If you have ever gone through customer service training in a call center environment you have undoubtedly been trained to “smile with your voice.” The first time I heard this expression, I was the guy in the back of the training room that started laughing. (This has been me on several occasions).
Early in my career, I worked for a company that felt so strongly about “smiling with your voice” that management purchased desktop mirrors for everyone’s desk emblazoned in big red letters with the phrase, “Customers Can Hear You Smile!” I remember thinking it was juvenile and more than just a little silly, and to be honest it was a little silly.
Here is the funny part of the story, even though I received that little desktop mirror over 15 years ago, it has sat on every desk I have worked at ever since. As my career has developed and I have had the opportunity to lead larger sales organizations and now as the Founder and President of ProSales Connection, an outsourced sales and marketing company, I continue to reserve a prominent place on my desk for the “silly” mirror.
In reality, its message is 100% true; customers CAN hear you smile. I believe strongly that if you can smile while speaking on the phone with customers, prospects, business partners, even your mother… anyone, the tone of the call is improved and your effectiveness is dramatically increased. As I train and mentor sales people, this lesson is always a foundational element. We all have learned that communication is mostly non-verbal. This fact is significant when communicating over the phone. Over the phone, there is obviously no opportunity to communicate visually, so all we are left with is our words we choose, the tone and quality of our voice and the pace in which we speak.
I have NO scientific study to back up my claims, but it is my experience that when sales people smile during their calls; customers are friendlier, prospects stay on the phone longer, business partners have more trust and your mother doesn’t ask you, “Honey, is there something wrong?” These are all good things!
So run, don’t walk down to the neighborhood drugstore and drop a couple bucks on a small mirror for your desk. It is a great reminder to smile when you speak on the phone and watch how this reminder will improve your day and your sales results.