Tone and Language – Essential Components of a Successful Telemarketing Call

As Bananarama and Fun Boy Three 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 remember the song, see the end of this blog). This same theory could be applied to outbound telemarketing. It aint what you say, it’s the way that you say it!

Whilst that is somewhat over-simplistic, I often listen either 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 and the absence of good tone and rapport building when callers make outbound calls with a view to telemarketing to new prospects.

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 facial expression.

So, it really is the way that you do it! Whilst what you say is inherently important, since that’s the basis upon which your product or service pitch is based, the two other 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.

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

So what does this mean for telemarketing? If the above is valid, then the bulk of the impact on the phone comes not from the words you use 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. That is that there is often either a lack of oomph in the voice 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.

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 rather than spouting 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….. ‘

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 and 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. It 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 you 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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