Next Blog of the Series Communication-Voice

Next Blog of the Series Communication-Voice

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” .

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”–Napoleon Hill

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.

7 Responses to Next Blog of the Series Communication-Voice

  • Communication is definitely key and subtle details make a WORLD of a difference !

  • Hasan, you are correct and as simple as it may sound, there are still alot of insurance agents that are far from mastering this skill. Their the same ones that wonder why they are not making sales. Thank you for sharing!

  • Exactly Tim ! Not what you say but HOW you say it ! You’re welcome, anytime.

  • Hey Tim, great point. Especially: The way we use our voice quality can change any word…

    True. Three weeks ago while reading an article on CNN I clicked on an ad for mortgage refinancing, not realizing at the moment banks use similar lead generation companies similar to Netquote, Insureme etc..within 5 min. I was bombarded with phone calls on my home number and cell number from banks wishing to refinance my mortgage…

    Now I know how insurance prospects sometimes feel when they fill out an online quote request form and get bombarded with telephone calls from insurance agents. (We haven’t had the need to purchase leads in some time because of the success of our own lead generation from our websites we own.)

    One particular banking rep’s tone of voice conveyed quite clearly his lack of interest in his job as he spoke with me over the phone… How we sound to our prospects can be inviting or repelling!

    I agree 100% we should practice, practice, and more practice… If you want to increase your sales effectiveness, no matter what product or service you sell. Practice your presentation repeatedly… To repeat Tom Hopkins advice: practice, drill, rehearse, (rinse and repeat)

  • Jack, that is an excellent example of of written voice qualities as well as voice qualities over the phone. There is a reason it is called “smilin’ and dialin'”. People can hear you smile or in this case not. Thank you so much for sharing, awesome input.

  • Most of my success in email has developed by reading emails from others. Even the wording in the title can keep me from opening an email just because of the author’s choice of words. If a writer allows their personality to come through their words they will be very successful, after all, their personality comes through their voice, with practice it can come through the fingertips. Learning how to ask for the sale, how to ask prying questions and how to give bad news in a respectful manner takes practice. If we come across a great email we should save it (or the lines that we like) and use them over and over until they become second nature. I have learned the power of the ellipsis…or the pause, as well as the magic words, “As promised, I have enclosed”. Clients like it when an agent keeps their promise. The other word that is seldom used today, Please, I use often, as well. We should also never overlook the comma (,). If we bring our authentic self to our emails, treating our clients with respect, include ‘please & thank you’s’ and keep our promises…we will win every time.

  • Diana, you make several excellent points with email communication. Well placed words, punctuation and phrases are more important than the words themselves to invoke emotion from the client. Your point about the subject line is spot on. An awesome book about that is “Great Leads” by Michael Masterson and John Forde. One of the most powerful books I have read concerning writting effective copy. Thank you for sharing.

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