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Tone and Language – Essential Components of a Successful Telemarketing Call

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As Bananarama and Fun Boy Three once put it so beautifully in their 1982 hit single ‘It aint what you do, it’s the way that you do it…. That’s what gets results.’. If you know the song, see the end of this blog. This theory could be applied to outbound telemarketing. Whilst it’s far from that simple, in some ways, it aint what you say, it’s the way that you say it! In other words, tone and language are both essential components of a successful telemarketing call.

Don’t Make Stiff and Stilted Calls

Whilst the above is somewhat over-simplistic, I often listen live or to call recordings before running telemarketing skills training courses. The thing that strikes me most about many of the calls is the stiffness of language. There is often an absence of good tone, that leads to better rapport building, when callers make outbound prospect and customer calls.

Professor Albert Mehrabian pioneered the understanding of human communications in the 1960s. His work helped us understand body language and non-verbal communications. His research also provided statistics for the effectiveness of spoken communications.

He found the following in terms of the impact of communication-related to feelings and attitudes:

  • 7% is in the words that are spoken.
  • 38% is the way that the words are said.
  • 55% is in visual expression i.e. body language

So, if this is to be believed, it really is the way that you do it! What you say is inherently important, since that’s the basis upon which your product or service pitch is based. However, the two other communication factors are even more important when it comes to the feeling and attitude of the person receiving your message. And, rapport is much more than words.

You have Less Ability to Influence on the Phone

Clearly, the impact is magnified on the telephone, since you can’t really transmit facial expressions over the phone unless perhaps you’re on a Zoom or Teams call with someone. That might work if it’s in a teleconference context but I doubt many businesses face-time their prospects. Even the widest Cheshire cat smile is hard to hear on the other side of the line.

So what does this mean for telemarketing? If the above is valid, then the bulk of the impact on the phone comes not exclusively from what you say, but the way that you convey your message i.e. the tonality, pace, rhythm and so on. Whilst we probably shouldn’t draw wild conclusions from the above, I feel that it does stack up with what I hear when listening to telemarketers on the phone. There is often either a lack of oomph in their voices, or it sounds like the caller comes from Tele-Town where all the callers follow a robotic script, and have taken happy pills before the calling session.

Work on Belief and Conviction

The bulk of the impact on the call comes from the telemarketer’s belief and conviction in what they are saying. It comes from the way, thereafter, that they position and present what they’re promoting. It’s certainly not about churning out a long list of product or service features and benefits.

Who wants to be sold to? We all want to buy and feel in control of that experience rather than feel corralled into buying something that we don’t need.  Too often telemarketers start a call like this:

Hello John. My name is Peter from ACME products and Services. The reason for my call today is I’d like to introduce our products and services to you and see if you have any requirements. We offer this, this this this and this…..

Make it Count

That uninspiring intro language is like waving a flag with ‘I’m a telesales person’ on it. You’ve got to do better than that. You’ve got to make the language you use for your introduction interesting, relevant, compelling and confident. Your tone should be appropriate to your audience. It should be assertive, but not arrogant, overly salesy or smarmy like people selling double glazing or PPI. During the call, when you ask a good question and the prospect responds, you have to listen and mirror their language and pace.

The above might all seem a bit contrived but (1) if you do it properly and not like a parrot, they won’t notice (2) it will make them feel more comfortable in engaging and (3) it will produce much better rapport on the call. After all, people buy people and from people they like!

So, mind your language and watch your tone. And your telemarketing results will be like music to your ears. It aint what you do, it’s the way that you do it, that’s what gets results– Enjoy!

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