Someone once told me to remember that elephants don’t bite. Mosquitoes do. This is a clever way at reminding us that it is the little things that can annoy us the most.
I was reminded of this when a former business acquaintance “reached out” and gave me an unexpected phone call. It had been a while since we last communicated, which was a result of two busy people trying to make ends meet. It was good to hear his voice again.
In a few short minutes, I detected uneasiness in his voice. I did not mention it at first as we were too busy catching up. Detecting a momentary break in the flow of the conversation, I couldn’t help myself. I asked him point blank what was bothering him, since his tone was a dead giveaway that something wasn’t right.
He responded as one would predict, “Nothing’s wrong. Why do you ask?”
“It sounds like you have 400 pounds of dead weight on your shoulders.” I said. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
I’ll leave the story there for now. Hopefully, my point has been made. When calling people on the phone, the only thing you have going for you is your voice. Since I can’t see you or interpret your body language, I must rely on your word choice, tone, and inflection to help interpret your message. Your voice has to carry the load. And although there might have been nothing wrong with my business associate, this man’s voice painted a totally different picture.
The problem was my attention drifted from his message to my apparently false interpretation. This is how it works. And this is what you must avoid. It is in your best interest to come across on all phone communications as the upbeat, happening person that you are. You can’t allow a little laziness to sabotage your business relationships. Your clients have too many other options for buying travel, once they interpret you as somebody who is not happy to talk with them.
We all have our personal issues, problems, and concerns. I am fully involved with mine and quite frankly, I don’t have the time or the interest in adopting yours as my own.
As a general rule, people like to be around people who appear to be “upbeat and positive.” With this in mind, here are my three suggestions:
- Be cognizant of your “tone” when speaking. What you are thinking may not be what others are hearing.
- When feeling a little funky, stay off the phone. (If you do answer it, you better be good at pretending that you are feeling good.)
- Remember that 100% of your marketing dollars are spent for the single purpose of having someone contact you. When your phone rings, don’t jeopardize your future by sounding like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.
Tone is an essential element in the marketing mix. Make sure that your tone is working for you and not against you.
Mike Marchev is always looking for a few more proactive travel professionals to join his Sales and Marketing Club. Send for details.