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Beyond words: How voice and body language can impact phone sales

Beyond words: How voice and body language can impact phone sales

Inbound call leads are second best only to in-person interactions.  Since customers contacting you by phone have no visual, you may assume your inbound sales reps could be slouched in recliners, scowling and leafing through the tabloids while chatting with customers, and still score high in sales.

For better or worse, that’s just not true. Because our facial expressions and posture affect our breathing and the way we form our words, customers can “hear” body language indicating whether we’re interested and enthused.

That’s important since studies indicate 55 percent of communication takes place through body language, while 38 percent is attributed to the way words are spoken and only 7 percent comes from the words themselves.

“When we listen to people speaking we may be picking up on all sorts of cues, even unconsciously, which help us to interpret the speaker,” says Amy Drahota, author of a recent report on body language outlined on Sciencedaily.com.

So how can you teach your inbound reps to sell effectively by phone when neither party has the benefit of face-to-face communication? Consider imparting these sales training tips.

  • Pretend the caller can see you. That can only have a positive effect on your body language.
  • Pretend you can see the caller. Often, agents tack up a photo of a caller persona to remind themselves they’re not talking to a disembodied voice.
  • Smile even if it feels a little phony. It will change the tone of your voice to a higher frequency that comes across as friendly and sincere to the listener.
  • Sit up straight; slumping keeps your lungs from filling up, which impacts the tone and volume of your voice.
  • Don’t be self-conscious about using hand gestures as you communicate; it will automatically make you sound more engaged. That’s why headsets are advised.
  • Practice conversing, improving your online persona until you sound focused, confident and positive. Work on your pace, volume, tone and clarity. This is where the ability to critique recordings of previous calls can really come in handy.
  • Focus on the following key words: enthusiastic, patient, passionate, confident, friendly, succinct, accurate.
  • Maintain a sense of humor. Studies show if you can get a customer to smile, they’ll find it harder to say no.
  • Remain relaxed, since nerves can move your voice upwards from your chest. “This makes you sound whiny and high-pitched and does not convey a natural sound or confidence to the receiver,” advises Andy Preston on Callcentrehelper.com. “When this happens, breathe out and practice speaking in a deeper tone.”
  • Avoid background noise during your call, since that can give the impression you’re not giving callers your full attention.
  • Follow scripts loosely, editing them to fit your natural speaking style. “I’ve lost count of how many calls I’ve heard made where the person making it sounds false,” Preston notes. “They’re either reading a script … they don’t believe in, or they don’t take the time to learn what they need to say well enough, so it doesn’t sound like them.”
  • Speaking too slowly may make the caller frustrated or bored, while speaking too quickly can create misunderstandings. In general, try to mirror the caller’s pace.
  • Liberally use words of assent such as “I see” or “Uh-huh” to confirm what the caller is saying and prove you’re paying attention.
  • Declutter your work space to give you easy access to any tools you need and create a sense of order.

In short, savvy sales agents understand that elements spoken and unspoken will be involved in their ability to connect.

“Creating rapport with the person on the other end of the phone is crucial to the likelihood of you making a sale,” Preston concludes.

One of Dial800’s most widely used tools inside of CallView360 is call recording.  This tool allows you to listen and train in real-time with your inbound call sales reps.  Learn more by contacting us at 1-800-700-1987.

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