Don't Take That Tone With Me

Services for Real Estate Pros with Cerium Learning

About 3 months ago I borrowed some money against a property I own. After the closing I began receiving credit life insurance solicitations in the mail.

Curiosity getting the better of me, I responded with a request for additional information.

A few weeks go by & I receive a phone call.

"Mr. Trowe I'm ____ with ______ " the female voice said. "You requested some information about our credit life insurance policy. We will have a rep in your area on ____ (which was 2 weeks away) does that work with your schedule?"

I agreed to the meeting.

Yesterday was the day the rep was scheduled to meet with me. (way too much time elapsed from the event that created the opportunity and the time the appointment with a salesperson)

About an hour before the appointed meeting my phone rings with an area code prefix from the other side of the state.

"Mr. Trowe? This is _____ with ______. We are supposed to meet today" the male voice said flatly.

"yes, I said" and paused giving him the opportunity to continue . . .

"well, I went to start my car" his voice trailing dejectedly downward "and it wouldn't start."

I jumped in very quickly with an uptempo voice I said "that's OK, we can reschedule our meeting."

"yeah, could we reschedule?" he asked still monotone and clearly discouraged.

"Sure, it's no problem" I replied.

"ok, I will be back in your area next week."

I was trying to make this particular phone call easier for him but it was like trying to put an elephant in a tree.

His call gave me every opportunity to completely cancel on him and his phone demeanor actually encouraged me to cancel on him.

I know it's a bummer when you get in your car to go on an appointment and it won't start. I know very well how frustrating it is to have cars that do not work properly - but that's a different post.

When you call a prospect or client - your voice and tone can make or break your sale.

You have to portray energy, excitement, and enthusiasm, especially if you have never met.

Even if you are calling with what seems like bad news, stay positive. You are in the commitment business. Have a commitment objective - and stay focused on achieving your objective.

If you come across as depressed, discouraged, downtrodden, you will run off the client before you get to your second sentence.

As basic as having a positive tone of voice is to sales, too many sales people fail to use it. Their voice and demeanor portray failure. Their pace & tempo are like throwing a wet blanket on the conversation.

You don't have to talk fast and slick but you do have to project confidence. You are the solution to your clients problem.

Rick Trowe and I'm Standing Up!

Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Rick:  This whole thing sounds pretty bizarre to me.  Sounds like this poor guy has been fighting more losing battles than simply having a car that doesn't start.  It was nice that you kept your cool with him.

Sep 12, 2008 06:01 PM
Lisa Southern
Lisa Southern Real Estate - Raleigh, NC
Lisa Southern Real Estate

You are so right on the tone issue. I can't stand that monotone/depressed/discouraged tone. Always answer the phone with a smile on you face and it comes accross to the client!

Sep 12, 2008 06:02 PM
George Sanchez

Very well said and very good point.  I have found great confort and confidence in thinking positive.  Sometimes clients can be very negative but I believe that is their way of asking for attention.   I sympathise with them and then when they are sure that they have my full attention, I hit them with my positive take to on whatever their negative comment or objection was.

Best of luck to you.


Sep 12, 2008 07:21 PM
Chip Jefferson
Gibbs Realty and Auction Company - Columbia, SC

Smile over the phone is what I was always tutored to do. Your tone of voice can actually piss people off or make them love you. Your choice!

Sep 12, 2008 11:51 PM
Bob Haywood
McGraw Realtors - Owasso, OK

Rick O,

Excellent post.  Keeping yourself upbeat on phone calls can be tough!  Good reminder!

Sep 13, 2008 12:58 AM
Carol Clay
Looking Glass Realty - Brevard, NC
Broker/REALTOR, Brevard NC Real Estate Specialist

Excellent point. I was in a scripts and dialogs class one time and the instructor (an extremely successful agent) talked to us about the inflection in our voices and what an impact it can be. With all due respect to the youngest agents, many end sentences with an inflection that goes if you're asking a questions. Ending a sentence with your voice going down...makes a statement that sounds much more confident.

Sep 13, 2008 01:38 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Rick:  As a Communications major in college, we learned that nonverbal communication makes up as much as 90% of communication.  Out of all the things I studied in my mass communication skills, this one is the one that keeps on giving.

Sep 13, 2008 06:13 AM
Rick Trowe
Cerium Learning - Tulsa, OK
Go With Trowe

Thanks for your comments.

Karen - I think you are right. His voice sounded like he had a rough year.

Lisa - dito :)

George - thanks. I like your approach.

Laura - what's not to love about you? you have great posts.

Carol - I agree with you (voice inflection going up in question style) that usually bugs me when it happens.

Bob - one of the hardest things to do when working the phones.

Chris - thanks for your comments. I wish I had taken communications courses in school. It obviously paid off for you.

Sep 13, 2008 11:04 PM
Not a real person
San Diego, CA

As my wise old grandmother told me, "Smile when you're on the phone."

I never understood what she was saying until many years later.

Sep 19, 2008 06:02 PM