Would I take a call from myself…hmmm??? Five Tips for your voice, your greatest assetPosted: August 20, 2013 It has been said that it takes 10,000 hours or 10 years to master a skill. I have not fully mastered the art of sales and I clearly recall 13 years ago when my first sales trainer who had 30 years under his belt in sales told our training class, “I can tell you everything you need to know about sales in 15 minutes, but it will take you a lifetime to master it.” Recently in Forbes, Josh Kaufman, author and teacher, was written about describing how he believes he can cut down that time to 20 hours. I’m not advocating on behalf of Kaufman, but I am going to layout five tips that I believe is a starting point for those who have taken the journey to master sales.
These tips are focused on your most prized asset in your sales professionals portfolio and it is right there next to your mind power. This prized asset is often overlooked and taken for granted. Perhaps you never valued this asset until now. So what is your most prized asset? It’s your VOICE! Both Inside Sales and Field Sales professionals must be aware of their voice as both professionals utilize the telephone to connect with customers/prospects.
Your voice is an asset because it is the first sound that is heard when you begin to communicate. In her Wall Street Journal article titled, Is This How You Really Talk?, Sue Shellenbarger states “A strong, smooth voice can enhance your chances of rising to CEO. And a nasal whine, a raspy tone or strident voice can drive colleagues to distraction.” We all know that we have less than 7 – 10 seconds to make a first impression. Let’s talk about how to working on this small five tips will help you on your way to mastering sales.
Five Voice Tips
1. Drink room temperature or lukewarm water or tea. This enables your vocal cords to relax while warming your throat so that your voice comes out of your mouth smoothly. Avoid cold drinks, dairy products, and medication that dry your throat. Cold drinks will restrict your vocal cords. Consuming dairy products promotes mucus in your mouth and it can clog your vocal passages. Stay away from anything that gives you a dry throat and causes you to clear your throat. No one wants to hear any of that on the phone. So keep it simple to warm water and tea.
2. Warm up before jumping on the phone. Think about it. Do any professional singer, athlete, news anchor, master of ceremony, or television host take to their audience without a full warm up? They take their time and warm up their bodies and focus their minds on the task at hand. A sales professional warm up would include slowly enunciating words to work out the mechanics of saying your value proposition clearly. Repeat this 5x to ensure that your brain, voice, and mechanics of your mouth are all on the same page. Next, play with the tone of your voice while saying your value proposition out loud. This warm up will benefit your vocal chords, your throat, and your jaw muscles. You will see how this will help you make that cold call with flawless execution on your pitch.
3. Stand up and smile as you are talking. This gives you greater projection in your voice and smiling warms up your tone. People can sense when you are smiling and talking. It makes for a better conversation.
4. Call yourself and leave a voicemail with your elevator pitch or value proposition. Objectively listen to your voice and ask yourself these three questions. A) Would I take this person’s call? B) Would I return this person’s call? C) Would I be interested in what he/she is saying? Listen to your voice and the content. If either is off, you will have to go through your warm up again or you may need to simplify your sales pitch. Be honest with yourself on this.
5. USE BIG FONT FOR YOUR SALES SCRIPTS. One of the easiest ways to lose focus on delivering a warm voice with a value proposition is squinting your eyes to read a pitch you have that was handwritten, wrote in cursive, shorthand, or just too small to read. Why? If you are focused on figuring out what you are reading, it will cause stress and potential panic. Both, stress and panic are easily picked up during a conversation due to your CHANGE in VOICE. Prevent this from happening to you by typing your value proposition in BIG FONT and having it posted in your workspace at eye level so you can see it very clearly. Doing this will enable you to speak clearly and focus on delivering a smooth pitch rather than going into a panic attack because the customer/prospect took your call and you can’t communicate because your pitch looks like a microeconomic calculus derivative problem set that makes no sense unless you are eyeballing it closely with a magnifying glass.
Your voice is your unique calling card that announces who you are. Don’t take this precious asset for granted. Work it like every skill you are striving to improve. I have no doubt in my mind that these five tips will help you gain the attention of your customer/prospect and initiate a meaningful conversation that will hopefully open the door to a great opportunity.
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Happy selling my friends.