How You Say It in Sales


What am I on about with this How You Say it in Sales ?

In the past I have written about the words you use in a selling situation, but that is only part of the story.

It's not just the words you use but how you use them that makes a difference.




And that reminds me of a joke.

You see there was this unfortunate man who broke the law and went to prison. He was feeling very scared his first night alone in his cell.

After the lights went out he heard one of the other inmates in a cell quite a long way off shout out "32". Then all the prisoners burst out laughing. When the laughter subsided he heard another inmate call out "66". Once again followed by a burst of laughter. This went on for some time before they all fell to sleep.

The man was intrigued by this behaviour.

The next morning during breakfast in the eating area the man gathered up his courage and spoke to one of the older prisoners and asked him what was going on.

The older inmate said, "Many of us have been in here for a long time. There's not much you can do when the lights go out. So, to amuse ourselves we tell jokes. But after a while we all seemed to know all the jokes, so it became easier to just give the jokes a number and just shout out the number rather than taking all that time to tell the joke."

Ahhh. Now it all made sense.

So, for the next few weeks, the man listened to the numbers and found out what joke corresponded to what number and which numbers got the biggest laughs.

Finally, one night he decided to join in. After about five or six jokes had been told "by the numbers". He shouted out "22!" Nothing happened? Dead silence. He thought that maybe the others didn't hear him. So, he waited till a few more jokes were numbered and shouted out, as loud as he could, "66!" Again, just silence? This happened to him about five times.

The next morning he just had to find out why no one laughed at his numbers. He went to the old man again and asked him. "Why does no one laugh at my jokes?"

The old man replied, "Ahhh, it's the way you tell them." 




On a serious note, the way you say something has a big bearing on how that statement is perceived and reacted to.

Two studies that I know of have documented non-verbal aspects of communication.

Bob Birdwhistle, ("Kinesics & Communication") and Albert Mehrabian both studied non- verbal communication and came up with the following assessment. ( Note Mehrabian has summarised his works and the work of some others in a book entitled "Silent Messages")

Communication is:
7% verbal, 
38% tonal, 
55% physiological.

That is, only 7% of the message received when you communicate with someone comes from the actual words you use. Whereas, 93% comes from your tone and actions.




You make be doubting the validity of those figures and frankly I do too.

However, I sure know that when I was growing up that if my mother shouted out "Gregory !!!!", it meant more than just my name. I knew I was in trouble for something. Similarly, think about some of the comedians you know that stand up on stage and make a living out of insulting people or making fun of them, yet they rarely offend people. It's all in the tone they use !




Think about the intonation we use in uttering a sentence. Basically, we have three choices.

As we say something we can finish the sentence with:
An upward voice intonation
An unchanged voice intonation
A downward / deeper voice intonation

Try it for yourself. 
Lets pick a sentence to say. 
" You want to buy this "

If you repeat that sentence and speak the last two words in a higher pitched voice it sounds like you are asking a question. In fact there are languages ( e.g. Italian ) where you indicate you are asking a question by the intonation of the sentence. And guess what, these languages use that same higher-pitched voice tone to indicate a question is being asked.

Next, say that sentence keeping your voice tone constant. 
Different, isn't it. 
That tone is indicating you are making a statement.

Finally, utter that same sentence again but say the last two words louder and deeper. 
This is command tonality.
This command tonality is well utilised by hypnotists and can, of course, be used in hypnotic sales techniques too. 




How is this useful in selling ?

Well, when you make a comment like
" This product is the one you want". 
It has very little positive impact if you utter it with a question type tonality. 
In fact, it sounds like you are asking a question and are not really sure if it's a good product or the best one to use.

You have probably been told by your sales manager or in a sales training course to be positive when you are in a sales call and assume you are going to make the sale. This spills over into your tonality so that you make statements with a statement tonality or a command tonality rather than useing a questioning tonality.

Mind you, you can use questioning tonality to your advantage.

Say your customers tells you she is using Acme brand material ( your competitor ).
If you reply with
"You are using Acme brand?" with that upward inflexion in your voice, I can just about guarantee you that your client will ask
"What's wrong with Acme brand?".
To which you can just reply
"Oh, nothing." 
They will, of course, still be wondering what's wrong with that brand.

Careful use of the command tonality can be very effective in selling too but it's use is too big a topic to cover here in this eZine.

Let's talk about what you do with your body when you're presenting ideas to people.




Michael Grinder from the USA teaches about patterns of communication. 
He says there are two patterns namely Credible or Approachable.

The Credible Style of communication is best for
sending information; 
to increase importance; 
to express vehemence.

This Credible style uses the downward intonation at the end of each sentence (or at least holding the tone constant). 
In terms of body position this style is characterised by stillness.
The head is held still, the body is straight, the arms should be at the side or parallel to the ground with weight on both feet and toes pointed forward.

The Approachable Style of communication is used when you are seeking information.
It uses a more rhythmic tempo with upward voice intonation at the end of each sentence.
In terms of physiology it is characterised by much more movement. 
The head often bobs; the body leans forward; hand gestures abound; weight often shifting from foot to foot.

When you want to get your message across, and have your best chance of being believed, communicate using the Credible Style.

When seeking information and establishing rapport use the Approachable Style.

Of course, like many other sales techniques, it takes practice to master them.

By the way, I just thought of another joke. 66. ( Are you laughing?)

Happy practising.

And for valuable information about what to say in a sales call you may like to read "Words That Sell".

Here's to YourSalesSuccess.