9 replies
I know that some really good phone salesmen can mimic all kinds of accents

and a constant criticism from peers and trainers is that I was too professional (to the point of being "sleazy" at times even...). I'm often told I should try to sound more friendly, upbeat and positive and mimic the prospect more.

I try whenever I can to pace and adopt the voice of the other person but I have a fairly thick french canadian accent so it just seems kind of moot to try to mimic someone.

To demonstrate, this is a slightly heavier version of the accent that I have(I don't vote liberal, for those wondering and I don't endorse that party, it's just that it's the only public personality that comes to mind)
How do I get better at this?
Where do you draw the line between effective mirroring and being too phoney for your own personality/background?


Thoughts?

edit: plus I am a really introverted person. Sometime it borders on shy, so it is hard to act very extroverted if I feel the person on the other line is that kind of person
#actor
  • Profile picture of the author Jamie Ambition
    Having grown up in the East-end of London I have a noticeable cockney twang in my idiolect. It's incredible how well received this is by individuals from a similar background, but completely frowned upon by the more corporate, 'upper class' folk. So I'd certainly say that mimicking the accent and tonality of the prospect can make a huge difference. I guess it's basic human psychology to want to deal with someone you can identify with.

    That said, I have a pretty universal telephone manner which I guess would be considered the 'Queen's English' here in the UK. Professional, yet personable, with limited slang/jargon. I then gauge the level of formality based on the prospect and go from there. Very serious for the older, corporate types and more upbeat and friendly with the younger, entrepreneurial types (and women). I'm at the stage where this is more of a subconscious process now, in that I don't stop and think 'he's a young guy, better be more friendly'...it just happens. I guess it comes with practice!

    I've found that the speed at which you talk is also crucial. Someone that speaks quickly will hold less weight when compared with an individual that speaks slowly in my experience. There's a ton of evidence and theories on this in the seduction/dating niche, but the general idea is that speaking slower indicates a sense of authority and will allow you to lead the conversation - an important aspect in phone sales.

    Interesting thread, will be good to hear some thoughts!
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    • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
      Originally Posted by Jamie Ambition View Post

      Having grown up in the East-end of London I have a noticeable cockney twang in my idiolect. It's incredible how well received this is by individuals from a similar background, but completely frowned upon by the more corporate, 'upper class' folk. So I'd certainly say that mimicking the accent and tonality of the prospect can make a huge difference. I guess it's basic human psychology to want to deal with someone you can identify with.

      That said, I have a pretty universal telephone manner which I guess would be considered the 'Queen's English' here in the UK. Professional, yet personable, with limited slang/jargon. I then gauge the level of formality based on the prospect and go from there. Very serious for the older, corporate types and more upbeat and friendly with the younger, entrepreneurial types (and women). I'm at the stage where this is more of a subconscious process now, in that I don't stop and think 'he's a young guy, better be more friendly'...it just happens. I guess it comes with practice!

      I've found that the speed at which you talk is also crucial. Someone that speaks quickly will hold less weight when compared with an individual that speaks slowly in my experience. There's a ton of evidence and theories on this in the seduction/dating niche, but the general idea is that speaking slower indicates a sense of authority and will allow you to lead the conversation - an important aspect in phone sales.

      Interesting thread, will be good to hear some thoughts!
      Hi same here well near enough, Im Essex , some people think (or seem to) less of me , but I like the accent , better than the northerners or welshies (where I live now) .

      So yes I speak slower in business situations and it seems to work fine, PS some females love the Essex accent
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Introverted people can make great salesmen. I was so introverted that I never went to a high school game, dance, event...and I didn't even attend my own high school graduation. Beat that for introverted!

        Use what you have.

        You have an accent, you say? Anything can be used to your advantage. Anything that makes you different.

        The mistake most new salespeople make is that they want to sound like a salesman. No. You want to be different. An accent makes you sound intelligent, and forces the listener to pay more attention. Accents are interesting.

        Me? I sound very matter of fact when I sell. Friendly, but not more than usual.

        Matching and mirroring can help build rapport, but so can just being a nice guy.

        And almost nobody can pull off acting. What happens the next time you talk to the customer? Are you still acting? How about at company functions?

        Don't try to mimic an accent. Speak clearly, show interest, answer questions clearly, ask them to buy like it's the most natural thing in the world.

        The only think I may recommend, is that if you have a high voice (and you're a man), practice lowering your voice a little. A deeper voice gets attention. And so does an accent.

        Eventually, your voice will adapt, and you'll always talk a little deeper.

        But mimicking accents? I wouldn't. Do you talk "professionally" when you sell over the phone?

        Stop talking differently when you sell, than when you are having a conversation with friends.

        There. Now you know the secret.
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        • Profile picture of the author mjbmedia
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          Introverted people can make great salesmen. I was so introverted that I never went to a high school game, dance, event...and I didn't even attend my own high school graduation. Beat that for introverted!

          Use what you have.

          You have an accent, you say? Anything can be used to your advantage. Anything that makes you different.

          The mistake most new salespeople make is that they want to sound like a salesman. No. You want to be different. An accent makes you sound intelligent, and forces the listener to pay more attention. Accents are interesting.

          Me? I sound very matter of fact when I sell. Friendly, but not more than usual.

          Matching and mirroring can help build rapport, but so can just being a nice guy.

          And almost nobody can pull off acting. What happens the next time you talk to the customer? Are you still acting? How about at company functions?

          Don't try to mimic an accent. Speak clearly, show interest, answer questions clearly, ask them to buy like it's the most natural thing in the world.

          The only think I may recommend, is that if you have a high voice (and you're a man), practice lowering your voice a little. A deeper voice gets attention. And so does an accent.

          Eventually, your voice will adapt, and you'll always talk a little deeper.

          But mimicking accents? I wouldn't. Do you talk "professionally" when you sell over the phone?

          Stop talking differently when you sell, than when you are having a conversation with friends.

          There. Now you know the secret.
          subtitles anyone?
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          Mike

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        • Profile picture of the author socialentry
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          Do you talk "professionally" when you sell over the phone?
          Yeah I think I do albeit I don't do it consciously (anymore). My first sales gig was selling stuff to hospitals and they were big on rehearsing so this "style" stuck for better or for worse.

          It's just hard to find a way to inject my own personality in the sales process. Amongst very close friends, I really don't speak a lot. When I do express opinions, it's usually in a fairly forceful manner that borders on insolence so I'm not sure if it's a great vibe to have while selling.

          I watched Jordan Belfort's Straight Line Persuasion and that's what I base myself upon for general guidance. I just wanted to ask you something because I know you watched too.

          What parts did you take and what part did you not take to?
          How did you adapt his stuff to your own personality?

          I know you read a lot of sales books, I'm just wondering how you digest them because you spoke glowingly of both SPIN SELLING and SLP.

          I didn't read the former, but by reading the resume on amazon, it seemed it had a starkingly different philosophy then traditional sales (which is basically the bread and butter of SLP).
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  • Profile picture of the author taxpayment1
    Wow man thanks for the video that was great. I really enjoyed listening and hearing what you had to put up on the video, It obviously has a purpose and why you decided to put it up on WSO was great. I appreciate.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Shelton
    If the person sounds real, and they sound like they are 'there' and are willing to help instead of just going through the motions, expecting to have to move on to the next call, that makes all the difference. So many sales people build 'a wall' to try to protect themselves from the next rejection, to the point of expecting it and just reading a script - that's a bad mistake. Keeping the objective in mind and the perspective of something along the lines of 'each no brings you closer to the next yes' helps. To me, sincerity matters a whole lot more than accents or the pace of the call.
    My easiest phone sales job was a long time ago selling people on adding a free phone service where they could screen their calls against calls like I was just making (caller ID was just coming in) - I was the good guy.
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