Whether you’re meeting someone face to face or introducing yourself over the phone, one thing always remains the same; first impressions are vital to building a solid relationship.
In-person is easy. Clean yourself up, throw on some nice clothes, flash a friendly smile, and give a firm handshake. You’re golden.
Over the phone, however, is not so simple. At first thought, not having to worry about your physical appearance might sound like an advantage, but look at it from the other side. Now, the other person has only one thing to judge you on, your voice.
Why Tonality Matters
A potential lead will decide within a few seconds if they have any interest in listening to what you have to say. Even if they don’t dismiss you right away, you’ll likely be on thin ice throughout most of the call.
Your tone of voice is the only thing your lead knows about you and dramatically affects how they perceive you as a person. Your words are not as important as how you say them. If you sound cold, they’ll assume you’re a cold person.
How you’re perceived goes beyond just you as a person, it carries over to your entire business. One underwhelming phone call can produce a negative impression of everything you do and everything you offer.
What Not to Do
The first step in learning how to use tonality properly is knowing what not to do. These mistakes are prevalent among cold callers based on preconceived notions and are often subconscious.
Don’t Sound Flat
Do not come across as monotonous or robotic. Doing so conveys a message that the person on the other end is “just another lead” to you. Sort of like they’re an inanimate object moving along on a conveyor belt, and it’s their turn to be “dealt with.” A monotone voice also makes it sound like you’re bored and have no concern about what your lead says or does.
Don’t Sound Overly Enthusiastic
Some people are aware that tonality is a crucial component of cold calling, but end up taking it too far. They try to make a can of bug repellent sound like an ice-skating unicorn handing out ice cream. “Oh my GOODNESS, you’ll just love, love, LOVE this!! Hehe.” It seems disingenuous, and they’ll pick on it right away. Either that or it sounds like you’re off your rocker, neither of which will give you the desired result.
Don’t Be “Salesy”
Think of a stereotypical used car salesman. “What can I do to sign you up today?” The call isn’t about closing a sale; it’s about fulfilling a customer’s needs. To you, the two things might be one and the same, but to your lead, it makes all the difference.
Don’t Act Inferior or Intimidated
No one will do business with someone they perceive as weak. Of course, you want to be respectful, but there is such thing as taking it too far and becoming a pushover. Drop the sirs and ma’ams and use their name confidently.
Over apologizing makes it seem like you’re unsure of yourself. If you’re unsure of yourself, you must also be unsure about the entire business, correct? At least that’s how your lead will see it. Confidence is key.
How to Use Tonality Correctly
Now that you know some bad habits to avoid let’s go over a few things you can do to get yourself moving in the right direction.
Match Your Tone with What You’re Saying
If your tone matches your words, it sounds more genuine. When you’re discussing the problem you’re trying to solve, sound concerned. When you’re suggesting the solution (aka your offer) change to positivity and optimism.
A useful tip for conveying a positive tone is to smile while you’re speaking. Surprisingly, the science behind this isn’t that you’re tricking yourself into being happier, it’s actually because changing the shape of your face affects the sound going through it. Smiling make everything more “open” and allows your voice to be presented more clearly and fluidly.
Pretend You’re Talking to an Old Friend
As important as confidence and enthusiasm are, speaking naturally is the number one tool in your arsenal. Keep relaxed and have a bit of fun. You don’t have to be deadly serious all the time. If they make a joke, laugh.
After all, it’s still a human you’re talking to. You being relaxed will make them comfortable, and perhaps lead them to feel like they’re talking to an old friend as well.
Sitting for too long can make you feel tired, and your tonality will suffer deeply because of it. Standing up gets the blood flowing and creates more energy. You’ll be more alert and focused. You’ll be able to freely express yourself physically, which will allow you to get more involved in the conversation.
All of this gets transmitted through your voice. It’s a simple trick that anyone can do and could end up paying dividends.
How to Improve Your Tonality Over Time
You can read and learn all the theory you want, but it doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t implement it correctly when it matters. There are a couple of things you can do to identify and correct your flaws.
No one is a harsher critic to yourself than you are. Record yourself in live situations and listen to them at the end of the day. You’ll be able to pick up on things that don’t sound quite right, and that will give you an idea of what to change the next time.
Expect from yourself what you would expect from anyone else if you were a lead and they were the caller. If you’re uncomfortable listening to yourself, pretend it isn’t you at all on the recording. Visualize that you’re critiquing a stranger and think of some friendly advice you might offer them.
Let Others Listen to You
Your friends probably won’t mind giving you a helping hand. They might not know all the ins and outs of cold calling, but they sure know what annoys them when receiving an unexpected phone call. Sometimes it’s best to have a fresh perspective to see things you might’ve missed.
Practice makes perfect. Everyone has heard that line, and it’s true for just about everything you do. Start by practicing alone in a quiet room to build a foundation, then move on to friends and family. Have them sit next to you and deliver your message or, better yet, call them on the phone and get as close to a live scenario as possible.
Of course, the absolute best practice you can get is real-world experience. Nothing you do will prepare you for the real thing. You’ll make mistakes, but they’ll become less frequent the more you do it. Be mindful of your tonality and make small adjustments along the way.
Always keep improving. When you’re trying to get into shape, you don’t stop when you get there; you keep working hard to maintain all of the progress you’ve made.
The same concept applies here. No one will ever be perfect; you can only hope to be the best you can possibly be. Listening to one recording every night could result in one more sale the following day.
Now that you have a good idea why tonality is essential and how to use it correctly, there’s only one thing left to do. Pick up the phone!