Starting 15 minutes later than planned today but that’s much better than 2 hours too late yesterday.
Strawberry my partner has always spoken about this – and so it felt appropriate to go through one of the biggest components of how to become a more effective sales professional.
And it’s by working on your tonality.
It’s a surprisingly small thing that makes an absolutely huge f*cking difference.
This is something that I’ve become ‘aware of’ in the last couple of years – and I’m pretty sure it’s why I’ve been able to sidle into sales relatively easily.
I’ve had no formal training, and in the last four years, everything I’ve picked up has come from YouTube tutorials, sales books, and now sales coaching.
So then I suppose maybe I have had formal training haha.
Anyway, Strawberry is Italian born and raised and I’m a British Indian, and so when it comes to the stereotypical tonality you’d associate with us culturally – you’d say it’s poles apart.
The British tend to be more neutral, flatter and even in tone – whilst the Italians – well they’re tone speaks for themselves.
I guess now, 9 years later we’ve reached some kind of middle ground – but over these years, tonal modulation – as I think Jordan Belfort calls it – has been a significant factor in helping me win business and I want to walk you through what it is today and why it’s important.
WTF is Tonality Anyway?
Think about those golden words – ‘I love you!’, and think about the way it’s said…
Now think about this expression – ‘can you pick up milk on the way home please!’ – and the way it’s said.
If you now close your eyes and say these things out loud and pay attention to the way you say them…you might be concerned to discover that it’s not that difficult to make them sound exactly the same.
In fact – you might ALREADY be saying them exactly the same lol.
Which is the problem.
I’ve always found that the easiest way to think about tonality is when your partner says to you ‘you’re not listening’ – even though you’re technically replying to something – but it’s obvious (from both tone and body language) – that you’re not REALLY there.
And so the title should underline what ends up happening then.
You have an ambiguous tone of voice – where your partner, or another person on the sales call – can’t really interpret the true meaning behind what you’re saying.
And as human beings are social animals, it’s CRITICAL via tone of voice to first establish trust and confidence in your ability – and this is first demonstrated not by your words, but rather your tone.
And when it’s unclear – people tend to err towards negative inferences rather than positive – because well – that’s just human psychology.
It’s Never What You Say But How You Say It
This is absolutely an expression you will have heard before – but it’s just not considered enough when it comes to the world of b2b sales.
You can say anything and get away (mostly) with anything in the world if you understand how to deploy the right tonality when you say it.
And as communication is something like 80% non-verbal – this also extends to the tone of voice.
The way the words ‘let’s do this!’ when it comes to moving forward with a project, or sales deal are communicated can make ALL the difference in the world.
You can convey excitement, monotony, routine, thoughtfulness – all within the same three words can’t you?
And unless you make it explicit – chances are it could be misinterpreted.
So bear this in mind for not just your sales dialogue – but this is something I’ve had to learn through my own lapses in communication for the last 9 years.
I’ve got very good at being flat, distracted, meaning something but not making it clear through my own expressions – and consequently have begun to see the gap between what I’ve said and the way I’ve said it.
And as I hope it’s becoming clear now – this can make all of the difference in the world!
How Tonality Has Made Me Over £100,000
Please don’t underestimate the power of tonality.
The ones that often come out of my conversations are energy and authority.
Authority has grown over the years as I’ve bought on a sales team and as they close deals I’ll be a part of the onboarding call before I fade into the background and let the sales team deal with the conversations.
Energy comes in as it’s a reflection of my head of sales Ion – and the sheer power and life he brings to all of his own sales conversations – so it’s important I’m a reflection of that.
I remember the first 2 years of Pearl Lemon when I was the solo sales professional getting on 100% of our sales calls.
In those days it was about demonstrating energy and excitement.
I would come out of sales conversations multiple times when people would say to me – ‘ah Deepak you know with you I think I’m going to get the care and energy I’m looking for within this campaign!’
‘Deepak I love your energy’
‘Deepak I feel like I can trust you’
‘You’re different from any other SEO I’ve spoken to’
In truth, I’m not confident I know ‘tons more’ than many SEOs out there, however, I’m confident I might be able to empathetically communicate my care/genuine excitement for projects more effectively.
And in the end that can make a huge competitive difference when going into sales calls when you’re competing against other SEO agencies who on paper might have similar reviews, case studies, success stories and the like.
Tonality Also Extends To Body Language
It’s not just the tone of voice by the way.
I’ve just taken another look at the stats around communication and I didn’t realise that actually 93% of how a person judges you is going to come down to non-verbal communication.
That’s crazy, isn’t it!
That almost ALL of the communication you have with others comes down to not what you actually say – but how OTHERS perceive what you have to say…
With this in mind – tonality also extends to facial and bodily expressions and we’ll run through some tactics for this also (but first let us begin with vocal tone)
I guess the next question is – is how can you train for tonality in your speech?
Well, there are some simple strategies I would urge you to consider – but it begins with understanding the basic tonal patterns that exist.
You can take expressions such as –
‘Here’s what I think we should do right now’ and ‘So I have a question’
And then consider these expressions in light of the following tonal patterns (alongside the examples)
This is one you can definitely cock up pretty easily – because it’s easy to spot ‘fake urgency’ – so what I would say with this tone – is that – make sure the urgency/scarcity you’re implying is real!
i.e if someone is about to miss out on a deal you’re offering then make sure that deal is real and not BS lol
Example: ‘I’d really recommend we start today because..’
The Reasonable Man
This is like ‘joining the other side’ or rather being conciliatory of their requests or expectations – and in this way, you effectively become part of their team. You should see this come up a lot when negotiating deals
Example: ‘On balance, Frank here’s what I think we can do’
If you believe in what you’re selling (and it doesn’t always need to be in sales) – then this is definitely something that you want to communicate with your tone of voice.
Especially when you need to give someone a show of confidence about whether they should work with you or otherwise.
The tone here is a great way to demonstrate belief in something – more than any words can communicate
Example: ‘Wouldn’t you recommend this to a friend?
Haha – this tone does make me laugh a little – because this is the classic one to balls up – it happens in relationships, new sellers as well as old vets.
Demonstrating genuine care about another person even if you might feel internally like ‘you’re going through the motions’.
DON’T just go through the motions – show your partner/your prospect that you’re COMMITTED to their success.
‘Yes, I totally appreciate it’s a difficult decision to make right now’
Using A Question When Your Statement Should Be Declarative
This is basically saying something like ‘So we’re in agreement?’ – where agreement is implied.
Again if you consider tonality in an expression like this you can quite easily turn it into an ask for approval, confusion as to how you came to be in agreement or of course – a ‘declaration’
Example: ‘So you’re on board with this?
Series Of Three-Up Tones
I use this when summarising a call – ‘so to review’ we’ll X/Y/Z with an inferred question at the end of it – just to land micro agreements from your prospect on the call.
If this is going well – your prospect should be nodding throughout these three-up’s – and typically the three up’s are just confirming next actions and the like for the follow up from the call
‘Example: So to review, we’ll meet on Friday, prepare the pitch deck and make a decision at the end of the call?’
The Presupposing Tone
This is the type of tone where you think you already know the answer to the question – and that’s what you try and communicate through the tone in your voice.
It’s useful when reconfirming benefits someone is expecting to receive as part of your service.
It’s almost like an implied way of saying ‘So as you would expect’ – without actually saying it!
‘Example: ‘So if you took this package we’ll start the implementation at the end of week 2’
I Really Want To Know
This is about displaying genuine interest in what someone is saying or has to say to you.
It’s a great way to communicate care and intense interest in something a prospect has to say.
Or a current client.
This one can work really well because it really makes someone feel heard if they’re running through problems with you!
‘Example:‘How’s your day going Frank?’
Voice Inflections In Sales Can Change Everything
If you develop the ability to call upon such tonality as and when it’s required – you’re going to gain excellent mastery over sales calls and you’re ability to turn things on their head.
I’d highly recommend you consider a tonality course (or I can help you lol) – because one course alone I’m confident will offer you the guidance you need to bridge the gap between where you are – and quickly becoming something of an expert.
And when you’re able to combine tonality in speech with tonality in body language and mix and match between these 10 tonalities than well…
You’re going to become a sales monster!
Tonality is crazily something that’s not considered enough when developing your all-around sales expertise – but I’d go so far as to say that if you achieve mastery of tonality –
It’s the biggest #1 skill for powerful communication.
You’ll find any great motivational speaker has great tonality – and can sway and influence hundreds of thousands of people through the sheer power of their tone.
It’s something I’ve discovered through my relationship with Strawberry – never ‘formally understood it’ and then got thoroughly exposed to it when I started reading about Jordan Belfort – and well now –
There’s no looking back!