Develop a Smooth Selling Voice

By Selling Power Editors

Although your voice is an important part of the total image you present, it is also one of the most neglected. Anyone in sales should think of his or her voice as a tool. Here are some common problems salespeople have when speaking – and they often don’t know it.

They speak unintelligibly (mumbling or garbled speech).
They speak too softly or too loudly.
Their sentences trail off.
They interrupt frequently.
They speak too slowly or too quickly.
Their voice lacks energy.
They speak in a harsh or unfriendly tone.

If your voice is unappealing in some way, it will have a negative impact on your success. Here are five tips you can use to develop a voice that’s smooth as silk and impossible to resist.

1) Record several of your phone calls so you can critique your voice. It’s important to record a variety of calls so that you can pick up patterns and habits. Also, be sure to record some calls at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day so you can see if there’s a pattern to the energy you project with your voice.

2) Listen to your recordings and critique your speech patterns. Use the list at the beginning of this article as a guide. Is your voice too soft or too loud? Do you mumble? Do you trail off at the end of sentences? Do you interrupt? When you listen to the recording, write an “X” every time you hear one of these bad habits.

3) Ask a friend or colleague to listen to your recordings and ask him or her to critique your voice. Give this person the same guidelines you used in your own critique. Count the Xs from each list. If you have more than 10, repeat this exercise every week until you get the number of Xs under 10.

4) While you’re listening to yourself, don’t listen just to what you’re doing wrong. Try to identify which phrases or words, tone of voice, or modulation seem to be having the best impact on customers and prospects. Every time you get a positive response from a prospect, write an “R,” and then add up the Rs. Your presentations may get stronger simply by using certain tones of voice more often.

5) The foundation of good speech is proper breathing that comes from the diaphragm. It gives the voice depth while conveying a sense of assurance and authority. To achieve proper breathing, lie on the floor and practice breathing deeply. Notice how much deeper your breath is and that your shoulders cannot rise, as usually happens with chest breathing. Then practice breathing the same way while standing. Daily practice will produce results in a short time.

When all else fails, speak plainly and simply. Remind yourself to use short words and get to the point. Use your voice as if it were a musical instrument. Play it well!