Ad Agency New Business: What’s In a Voice?


Agency new business combines many inbound and outbound activities designed to position your firm as an expert with a select group of prospects. Although the marketing landscape has dramatically changed, one activity still stands apart - the executive sales call. Coupled with other positioning activities, the sales call frequently turns prospects into relationships.

Paramount to the effectiveness of a call is the sound of your voice. According to top sales consultant Chet Holmes, tonality has 5x more impact than the words you use. Often, it is the first impression a prospect uses to personally judge your agency.

When asked what personal traits promote successful telephone sales calls, corporate executives stress the importance of being authoritative but also “expressive” and “engaging”. Conversely, off-putting traits include those that display a lack confidence or are heavily laden with tics such as “vocal fry” or “uptalk” – common voice patterns typically exhibited in younger people that are emblematic of a conversation with certain members of the Kardashian clan.

Assuming you have done your homework prior to picking up the phone, and have a clear understanding of your prospect’s business climate, what else can you do to best position yourself for a successful call?

  1. Prepare your voice. Like any muscle, your voice should be warmed up. Clear your throat. Exercise your vocal chords and get some talk time in prior to making that first call. This will loosen you up, get you in the mood and, most importantly, get your voice on track for conversation.

  2. Consider standing. This helps convey energy and vigor. It also allows you to leave your desk and focus on the person with whom you are speaking rather than your computer screen or other distractions.

  3. Check your speed. Some of us are prone to speaking too quickly. Moderate your pace by listening and responding, rather than simply moving the prospect toward a predetermined next step. This will help slow your cadence. Be sure to breathe before making important points. Do not be afraid to embrace appropriate pauses and/or silence.

  4. Practice enthusiasm. People like positivity. To convey enthusiasm authentically, remember that you are offering a valued professional service, which will “help” your prospect achieve his business objectives. You are not “selling” something. Phony and pandering styles often evolve when sales people are unsure of the value of their service. Dispel all traces of insecurity by learning as much as you can about the value your agency will bring to a future relationship with the prospect’s organization.

Not everyone is cut out for outbound sales!  Are you one of the select few who enjoy the hunt?  If so, remember to be positive and to treat every sales call as an opportunity to build a new, mutually beneficial relationship.