Most people who do not know me really well would think I am an extrovert. In reality, I tend to align more with introverts. I love my down time, getting out of the matrix and slowing life down. Now, introverts are getting their moment in the spotlight with books like Quiet by Susan Cain and articles like the below extolling the virtues of introverts. Whether you consider yourself a salesperson or not, we all sell, and we all can learn to improve.
Here are some great takeaways:
- Instead of “getting your foot in the door” – Research and try to understand your customer.
- Instead of trying to “persuade” your client into buying something – Listen to their needs and get them what they want. Sometimes you don’t close, but you deepen the relationship.
- Instead of pushing to close the deal – React and adapt to the identified needs. Building a great network is the strong foundation to longterm success.
Whether you are selling a product or service, or trying to convince your significant other to go on a trip, these are great ways to deepen your relationships and improve your sales skills.
Rule #6 from my book The Fantastic Life: Stay Out of The Matrix
The Matrix represents perceived limitations that aren’t actually there. If you know you are an introvert, don’t let this hold you back from becoming a better salesperson. Instead, use your strengths to your advantage.
Why Introverts Are Better at Sales Than Extroverts
Back in the day, salespeople needed to be extroverted simply to survive. Today, not so much.
By: Geoffrey James
Jan 20th, 2017
The stereotype of a successful salesperson is an extrovert who sells anything to anybody. He (or, less commonly, she) charms customers so thoroughly that they sign on the dotted line before they know what hit them.
Customers, however, don’t find extroverted salespeople charming. On the contrary, most customers tune out the moment a seller looks or sounds like the stereotype.
The dislike and distrust of salespeople is nothing new; the fast-talking, backslapping salesman was a stock villain for nearly 100 years. (See: Gantry, Elmer.)
Customers hate being cajoled or manipulated into buying something they don’t want. As the old saying goes, “Everybody likes to buy, but nobody likes to be sold to.”
The near-universal dislike of stereotypical salespeople stems directly from the traditional definition of selling:
1. Intruding (to get your foot in the door)
2. Pitching (to persuade the customer to buy)
3. Persisting (to push until you make the sale)
Effective selling is quite different. It consists of:
1. Research (to understand the customer)
2. Listening (to understand individual needs)
3. Reacting (to adapt to the identified needs)
Research requires time spent alone on the Web, reading and analyzing information. Listening means being patient and quiet while remaining open to new ideas and perspectives. Reacting is all about letting the other person set the pace and the agenda.
These are all classic introverted behaviors that are difficult for extroverts to do well.
Why, then, do companies continue to employ and deploy extroverts rather than introverts in sales roles? The answer is that such companies don’t understand how technology is changing the sales process.
Back in the day, salespeople needed to be extroverts, because most new sales opportunities evolved from cold calling, originally in person, but later by telephone.
Extroverts tend to be good at cold calling and telemarketing, because they thrive on social interaction and tend to have thick skins and therefore the ability to cope with rejection.
Technology, however, has made cold calling ineffective. What with voice mail, call blocking, caller ID, no-call lists, it’s become nearly impossible to get a decision maker on the phone without an appointment.
(Note to chief sales officers: When your customers spend billions of dollars on technology to prevent your salespeople from interrupting them, take the damn hint.)
The collapse of cold calling as a lead-generation mechanism is the reason inbound or email marketing is so popular, BTW. A savvy email can easily engage a decision maker online and segue into a phone call, especially when that decision maker has already indicated interest.
Inbound or email marketing, however, demands an ability to research a customer, see the world from the customer’s perspective, and adapt to the customer’s situation and specific response–all skills that come easier to introverts than extroverts.
Now that technology has made cold calling obsolete, there’s no longer much reason for salespeople to be extroverts. Or as one might say in sales lingo: “We don’t need hunters, just farmers.”