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Can Introverts Be Good Salespeople?

The Truth About Introverts As Salespeople
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“Can introverts be good salespeople?”

 

This is a question I get often from my introvert friends.

 

…or people who are just starting out in sales and are shy by nature.

 

To be honest, this was a question I asked myself for YEARS when I was struggling with this area of my life.

 

I didn’t start out with sales being a “strength” of mine.

 

In fact…

 

I openly share that I grew up pretty SHY.

 

I was an immigrant kid from China. My family and I moved to Canada when I was 6, and to America when I was ten.

 

Naturally, I was an introvert—a more observant type of kid.

 

So then, I was teased and bullied as a kid and adolescent for being Asian.

 

It’s funny when we look back at our lives and how things shaped us.

 

In school and out in the world, I was picked on for being Asian.

 

Coming from an immigrant family, my mother and father didn’t understand Western culture. They could only speak broken English.

 

As a kid, I naturally learned English quickly and assimilated into the culture—which was good outside. 

 

But at home… I oftentimes wasn’t “Asian enough”.

 

This might sound strange if you don’t come from an immigrant family.

 

But if you’ve come from a background of mixed cultures, you know what I mean.

 

Okay, what does this have to do with sales and being an introvert?

 

I wanted to let you know that I’ve faced my share of adversity in life.

 

My intention isn’t to compare how tough each of our childhood were or whatever, but merely to share that when you don’t fit in… you don’t fit in.

 

…and that’s what it can feel like sometimes being an introvert who’s learning how to sell.

 

So let’s cut to the chase and answer your question:

 

Can introverts be good salespeople?

 


 

—THE ANSWER IS YES

 

Introverts can be excellent salespeople!

 

In fact?

 

I would argue the BEST salespeople I know… are introverts.

 

Now, you might have a puzzled look on your face:

 

“What do you mean, Tommy?”

 

“Aren’t introverts shy and quiet? How can they be great salespeople?”

 

Let me explain.

 

Just because you’re an introvert doesn’t automatically mean you’re a good salesperson. Obviously.

 

Because…

 

Effective selling is really about helping people—not being an introvert or extrovert!

 

 

 

One of the most important pieces of advice that I share with beginner salespeople is to forget the images of what they thought “salespeople” are supposed to be like.

 

I’m talking about the fast-talking, gregarious, swindler, sleazy, conman of a person that you see in movies.

 

That type of character might have worked in the ’60s or ‘70s (honestly, I don’t know, I wasn’t around then)

 

But that’s definitely not the case today.

 

Who likes a sleazy salesperson?

 

No one. That’s who.

 

Being a good salesperson is about how good you are at helping people.

 

That’s the #1 piece of advice I give to beginner salespeople because it’s like erasing false programming from their minds, and replacing it with new lines of code (that’s nerd speak for software… cut me some slack, I’m currently living and working in the Silicon Valley 🙂

 

It’s about rewiring what they think sales is about.

 

So I repeat, sales is NOT about talking fast and swindling your customers as they show in the movies…

 

Those types of salespeople

  1. Suck 
  2. Are not liked by anyone
  3. Are not effective (or if they are… they don’t last!) 

 

You must understand, who in their right mind would want to deal with someone like that?

 

Again, no one.

 

So the first point is understanding that effective selling is about helping people.

 

And especially in more high-level selling, or complex/B2B (business to business) sales where the deal sizes can go up to hundreds of thousands of dollars (or even more)…

 

In order to really help people? 

 

You need to solve problems EFFECTIVELY.

 

To do that… you need to understand your prospect and the problems he/she is trying to solve.

 

Effective salespeople do NOT do that by talking out your mouth non-stop.

 

They understand by listening.

 

This is why often times introverts can be incredible salespeople.

 

Now, there is a caveat here.

 

Skills in sales need to be developed.

I believe that introverts have their own innate superpowers, that once developed, become like a buried treasure that was once hidden beneath the ground.

 

It’s like the superhero who has to go through that weird uncomfortable phase where they are just discovering their powers and at first are devastated why they are different than others.

 

Think spider man as a teenager or any of the x-men while they were kids just discovering their powers.

 

I’ll share with you a personal example:

 

Growing up, I would take a lot of things personally. I was pretty sensitive as a kid.

 

I was sometimes made fun of for that because people see that as a weakness.

 

…and it can if you DON’T develop it!

 

Anyway, I didn’t let that stop me.

 

I learned to stop taking things so personally, learned to develop a better sense of self, and understanding people who criticize me…

 

Often times it has nothing to do with me, but it’s just other people projecting their own insecurities or limiting beliefs on me!

 

As a result, that sensitivity is now a strength and SUPERPOWER of mine!

 

How?

 

Sensory Acuity.

 

My sensitivity allows me to be minutely aware of the people and situations around me.

 

I’d like to say I have an above-average understanding of human nature and am perceptive of the type of person I am with.

 

In a sales call, I can sense and tell what this person’s motivation is, where their interest lies, are they serious about buying, do they have the buying power like they say they do, etc. etc.

 

In short, my sensitivity provides me sensory acuity and a better ability to read and understand people.

 

Once developed, your introvert aspects can literally be superpowers that you can harness.

 

Another example of this is that I’ve found introverts to often times have a better ability to build trust, which is CRITICAL in sales. 

 

Sure extroverts are better at small talk and making pleasantries—but I find that when introvert salespeople speak, there’s no BS.

 

It’s straight-forward and it comes off as genuine!

 

Despite this, I know extroverts and introverts both possess incredible qualities in themselves that can be developed into superpowers if there are dedication and commitment.

 

I don’t think either one is better. 

 

It’s just 2 types of people with different skillsets and talents.

 

Everyone is different—but just know that you have the innate qualities to be a great salesperson if you’re reading this.

 

I believe sales is a skill that EVERYONE should develop to some degree.

 

Cause you’re going to be dealing with people regardless if you’re an introvert or extrovert.

 

But if you’re an introvert and you want to be good at sales…

 

Most likely you’re going to have to overcome your own internal demons, your own fears.

 

This was the case for me.

 

I was shy growing up, which meant I had to overcome my fear of social and sales anxiety.

 

I can’t recollect how many times I’ve struck up conversations with strangers or beautiful women just to overcome that fear.

To reach your full potential, you’ll have to overcome your fears in sales.

Whether that’s cold calling or the fear of rejection, or whatever.

 

But here’s ironic good news: 

 

Your fears are NOT real.

 

They are just imagined.

 

And once you do the thing you’re afraid of, you’ll realize that… no one cared anyway!

 

It was all in your own head!

 

You see if I didn’t develop character qualities in me like courage, faith, determination, and passion…

 

…I would have never discovered the superpowers that were lying dormant within me.

 

So yes, introverts can be great salespeople! (and of course, so can extroverts!)

 

We each have our own set of skills, talents, and superpowers lying within us to be developed.

 

And we each have our own set of challenges and struggles to overcome.

 

So it’s not like there is one better than the other.

 

You can be a GREAT salesperson whether you are an introvert or extrovert.

 

I hope this post has helped you in some way.

 

I know I struggled for years around this because our media and culture like to perpetuate the image that extroverts are better, which is just not true.

 

It took me years of struggle and development to understand these truths and the innate superpowers that lie within me.

 

Lesson #1: 

 

Understand that introverts can be great salespeople, as can extroverts. You already possess the innate talents within you to become a great salesperson no matter where along the spectrum you fall.

 

Lesson #2: 

 

Don’t believe what you see and hear in the media. They have their own agenda, and to always think for yourself. 

 

Ask yourself whether YOU believe something is true, and why? Have you looked at the facts? Or is it just a view or belief someone else pushed on to you?

 

If you found this article insightful, thoughtful, or valuable, please do me a favor and share it with a friend who could use it 🙂

 

 

Cheers!