In the first article of this series we covered how our attitude and mindset toward the phone and prospecting affect our performance. Today I want to tackle the first critical factor after we get our minds right and actually pick up the phone: voice tone.
How you sound matters. A lot.
Many of you may be thinking, “Thank you, Captain Obvious,” but from what I hear while observing sellers making outbound calls, it must not be as obvious as you think!
The single worst voice tone offense is the “sales voice.” You know exactly where I’m going with this. You’ve got that perfectly normal sounding colleague who is fine when having a casual conversation but the moment she picks up the phone to place a sales call something horrible happens. She puts on that manufactured “sales voice.” It’s awful. Unnatural. Inauthentic. Often too enthusiastic and maybe even cheesy. It’s almost as if she is trying to emulate a stereotypical salesperson from a movie scene. I know – your skin is crawling as you’re replaying that voice in your head right now.
Here’s my simple coaching: Lose the sales voice! The last thing we want to do is cause the prospect to put up their defense shields because we sound like the prototypical salesperson. The best prospectors talk like normal humans. Read that last sentence one more time. Normal humans. I suggest that you speak like you’re calling a friend. Calm. Casual. Comfortable. Confident. Real. Human.
Another common issue, particularly for younger or new sales reps is sounding too respectful, or even subservient or apologetic. Let me be very clear: being too formal or coming across as intimidated does not align with the expert/value-creator mindset we covered in the last article. You’re not going to secure meetings with important business people on the other end of the phone if you sound scared or like a child calling an adult. Don’t put the prospect on a pedestal. Stop using “Mister” or “Sir”– like a 12-year-old addressing a friend’s father. I get that you have manners and want to come across as a professional. Respect is good. Professionalism is great. I’m not saying to be sloppy or to sound like a punk. But I am definitely warning you that being overly respectful is hurting how you’re perceived and will diminish your chances of earning a prospect’s time.
Here’s an easy tip: If you are not sure if you’re putting on a sales voice or if you might be sounding overly respectful or subservient, record yourself making a few calls. Or, even better, ask a buddy to eavesdrop while you are prospecting. Believe me, they’ll be more than happy to offer some straight feedback.
In the next article, we will get into the meat of the prospecting call starting with what we say after the prospect answers. I’ve found the hardest part of telephone prospecting is actually picking up the phone, but a close second is what we say once the prospect says hello. I’ll give you my favorite two phrases to get the call off to a solid start, and I will also point you to some of my favorite resources and books to help up your prospecting game.
Celebrating the One-Year Anniversary of Sales Management. Simplified. by Giving Away 52 Free Copies
It’s been one year since the official release of Sales Management. Simplified. – The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results from Your Sales Team, and simply saying “thank you” seems woefully insufficient.
YOU have made this book a runaway success, and I could not be more grateful. Sure, I’ve been thrilled by the reviews on various sales gurus’ websites, the podcasts, radio interviews, and certainly the Harvard Business Review webinar. But what most blows me away is the support you’ve provided by sharing your powerful reaction on various social platforms, especially LinkedIn and Twitter, and the crazy number of reviews you continue to post on Amazon. As of this writing, the book has 131 reader reviews almost all of which are 5-star.
As a thank you to my subscribers and those who follow my content,
I’m giving away I gave away 52 signed copies – one for each week the book has been on sale. So if you, or an executive or sales leader you know, needs a dose of blunt truth about why sales teams underperform or could just use some simple, practical, powerful tips to increase sales results, I’d love to send you a copy of this bestseller. (Update as of 8:00pm, 10/24/16: We’ve received more than 52 qualified requests so all of the free books have been claimed. Thank you for the overwhelming response!)
Here are the rules and what you need to do to claim your book:
- The giveaway is open to three groups of people…senior executives, sales leaders/managers, and current salespeople who aspire to sales management.
- You can request a book for yourself or for one to be sent to someone who falls into one of those three categories listed above.
All requests for a free copy should be sent via email to this address only: firstname.lastname@example.org(All requests have been fulfilled)
- Write a few sentences explaining why you would like a copy or why the person you’re requesting it for would benefit. Please include your full name, job title, and the US mailing address where you’d like the book sent.
- This offer is for hardcover copies only and is limited to people in the United States. I apologize to our international friends; I learned about the hassle of sending books internationally when doing a similar giveaway for the launch. Books will only be shipped to US addresses.
- Previous recipients of free books, and my clients, friends and relatives are not eligible 🙂
- Again, only requests emailed to email@example.com will be considered. Messages sent via social media or to other email addresses will be ignored.
- Once we receive 52 qualifying requests, books will be signed and shipped via USPS media rate, and we’ll let you know that a book is on the way to you.
Thank you, again, for your readership, encouragement, and support. Here’s to great Sales Leadership and many New Sales!