Your tov: why you shouldn’t get precious when prospecting
Your TOV: Why you shouldn’t get precious when prospecting
The crucial difference between marketing and prospecting emails, and why you need to swap curated brand lingo for conversational chat in your sales outreach.
Nailing down that all-important tone of voice (TOV) can be a mean feat, and once you’ve done that you might be excited to share it with your prospects.
Just look at innocent. They live and breathe their brand ethos – their tone of voice is unmistakable – but how far would they be willing to go? As a big name brand they reach out to both B2C and B2B but if they wanted to attract a high profile business to stock them, would they stick so rigidly to their TOV?
Imagine you got an email from them like this:
It reads just like something from their website. Which should be a good thing, right? The email isn’t terrible, it hits their TOV and there’s character in there, but it’s unlikely to convert – why? The stylisation may make it seem disingenuous and definitely not 121. This is a copy-and-paste job, for sure, and although it might be entertaining, it doesn’t show a true interest in a partnership with Odeon specifically.
There’s a fine line between keeping to your TOV and coming off as “Disneyified” or like a robot.
(No innocents were harmed in the writing of this email aka the example email was written by us not innocent.)
What is tone of voice?
Let’s go back 2 basics *scratch record sound*.
Tone of voice or TOV can mean different things. TOV originally meant how you speak to someone but within business, it has come to mean something else. When we talk about tone of voice in prospecting and in your branding, we mean your tone in writing.
Every brand has a different TOV, and that often stems from their brand vision.
Let’s take a look at some B2B examples:
Mailchimp openly shows their tone of voice document online for nosey marketers to look at (and those looking for inspiration). This B2B brand champions plainspoken, genuine language with a kick of dry humour – and it’s evident in everything they produce.
ClickUp delivers their TOV on a plate. Their ethos is to be quirky, fun, and direct with their tone of voice – and yes, there’s some sarcasm in there too. You can see their straightforward attitude throughout their content, unmistakably ClickUp.
How to nail down your tone of voice?
The problem with nailing down your tone of voice is that there are so many different dimensions to consider. Tone of voice isn’t just formal or informal, there are several layers to creating a true brand TOV.
This is just an example of some tone of voice dimensions to get you started but the list is neverending.
Working out your tone of voice
- Make a list of as many TOV dimensions you can think of
- Underline or highlight those that fit your brand personality
- Align those traits to fit one TOV
- Use that information to create an extended TOV document that can coincide with your brand guidelines
What’s TOV overkill?
Of course, tone of voice is important but there’s such a thing as a touch too much. Everyone wants to be spoken to on a genuine level and in prospecting that’s vital to making a sale. We showed you the innocent example earlier, but any TOV can come across as “fake” if you use too much of it in a prospecting email (not just that whimsical, child-like humour).
For example, if you run a tech business, you might use a lot of jargon day-to-day and in your TOV. But jargon just doesn’t work in a prospecting email. Similarly, you might use humour in your TOV (like us… well, we think we’re funny!) but we don’t put that into our prospecting emails because humour doesn’t always translate well.
If you’re ever not sure how to approach a prospect, politeness is always key. Take a look at our prospecting etiquette guide to find out more. Every prospect wants to be respected. That means:
- Talking to them 121 (or making it seem like you are) to show you value their time
- Researching your prospect before you reach out to them
- Getting rid of the jargon or the fluff e.g. being direct
- Having a valid reason to reach out to them
Innocent may have reached out to Odeon about stocking them in their venues, we don’t know. But they probably haven’t because most people don’t go to the cinema for a smoothie – they go for popcorn, slushies, and overpriced hotdogs – in other words, they go for a treat. So it’s also imperative you’re reaching out to the right people. We can help with this.
At Sopro we specialise in not only finding your ideal prospects but reaching out to them in the ideal way. You might be worried that using an external company for your sales prospecting emails means you’ll lose your TOV or brand identity but sometimes scaling back on TOV can be better. We’re always thorough when it comes to writing our prospecting emails so that they fit your company’s ethos and image but we also know what gets results.
If you want to sell more, it might be time to speak to us. We can help you create an email marketing campaign that will grow your business.