If you’ve ever been in an argument with your significant other, you’ve probably figured out that the way you say something is often more important than what you say.
Did you ever consider that the same principle applies to sales?
It’s true; the tone of your voice might actually be jeopardizing your sales success. You may have put hundreds of hours into researching your market, learning your product, and crafting your pitch, but if you aren’t aware of what your voice conveys to your potential customers, all that effort may be for nothing.
While some scientists dispute the statistic that 93% of our communication is nonverbal, many agree that people are considerably less influenced by the actual words you use, and more influenced by the tone of your voice and your body language.
The great news is now that you’re aware of this aspect of communication, you can improve it (and your sales) in the process.
What is tonality?
Tonality refers to the way your voice sounds when you speak. Consider how many miscommunications happen because during text conversations or email exchanges. You can hear yourself say the words in your head as you type, but when the other person can’t hear the tone of your voice, your words are left up to interpretation. Most of the time, they are interpreted wrong.
While tonality can be influenced by your mood, your surroundings, and even your upbringing, you also have the opportunity to consciously control how your words come across. Think you already know how you sound? Record yourself during a mock sales pitch and then prepare to be surprised. You can also ask a few trusted friends or colleagues to listen and provide feedback. Chances are you don’t even realize how you’re coming across.
Why is tonality important in sales?
In business, the first sale is always to yourself. If you don’t believe in your product or service, why would anyone else?
The problem is, while you may have perfected the words you’ll use to sell, your tone may still betray you. Your lack of confidence will be glaring the moment you open your mouth. This can spell disaster when you’re making a sales call or pitch. After all, would you want to invest your hard-earned money in a product even the sales rep doesn’t believe works?
Of course not! Don’t expect anyone else to either.
When you approach a prospect, you are doing so because they have a problem that your product or service can fix. In this situation, you are the expert with the solution and you must present yourself in that manner.
Put your consumer hat back on for a moment. How would you feel if a salesperson sounded bored, irritated, or disinterested when you needed their help? They could be saying all the right things, but if their voice suggests otherwise, you won’t be sold on what they’re offering.
If you sound like you don’t care about their problems, you can bet they won’t care about your solutions.
Mastering your tone is an essential part of business. Once you learn to control it, you’ll be on your way to better sales.
The Eight Different Tonal Patterns
Tonality is broken up into eight different patterns. Which one you use will depend on the relationship you’ve built with the other person, where they are in the sales process, and what you hope to gain in that moment of the conversation.
Let’s take a look at each of these categories.
This tone is used to convey the need to make a decision quickly. For example, when having a conversation with a prospect, you can express concern that they could miss out on an offer if they don’t act quickly.
You are on the same side as them. Speaking as if you’re a member of their team, or can relate to their point of view can help you build a positive relationship with the buyer.
3. Absolute Certainty
You know you can help them, and you want them to understand that as well.
4. I Care
Empathy is important in sales. Customers want to know that their problems matter to you.
5. Using a Question Your Statement Should Be Declarative
Ending your statement with a raised voice suggesting a question mark. This infers agreement.
6. Series of Three Up-Tones
When stringing three statements together, your voice will go up at the end of each.These micro-agreements can encourage others to agree with you.
7. The Presupposing Tone
You know the outcome they can expect. Using a presupposing tone is especially helpful when emphasizing the benefits the prospect can expect to have when using your product.
8. I Really Want to Know
Customers want to be heard. Using this tone allows you to communicate that you want to hear them.
How to Use the Right Tone in Your Sales Presentations
Tonality in sales isn’t about picking one tone and sticking with it throughout the conversation. This monotony will have your prospect tuning out and possibly passing out from boredom. Varying your tone throughout the conversation will keep your potential customer engaged and hanging on your every word.
Remember that you are having a conversation, not performing a monologue. While you are extremely excited about whatever it is you’re selling, your potential customer will likely be considerably less so.
You may need to start out with “I care” or “I really want to know,” two of the calmer tones, before raising the excitement level in your tone. This way, you can meet them where they are at and then slowly ramp them up to where you want them to be.
While tonality and body language are two distinct aspects of communication, they can affect one another. Consider how you feel when you are slumped over in your chair, shoulders hunched, and head forward. Chances are you feel insecure, sad, or unenthusiastic.
Guess what, even if you’re talking to a prospect on the phone your posture and your emotional state will come across in your voice. They can’t see you, but you must still be aware of your body language. Before picking up the phone, sit up straight, do a few stretches, and get ready to portray the confident expert that you are.
Some people are born with the gift of perfect tonality. They naturally know just how to talk to people to achieve their goals. For the rest of us, it will take practice. By becoming aware of your tonality, you’ve already taken the first step to improving your business. It’s a learned skill that you can practice and eventually master.
Originally published Dec 28, 2020 7:30:00 AM, updated December 07 2021