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  • How Important Is Your Tone and Posture?

    Guest Post By Emmie Brown

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    As a coach, we begin every call with our coaching clients following up on actions items from the previous week. On a call with one of my clients, Josh, I asked him about using the cell phone technique. I was fully expecting to hear some enthusiasm and excitement from his experience. He wasn’t excited. Instead, Josh said he hated it! He said it was so awkward, he didn’t get referrals, and he didn’t like the technique at all.

    I was slightly shocked! The cell phone technique works, and it’s a good one! So, I asked him to role play with me. I wanted to find out just how he used the technique and how he was going about interacting with his prospects. He had the right words down. He is meticulous and always pays attention, so I knew something little was off.

    I proceeded to ask him how he was sitting in his chair. Was he leaning forward or backward? He said forward. This was a red flag indicator. I advised him to use the exact same wording, but lean back. Relax and allow the other person across from him to feel comfortable, and not overpowered by his presence. Guess what, two weeks later when he had tried that and I asked him again, he got more referrals! Welcome them!

    Our voice and our posture will make such a big difference in the sales process.

    In a study done by General Electric, body language makes up for 58% of our communication, 37% of communication is our tone of voice, and only 5% of our communication are the words we use. In sales, we spend so much time focusing on learning the right words, but we don’t really focus on how to deliver those words.

    In the sales process, there’s always initial contact, then after that initial contact, there’s always a part of the process where we are asking questions to identify our customers’ needs. We find out how we can serve them.

    After that, we present a solution to those needs. In this part, we want to find a need for a product of service. We need to show that we are actively listening. We don’t need to be too comfortable leaning back, or too assertive and excited where we are leaning forward. We just sit up straight in our chair. Our tone and speed of voice should be slow and low as we are really listening with sincerity.

    In the next part of the presentation, this is where we want to increase the enthusiasm, show them how excited we are about our product. We want to sell the sizzle! Our voice needs to speed up and get louder, convey the interest, and lean forward as we are talking about all the benefits of our product and what it can do for our prospect.

    Finally, we close for a decision and answer objections to get them moving forward. Here we switch gears again. We will lean back, and speak low and slow with our prospect.

    We need to change our tone and speed of voice and posture as we move through the sales process.  Our voice and body language changes as we try to get a point across.

    As a sales trainer, when I go into someone’s office, I want them to see me as someone who is confident and enthusiast. I want to bring the heat! I have to walk in the room like that! My tone of voice needs to be loud and fast and I need to be assertive. I will have body language that is forward and reaching out toward them. Unlike when asking for referrals. I need to lean into that conversation because that shows enthusiasm.

    When I sold educational books door-to-door, I needed to get something totally different across. I needed to appear none threatening. To do that, I would turn sideways as I waited for them to open the door so they would see my whole profile, and not think I was threatening as someone head on would be. My voice was low and slow for this presentation.

    To become better at sales, we shouldn’t just focus on the words we use, rather pay attention to our voice tone and speed, as well as our posture. These simple tips can make a world of difference in your presentation and interactions with the people you are doing business with.

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Making Client Meetings Matter

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    Many account managers stay very busy meeting with their existing customers- so much so that they don’t make time to get in front of new business. This can be a costly mistake that prevents them from building their income. And, over time, as accounts slowly go away, can even cause them to have a dwindling income. Their income is most likely to dwindle if they are not making every one of those visits truly worthwhile. In other words, they are acting as professional visitors, rather than as consultative sales professionals.

    If you are not uncovering a new opportunity to quote at least 1 out of 4 of your visits, then it could mean 1 of 2 things:

    1. You are going to frequently.

    2. You are not effective enough with your visit.

    PREPARING FOR YOUR VISIT

    You can actually do fewer visits with each customer, saving you massive amounts of time, money and energy if you plan and use your time effectively on each visit. The problem is that most salespeople underprepare for the visits. Consequently, you don’t get to meet with everyone you would like to get an audience with, you spend too much of the valuable time in unproductive conversation, you forget to follow-up on key decisions, and you don’t get the results from those visits that they could. To get the most from your customer visit, do these 3 things:

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    1. Know who you are going to see. Make sure that you are not just meeting with the same decision-makers while failing to see others while you are there. There are people who are technical users of our products, conceptual decision-makers, and financial decision-makers. Make sure that you are getting in front of all of them on every visit if possible. If there are other decision-makers who are part of the organization who oversee a different department but are not yet your customer, make sure you have a plan for how you are going to get in front of them during your visit. Arrange an introduction. Make sure you know when they are in. Have a reason to see them.

    2. Know what you are going to talk to them about. As a manager of an account you have to manage many details. You have to remember when someone last ordered something and in what quantity, when you presented a quote and when you should expect to receive the purchase order, when someone told you “not right now” and when and why you should bring it back up again. . . Forgetting to remind someone that it is time to reorder, not following-up on a purchase order, not bringing new ideas to your customers’ attention will cost you a lot of money in the long run!

    3. Give value every time. On every visit, you should plan to provide your customer with something of value. And, no, we are not talking about doughnuts or cookies! The value of that you provide should be relevant to the products you sell and the service you provide to them. Bring them an article that shares valuable education. Bring them a referral for the new employee they are looking to hire. Bring them an idea of how you can save them money. Show them a new product that will help save them time. Customers will not keep you around just because you are a nice guy and you stop by every week. People want to keep vendors around that are valuable to them. It is not your customer’s job to find a need for you, it is your job to make yourself irreplaceable.

    Don’t waste valuable time, time that you could spend going after new business, driving to meet with customers without a plan. To get the most of your visit, prepare for it. Make it count.

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Is Your Non-Verbal Communication Killing Your Sales?

    Guest Post By: Jay Jones

    So you have the perfect sales script, you know it really well and you are still struggling in your sales process. Have you ever stopped and taken the time to pay attention to how you are saying what you are saying? This seems to be the elephant in the room with many salespeople. Quite honestly, after years of coaching many salespeople, I have found that this is one of the least developed skills in a large number of people across all industries. People often fail to realize the power of their non-verbal communications.

    Hand-Over-Mouth-Pondering

    Albert Mehrabian is well known as one of the leading pioneers in the understanding of communication. Mehrabian’s research showed the following:

    7% of communication is in the words that are spoken
    38% of communication is in the way that the words are said (tone, volume, timing, etc.)
    55% of communication is in the facial expressions and body language (which often changes the tone, volume, etc.)

    It is important to note that Mehrabian’s findings specifically applies to the communication of feelings and attitudes. So the questions that I have for you are: What is your attitude and your feelings that are being projected onto the prospect when you are in the sales process? Do you have a strong conviction about the value that you bring? Are you confident in who you are and your ability to deliver an amazing product or service? Are you excited about your product and services? Are you selling with a servant’s heart or can your prospect smell your commission breathe through the phone?
    It is often important for sales people to do a gut check to determine where they stand internally. Sales is a transference of emotion. If our beliefs are creating emotions that are not in alignment with what we are saying, the prospect will know. People buy from people that they like and trust. If you were on the receiving end of your sales communication, would you like and trust you?
    Here are a few suggestions that can improve your non-verbal communication:
    1. Audio record or video record yourself prospecting over the phone or giving your sales presentation. Often we can watch and listen to ourselves and immediately hear or see the areas in which we need to improve the way we sound or look when selling.
    2. Hang up a mirror for phone prospecting. This is an old technique, but still a really good one. When watching our own facial expressions while on the phone, we often start to smile and project our voice better.
    3. Role play with someone that will give you “honest” feedback about how you sound and look when selling.
    4. Work on your self-talk. You need to work diligently every day on what you believe about yourself, your company and your product and services. If you don’t have conviction, enthusiasm and confidence in what you are selling, how can you expect your prospect to be confident and enthusiastic to buy.
    5. Do vocal exercises. Even though you may not plan on trying out for American Idol, it will be helpful to have a pleasant tone and quality about your voice, especially when phone prospecting.
    6. Either own your accent or work to minimize it. If you are someone that has a thick accent, you must learn to articulate your words clearly. Especially on the phone, people get frustrated often times when they cannot understand what you are saying.
    7. Get clear on the self-image that you are trying to project. If you want to come across as a dynamic salesperson, then work to project that self-image though the way you sound and look while on the phone and in person.

     

    Jay Jones is an expert in lead generation and business development. He has worked extensively in the mortgage, real estate, insurance, telecommunications, healthcare and financial services industries. Jay is a dynamic speaker and regularly speaks for company and industry events.