For many business owners in the health and wellness industry, sales and marketing do not come naturally. These are necessary evils, however. Without calculated efforts to promote your business and sell to new clients, the chances of your business surviving are slim – even if you are great at what you do. If you dread sales and marketing, there is good news! You already have your secret weapon – it’s your voice! You can avoid cumbersome, haphazard, or awkward attempts at promoting yourself and your business by remembering three must-do’s for leveraging your unique voice: clarity, consistency, and connection.
It has been said that clarity is sexy. There is something attractive about someone who speaks with confidence and has a clear message. We perceive that person as trustworthy, knowledgeable, and professional. Clarity includes speaking at an appropriate volume and rate, as well as pronouncing your words so that others can understand you. (This can be particularly challenging If you are a non-native English speaker. If you aren’t sure that people can understand your accented English, ask a trusted friend or colleague for feedback. An online source with many free videos and tips for pronouncing American English is Rachel’s English).
Another aspect of clarity is having a confident tone of voice. Confidence is conveyed via voice projection throughout your message (no trailing off at the ends of sentences), minimal use of filler words (such as um, uh, so, and like) that dilute your content, and body language that reflects your self-assurance (including good posture, eye contact, and sense of ease in front of your audience).
Being clear also means using language and vocabulary that your target audience will understand. Avoid complicated explanations or descriptions. Don’t use technical terms without explaining what they mean. Your ability to put complex ideas into everyday language is key in sales and marketing and will attract people who are looking for a provider they can trust.
Your voice is an important part of your brand and represents your business every time you speak.
Taking your voice for granted and/or not using it to its potential can be costly for your reputation and your business. In order to leverage your voice, you must be consistent and deliberate in how you show up, what you say, how you sound, how you relate to your audience, and how you present yourself whenever you speak. This includes phone calls, patient/client conversations, networking events, voicemail messages, videos, staff communications, meetings, and impromptu conversations in your community.
When it comes to more formal sales and marketing communications, successful businesses have one consistent spokesperson. People then associate that voice with your business. Using your own voice as the spokesperson (versus hiring someone to speak for your business) lets people get to know you and recognize your voice when they hear it, building trust with potential clients and increasing your visibility in the market. In addition to a consistent spokesperson, be sure to deliver your clear core message with consistent tone, energy, and enthusiasm.
The most important part of consistency is always showing up as You when you speak. The level of energy and enthusiasm you bring will depend on your unique set of personality traits, including your degree of extraversion/introversion, sense of humor, expressiveness, and values. Bring your authentic level of passion and energy to every conversation and every presentation. People will be attracted to your consistency.
People will also be attracted to you when they can tell you want to connect with them. Columnist George Will describes an “epidemic of loneliness” in our country in this Washington Post article. He shares how while we are more technically and virtually connected than ever before, we are less connected in terms of reach-out-and-touch relationships, and that disconnect is having a devastating effect on our collective mental and physical health.
As health and wellness providers, we must connect to potential clients who need our help. The more we connect, the more we can do to reduce loneliness and its unhealthy side effects. The goal of effective sales and marketing campaigns is to get the message from the heart of the business owner to the heart of the listener. This means thinking about how the listener might be feeling as you are speaking with them and showing empathy in your voice to reflect your understanding of their emotions. The most effective way to convey empathy in your voice is to use appropriate intonation. In other words, “say it with feeling” as the old saying goes.
Here are some additional tips to make better connections when you are marketing your business or having a sales conversation:
- Be authentic. Let people get to know you by telling your story. What has happened in your life that has led you to do the work you do? When parts of your story reveal that you were scared, sad, angry, happy, or excited, allow those emotions to come through your voice.
- Be vulnerable. People want to know you get them – that you have empathy for what they are going through. Sharing how you were in similar situations and worked through them is one of the quickest ways to show your relatability and to attract the people you can help.
- Be interesting. Don’t be monotone. Use inflection and contrasts in rate, pitch, and volume to emphasize key words and phrases. Add facial expressions and body language that align with your voice and the emotions behind your words.
- If you are comfortable and if it’s appropriate, add some humor.
- Always have a helpful tone when sharing knowledge that will make a difference for your clients.
The bottom line in sales and marketing is to remember that it’s not about you. It’s about relating to your potential clients and patients. They are listening to your voice and looking for someone they can trust. They are listening for clarity, consistency, and connection.