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Using Your Voice Effectively for Telephone Sales

When you're making telephone sales calls, the person at the other end doesn't know whether you're wearing a suit and tie or ratty pajamas. The only image that your sales prospects get is transmitted through your voice, so preparing your voice and using it effectively is as important to telephone sales as showering regularly is to face-to-face sales. Here are a few ways to use your voice to its fullest.

Warm up your voice

Your voice, like your body, needs warming up to perform at its best. Start out in the shower by humming a tune (no matter what others in the household may say about your operatic potential). Humming is an outstanding warm-up for your vocal chords. For that matter, croaking like a frog is another excellent vibration exercise to strengthen your chords.

Get some talk time in before your first sales call. Synchronize dinner plans with your spouse. Ask the kids what's on tap for their day. Chat with a coworker at the water cooler. And as a bonus, you may just warm up a few relationships, too.

Stand and deliver

Ever notice that singers always stand when they perform? That's no coincidence. They know that their voice carries more resonance, range, and power when their diaphragm isn't folded over.

You can use the singers' secret for sounding more authoritative and self-assured when speaking to prospects on the phone. Stand tall and observe the energy and enthusiasm that pours forth. Slump into your desk in a question-mark curve, and feel the conviction seep out of your voice.

Tune into your tone

Your speaking voice consists of several qualities, including rhythm, intonation, and inflection, resulting in a one-of-a-kind vocal personality that distinguishes Jimmy Stewart from Pee Wee Herman. This vocal fingerprint is your tone. Although your tone is what makes your voice yours, you can optimize your phone communication by paying some attention to it. Make sure your tone conveys the message you want it to. Vary your tone (avoiding a monotone) if you want your prospect to stay awake.

Play with the volume

We're not talking about the volume on your headset, but the decibel level of your own voice. If you talk too quietly, you'll generate lots of "Could you repeat that?" requests. Speak too loudly, and the prospect must hold the receiver at arm's length. Keep your volume within a reasonable range, but be sure to vary it to hold the prospect's attention and emphasize key points.

Mix up the pace

Most telephone salespeople are guilty of speed talking — chalk it up to enthusiasm, nervousness, or desire to get in the sales points before the recipient hangs up. At any rate, you want to avoid this sport. Slow talking can be just as bad — you'll have people wanting to finish your sentences for you. Moderate the pace of your speech, occasionally varying it for effect or emphasis.

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