By Kathy Sisk
Approximately 60 percent of communication is lost over the telephone due to lack of eye contact, gestures, and facial expressions because you have only your voice to work with. Properly used, your voice can be communicative and persuasive. It is, therefore, important to learn ways to enhance communication skills by using methods other than facial expressions and body language. For instance, style of delivery is crucial when reading from a script. There are tips that performers, television, and radio broadcasters use to make their scripts sound less “canned.” Incorporating this style of delivery will set you further apart from other solicitation phone calls.
Let’s take a moment to paint a scenario in your mind. Pretend that you are the prospect, and three separate companies have approached you. These three companies are offering the same product, price, service, and guarantee. Everything across the board is precisely the same. What one area could you identify that would help you in choosing which of the three companies you’ll end up doing business with? Of course, that would be the company that impressed you the most, the one that delivered their message the best, the one that you liked. This is what differentiates the high closer from the mediocre or poor closer. All three have been equally trained on product knowledge, skills, and techniques. Each agent is offering the same products, services, and pricing structure, and each is using the same presentation script. However, the agent with the higher closing percentage is usually the one who concentrates on delivering the message better.
Having a great product or service and a good compensation plan is not the answer to increasing production. What is typically lacking within a company’s telemarketing department is either a good script or an effective delivery. The delivery of an agent’s presentation is usually the cause for a telemarketing department’s peaks and valleys within its overall production.
Study the following techniques and implement them into your presentation. You will notice that when I give examples I have placed the symbols and indications for style of delivery. Whenever you rewrite or develop scripts, also write these symbols and indications appropriately. Otherwise, your agents will forget and not use them as a part of their delivery.
Strategic Pause: A strategic pause is indicated in scripts with (…pause). The strategic pause allows you to gain an extra few seconds of your prospect’s attention. Utilize a strategic pause when you are about to give a benefit statement, or at other points in your presentation when it is important to keep your prospect focused. What specifically is a strategic pause? It is a purposeful interruption of a sentence that suspends your prospect’s attention and promotes active listening. It is a verbal speed bump that helps to intensify your prospect’s involvement in your presentation. Slowing down after the pause is essential to place needed emphasis on your next statement. Here’s how to use a strategic pause to enhance your presentation:
“I recommend that you have a consultation. This will provide you with (…pause) increased awareness.”
“My company requested (…pause) that I contact you personally.
When you use a strategic pause, the prospect’s natural inclination is to finish the sentence you’ve begun. Our minds tend toward maintaining continuity in speech (think of your natural inclination to “help” someone with a severe speech impairment). Your prospects are no different; they will want to fill in the pauses. This usually happens on a subconscious level. It is a subtle anticipation, but the use of strategic pauses is an effective way of capturing their attention. For example:
“My company requested (…pause) (during the strategic pause your prospect’s silent question will be, “requested what?”) that I contact you personally.”
Strategic pauses can be used effectively at different points in your presentation. When properly employed, they keep your prospect actively listening, assist you to move into your next step, and help maintain the momentum you need to reach your final objective – the close.
Voice Inflection: When reading from a script, it’s important to vary the quality and tone of your voice. There is nothing more distracting for a presentation than a flat, monotonous voice. How can you impress your prospective client and generate enthusiasm when there is a distinct lack of it coming from you? You can’t! You need to add a human dimension to the two-dimensional page. How do you do this? By voice inflection! Just as actors read a script and project emotion to an audience, you must also convey a sense of enthusiasm and excitement to each of your contacts. By raising or modulating your voice, you generate emotion. People pay as much attention to emotion as they do to the actual words being spoken. For example:
“And we’re located…”
The bold italics indicate a rise in inflection. Say it aloud and listen to the difference when you exaggerate the rise in inflection on the first syllable in “located.” It adds emphasis and excitement to your statement.
That’s all for now. In the next issue of Connections Magazine, we will cover volume, rate of speech, and pitch.
Kathy Sisk is president of Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc.
[From Connection Magazine – March 2011]