Anytime you communicate on behalf of a business, there’s an expectation to communicate in a certain way. You must stay true to the brand and uphold its reputation. But when you’re talking with leads or customers, you also want to sound like, well, yourself.
All sorts of writers — journalists, authors, bloggers, etc. — work to develop a distinct voice, and there’s no reason you can’t too. So here are some tips for developing your own personal voice when you work in sales and marketing.
Learn from other people who have a distinct voice and style
Maybe there’s a marketer at your company who absolutely understands how to get customers to reply to promotional texts. Or an SDR who crushes it when starting to build relationships. Learn what they say and how they say it. Pinpoint areas of authenticity and how they incorporate their own personalities and strengths into their communication.
But don’t limit yourself to people you actually work with. Follow and connect with people on LinkedIn who work in similar roles or industries. Or just follow people you admire in general, no matter their job or industry. (Just make sure they’re active and post regularly.)
When appropriate, reach out and ask them what makes them successful in their communication and interactions. Plenty of people will be happy to give tips for developing a voice and style.
Check out YouTube videos, blog posts, books, etc. from sales professionals and marketers. In these long-form resources you’ll be able to pick up ideas for how to develop a voice and best connect that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Try to answer these types of questions as you examine the voice and style of each communicator, whether they work with you or not:
- What exactly are they doing to communicate effectively?
- What could potentially inhibit their communication?
- How are they addressing the audience?
- What’s the overall tone of their words?
- How do they frame a call to action?
- Do they have any consistent “catchphrases” or terms that they use?
- What kind of language or types of posts seem to generate the most interactions?
- What sort of images do they use and how are they used?
By learning from other people and identifying practices you want to adopt, you give yourself a good foundation for developing a voice specific to you.
Ask your peers to describe your communication style
Sometimes it’s hard to recognize what makes your existing voice and messaging style unique or what your strengths are when it comes to talking with customers. (Because you do have some existing voice.) But knowing those things can be really empowering and make you more confident in all of your communication.
Everyone on your team could benefit from knowing these things about themselves, so propose a training or activity where you write down and share the things each person says or does that is unique to them. Sometimes we are so critical of ourselves that we don’t give credit for what’s working well. This is an opportunity to build on what you are already good at and what is already effective in how you communicate.
The great thing is that there is no one single answer for developing an individual voice for sales and marketing communication and different voices can all be successful!
Therefore, comparing styles and tactics also proves very beneficial. Read over each others’ past texts, emails, or chats. Look specifically for the things each person has said that were both personalized because of the sender and effective for creating engagement. This also allows team members to identify and share messages that each person can customize to their own needs and voice.
Make sure you know your audiences
As you develop and improve your own voice for sales and marketing, you must also understand the needs and problems of your leads and customers. Essentially, how do they want to be talked to?
Because if your customers respond best to marketing messages that pump them up and really make them feel encouraged, it’s not going to be helpful for you to text them sounding really laid back or carefree. Ultimately, your personal preferences for a marketing or sales voice can’t contradict how people want to hear from you or how to make the biggest impacts on engagement.
So whether that’s through studying brand personas or market research, do the necessary work to fully understand your audience. Once you have the right background, then you can adapt your voice to complement your company’s audience(s) and overall brand.
Understand your company’s brand style guide
Before you dedicate yourself to a specific voice for sales and marketing, you must know, overall, what is and is not acceptable in your business’s communication. Hopefully your company has a brand style guide, which should include the guidelines for the tone of all communication – everything from ads, emails, texts, and more. (If you don’t have a brand style guide and want to create one, here are some useful tips from Hubspot, Visme, and Venngage.)
And even if you do have a style guide to reference, it may not include specific mentions of texting, for example. Ask these types of questions to clarify what may or may not be allowed.
- Are there phrases or slang we shouldn’t use?
- What emojis can we use?
- Are there situations when we can use GIFs?
- What types of videos and photos can we share?
Using the brand style guide as a baseline for communication is important because you can then figure out ways to bring out your own personality and show people that there’s a real person on the other end.
Above all, keep things simple and always keep improving. It takes time to develop a sales and marketing voice that A) feels like you and B) allows you to most effectively communicate on behalf of a business. Fortunately, no smart business wants all their sales and marketing people to sound exactly the same when talking to customers. It’s going to be the unique voices and personalized approaches that set the business apart.