conveyed. To help ISOs and MLSs achieve an eloquent, polished delivery, Green offered the following tips:
- Answer your phone with a smile in your voice. If you answer rudely, only to quickly adopt a warm, friendly tone of voice, you risk sounding phony. Always use your best phone voice; you never know when your most important prospect might call.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Your prospects need more time to absorb what you're saying over the phone than in person. Speak carefully when saying your name and company name. When leaving a message, be sure to repeat your name and number.
- Use body language. Your prospect can't see you; however, your body language translates over the phone through your voice. Physical animation adds animation to your voice, which makes you more engaging.
- Smile. A smile translates into a pleasant voice that will hold your prospect's interest. Place a mirror in front of you as your speak and smile as you converse with the person on the other end of the line. Smiling will bring personable, welcoming tones to your speech that will make your prospects warm up to you and your message.
- Be careful with first names. Always ask if you may use your prospect's first name. Merchants come from a diversity of backgrounds; some are easily offended by those who simply assume it's OK to be on a first-name basis.
- Put enthusiasm in your voice. Without raising your voice, practice speaking so that your prospects get as excited about why you're calling as you are. However, modulate your voice to avoid sounding like a preschool teacher. Don't be afraid to speak in a lower tone than usual.
- Listen. Don't perfect your speaking skills only to lose the sale with rudeness. No one likes being interrupted. Focus your attention on your prospects. To sell to them, you have to listen to their needs. It's a two-way conversation.
- Focus on your prospect's needs. Don't plan your next words while your prospect is speaking. Ask questions that force you to concentrate on the answer, and show the prospect that you're interested in his or her needs.
- Treat numbers with care. When speaking numbers, go slowly. Being precise will decrease errors. Take notes. Read numbers back to verify accuracy, and ask to have them read back to you. Reiterate figures you have quoted toward the end of the conversation.
These are commonsense actions, but, as Green said, they can determine whether your sales will stagnate or skyrocket.
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