Have you heard of Mehrabian's rule?
Me neither until a year ago, the basic premise is that all interpersonal communication is transmitted via three elements:
- spoken word [What you are saying] / 7% of total communication
- tonality [How your voice sounds whilst saying it] / 38% of total communication
- body language [How you look/behave whilst saying it] / 55% of total communication
Body language has the biggest impact on communication in this trinity. In SaaS sales +90% of companies rely on non-face to face communication and use calls or video conferencing to close deals (up to €80k ACV) without ever physically visiting a client.
Cancelling out body language in calls vastly changes the dynamics of communication and another element becomes crucial: tonality aka your voice.
I am fascinated by this conclusion, while it needs to be taken with pinch of salt, as one communication element alone cannot convey a message effectively.
What about video calling then? Firstly, in my experience only around 33% of interactions with a lead are done using video calling software, such as Zoom or Skype. Secondly, when I use video calling for sales I usually look at a shared screen, whilst a tiny camera feed is flickering somewhere on the side of my screen - not really a communication element.
Practical impact on sales in SaaS:
1. Call instead of Email
Through your voice you can convey up to 500% more information and emphasis than through mere text.
2. Hire for tonality
I am a big fan of Topgrading, listing relevant capabilities of a future hire that relate to a position's requirements, in order to make the hiring process as objective as possible. As sales managers, we can influence some capabilities more than others i.e. I am looking for curious sales people and I don't want to spend months in training sparking curiosity in them for the buyer's problem - I don't think that is time well-spent. We can improve a sales reps' tonality (more on that later), but as with everything, it's easier to hire someone with a talent for good tonality.
3. Switch that camera on
Gong.io states that sales conversion rates increases in calls by 41% when a sales reps camera turns on her camera in a product demo or video sales call.
4. Teach tonality
We can build amazing scripts and measure talking time and content of pitches with Gong.io, but we cannot (yet) analyse the voice of our sales reps. When you are doing call coaching, point out areas of improvements to your reps and follow up on them.
In short, the way you speak and how you sound is the most under-appreciated influence on your sales success.
Want to learn more?
In the next weeks I want to publish two more articles on this topic, answering the following questions:
- 1. How to use your voice differently in each stage of the sales process
- 2. What's your voice status quo and how to improve it
If you like to learn more about this topic, please let me know if you'd like to see a separate course about 'Voice in Sales' by upvoting it here:
SaaS.eu.com - I help B2B SaaS companies by taking a look at all factors that influence commercial performance in scaleups, to break through to the next level.
SaaSCollective.net - The SaaS Collective are go-to-market experts in B2B SaaS that make state-of-the-art scaling knowledge available for everyone.