You've heard of the "dead fish" handshake and you likely try to avoid giving (and getting!) it like the plague, but what's in a voice? When it comes to finding the right recruit for your sales team, it's everything. A candidate's voice is like his calling card--it gives you crucial insight into his personality, his professionalism, and his ability to work well with others. What you hear in his voice is the same thing your customers will hear. Keep these voices in the back of your head when you next interview and avoid picking the wrong hire.

Mousy Mary.

You know exactly who I mean. She's got that weak, tentative sounding voice, the one that you want to either be impatient with or run away from fast. Just a few words from Mousy Mary and you imagine the worst--she lacks authority, has no gumption, and comes across like she is perpetually unsure. Most of her phrases end on an upward note, causing her statements to sound like questions. The way her voice wavers gives away both how uncomfortable she is with herself and the fact that she has difficulty interacting with others. Put her on sales calls and she will get hung up on, put her in an important negotiation and she'll get walked on.

Mr. Mumbles.

Recognizable by the fact that you can't understand half of what he says, a mumbler is one to steer clear of. His failure to enunciate makes others have to strain to listen, and leaves them feeling they may have missed important information because they were unable to hear. His muttering is heard by customers as a lack of enthusiasm, an unwillingness to make the effort to speak clearly, and a desire to remain obtuse. Ask him to pitch your product and his muddled communications will confuse customers. Require him to reel in a prospect with follow-up and find out his outreach efforts are as half-hearted as his speech.

Loud Lucy.

You can't miss hearing what she says, even if you want to. She has a knack for sounding off everywhere and anywhere about anything and everything--indiscriminately and without reserve. She considers herself the life of the party, and the party is on 24/7. The fact that she doesn't know when to use her inside voice is evidence of her lack of professionalism, and demonstrates clearly that she has difficulty respecting boundaries. Send her out to a client meeting, and she'll likely show up late, inadvertently insult someone, or even reveal your most guarded corporate secrets.

Fast Fred.

He talks a mile a minute and there are few subjects he can't expound on. He says he speaks fast because he thinks fast, but his speedy speech can be hard for others to follow. Unaware of the affect his rapid-fire rhetoric has on those around him, he rarely brakes for clarification or a truly two-sided conversation. Call on him for customer service and you may find your customers feeling bulldozed and neglected. Count on him to close a deal and his quick cadence may cause the client to worry he is somehow being swindled.

Schmoozy Suzy.

She is the consummate complimenter, the ultimate yes woman. She always says what she thinks people want to hear and figures the key to selling successfully is becoming every client's best friend. Unbeknownst to her, she is easily spotted as fake and phony, and if customers have a choice, they'll choose to take their business to someone other than such a suck-up. Bet on her to explain the specifics of your service and she'll spend the time schmoozing instead. Bank on her to bring home the deal and she will be a bust.

If you want to make sure you have the golden ticket, get the guy or girl with the golden voice. Customers are always open to listening when the message is delivered by someone they like to hear.

Published on: Mar 9, 2015