When you reach out to your prospects, are you calm or soft-spoken? Are you intentional with the words you use? Is your own voice working against you? Your voice is significantly tied to the quality of your service. Remember, selling is a Performance Profession!
In this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl is joined by Denis Champagne, the CEO of Lotus Communications. Darryl and Denis talk about how a reluctance to use the phone will subconsciously be revealed in your delivery and provide ways to embrace a mindset of wanting to talk to others. They also go over the importance of energy levels, how to make sure your prospects have the best perception of you, and ways to build trust and support with just your voice, right here on this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales!
Not in the mood to listen? No problem, you can read the transcriptions below.
Host: Darryl Praill, VanillaSoft
Guest: Denis Champagne, Lotus Communications
Darryl Praill: Good afternoon. Good evening. Good morning. How the hell are you doing folks? I know, I’m starting off swearing already. What is up with me? My wife, the other day, had a chance to watch a session recently that I did, a speaking session. And I was pretty proud of this session, I’ll be candid with you. I was really transparent. I was pretty vulnerable. It was everything you’re not supposed to do when you’re trying to project an image of strength and confidence.
Darryl Praill: And we were talking about how our sales processes were broken and we had to fix them. And we went through this whole process. This actually was an inbound conference. We went through this whole process of explaining how we had this epiphany and we realized things were not optimal. And we did some self-reflection and then we did some self-analysis and then finally, we brought in some professionals to help us with the process.
Darryl Praill: And then we began this process and then life was good and we’re on the other side. And I got a lot of positive feedback for that on social and in person. If you’re interested, it’s on our vanillasoft.com website under the resources, under probably videos, we can actually call it When You Suddenly Realize Your Sales Process Is Broken. But why does that matter?
Darryl Praill: It matters because my wife heard me talking and she’s like, “Holy smokes Darryl, you are swearing a lot in that. You have a little potty mouth.” And I try to avoid that, candidly. I try not to have a potty mouth. In fact, I had a session not too long ago, a few months ago, with Keenan. And if you know Keenan at all, his favorite word, and I love Keenan, and I’ve been candid with him from the get-go. Every second word is F-this and F-that. And many of you are fine with that and many of you are not.
Darryl Praill: And so Keenan and I had a conversation around, can you, should you, would you do that if you could start it all over again? So net-net, Keenan and I talked about it. I had a potty mouth, not as potty-ish. Is that a word? Potty-ish as Keenan was, but I will admit I was swearing too much. And I’ve opened up this podcast dropping a swear word again. I know many of you are laughing and saying, “Darryl, get on with it. Get over yourself. It’s nothing.” And I hear you and I appreciate that.
Darryl Praill: But you know what it is? It’s the power, right? It’s the power of what you say. The power of your voice. The power of your word. If I drop a swear word and it contextually makes sense, you will not look at me often, as offended. You will look at me as I’m passionate and you will simply overlook that and you will say, “Man, I hear what Praill’s putting down. I feel it. I get it.”
Darryl Praill: And hopefully if I’ve used it correctly, that will cause you to connect with me, to bond with me, to identify. To say, “I understand exactly where you’re coming from, Darryl. I’ve been there. I felt it.” And that builds our rapport. And so I sometimes swear on occasion, not intentionally, my emotions get the best of me. But there are times when I have done it on intention, I want to make a point. And I’m not saying it’s right or it’s wrong.
Darryl Praill: What I am saying though, is that the power of the voice, the power of the spoken word, what you say, matters. People are listening and that’s really huge. You have to think about that. Because you folks, you make your money for a living, talking to people. And understanding that, you need to be so cognizant of whether your voice and your words are working for you or they’re working against you.
Darryl Praill: I’ve had it work against me and I’ve had to backtrack and I’ve had to apologize. What I’ve learned over time, how to tell a story better, how to adjust my style to the person I’m speaking with. I’ve learned how to equip myself to have the right tools of the trade to optimize any gifts I’ve been given.
Darryl Praill: For example, I’m talking to you right now on a $500 microphone. Do I need to talk to you in a $500 microphone? Not necessarily. A $60 or $100 microphone would probably be 90% as good. But in this case, I wanted to speak to you and make sure that I sounded good and that you associated the quality of my voice and the quality of my production with the quality of my product and the quality of my service.
Darryl Praill: That you trust me more because I sound credible, then you perhaps, might trust somebody else. I know I’m sharing my secrets with you and feel free to take them, do whatever you want to with them. Leverage them. You can give me credit, you can take it all yourself. I don’t care, but I do want you to know something here. Your voice, it matters. What you say, how you say it, how it’s heard, will have a significant impact on your career success, if you’re selling.
Darryl Praill: Your voice stands out. We talk about sales skills on Inside Inside Sales. Talk about being marginally better and yet I don’t think anybody’s ever talked about the power of the voice and the power of what you say. So imagine my surprise when all along, my good friend Denis Champagne from Lotus Communications reaches out to me and says, “Darryl, we need to talk about the power of the voice.”
Darryl Praill: It’s something he’s passionate about too. I did not know. And so we got to jamming, as we do, on that social media thing. And it was amazing how much in line we were. And I was, right away I was like, “Dude, I’ve got to get you on the show. I’ve got to get you on the show because no one’s talking about this. And I think it’s a skill. It’s a skill. It’s a real skill that my audience needs to be aware of. Needs to work on. It’s one little thing, but it can make such a dramatic shift in how they’re perceived.”
Darryl Praill: And he’s like, “I’m in.” So, eavesdropping this entire conversation, as they always are, is my guest today. Let me introduce you to Denis Champagne. Denis, welcome to the show my friend.
Denis Champagne: Thank you so much, Darryl for accepting my invitation and having me come on with you, it’s great. You’re just awesome.
Darryl Praill: Oh my gosh, I did not pay him to say that folks. Clearly he was overwhelmed by the power of my voice. That’s the only thing I can chalk that compliment up to. So talk to me, Denis. This is something that’s really near and dear to your heart. The whole, the power of the voice. And I love the fact that you approached me on it. Why is this so special and important to you personally?
Denis Champagne: Great question and great start. Well it’s because I loved, my first influence was my mother when she organized in her home, Tupperware parties. I don’t know if you remember that. And my mom had this long cord telephone hanging from the wall, walking around the kitchen, handling the spaghetti sauce, feeding the kids at the table, greeting a lady neighbor, “Come on in for coffee, sit down” and she would be multitasking.
Denis Champagne: But her joy to help other people and to assemble people together was such an inspiration to me. And she was always on the phone talking to all kinds of people to help. When she passed away, the church was full. So that told me a lot about the influence of her life. But it was her caring and it came through the voice. People sense your sincerity and we have, obviously I was overly keen at some point.
Denis Champagne: I had my own issues when I was young and I was a young manager. And I had anger issues and I was way too, how should I say? Forthright, if it’s a soft word to use.
Darryl Praill: You were candid?
Denis Champagne: Yeah, all of those other synonyms just stated. I was just a little bit too much. I was just too much and infatigable and over the top. So people, after a while in my business, I started not generating much business because people just said, “You’re too much.” And that failure or that temporary defeat stimulated my awareness and said, “Okay, what am I, where am I missing?”
Denis Champagne: And I looked to my activities on the phone, which was the only tool back in the 90s to use. And when I got my call center set up, because I ran a call, I owned a call center. That’s when I started realizing that some of my people, also were over the top and some of them were under the top. And some were flavorful and beautifully harmonic and melodic in their voice without much verbal or textual or wordy and verbal eloquence. But their ability to stimulate and seduce and empower themselves by an engagement with someone and people would love to listen to them. And they made the sale.
Denis Champagne: So I said there’s something there that I need to transform personally. So I took on a process of looking at myself in the mirror. And most salespeople, obviously to their disadvantage, fail to take a hard look at themselves. But selling is a performance profession, it’s not, as Brian Burns says, when I had a podcast with him, it’s not a knowledge profession. It is a performance profession.
[bctt tweet=”Most salespeople, obviously to their disadvantage, fail to take a hard look at themselves. But selling is a performance profession, it’s not a knowledge profession. ~ @Sprinter14 #SalesTips #prospecting” username=”VanillaSoft”]
Denis Champagne: So you have to be on the ball when you speak to people and you have to engage them. And the beauty of the voice is, obviously I’ve had to work on mine and my temper and all of that transformational inner stuff. So my message is, look to within to get a better result from without. And my thing, my dada, where I had to change, was the voice. So that’s how I became more aware of it. And it’s done very, very well for me over the last 15 years.
Darryl Praill: So this is obviously very personal to you. You were influenced as a child by your parents, someone close to you, your mother in this case. You witnessed it first hand and then you went through your own life lessons. You had some failures. You had some reflection. You lifted yourself up off your feet to say, “I want to be more like my mother because she had some winning attributes.”
Darryl Praill: You built your own call center and then you could watch again first hand, other individuals have this exact same success. Which is really interesting because I’m sure there’s many people out there right now going, “Well I do just fine selling, thank you very much. So I can assume my voice is fine or my voice is not working against me.” And you know what? They might be right.
Darryl Praill: But I’m assuming when you had your call center and you said these people whose voices were melodious, whose words were carefully chosen, perhaps they could weave a good story, whatever it might be. They had the exact same knowledge and skills about the products they were selling as the person beside them, who was doing, who was equally skilled.
Darryl Praill: So if they’re both skilled with the value proposition and they’re both skilled with objection handling and they’re both skilled with discovering all that wonderful stuff, what makes one person better than the other? And for you, you observed often it was just their ability to connect with their prospect as a result of how they delivered. And what they said and how they said it. Is that a fair summary?
Denis Champagne: Yeah, very well summarized, but, and it’s in the initial 10 seconds. That’s where everybody fails.
Darryl Praill: Ah, we’re get to that point over and over again.
Denis Champagne: Yeah.
Darryl Praill: So let’s talk about that. So the initial 10 seconds, all right. We’ve had conversations, I’ve talked before with other experts. I won’t go into that now because you can go to the backlog of episodes, but the first 27 seconds, the first 30 seconds. But it is always those, that first impression. But you’re saying the first 10 seconds-
Denis Champagne: It’s even more.
Darryl Praill: So give me an example of … Even more. So, but to your point in this conversation, it’s not, it’s about the power of the voice in that first 10 seconds.
Denis Champagne: Correct.
Darryl Praill: I mean with the words that are chosen. Can you elaborate on that and what does that mean?
Denis Champagne: Well, obviously there are tools now and I’m using an artificial intelligence tool to actually quantify and analyze the resonance because our voice is a vibration. What you think you sound like is coming from the bone. And this was stimulated also, I forgot to add at the beginning, I was a real disciple of Zig Ziglar. And Zig Ziglar said 45 years ago, two areas of neglect in sales, the use of your time and the use of your voice.
Denis Champagne: So I’m not inventing something here. I’m picking up on, that’s who made me more aware of it in my work, is Zig Ziglar. I forgot to add to it. So I want to just at least, make sure I don’t miss it. Zig said, “Use your voice and record your voice and practice.”
Darryl Praill: And I’m going to jump in here folks. If you guys haven’t ever listened to Zig, and of course, Zig has passed along and he’s got his son taking over his practice. But if you get a chance, listen to him on old recordings. My first sales job, I had cassettes of Zig’s that I would just listen to out on my way to … Because I was selling copiers, door to door, as many of you know and so I had time.
Darryl Praill: And he was instrumental. I remember him, total sidebar, going into a conversation, it made me so self-aware. And he’s like, “You know when that guy cuts you off and speeds away in the road and you’re cursing them out? And you’re like, “Yeah!” And him saying, “Yeah, he’s oblivious. He has no idea that he’s messed with you and he’s going on with his day. But you’ve given him control by letting him affect you. And now you are no longer in control.” And I remember just being 22 years old and going, “Holy shit.” See there I go, I swear again. “Holy shit. That’s crazy. That’s me. I get it.”
Darryl Praill: And so it’s the whole idea of being in control and being self-aware. Zig was very influential to me early on, but total sidebar, love Zig Ziglar. So I love that you were inspired by Zigs because that’s, he’s like the godfather of sales.
Denis Champagne: He was my mentor. Yeah. Yeah. I still have the book here, Secrets of Closing The Sale. I go to it from time to time, just to also get some cues and stuff. But I’ve actually had the MP3 recording of a place in his recordings of Secrets of Closing, where he talks about that part of, take a cassette recorder, go into where your office, close down the doors and listen to yourself. And it can make a tremendous impact on your sales.
Denis Champagne: And I didn’t fully believe it at that time. But as you grow older and you become more aware, and you hopefully become more aware, and you work on this too, because you care about succeeding and you have to care with a capital C, obviously. Then when you start doing the work and you start looking from within and see, “Okay, what do I have to change?”
Denis Champagne: So I took some singing lessons, I took some acting lessons, I went to Dale Carnegie. I became a, and I graduated and then I became a graduate assistant nine times over the last 25 years, just to see how other people make me feel and how I make people feel. Zig was also a powerful influence in my life, but to come back.
Denis Champagne: So there’s many things you can do. And I have found that the first eight, nine seconds after practicing this … And by the way, I used to sell copier tone and paper in my phone room in Toronto back in the early 80s. So you’re in copier sales, I was in the copier ink and all that stuff. So-
Darryl Praill: Yeah, supplies, yeah.
Denis Champagne: I used to take my watch and put it in front of me and make sure that in the first 10 seconds I would connect with the person. You get someone to answer back. “I’m fine. And how are you?” And my goal still to this day, when I speak with executives because I’ve been doing prospecting B2B for clients for the last 12 years on a per mandate basis. And I always go back to this ten-second formula.
[bctt tweet=”I used to take my watch and put it in front of me and make sure that in the first 10 seconds I would connect with the person. You get someone to answer back. ‘I’m fine. And how are you?’ ~ @Sprinter14 #SalesTips #prospecting” username=”VanillaSoft”]
Denis Champagne: And I finally found a formula that works and it’s the following. So let’s say you’re Darryl and I call you Mr. Praill, right? So you answer the phone and you say, “Hi, how are you? … Hello.” And I will go on. Go ahead.
Darryl Praill: Hello.
Denis Champagne: Oh, hi Mr. Praill?
Darryl Praill: Yes.
Denis Champagne: Oh, hi Mr. Praill. Mr. Praill, it’s Denis calling on behalf of Lotus Communications. How have you been?
Darryl Praill: I have been, well Denis, thank you. How can I help you today?
Denis Champagne: Exactly. So it’s calming. You see, you responded, you started very high pitch and you came down.
Darryl Praill: I did and that was involuntary folks. This is not planned. That’s the power of the voice right there.
Denis Champagne: Correct. And I want to take a person to a place where they’re calm. Because if they’re on their computer or they’re looking at a document and they take the call and they’re … You notice I mentioned your name three times?
Darryl Praill: You did, and I love to hear my name.
Denis Champagne: I know, that’s why I said it. And so, because I’m doing it for a purpose. The first one is, Mr. Praill, I want to make sure I’m speaking to the right person. You answer yes, I say, “Oh, hello Mr. Praill. Mr. Praill, my name is Denis. I’m calling on behalf of Lotus. How have you been?” Very calm. How have you been implies that we have a relationship from the past, not in the moment…How are you, now?
Denis Champagne: So those tree components are an instrument of connecting humanly. And your voice in that delivery will in, and it’s not something I can explain because I’m not a psychologist. But the research I’ve done, the documents I’ve read, even the work I’m doing now with the AI platform, it actually has done a study on the perception of people, the image you project of calmness and trust.
Denis Champagne: And even Tony Hughes in his book Combo Prospecting says, “People are carefully listening to who they can trust.” That’s all they want to know. Can I trust this voice?
Darryl Praill: If you don’t follow Tony Hughes by the way, you should. He’s brilliant. He’s up there with Zigs.
Denis Champagne: Way up.
Darryl Praill: Yeah.
Denis Champagne: I told him, actually I wrote him and I told him, I said, “Tony, I put you up there with Zig.” And he wrote back to me with capitals, “Wow! Thank you so much.” He was really, and but I, he does care. And I know you care as well, Darryl. That’s why I’m doing this with you because I want to be with winners and not whiners, as we talked about before.
Darryl Praill: Oh my gosh. Yeah, the whole idea of being with winners and not whiners though, I think is pervasive. We all want that, right? So part of what we’re talking about here is setting yourself up to be perceived as a winner. One of the things that I liked that you did in that opening too, sounds stupid, and I’m curious your thoughts on this. Was you said, “Hello, Mr. Praill.” You didn’t say, “Hello, Darryl.” I mean there was … Was that intentional or not? It was very respectful.
Denis Champagne: Well, first of all, I didn’t say hello. I said, “Mr. Praill?” I didn’t say hello. I don’t use hello.
Darryl Praill: Yes, you’re right. You’re correct.
Denis Champagne: I’m consulting a call center right now and they had that at the beginning. Well, “Hello, may I speak with?”, all that stuff. It’s stuff. It’s not-
Darryl Praill: Extraneous.
Denis Champagne: Yeah, it’s not indispensable to the success. So I remove it and I say, “Mr.Praill?” You say, “Yes.”
Denis Champagne: “Oh, hello Darryl. My name”, and based on how you answer when I say Mr. Praill, I will know instinctively if I can go Darryl or Mr. Praill again. But this is a practiced skill. I mean, wisdom is something that you develop. Develop means it’s in an envelope and you have to open up the envelope. It’s already in you. So wisdom is inherent to us. We just have to cultivate it, work it, just like you’re potentially a great athlete, you just got to train for it, right? Same thing with the voice.
[bctt tweet=”So wisdom is inherent to us. We just have to cultivate it, work it, just like you’re potentially a great athlete, you just got to train for it, right? Same thing with the voice. ~ @Sprinter14 #SalesTips #prospecting” username=”VanillaSoft”]
Darryl Praill: So talk to me about, you came on calm.
Denis Champagne: Right.
Darryl Praill: Do you always want to come on calm or are there times when you don’t want to?
Denis Champagne: Well there are times I don’t want to, but I know it’s the best for the success of my engagement. So I always try and seek, sometimes I’ll stand up, but I’ll always really work at … What I care about is making sure that person who responds favorably to me. And in my own heart, just as a person, I really want to care for each person. I’ve cultivated over time and I already have this as my character, but I can’t wait to meet a new person.
Denis Champagne: I’m like a happy kid. I go to a networking event like last night and I’m so excited that I’m going to meet new people. It’s like your kid who goes to school and he wants to see his friends. If you cultivate that spirit of looking forward to meeting new people and you keep that foremost on a day to day basis, you’ll look forward to connecting with people on the phone or otherwise.
Denis Champagne: There’s obviously the plethora of media, social, LinkedIn, SMS, email. You have to use them all.
Darryl Praill: Right. It’s a mindset.
Denis Champagne: Exactly.
Darryl Praill: So now you talked a little bit about here and we’ve talked about mindset before, multiple times in past episodes. Check that out. But it is a mindset about, this is, I’m excited to meet somebody new as opposed to I dread this. Because even if you do dread it, then that comes across in your voice or on your, and you sound like Eeyore.
Denis Champagne: Absolutely, you got it, baby.
Darryl Praill: Yeah. And I’ll give you a tip on that same spirit of what Denis talked about here. I do a lot of voiceover work and I had never had training. And at one point, I did finally decide I should get a coach. And so I had some training and the coach says to me, “You know Darryl, before we started recording, you need to smile.” I’m like, “Why the hell do I need to smile?” I’m swearing again. “Why do I need to smile?”
Darryl Praill: And she was like, “Because when you smile, then it comes across in your delivery.” And I’m like, that is so lame and cheesy, but I smiled because I was paying this woman to coach me. And she was right. It sounds stupid. Your mindset and the physical way you can manipulate your body and your head, your psychology, to approach the call, to approach the task at hand, has a dramatic difference on your success.
Darryl Praill: Now, Denis, you and I were talking and you said when people listen to you, they immediately form an image of who this person is and what they look like. What does that mean and why should we care about that?
Denis Champagne: Well, I’m not sure that I understand what it means because I’m, again, I’m not a neuropsychologist or a linguist, but I do speak five languages. So I’ve become aware and sensitive to tonality, phonetics, musicality, because I was in the music business. All of that is because it’s inherent to me, right? So I just wanted to make sure that when I speak to someone, that I put my best foot forward.
Denis Champagne: And there is, and now I’m speaking at my age. Back then, I was a different person, so I won’t speak for me 30 years or 20 years back, but today, I see it as just fundamental respect. And when you respect someone’s space and if they want to go accelerate it, I will accelerate with them a little bit. But usually when you approach someone for the first time, calm, soft-spoken, usually is better. Approach with caution.
Denis Champagne: We don’t approach an animal or a dog or a pet that we don’t know of, too fast, too aggressively, right? We’ll go softly. We’ll even stand our ground and let them come around to us. And I was told even, Denis, you don’t have to even go towards people. They will come to you because you have such great energy because you care. That has been what I’ve been given as comment. So I’m taking it with a lot of humility and honor and appreciation for what has been given to me.
Denis Champagne: But sometimes we don’t need to be so forthright. So I’ve had people, you talk about the psychology, but you can talk about the physiology. So I’ve had people who were so gung ho, that actually I asked them to take the big, and I bought them a big chair, a big lounge chair.
Denis Champagne: And I put it and reclined it way backwards. And I asked them to put their feet up on the desk and I’ve asked them to put their head back and relax and then call. And they got more success because they were so hyped that they have to change the physiology to change the tonality. You stand up, you sound a way, you lie down, you sound another way.
Darryl Praill: And the reason we’re doing this, it’s all about building trust.
Denis Champagne: Correct.
Darryl Praill: And rapport, in that first 10 seconds.
Denis Champagne: Correct.
Darryl Praill: So let’s recap here. We’re talking about the power of the voice here, folks. We’re talking about how you sound. We’re talking about how you are perceived with what you say. So we’re not, I’m not getting, on this episode, I’m not getting into specifics of what to say. We’ve done that in other episodes. I’m talking about just how you say it and the intentional words you choose because you’re trying to make that initial impression.
Darryl Praill: To Denis’s point, his aspect, his point of view is you start calm as a baseline, right? Relax. Like you would approach a wild animal. That universal, here we are, I’m not a threat. I’m not imposing myself. I’m not bossy. I’m not pushy. All right? And then you can adjust on the fly. So that again, if you approach that wild animal and they respond with energy and excitement, enthusiasm, then you can change your style appropriately to mirror. We’ve talked a bit about that.
Darryl Praill: The other thing he’s talking about is that selling is a performance profession and like any performer, you need to prep. And the prep is not just your craft and the words you’re going to say, it’s your mindset. All right, people are excited, you are excited to meet new people. It’s your energy. If you’re negative, you’ll be perceived as negative. If you’re calm, you’ll be perceived as calm.
Darryl Praill: And the last point I want to make here is that we’re looking to get better results by fine-tuning this instrument, our voice, and our delivery, than you’re getting now. This is that 1% marginal improvement we can do to make ourselves that much more successful and stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Darryl Praill: So I want, this is what I want you to do, folks. I want you to do some A/B testing and you know me, I’m big on this. Go approach your first hour of calls with this style and then go approach the next hour of calls like you normally would. And do this for a week or two and see how your calls change. Be intentional about that and then report back to us.
Darryl Praill: Denis, if they want to meet you, they want to follow you, they want to connect with you, they want to learn more from you, what’s the best way to do that?
Denis Champagne: Well, you should say the best ways because there are many ways as we know. Multimedia, right? So they can go to LinkedIn and connect with me at Denis Champagne and connect with me through LinkedIn. They can email me at Denis, D-E-N-I-S, at lotuscomm.com. L-O-T-U-S-C-O-M-M.com.
Darryl Praill: All right, so with that we are our of time today folks. As you can tell, I can talk about this for a long time. It means a lot to me, so I’m so glad that Denis came along and brought this idea up. Hopefully, you got some value out of today, but in the meantime, we wish you phenomenal selling success in this week. And I look forward to connecting with you again next week. My name is Darryl Praill. This is INSIDE Inside Sales. We’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.