Introverts can be exceedingly successful, including doing exceedingly well in sales roles. Michael Jordan, JK Rowling, Bill Gates, President Obama and even Christina Aguilera who gets up and belts out a tune are all introverts. Introverts don’t automatically lack confidence or self-belief or have to be shy. Interestingly, up to 40% of the population are introverted (to varying degrees), myself included. I should add as an experienced business coach, four times winner of ‘Networker of the Year’ award, experienced BDM and sales trainer – being an introvert is an asset, not a liability!
Introverts are naturally super observant and very thoughtful and naturally great listeners, which are just some of the traits which really help in selling. They often pick up on queues, hear someone’s tone, read their body language and truly hear others concerns or initial objections, which can then be addressed. They will listen to team, co-workers, customers and prospects – which is what most people want; to be listened to; rather than being sold to.
Here are my top tips for introverts who are in a selling role and want to succeed:
Understand that introverts can sell – super well.
Upon reading the intro to this blog, I’ll bet there were some facts there that you didn’t know. I, for one, didn’t know that those people were introverts. Being an introvert can really help in a sales role; so, own it and work it to your advantage.
Leverage your soft skills.
You’ve got some awesome soft skills (like listening and empathy) so use those skills. Don’t try to be the outgoing extroverted person; be yourself and own it. Your nature and ability to listen and connect to people without being pushy will take you far. Chances are you will be good with note-taking and remembering to follow through on promises; all great traits of an effective salesperson.
Don’t try to sell, try to educate, guide and help.
Don’t try to hard sell or push people into things they don’t want. In fact, these days, people are looking for someone to educate them, help them and guide them to the right solution. Be a problem solver foremost and the sales aspect will just naturally show.
Find and use creative workarounds.
One of the things you may find uncomfortable is saying “I’m awesome”. Now whilst (when say selling a service you provide) you don’t have to say that exactly, you do need to portray a degree of positive confidence. But if that’s uncomfortable, then let others do it for you. Testimonials and reviews are an exceptional way to have someone say how great you are – and the extra benefit is that when someone else says it, it has far greater value, than if we said it ourselves.
Focus on 1-on-1 conversations.
For the introvert, large groups may not be your thing; so just focus on more of the 1-on-1 situations. Build your sales process around a system which works well for you and feels relatively comfortable. It might not feel ultra-comfortable in the beginning, so you might need to push yourself out of your comfort zone, just a little.
Don’t rely on cold calling.
Chances are, this isn’t your cup of tea and that’s ok! There is a tonne of different marketing methods available for most businesses; so access a range of strategies which works for the business and works for you.
Ask questions and dig deep.
Questions are a great way to understand your customer’s objectives, needs and wants. It’s a critical aspect of the sales process. Because you’re likely a good listener, you’ll hear any concerns, read body language and generally pick up on queues that might not be always present to everyone. Be sure to listen to your prospective customer’s answers and feel comfortable asking further (relevant) questions.
I present often on this subject (listening, whether in a sales context or during networking) and I often use the expression: ‘we were given two ears and one mouth – use them proportionally’. And it’s true, when you’re the person who listens twice as much as you speak, you learn so much, which can really help throughout the sales process.
Allow plenty of time to prepare.
A good salesperson might walk into a sales meeting and look to be casual, relaxed and just ‘winging’ it, but in reality, they will (should) have prepared well in advance. For example, before I talk to a prospective new business coaching client, I will look at their website and check them out online. I will review the discovery questionnaires they have sent back and have ensured I’m suitably prepared for the meeting. Every salesperson should be well prepared for their meeting.
Keep sales meets short and on point.
If you’re particularly introverted, then keep the face-to-face aspect of the meeting shorter. You may create a sales process for yourself which works well for you and for your customer. Again, my questionnaire means prospective clients can give me information (at a time that suits them) and means we don’t have to spend as much time in the meeting on me asking questions, but instead I can go more quickly into my sample coaching session – which I believe delivers better value for the prospect.
Use your CRM or notes.
Good salespeople keep great notes, usually in the CRM, and keep those notes up-to-date and current. Those records often can be exceedingly helpful during the sales process; so keep great notes to make your life easier.
Give yourself time to recharge.
For introverts, we recharge often with quiet time alone, whereas extroverts recharge in the company of others. For this reason, if you’ve spent a lot of your day with people and selling, you’ll need some ‘time out’ alone to recharge and refresh. Recharge activities for introverts are many and varied; I’ll bet you already know what helps you to recharge. Schedule your re-charge time so you get that great balance.
Practice, learn and adjust.
Part of doing anything well is practice, learning from experiences, tweaking the process and adjusting your approach. Track your sales conversion rate. With practice, you’ll likely see improvement and this will likely motivate you to continue on the right path. You might even get to a point where you love working in a sales role. With practice, you’ll get to a stage where it’s probably a pretty good process, but always be open for improvement, particularly as things can change, potentially caused by outside influences and situations. Being practiced is great, but also be willing to be flexible.
When you do something well, it often occurs through turning up, day after day and consistently doing what needs to be done. Build and develop your sales processes and then follow those systems consistently. If you are busy, this is especially the best time to follow systems and processes as they often stop errors, mistakes or gaps in output. Another important aspect of consistency is follow-up. Most leads should be consistently followed-up; you are not harassing a person when you follow up on them; you’re actually doing what you should be doing, helping them and at the same time, likely improving your sales conversion rate.
When it comes to sales, maximise your assets and leverage on your introverted skills and abilities. Make the most of what you have, be confident in your sales process and your sales results. If you want some sales training, reach out to me at my Contact Page.