If you talk to any salesperson on the planet, they will all agree that you need to have a certain level of cheerfulness and energy in order to be a successful sales rep. Nobody wants to be pitched to by Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh or Sadness from Inside Out. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes – if you are learning about a product from someone who obviously does not want to be there and isn’t excited about anything, why the hell would you want to buy it from them?
In the previous article about how top performers stay positive, we discussed briefly the concept of emotional intelligence. This ties in perfectly with that. Successful reps who are always top performers in the company know when to release what emotions at what time. Sadness, depression, personal problems, and fear are kept hidden away until the customer is out of sight. When the lights are on, it’s all smiles and excitement. These reps have mastered the 3 E’s – Energy, Excitement, and Enthusiasm.
Energy is easily communicated. It’s probably one of the easiest of the three to master, because it actually has relatively little to do with your actual pitching. Sure, you can communicate energy through your tone of voice, but that’s more so tied in with Excitement and Enthusiasm. Where customer’s really see your energy is in your non-verbal body language.
Professor Mehrabian, who is a psychologist and statistician, combined the statistical results of the two independent studies and came up with the rule that communication is only 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal. The non-verbal elements are made up of body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%).
If we take this literally, it means that body language constitutes over half of communication alone. You want to be communicating an energized message with your body language, which will make the customer feel energized as well. In psychology, Mirroring is where people (customers!) will subconsciously imitate your body language. Wouldn’t you rather have customers who are positive and fun too?
Communicating energy through body language can be achieved through good posture, appropriately timed hand-gestures, smiling, eye contact, head nodding, active listening, laughing, and a good, strong handshake. Fighting the urge to yawn is crucial here too. If you do all the above, your customer should feel your energy and it should get them energized too, making them more receptive to hearing your pitch.
Excitement is found in the tone of your voice. Again, if we refer back to Professor Mehrabian’s statistical analysis, we see that 38% of communication is found in the tone of voice, and thus, the level of excitement in the sales rep.
Having a higher tone during crucial moments communicated a level of excitement that cannot be found in a monotone pitch. Out of all the sales reps I know who have “made it”, hardly any have a monotone voice. Those who do have trained themselves to alter it during a pitch.
It’s also worth noting that tone of voice excitement can be communicated by the loudness of your voice. Of course, you shouldn’t be screaming in the customer’s face, but you should not be meek either.
Typing about tone of voice is extremely difficult because it’s hard to put in to words how to change it, but one of my managers had some great advice for me when I was having trouble with my tone of voice. He said “Try to be a caricature of yourself”. Of all the advice and science that’s out there to help with tone of voice, that one little bit has stuck with me and helped me the most.
Here is a perfect example of how to communicate excitement in your tone of voice. In the movie Wolf of Wall Street, we see a rock solid example of a stock pitch done over the phone. Note the tone of voice changes and how he is able to communicate his excitement about the stock to the customer.
Enthusiasm is tied in heavily with excitement, but it leans heavily on the verbal element of the pitch, which constitutes the remaining 7% of our little equation. If you are enthusiastic about the product by believing in the product that you are selling, it will translate to the customer and they will be very receptive to what you are saying.
How do you communicate enthusiasm? Tone of voice certainly plays a part of it, but you have to be knowledgeable enough about the product to confidently and accurately pitch it.
Here are two examples of the same line, but one is less enthusiastic about the product. Without factoring in tone of voice, I bet you can tell which rep is more enthused.
- Yeah, I don’t know. Most people like our product. I think it’s around 93% of people are satisfied. We change it a lot to fit people’s needs.
- Sir, our product has a 93.4% satisfaction rating because our company listens and adjusts to feedback. We want to give you exactly what you need and want.
Without factoring in tone of voice, the second rep is clearly more confident and enthused about the product and the company.
Use all 3 E’s for Success
These are not mutually exclusive traits. If you leave one out, you won’t be getting 100% effective communication. A missed E is a missed sale, so practice, practice, and practice incorporating all these in to your pitch. You will surely see dramatic improvements in how your customers respond and interact with you. Not to mention, your sales will go up, which, of course, is the goal.
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