Cold Calling? Here’s Why Your Tonality Matters for Sales Calls
There’s a harsh truth about cold calling that few sales reps want to admit: It doesn’t matter what you say. Sure, you can practice your script until your lips go numb. But those first few words out of your mouth are way less important than the tone of your voice.
What am I talking about?
Take a second and think back to the last time you picked up a call from a stranger. You probably made a judgment call about whether you trust them and want to hear out before they even finished their first sentence.
When you dial a prospect, and they can’t see you, the success of your cold call depends largely on how you sound. Your tonality and associated non-verbal communication through your pitch can act as your biggest strengths or your greatest weaknesses.
How can you ensure you do everything possible to sound confident, smart, and enthusiastic? Much of it has to do with understanding tonality.
What is Tonality in Sales—and Why Does It Matter?
Tonality in sales is basically how you come across while talking with your prospects. It includes your pitch, volume, speed, and speech diction. The right tonality makes you sound more authentic, connect better with your prospects, and can make them open to hearing your pitch.
For instance, to keep buyers engaged during the call, there should be some variation in the tone—start neutrally, create excitement, and urge them to act.
Sales training mostly revolves around creating persuasive scripts. But if your sales team sounds underconfident while selling, their words don’t matter. If your reps seem bored or disinterested in hearing about your prospect’s problems, the prospects won’t care about the solutions you’re pitching. So using the right tone is important for closing deals.
University of California’s Professor Emeritus, Albert Mehrabian, phrased the 7-38-55 percent rule. This rule suggests that only 7 percent of communication occurs via spoken word, 38 percent through tone of voice, and 55 percent through body language.
Different Types of Tonality
Below are a few tonal patterns successful sales professionals use to communicate with prospects.
Empathetic: You want buyers to feel they are being understood. Genuinely caring about their problems is how you express empathy.
Assertive: Your prospect must know with absolute certainty that your product can solve their problems. Displaying confidence in the effectiveness of your solution is important to guide them to a specific action.
Urgent: If you’re running a special deal, you can create a sense of urgency to motivate the prospect to take action immediately.
Relaxed: Keep your voice flat and consistent to convey information in a straightforward and calm manner.
Presupposing tone: Used when you want to imply that “you know” what the prospect has in mind. You can presuppose the objections, needs, and preferences of your prospects. And use this tone to convey your authority or expertise.
Three up-tones: When you have a set of three statements on a phone call, you can raise your voice at the end of each one. You want the prospect to nod at the end of each one, and the micro agreements can get them to agree with you.
Effective sales communication calls for meeting the customer where they are, then varying your tone as your interaction changes course to keep them engaged. You may need to start with a neutral and calm tone. Then, use a tone that gets the prospect excited about your product and ultimately conveys the urgency to purchase.
5 Simple Hacks to Improve Your Tonality in Sales Calls
If your tone or style of speaking makes prospects confused, upset, or angry, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling—they’re not going to buy from you. However, a few simple changes to your voice can help you sound more confident and persuasive. Below are five ways to improve your tonality.
Remember, there are no magic tricks that guarantee instant buyer interest or prevent hang-ups. Nevertheless, these practical sales insights, when integrated into your sales call notes, can substantially enhance the allure of your pitch.
1. Use the Right Volume Level to Sound Confident and Clear
The first thing a prospect will notice about your voice is how loudly you’re speaking.
If you’re talking quietly, most ears will interpret that as a lack of confidence. Your prospect will instantly think you’re being quiet because you’re afraid, nervous, and generally unsuccessful—all incredibly unattractive qualities on a sales call. Not only that, but if they have to ask “what?” over and over, you’ve already lost them.
On the other end, yelling at your prospect can come across as aggressive and like you’re overcompensating.
But there’s a sweet spot in the middle where you speak slightly louder than average. Not only does this ensure they hear every word you’re saying. But even just speaking a bit louder than most people makes you sound more confident, in control, and authoritative.
2. Use Pacing and Cadence to Create Attractive Urgency
Close your eyes and imagine this: You pick up the phone and hear:
“Hello… uhhh... This is Bob… you don’t know me… But I.. ummmm. I’m calling from company X….. and…. Can I have a minute… umm… of your time… I have some great NFTs and other digital assets for you.”
If that sentence was painful to read, imagine what your prospect feels when they hear such a monotone voice from their phone.
The pace and cadence of your words are other huge factors in how potential customers perceive your sales pitch. Again, if you’re speaking at a below-average pace, most ears will interpret that as you being unsure or confused. They’ll think you’re taking your time because you don’t know what you’re saying. And if that’s the case, why should they trust you?
Ironically, speaking slowly also makes it harder to understand your words. We’re used to a certain pace in conversations, and anything below that is frustrating to listen to.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to speed through your pitch. Again, you want to aim to speak at a pace that’s slightly above average. Not so quick that words and meaning get lost, but fast enough that you sound well-rehearsed, confident, and smart.
3. Use Body Language to Build Confidence
You’d never sit at a meeting with your head slumped, staring at the floor, and expect to get the sale. Yet that’s exactly what so many sales reps do on the phone.
But body language isn’t just for your prospect. Changing how you’re positioned during your cold calls can give you more confidence and energy. And the person on the other end of the line will pick up on the energy.
When making a cold call, stand up with your shoulders back and chest out. Look up from the ground and smile. Try it now. That energy you’re feeling will make its way to your pitch, making you sound confident and excited.
4. Listen Back to Your Calls and Master the Tone of Your Voice
If you think cold calling is only about your pitch, you’re missing out on 9/10 of what people are actually listening to. When your tone doesn’t communicate your pitch effectively, it doesn’t matter what you say—you’ve already lost the person on the other end.
The average sales rep makes 35 cold calls per day. Those are 35 learning opportunities for you if you listen back to the call recordings and hear how you sound.
Close can automatically record your calls and store them securely. Listening back to your call recordings is simple—just visit your “lead's activity” tab, and click on a recent call to play the recording. If you haven’t tried our software yet to record and review your calls, start your 14-day free trial today.
We have already discussed how recording yourself and self-studying the calls later can quickly ramp up your cold-calling skills. However, you should ignore the words and listen to the tone in the different parts of your pitch to improve your tonality.
- Are you sounding smart, strong, and organized throughout the conversation?
- Where do you sound underconfident?
- Are you speaking louder and faster than required at certain places?
- Can you use an assertive tone to emphasize specific product benefits?
You can schedule a specific time to review your call recordings regularly—especially during the early stages of your sales career.
You can also consider recording your body language via your web camera alongside your calls to work on your non-verbal cues.
Share your call recordings with your team members—specifically of the most challenging prospects. Then request honest feedback on your tone.
If you’re a sales leader, Close even lets you coach your new reps remotely. You can review their recorded calls or even listen to the calls live.
5. Use a Sales Script to Improve Your Tonality
Knowing the specific ideas you want to cover in your sales presentation can free you to experiment with your tone of voice.
That’s where a sales script comes into play. It predefines the important details of your product and company, contains answers to common questions of your prospects, and covers various sales scenarios you may run into.
Sales reps can rehearse the script with team members and experiment with different tonal patterns. They can even add side notes about the tonality to the sales script itself.
Of course, you don’t want the script to serve as a word-for-word monologue. It’s a broad guide with room for improvisation for real-world sales conversations.
Stop Sounding Like a Salesperson to Boost Your Cold Calling Success
When you’re making a cold call, you’re already dealing with a healthy dose of skepticism. The prospect doesn’t know who you are or why you’re calling. And they’re looking for any excuse to get off the phone as quickly as possible.
Sales is all about quickly building trust. And your voice is what instills that trust during a cold call. So, it’s incredibly important to sound good when talking to prospects—not like a typical salesperson.
Some people are natural when it comes to tonality. They know where to calm the pace of their speech and vary their tone based on where the prospect is in your sales process. However, for the rest of us, it comes down to practice. With these steps, you can refine your tone and improve your delivery with every call.