I was recently at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas, giving a seminar sponsored by Sales & Marketing Executives International. I had an informal logistics meeting with some of the association members before the event when Jamie, the young woman who directed me to my preparation room, talked to me about her career. I asked her what she was seeking to become.
Her response startled me. She said, “I’m still trying to find my voice.”
I was taken aback because I expected some alternate career choice, or something along the lines of “make a lot of money,” or “get a job in event planning.” But no, she was seeking something much higher.
Jamie was seeking to gain control of her self and her power first, and find her career path second. We talked about “voice” for a while, and I began to type to capture the thoughts. What came out of the brief conversation will benefit you and your career, and help you understand who you are and who you seek to become.
Jamie was looking for her voice to come from something she believed in that would make her voice stronger, more resonant, more powerful, and more believable.
How do you speak?
Not the just words, the voice that you project. Your voice is a statement and picture of your character, your poise, and your persona. It’s a statement of belief, confidence, and personal power.
Where does your voice come from?
How do you “find” it?
And once you do, how do you master it?
BE AWARE: Your voice has nothing to do with your selling skills or your product knowledge. Your voice is way beyond that.
GOOD NEWS: You don’t have to look far. Most of your voice is right at the tip of your tongue. The rest of it is mental and emotional.
ANSWER: It STARTS with your inner voice. It’s the language you speak to yourself BEFORE you say a word.
Your voice becomes yours, and authentically yours, when you…
• do what you believe in.
• do what you’re passionate about.
• work in your chosen field.
• find your calling.
• discover something you feel you were made or born to do.
• do something you love.
EASY WAY TO START THE DISCOVERY: Write down the hobby or sport you love best, or the sporting event you go to because you love to see yourteam play and cheer them on.
My friend, Hall of Fame baseball player Dave Winfield, said it as simply and as completely as I have ever heard it, “I loved baseball and baseball loved me back.”
Here are the elements of voice:
You have decided to pursue your chosen path.
You have belief in who you are.
You have belief in what you do.
You have a desire to succeed.
You’re personally prepared – attitude, enthusiasm, friendliness, and ideas.
You maintain self-confidence that comes from your heart, not from your head.
Your enthusiasm is real.
Your sincerity is evident.
You’re eager to master every aspect of what you do.
Your passion is contagious.
Your moxie engages others.
Your desire to improve is never ending.
You love what you do.
NOTE WELL: Your voice is not about how to make sales faster – your voice is how to make sales forever. For your voice to appear, you must possess ALL of these elements. Most people have a “weak” voice because they don’t love what they do, or lack sincerity, or they don’t fully believe in themselves, their company, or their product.
SUCCESS ACTION: Go back to this list and rate yourself on a 1-10 basis. Ten being the best, your highest possible score is 130. My bet is you’re 90 or below.
SUCCESS ACTION: Record your spoken voice ONCE A WEEK, and listen to it actively – which means take notes. By listening to yourself – arguably one of the toughest things on the planet to do – you will gain a true picture of where you are right now. Your jumping off point.
And for those of you living in the dark ages still trying to “find the pain” in your sales presentation, just record and listen to yourself – THAT’S the pain. The real pain of selling is listening to your voice trying to make a sale – it’s also funny as hell.
You’ll know your voice when you hear it.
It will speak to you before you ever say a word.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, and many other sales books. His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training, seminars, and webinars - or email him personally at email@example.com.