The next component of communication is voice qualities or voice inflection. As we discussed in the first blog, words only account for 7% of the communication process. If an insurance agent or sales professional is to be an effective communicator, one must master their voice qualities. Voice qualities account for 38% of the communication process. Therefore, the words are not as important as the way those words are spoken. Let’s explore some examples.
The way we use our voice qualities can change the meaning of any word. Even our mothers knew how to properly use voice qualities. For example, if my mother called me in for lunch and in a sweet voice yelled “Tim”, I would answer “yeah Mom”, because that word, my name in that tone, was used in a tone that meant something good, like lunch. But if my mother changed her tone to “TIM!” I would run and hide, which by the way, I did a lot. This tone suggested she found out I went out to play before cleaning my room or the possible broken lamp from playing ball inside. The word “Tim” same exact word, now has a different meaning to me because of her voice quality changes.
When it comes to selling, the way we insurance agents or sales professionals speak our words have more meaning to the prospect or client than the words themselves. If you are selling a product that gives you some doubt about a certain feature and you are asked about it, when you answer, unless you are really good at what you do, there is a little bit of doubt in your answer. The prospect will hear that doubt come through in your voice inflection and you will ultimately lose that sale. You can use your voice inflections to control the flow of your presentation as well. If you have a positive attitude and upbeat, that will translate in your words through your voice qualities. Your prospect will certainly pick up on that as well. If you are depressed, down in the dumps or stressed out and you allow that to control your voice qualities you will lose this sale before you ever get started. Voice qualities control your presentation more than the words you speak. This is one reason selling over the phone is way more effective than selling or the internet or email.
Now in the world of emails and text messages is it impossible to use voice qualities. The answer is not entirely. You just need to practice really hard. You actually can communicate voice qualities over written word. You need to choose words that invoke the same emotions that your spoken word will do. For example, you are selling life insurance products, if you write an emotional compelling story about the effects of a sudden death to a young family and at the right time highlight key words or phrases using italicize or bold or underlined or all CAPITAL letters, this is read by your prospect as a voice inflection. Punctuation is important, but don’t overuse the exclamation marks!!!. This will not replace good content, but well placed highlighted words are very powerful in getting across a voice inflection in written communication.
There is no substitution for practice, practice practice your presentation for a voice quality even more than the written script itself. My old football coaches use to say after running the perfect play in practice, “on the line run it again” .
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger and team leader with over 26 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.