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Vocal Challenger

Learn the techniques used by powerful speakers to deliver a successful sales pitch.

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How well do you use your voice to express emotion and emphasise the importance of your sales message? If you’ve been selling to low-level, analytical buyers who always want to see more, chances are good that you’ve been delivering your sales pitch without any emotion.

It’s a well-known fact that these “see-more” buyers don’t show very much emotion, which means you’ve learned to not show very much emotion either. When you’re in their presence, you probably find yourself holding back a bit, not wanting to overpower them. In fact, if you’ve been selling to these buyers for any length of time, the odds are very good indeed that you’ve also made a habit of holding back vocally, so as not to come on too strong and appear to be too sales-oriented.

This may or may not be a good strategy for selling to see-mores. But this vocal approach is a lousy way to sell to VITOs (Very Important Top Officers, who include CEOs, presidents and business owners). As a general but very reliable rule, VITOs love to emote and they love to use their voices to do so. What’s more, they tend to respect and buy from people who use their voices to emote. They tend to distrust, or at least avoid, spending any time with tentative speakers.

So who do you want to spend time with: a see-more or a VITO? Your answer is obvious, and that means it’s time to change your vocal selling pattern and do what VITO does! Follow these tips to improve your vocal approach:

  1. Change your tone based on what you’re saying and feeling. You won’t hear a sing-song type of presentation from a VITO, and you won’t hear a monotone voice either. What you will hear is vocal modulation appropriate to the topic and emotions of the discussion at hand.
  2. Change your tone based on what’s most important. VITOs know that not everything that gets said is as important as everything else. So “lean” on important words and phrases. Remember that the tone of your voice must change when you ask a VITO a question, just as a VITO’s vocal tone will change when he or she asks you something important.
  3. Emphasise the ends of statements and questions. Listen to VITOs carefully, and you’ll see that’s what they tend to do. The important stuff almost always comes at the end of the sentence or query. That means you should raise the pitch of your voice during the last few words, whether you’re asking a thought-provoking question or making a powerful statement of fact or value. This takes practice, but it’s imperative that you invest the time and effort necessary to get it right!

Here’s The Bottom Line

VITOs speak with the other person’s purpose in mind, and so should you. Understand a VITO’s purpose, then subtly use your voice to emphasise only what’s relevant to that purpose. That’s what vocal modulation, VITO-style, is all about. Think you need an example of what vocal modulation sounds like? Tonight, turn on your television, close your eyes and listen to one of the nightly network news anchors deliver their text. Or better yet, listen with your eyes closed to Oprah Winfrey as she conducts an interview. Spend five minutes just listening, and you’ll understand this article.

Note of caution

Do not, under any circumstances, try to sound like VITO or parrot what they say by making any attempt to use the same phrases they use. This mirroring technique won’t work and will risk your losing the sale.

Tony Parinello is an expert on executive-level selling as well as an author.

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Demonstrating what you bring to the table isn’t always easy.

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How to make your pitch memorable.

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From delivering board room presentations to speaking before a live audience, speaking publicly is something most of us will have to do at some point. But if we’re going to take the time to develop and practice delivering a presentation, we want to make sure the content and the “performance” are memorable, right?

In this video, keynote speaker and communication coach Carmine Gallo offers his top tips for how you can make your next business presentation one your audience won’t soon forget. Gallo is author of TALK LIKE TED: The 9 Public Speaking Secrets of The World’s Top Minds.

Gallo recommends following the “rule of three.” Instead of presenting 15 or 20 points, stick with three or four features or pieces of advice. Why? It’s easier for people to remember and stay engaged with what you’re saying.

“It’s almost impossible for the human brain to ignore that group of three,” Gallo says. “We have to know what those three are.”

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Building better business presentations.

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Avoid the glassy-eyed look from your audience by creating a strong presentation that delivers an exciting experience. Pam Slim delves into her process and techniques for choosing content to fill her presentation slides.

“Ask yourself: What do you want people to walk away with?”

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