(2022) How to Master Your Tone of Voice in Sales Calls like a Winning Closer
Quality B2B sales leads are more valuable than ever because of the increasingly challenging nature of current sales lead generation. Traditional cold calling focused on using those leads to simply push a product or service in pursuit of a sale, but today’s B2B selling environment is very different.
In order to be successful now, you must first build trust and develop relationships with potential buyers. This means taking the time to understand their needs and pain points to develop corresponding solutions.
A big part of this process is using the right tone of voice in your sales calls. Your voice tonality can make or break a deal, so it’s important to get it right. In this article, we take a look at how you can master your tone of voice in order to join leading sales reps.
What is voice tonality in sales?
Voice tonality has to do with the inflection and pitch of your voice. It can be used to convey various emotions, such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. When it comes to selling, voice tonality has the ability to influence the tone of a conversation and even get a buyer to say yes.
Most people don’t realize the importance of voice tonality and how it can be used to their advantage. In order to be a successful salesperson, you must understand how to use your voice to control the conversation and close more deals.
Why is the tone of voice in a sales call important?
The tone of your voice can make or break a sale. Buyers and sellers subconsciously listen and respond to the tonality and inflection of each other’s voices. The pitch, tone, volume, speed, and rhythm of the spoken language account for 38% of comprehension, compared to 7% for spoken words (the remaining 55% going to visual cues) according to Professor Albert Mehrabian's groundbreaking UCLA study.
The tone of voice conveys emotion. It's the human aspect we react most strongly to by mirroring the emotions we see in others. So it's not so much what you say, it's how you say it that can set the energy in the room for the both of you for the rest of the sales call.
When you reply "no" annoyingly (albeit you had a bad day), the person on the other end can feel the heat and potentially jab back. When you give lifeless replies to important questions, a potential customer may grow bored and disinterested. It's also difficult to take back something said with a negative tone.
On the other hand, a happy tone will radiate positivity to customers and yield better quality relationships. In order to close more sales, you need to learn how to use your tone to convey emotions and inflections that will help you get the customers on your side.
Why Cold Calling Still Works
In order to properly use your tone of voice in a sales call, you must first understand why cold calling still works. When you see its potential, you'll understand why it's so important to nail the voice tonality in your sales script. So here are three main reasons why cold calling is worth it:
- Cuts through all the internet noise. Anyone can have a website, blog, or social media page to promote their product or service, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to cut through all the noise. The cold call may be "outdated" now, but that's also what makes it refreshing to cut out all of that clutter and puts you ear-to-ear with the decision-maker.
- Messaging hits home. With a cold call, you can truly personalize your pitch by adapting to the immediate feedback you're getting. There are no hours between messages, no forgetting and off-putting, a sales call on the phone with potential customers creates a live, personable, and intimate conversation that builds strong rapport way faster.
- Garners trust unlike any other.Today's buyers are savvy, and they know how much fluff and scammy material the internet enables. By conveying a sincere tone of voice over the phone, you remind the listener that there's a human on the other side. You're helping build that trust and then use it to your advantage when closing the deal.
For many online SaaS businesses, cold calling can also help you validate market fit, better understand your client persona, generate meaningful leads, and ultimately grow your business.
4 Types of Voice Tonality & When to Use Them in a Sales Phone Call
There are four types of tonality you need to master in order to use voice tonality for closing deals. Realize that you don't necessarily need to implement just one the entire call. Depending on the context, you can switch back and forth to adapt to the situation.
The relaxed and playful tonality helps build rapport and encourages conversation. It's perfect for when you're just introducing yourself and making small talk. Use a happy, friendly voice that sounds interested and inviting. When you're being relaxed and playful, ask open-ended questions to keep the chat going, and encourage buyers to share their thoughts and opinions. This helps you get them to like you by the end of the call.
Example of a relaxed/playful tone:
"Hey there! Thanks for taking my call. I’m Jill (name) from Peanut Butter Co. (company). How's your day going?"
The focused and serious tonality is perfect for negotiations and closed-ended questions. Use a confident, direct voice that projects authority. When you're using a focused and serious tone, emphasize that you're not messing around, get straight to the point, don't try to be their new best friend. This tonality works especially well in conjunction with an assertive opening statement. If the customer is being unreasonable, this tonality helps convey that you're not interested in dealing with their crap.
Example of a focused/serious tone:
"We are looking to hit this KPI by March of 2022. All the deadlines are in the file. Here is how we can help you achieve this."
The assertive and commanding tonality is best for creating a sense of urgency and motivation. It's perfect for making the prospect feel needed and not wasting time with small talk. A strong yet supportive voice that makes them feel like you're their go-to guy, confident and smart. When you switch into the assertive and commanding tonality, be concise and to the point. This tonality can also work as a follow-up to the focused and serious tonality.
Example of an assertive/commanding tone:
"I think we can agree that this is a good deal for both of us, so let's move forward and get started."
The friendly and non-confrontational tonality is perfect for objections. It's a supportive voice that adopts empathy and understanding, helps the customer feel comfortable to voice their concerns, and encourages them to continue. Assure them that there's no judgment or pressure and that ultimately, you're on the same side. By using this voice tonality, you'll be able to understand their concerns and better address them in the future.
Example of a friendly/non-confrontational tone:
"I totally get where you're coming from. We see it happen occasionally [SalesCompany] too. Can you tell me more about that?"
Pro tips to master the cold call
Opening a Dialogue
If one accepts the idea that the real aim of cold calling is to open dialogue instead of present, the focus quickly shifts to creating connections. An article in Entrepreneur highlights the importance of seeking such connections when it says, "Whether through online research or during the phone call itself, you should try to find a personal connection with your prospects."
Since cold calling is quite challenging with low success rates, many salespeople abandon the practice in favor of email. The ease with which B2B emails are sent out so easily is seductive -- especially when contrasted with the challenges of modern-day cold calling discussed in a National Association of Sales Professionals article. However, emailing is often easy but not as effective.
When cold calling creates a real human connection, both individuals decide to invest time and effort in one another. This often leads to bonds that join the parties in important ways. Long-lasting clients grow sales and build one's brand, and they often generate the best sales leads of all -- referrals.
Tweaking the Tone of Voice
Of course, facial expressions and body language are unavailable during cold calling. Over the phone, conveying empathy, honesty and enthusiasm are largely accomplished through these verbal tools:
- Inflection: Changing the pitch of your voice can make your words more exciting, energetic, or sincere.
- Emphasis: Underlining certain words can help convey enthusiasm and importance.
- Pace: Speaking too quickly can make you sound nervous or stressed; speaking too slowly can make you sound disinterested or unprofessional.
- Modulation: This term refers to the way we use our voice to show feelings like happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, or fear.
- Mimicry: Though you want to sound energetic and passionate about your product, mimicking the prospect’s tone and pace can smoothen a conversation’s flow and put the individual more at ease. You don’t want to sound overly excited while the caller remains rather calm—or vice versa. It’s not very personal or receptive.
Add inflection to the right words to come across as more passionate and therefore more convincing. Likewise, a high-pitched, emphatic tone suggests enthusiasm, which has shown better recall in listeners and increased motivation to do something. The right pace or cadence offers a digestible listening experience.
Those speaking in a plodding manner come across as tired or disinterested, and rapid-fire deliveries are also problematic because they suggest nervousness or hucksterism. So voice modulation is also important. A voice that rises and falls at the right times shows engagement and interest, while a monotone voice suggests boredom.
You should aim to master inflection, pace, and modulation to convey a positive attitude. Strike the right tone, and the chances increase that your prospects will be intrigued by this empathetic, upbeat person they've encountered. Also, don't underestimate how attractive the prospect of a warm connection might be to someone facing challenges on the job or at home.
The sales professional who masters verbal communication gains a real advantage. The fact that salespeople often struggle with cold calling creates an opening for those who invest time and effort to master the necessary skills. When you can connect with prospects in a way that makes them comfortable, they are more likely to stick around and hear what you have to say. And that's the first step to a fruitful and profitable relationship.
How to not sound like a salesman
It's no secret that many people view cold calls with suspicion, and rightfully so. After all, most of us have been on the receiving end of aggressive, pushy cold calls that seem designed to take advantage of us.
If you want to know how to master phone sales, it's essential that you avoid the common missteps that drive prospects away. A good place to start is by examining some of these habits and making adjustments to your approach.
Stop being too pushy
One of the quickest ways to turn off a prospect is to be overly aggressive or pushy. This can be a particular problem for new salespeople.
It's not surprising that many people have a knee-jerk negative reaction to being cold-called. The immediate response for these individuals is to be defensive, and the best way to elicit this reaction is by being too pushy or overly aggressive.
If you're coming on too strong, dial it back. Start by introducing yourself and explaining why you're calling. Let the prospect take the lead and don't rush them.
Don't ramble on
Another common mistake that salespeople make is talking too much. This can be a particular problem if the salesperson is nervous.
In many cases, the prospect senses that he or she is being given a sales pitch and responds by shutting down. If you're talking too much, take a breath. Let the prospect get a word in edgewise and listen attentively to their response.
Remember not to be self-centered
Many salespeople are mistakenly too self-centered in their conversations with prospects. They may try to build rapport by sharing negative stories about their company or their industry, for example.
While it's important to be genuine and open, it's not the best way to open a cold sales call. Prospects don't want to hear about your problems out of the blue; they have enough of their own. It's always a better idea to start with what's in it forthem.
Many salespeople make this mistake. Remember, this is a dialogue, not a monologue. Share a little bit about yourself, but always be sure to focus on the prospect's needs.
If you want to succeed at cold calling, avoid these common mistakes. Focus on building rapport by being positive and engaging. Let the prospect take the lead, and be sure to listen attentively to what they have to say.
Creating Real Connections with Myphoner
Myphoner promotes lead nurturing via real connections with real people.
The next time you're tapping your sales leads database remain aware of the importance of the inflection, pace, and modulation of your communication.
This article was first published on May 13, 2017 and updated on January 10, 2022.