“We are not won by arguments that we can analyze, but by the tone and temper, by the manner which is the man himself.” — Samuel Butler.
Studies have shown time and time again that the vast majority of communication is not about what we say, but in how we say it. The hard fast rule, according to Psychology Today, is that communication is only 7 percent verbal, 55 percent body language, with tone making up the other 38 percent.
A great example that comes to mind is when we consider our teenage years. You were just sitting in your room when suddenly your mother called your name. You would distinctly and immediately know by her volume and tone whether or not you were in trouble. So then why is it that when newer sales people enter the field, they immediately start looking for scripts, closing techniques or things, such as what to say to get past gatekeepers, etc.?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a true believer in the power of scripts for the non-sales person. When you finish ordering from fast food they will often ask, “would you like to upsize that?” Or another example is when checking out at a toy store they’ll ask, “Do you need batteries today?”
When we say “no,” the person across from you does not try to close the sale by describing the tremendous added value of why you should consider biggie-sizing that meal or purchasing those batteries. They are simply running a script given to them by a management team that is known to increase sales simply by requiring them to ask after every transaction. But I am venturing off topic here…
When role playing with your team or in the mirror, you need to not only think about what you say, but how you say it. I am going to repeat that. It is not only about what you say, but how you say it.
How we say it will include things like your volume, tone, cadence, visual appearance, smells, atmosphere, eye contact, etc. You could have the perfect sales script, but if you don’t listen intently you will be perceived as insincere. If you stand too close, you are perceived as creepy. If you speak too fast, they may think you are hiding something, etc.
Last analogy I swear: If you own a restaurant that smells like sewage, are resources best spent in buying better ingredients or fixing the bad smell? So, make sure you are allocating your time in self training to all areas of need, including the nonverbal portion of communication.
For simplicity and actionables you can work on today, let’s whittle this down to a few core things we can work on immediately:
Whether you are just starting out as a sales person or you are a seasoned closer, everyone can benefit from planning out an intentionally designed process to address the nonverbal parts of communication. Very few utilize all the toys in our tool box. Success isn’t a happy accident. Leave nothing to chance and the sky is your limit.
Jason R. Stowell is the division director of fitness and wellness for JCC of Greater Pittsburgh. He is an award-winning fitness leader with over 20 years of successful experience providing strategic planning, talent management, and expert-level sales training in the health and fitness industry. Connect with him on Linkedin here.