We’ve all heard the famous saying, ‘you have a face for the radio’, which can be taken offensively by some who work in the industry, but there is something to be taken from this saying. People who are successful in the radio industry have such huge personalities that they don’t need to be seen to make an impression.
Telemarketing is not too dissimilar to this. Our conversations are all held over the phone, so we do not have the advantage of meeting people face to face or viewing body language. Instead we focus on demonstrating our personality, giving a strong portrayal of the brand and using our tone and inflection to guide the conversation.
I’ve run campaigns at previous companies that have been scripted using tried and tested techniques. But the same question arises – When someone is saying the same thing on each call, how can their results differ so dramatically from call to call?
As I was paid on their results, I made it my mission to understand why this happened, so I listened to hundreds of call recordings. During that time, I found that if one voice tone was used, then within roughly 30-40 seconds the call would often be over. The tone I identified was when an individual’s voice tone/inflection went ‘up’ at the end of sentences. It was the verbal equivalent of having your fingers crossed. Used when someone doesn’t have confidence in what they’re saying or does not understand the subject well enough and even, at times, when trying to ‘fake’ enthusiasm. It was clear that when inflection went up, credibility in the message went down. And this was the difference between the calls using the same script.
What I learnt from this is that when asking questions and closing it’s very important to use a downward inflection in your voice, it commands authority and instils confidence in the decision maker.
For example – try saying with the tone and inflection going down at the end of the sentence, “So John, if you’re 100% happy with everything we’ve gone through, is it fair to say you’d be happy to meet with one of our consultants?”
Now try it again but this time with an upwards inflection at the end of the sentence. Which one would you rather be at the end of?
In understanding this, you can also learn a lot about your decision maker when they throw you objections, what is there tone and inflection; do they sound confident, does it ‘sound’ like a superficial objection or genuine? In understanding how you use your voice, you’ll learn a lot about how others use theirs.
What I have learnt is that voice inflection and tempo are vital and valuable skills that once mastered will improve your telemarketing ability when speaking with gate keepers and decision makers.
To underline the importance of tone and inflection here is a sentence for you to try, “I did not steal the money”. Depending on which word you put the emphasis on it’ll change the whole meaning of the sentence. Go ahead, try it for yourself!
Opinion piece by Oliver Kernick, Senior Account Manager, Air Marketing Group