I’ll just jump right in today and begin this post with a quote from a self-identified introvert. Three years ago this fellow transferred to outside sales with the same company where he had been a veteran tech support manager.
“When I joined the sales department I thought being an introvert would hinder me since I wasn’t the outgoing person that I assumed all salespeople were. I understood that to relate to everyone, it would be critical for me to adapt my style to unfamiliar audiences, and certainly that was somewhat stressful. But the good news was that some of my prospects were/are also introverts and appreciated my down to earth and caring style.
As an introvert, additionally I am an active listener and I found that very helpful in selling. Prospects comment often about my ability to remember specific details about their business which they say provides them a more personalized experience.”
So the short answer to the question in the title is, yes you can be a successful salesperson as an introvert. Like success in any field, being effective comes down to learned skills and not specifically temperament type. So here are a couple of pluses for an introvert’s side of the ledger:
Introverts are naturally critical thinkers
Without getting off the bus and wandering too far into the weeds, apparently there is something within an introvert’s brain suggesting more mental connections are made when questions are asked of them. This helps them anticipate objections and thoughtfully answer questions, making them quite consultative. Advantage: introvert.
Introverts make great listeners
All sales prospects want to be heard, but way too many salespeople rush right into their data dump, not allowing buyers to speak their minds. Introverts don’t have that overwhelming need to dominate conversations. They seem to be pretty good at Stephen Covey’s Habit #5; “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Advantage: introvert
So, for you introverts out there that want to succeed in sales, here are several suggestions to help you strengthen the castle and improve upon your results.
Gain maximum benefit from your communication skills – Given the choice, many introverts prefer to be alone, but by connecting and listening actively to others, your trust meter as a consultant will begin to spike.
Concentrate on person-to-person conversations – You obviously won’t be the poster child on the networking circuit, but you will be able to ‘rock’ relationship selling. Whenever possible, seek the one-on-one sales conversations, rather than the group presentations. Attempt to cut your prospects out of the herd, whenever this can be done.
Perform pre-call planning – The phrase, knowledge is power is doubly-important for introverts. However your company tracks relationships and interactions with customers, you should spend adequate time absorbing information that you can convert into talking points. When there is no prior relationship with a prospect, make sure to check their website, annual report, and anything you can uncover from search engines that’s company specific.
Practice makes better – Realizing that introverts are petrified of surprises or anything unforeseen, whatever your prospect conversations consist of; role play your assessment, presentation, or closing with a peer or family member. You will be much more relaxed when you come face-to-face with your prospects.
Sharpen your ax – By definition an extrovert is the hare, while an introvert is the tortoise. It is what it is, so as an introvert make sure you recharge. Balance your scheduled sales calls with sales admin tasks to provide needed and necessary breaks from front line face-to-face activities.
All this said, if you are an introvert with an interest in the selling profession, jump on in, the environment is fine. Your future customers will be better off as a result of your persistence in this pursuit. And yes, your paycheck will be far more rewarding than from any other occupation I can imagine.
———— Role Play by ZOOM————
“Doug, the main reason I hired you to provide some sales coaching for my team was that during your assessment of my situation, you told me something that stuck. ‘Training is not training unless the participants do it.’ It’s great that you make my guys role play concepts you teach, and being in a video conference allows me to see them do it AND watch their body language AND observe their facial expressions.” R.D. Pritchett. Watch clips of Doug’s ZOOM sessions HERE.
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