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Common Questions and Answers
When you speak with prospects on the phone, they can’t tell how you’re dressed or what you look like. All they have to go on is your tone of voice and the actual words you’re saying. And that means that tone of voice during a cold call is at least as important as body language is during a sales presentation.
Always smile when you’re speaking with a prospect. A smile subtly alters the shape of your larynx and changes the sound of your voice. Most people can actually tell whether you’re smiling just by the sound of your voice over the phone. If you don’t believe that, call up a friend and ask him to tell you whether you’re smiling or not as you speak to him. You’ll probably be surprised by how well he can detect your expressions.
Smiling not only gives you a friendlier phone presence, it also interjects a feeling of confidence into your tone. Prospects will pick up on this quite quickly, as few things will turn a prospect off faster than an uncertain-sounding salesperson. If you have trouble remembering to smile, prop up a small mirror on your desk or fasten it next to your computer monitor to remind you.
Standing up while cold calling can also improve your tone. Standing reduces the pressure on your diaphragm, which is why it’s easier to sing standing than sitting. You’ll be able to speak more clearly and easily, plus standing up will give you more energy than sitting down.
Many salespeople drop into a smooth, “sales-y” tone of voice as soon as they pick up the phone. Do everything you can to keep yourself in a normal, conversational tone. The well-known sales tone will turn off prospects immediately, before they even process the actual words you’ve uttered. Ask a friend or fellow salesperson to listen while you call and to tell you if you change your tone.
About the author
My first sales position was a summer job selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. I continued through a variety of sales jobs ranging from retail sales for a storage company to selling bank products for a Fortune 500 financial institution.
As a small business owner, I now focuses on selling for my own company, Tailored Content, a website content provider. I write on a wide range of topics but my primary focus is sales and how to sell effectively.