You’re an introvert, but you are in sales?
Welcome to the club! The combination may not be as unfitting as you might think. Our tendency to build deeper relationships and listen more than we talk are assets in targeting the need that makes a prospect hit the buy button and then building a loyal and referring customer.
An article on networking for introverts caught my eye and made me think that I should give some of my own tips.
- Be seen.
If you are like most introverts walking into a cold conversation is tough (and as disconcerting to most people being approach too). So, create opportunities to be seen and have others start conversations with you. I have found that public speaking and writing are great venues for not only sharing value first, but having people come to you.
Starting the conversation is hard, but sustaining can be even harder if you do not have a broad range of knowledge. The trick I use is to read the front page of each section of the daily paper (online or print edition is fine). This only takes about 30 minutes and gives you endless small talk ammo. You might even learn something or pick up a lead.
- Listen first.
If you ask someone what they do or where they are from you are guaranteed an instant starter conversation. People love to talk about themselves. Let them. It gives you time to get comfortable and you will immediately be armed with all kinds of needs and objectives for your pitch.
- Add value.
I always try to use the Jeffrey Gitomer principle of “Give Value First.” If you can offer some insight or recommendation that helps the person you are engaging you immediately have their attention and their interest in building a relationship.
- Build a relationship.
Be diligent about follow-up even when they are not a current customer. This type of thoughtful, regular interaction constantly gets me conversations like “what are you working on?,” “I have a friend that may be interested in something like that.”
Maximize your natural tendencies as an introvert to boost your sales opportunities instead of attempting to become an extrovert. You will have a lot less awkward conversations and a lot more sales conversations.