It’s a myth that the best salespeople are extroverts. In fact, some of the best sellers I know are not the loud talking, master networking, ‘life of the party’ types that we associate with the role.
Introverts tend to be thinkers, process oriented, and good listeners — great behaviour traits to possess for any business. But of course, in order to sell, one also has to take action, get out of the office, meet and talk to people regularly. With that spirit in mind, here are 10 steps introverts can take to improve these selling skills.
1. Be prepared. Introverts excel when they don’t have to think on their feet. Write your questions in advance and set an agenda with the client prior to the meeting. Preparation leads to confidence and confidence will lead to success.
2. Develop strategies to retain and grow your existing customer base. Introverts are more comfortable talking to people with whom they already have relationships. Regular communication allows you to spot upsell and cross-sell opportunities quickly.
3. Ask for referrals. Most introverts hate cold calling — and I can’t blame them. So don’t make them. A warm introduction will ensure prospects are receptive to your calls and e-mails thanks to a common bond — your relationship with the referrer. These types of referrals are often much easier to close.
4. Attend formal networking events that include a sit down meal. If assertiveness is not your strong suit, avoid cocktail parties at all costs. You will talk to more people more easily if you are sitting at a table with a captive audience.
5. Attend networking events on your own. If you go with friends, colleagues, or family members, you are less likely to meet anyone new.
6. Speak at association events and join Toastmasters. Successful sellers speak confidently and present well. Toastmasters has an excellent reputation for helping members become better communicators and leaders, regardless of their experience. I’m a graduate myself.
7. Love what you do. If you are passionate for what you are selling you will be excited to share it with others. Focus on solving client problems, not concerns about how others might perceive you.
8. Set reasonable goals. You may be introverted, but that doesn’t mean you’re not competitive. Set sales goals and tell your spouse, boss, employees and friends about them. Engage their help and get busy on activities that can help you accomplish your goal. Also be sure to reward yourself handsomely.
9. Change your attitude about sales. Rather than thinking ‘My job is to sell something to that person,’ say to yourself ‘My job is to start a dialogue and to figure out how I can help prospective buyers.’ Don’t think about a sales process, think about facilitating the buying process and yourself as a valuable resource.
10. Review your successes first. Before you start your day, review past successes. Review testimonials, remember happy clients, remind yourself of big wins. Stop being afraid and be proud of the people you have helped. They love the work they do with you and others will as well.
If you want to be successful in business you need to learn to sell. The good news is that selling is a learned skill, not an instinctive behaviour. Everyone -- introverts and extroverts alike -- can do it successfully.
As the founder and president of Engage Selling Solutions, Colleen Francis helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.