Even you can sell ice to Eskimos!

Rapport building is still the best method to build relationships and close sales. And building rapport depends upon how you say what you’re saying, from the very first words you speak.

Therefore, tonality in sales is crucial. It helps your customer connect with the real you – whether that you is in person, on the phone, or online in a podcast, blog, or video call.

Get your tone right, and even you can sell ice to Eskimos! So, let’s explore tonality and how to employ it in your sales processes.

Tonality is how you sound

Tonality is the sound of your voice when speaking. The three main types of tonality are:

  • Questioning – when the tone of your voice rises toward the end of a sentence

  • Statement – when tone remains flat throughout a sentence

  • Command – when the tone of your voice lowers toward the end of a sentence

Try saying this sentence in these three tones of voice, and you’ll see what I mean:

“I enjoy eating cream cakes with a mug of black coffee.”

Why tonality matters

How someone says something to you really makes a difference to how you perceive that message. Receiving meaning through tone is an ability that we are born with. 

If you don’t believe me, try saying the words “Well done, you’ve eaten all your dinner” to a toddler in two different tones of voice. First, in a light, up and down tone with a smile on your face. Second, in a deep, stern voice, with staccato phrasing. Notice their reaction – laughing versus crying. Actually, don’t try this experiment, it’s pretty cruel! You get the point, though.

38% of your message is tonal

According to research by Professor Albert Mehrabian, how you says what you say conveys a massive 38% of your message. This is second only to your body language, at 55%. The words you use come in at a paltry 7%.

Tonality is even more acute when selling remotely

Perhaps surprisingly, tonality is even more important when you are communicating remotely. Even during a video call, the ability to decipher body language is massively reduced. Therefore, it’s crucial to set the tone of your conversation by, um, setting your tone of conversation.

And in the written format, tone is at least as equally important as the words used. The difference is that you present tone using textual techniques. What, you don’t believe me? Well, you should! In this paragraph alone, you have subconsciously connected with a change in tone because of my use of bold text, question and exclamation marks, and italics.

(Hey, listen to our podcast ‘Marketing reimagined through copywriting’ for some great tips on how to make your tone count in the written word.)

Use tone to convey deeper meaning

Your tonal pattern conveys a deep meaning to your audience. It establishes authority, empathy, enthusiasm, liking or loathing, and a whole host of other qualities and emotions. How you say something can convey meaning such as:

  • Urgency

  • Certainty

  • Caring

  • Presupposition

  • A thirst for knowledge

The PAVP of tonality

Tonality can be broken down into four parts:

Pitch – how high or low your voice is, and different pitch inflection during speech.

Articulation – the clarity of your speech (you want to get someone’s back up, then mumble something under your breath!).

Volume – quiet is coy, loud is aggressive.

Pace – a slower pace of speech aids understanding, though speak too slowly and you become annoying. Speaking faster may make you sound more excited, but you may also be misunderstood.

And in the written word? 

Short sentences create pace. Excitement. Breathlessness, even. 

Longer, more drawn-out sentences, accompanied by complicated phraseology, force the reader to consider more deeply the message that you are sharing.

Boost your sales with tone of voice

Here’s a quick tip to help boost your sales by simply applying tonality:

Make the first 10 seconds count most.

How do you do this?

Sound interested and interesting in your introduction. Don’t be monotone. Sound dynamic, confident, and welcoming. When you do this, the results of your cold calling will shoot to the stars. Instead of a polite (or not so polite) ‘no’, you’ll be more likely to be asked to explain more.

You can practice this now, as soon as you have finished reading this article. Here’s what to do:

  1. Write down your telephone introduction.

  2. Call your own number.

  3. Read the introduction, then put the phone down.

  4. Listen to your recorded message.

  5. Rinse and repeat steps 1 to 4 using different tonality.

  6. When you have found the tone of introduction that you prefer most, practice it – then use it with your prospects.

If you like, why not book a free 15-minute call with me? I’ll give you my honest opinion of your cold call introduction, and suggestions on how to use tonality in sales more effectively.


Publish Date:12/11/2020 12:00:00 AM
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Even you can sell ice to Eskimos!
Rapport building is still the best method to build relationships and close sales. And building rapport depends upon how you say what you’re saying, from the very first words you speak.
Therefore, tonality in sales is crucial. It helps your customer connect with the real you – whether that you is in person, on the phone, or online in a podcast, blog, or video call.
Get your tone right, and even you can sell ice to Eskimos! So, let’s explore t…

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