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Introverts and Sales

Introverts and Sales

In 2010 I read the book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain…

I guess I was on a journey of self exploration at the time…

Through my teenage and young adult life I wanted to believe that I was an extrovert…

And in some ways I am, when I am with my close friends… I’m very extroverted…

But when it comes to acquaintances and people who I don’t really know on a personal level…

I’m more of an introvert in that situation.

I’m just not a big fan of “small talk” – you know, the kind of chit chat that you do… just to do it?

When there’s no real substance behind it?

Yeah, I can’t stand that.

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I think growing up we all want to be extroverts, cause those are the people that get portrayed in TV shows as having all the fun, getting all the chicks, and having a super exciting life…

At least that’s what they show on TV anyways… lol

I used to also think that good salespeople needed to be extroverts…

However… after being in B2B sales for the past 6 years… I’ve realized some important distinctions about sales and introverts…

And as well as learned some unique things about myself.

I’d like to share those learnings with you guys here because I think they are very important…

In case you’ve been pondering on some of these things as well.

#1: You don’t need to be an extrovert to be good at sales

First of all, I want to say that it’s not like black or white…

You’re not either 100% extrovert or 100% introvert…. It’s more like a sliding scale

Or a spectrum…

I think of myself as probably 2/3rds introvert and 1/3 extrovert… something like that…

But anyways,

You certainly don’t have to be an extrovert to be great at sales… far from it….

There are pros and cons to each…

I’ll speak more on the introvert side as that comes from personal experience, and I’ll speak to some of the extrovert side from what I’ve observed.

People often think that a good salesperson is someone who talks fast, is super slick, and can “sell ice to an eskimo…”

No….

That’s called a CON man….

Not a SALESman….

After being in sales for the last few years, and really having had to DEVELOP this skill (because I would NOT consider myself a natural salesman… but a LEARNED salesman…)

And seen some success in the field…

One of the KEY things I’ve learned is that sales is not about talking as much as it is about LISTENING.

Simply put, sales is a LISTENING GAME.

And there’s certain advantages to being an introvert in sales…

There’s pro’s and con’s to everything.

Perhaps for an extrovert, it’s easy to strike up conversations, and simply engage in conversations all day because that’s what fuels you.

To be honest, I don’t know because that’s typically not my experience.

The challenge for the introvert is that introverts typically are not as comfortable engaging with people…

Especially strangers…

It can be scary, it can be uncomfortable, it can be emotionally draining & taxing….

I get it…

I’ve been there…

But I realized on some level when I was young that I HAD to master this skill if I wanted to be who I wanted to be…

I realized that if I wanted to be successful, I HAD to become good with people…

I HAD to become good at sales and influence.

(…or at the very minimum… not suck at it lol….)

I realized to suck at this would mean a life of mediocrity forever

So I committed myself to overcoming these fears and getting much better at communication and sales…

Which is the whole reason why this blog got started in the first place.

Now,

What I will tell you though is that if you’re an introvert and decide to push through your comfort zone and master these skills I’m talking about….

What you’ll soon discover is that you’ll actually have some superpowers when it comes to sales…

What kind of superpowers you ask?

Well the most awesome kind… for example:

  • Introverts can be very thoughtful
    • This is helpful because you can be considerate of your prospect, and genuinely care about his or her needs…. It’s not “sexy” per se – as in it’s not shown in the movies or media much… but this is actually incredibly powerful in business and sales. Who doesn’t want to be cared for? Remember the old adage that “no one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care?” Yeah, dat part.
  • Introverts can be great listeners
    • As I stated earlier, sales is really a listening game. And by not talking so much, you’ll naturally gravitate towards listening…. Which is actually more effective in sales anyway. The best salespeople are great listeners… Look at the top salespeople in your industry, if you shadow them in their conversations and meetings, you’ll quickly notice they are DEEP listeners… listening to understand their client’s world.


Just as a doctor needs to understand a patient before he prescribes something, so must the master salesman do the same….

Listening is the name of the game…

Introverts can be sensitive – which is great for sensory acuity.

Sensory acuity is absolutely key.

One mistake I see often extroverts make is that they get in their own way…

They talk… too much…

And they sometimes don’t know when they’re overstepping someone’s boundary or the prospect has had enough of them blabbering on about something that the prospect doesn’t care about…

One advantage that introverts have in this area is that introverts are often times more sensitive… so they can better sense what’s going on in the conversation, they can sense the emotional “vibes” their prospect is putting out, and therefore can calibrate their next response or move much more effectively.

Now with all that said, as an introvert you do have your fair share of challenges to overcome…

Like I mentioned for example, overcoming shyness, overcoming fear or anxiety, and just overall putting yourself outside your comfort zone.

But I can promise you that if you DO do that, you’ll soon notice certain superpowers lying dormant within you that were just waiting to come out!

The other thing about being an introvert and in sales…

Is that you want to watch out for your emotional energy.

If you get drained after some time of social interaction, especially “small talk,” you might want to be careful about where you’re spending your energy…

If you only have so much energy to give, make sure it’s going to the places are going to produce the greatest impact or ROI.

Also,

You will also begin to appreciate your downtime, because that’s when you can recharge.

Introverts can really be effective salespeople, with their own sets of strengths that extroverts don’t have, and vice versa.

Because of good listening skills, you will be able to much better understand your prospects than someone who does too much of the talking and not enough of the listening…

Those people will miss what the prospect is saying and trying to convey…

They don’t yet understand how it’s the prospect who tells you how he wants to be sold and what he wants to be sold….

That’s why listening is such a key component of effective selling…

If we will just listen…

We can find out exactly how someone wants to buy!

They will go ahead and tell you…

All you have to do is listen….

It’s the same concept as when Tony Robbins says, “In order to influence someone, you must already know what influences them.”

From what I’ve observed of some extroverts selling…

Some have tended to over speak, and not listen as much as they should….

Thereby lacking the knowledge they need to “sell” or “influence” the prospect….

They were too busy talking and didn’t pay attention to listen or understand.

Sure they might have been naturals at the initial small talk or even building rapport over this Sunday’s football game…

But when it came the art of actual sales, they lacked the ability to really exert influence…

Or stated another way,

They really lacked the ability to understand what their prospects wanted and give it to them in that way…

It’s a shame in that situation because both parties lose out of something…

The prospect didn’t get to see the potential solution to their problem…

And the salesperson missed out on compensation and the satisfaction of knowing they helped someone that day…

Either way, it’d be better off if the salesperson would genuinely listen and understand what their prospect was trying to say.

It is really only through genuinely listening to someone,

Can we truly begin to understand what they are communicating, desiring, and fearing…

And it is upon that understanding…

That we can help someone change, that we can begin to exert influence…