Your speech patterns affect sales performance
Speech patterns affect sales
Oriental accents, like those spoken by New Yorkers, tend to have a very fast speaking speed. The southern accent, like those spoken by southern people, is a much slower speech rate. And, when you talk to the Midwesterner, the speech pattern is totally different. How do these different accents, speech patterns, and speech rates affect sales and telemarketing efforts?
There is a lot of evidence that speed of speech and accents affect sales. For years, consultants have tried to analyze how accents and rate of speech impact both face-to-face sales and teleconsultation sales. There is nothing conclusive, but leading sales authorities agree that accents and voice rates affect sales performance.
Many companies like to hire people with radio voices, in the hope that voice quality will affect sales performance. Many companies conduct speech testing by hiring people who will have constant interaction with other people. The “theatrical” voice seems to reduce resistance.
Importance of speed of speech
Why is speed of speech important? Let’s explore the reasons. Sales calls and telemarketing calls are almost always an interruption. People are having dinner or watching movies on television. The prospects are certainly not anticipating the TSR call. While our brain, when focused, can understand 600 words per minute, it takes five to ten seconds for the potential customer’s brain to adapt to the agent’s new speed of speech. It simply takes the brain a few seconds to combine speed of speech, accent, and message for communication to take place.
A resident of the Midwest, who speaks 170 words per minute (PPM), will have trouble communicating (at first) with a New Yorker, who speaks 240 words per minute. What does that mean? It means that they will lose or not understand the name of the agent, the company and possibly the main purpose of the call.
Why do you think so many large telemarketing services offices go to Omaha Nebraska to set up their call centers? The reason:
- there is little to no accent in the middle part of America
- their speech rate is moderate compared to Southerners and New Yorkers
Ideal Speech Speed - 180 Word Test
The Pennsylvania Bell Company measured the speed of speech using a 180-word test to measure it. This test can help train your agents to speak at the best speed of speech. It works by timing your agents as they read this test: more than a minute is too slow; less than a minute is too fast. Here is the 180-word statement from Pennsylvania Bell Company:
Most experts agree that the ideal speed of speech is between 180 and 200 words per minute. At this rate, people listening to you will be able to hear and understand what you are saying. In the United States there are different speech patterns that are the product of geographic areas. In the northeastern part of the country, people tend to speak faster than others, while people in the southern states speak slower than the ideal rate. However, people in the Midwestern states will tend to speak the 180 word rate. To test yourself, write down your start and end time. Use the second hand on a watch to do this. If you read this statement in less than a minute, you are speaking too fast and must make an effort to slow down. But if you read this statement in more than a minute, you are speaking too slow and should try to speak faster when speaking on the phone.
How to improve the performance of your agents
Take one of your hyphens and identify the first 180 words. Have your agents try to read them in a minute. By marking ten-second intervals, it will help you identify speech patterns and habits, both good and bad, in your agents. Once identified, you can begin the process of correcting bad habits and emphasizing good ones. Another helpful tip is to take this test over the phone or in front of other agents.