Recently, at one of those startup bootcamp conferences, a woman said some wise words: “As a founder you have to be a salesperson in the first second.” Which, since the majority of startups are coming from the shyer, tech world, discomfort with sales can seem like just another hurdle in the track of long-distance entrepreneurship.
As she continued, “I don’t think anyone wants to be a salesperson, but there are some people who are natural salespeople.” And we assume introverts aren’t them. I disagree. I know many introverts who cringe at the idea of sales, but, when given the chance, are some of the best sales reps you’ll ever meet. So today I embark to tell the introverts of the world why they too can be sales rockstars and offer a few tricks to help along the way.
1. You Don’t Scream Sales
…and that’s a good thing! Remember Matilda’s used-car-selling dad? People are more likely to be open and direct with you, than an intense salesy person cold calling them all the time. And imagine if your customers are introverts. They sure will appreciate your more mellow manner. The more timid tend not to be pushy or obnoxious. People don’t feel like they are being given the hard sell, they feel like they are part of a budding relationship.
2. You’re a Great Listener
People don’t want to hear what you have to say, they want to hear what they want you to say. You are a natural at asking insightful, open-ended questions that get right down to your clients’ needs and then offering a response to those client needs. When you do speak, it’s to parrot back what they said, with something like: “What I’m hearing is that your concern is…” Socratic sales FTW!
3. You Hesitate
Since you are less comfortable cold calling, you’re more likely to qualify your leads and work to build up to the relationship with online contacts, instead of jumping into a day of cold calls. You will really work your sales pipeline until you have exactly the right moment to pick up that phone.
Secrets to Introverted Sales Success
I talked to a shyer friend who was ranked 12 out of 5,000 recruiters. Here’s what he had to say about which personality type makes a true sale star:
Introverts Upsell Better
“In recruitment, for example, extroverts are much better and generally do better in getting the business in the door, but it’s the introvert and their less flashy personality that keeps the business and grows the account. They usually are seen as more operational and less on trying to sell you their own mother whenever possible.”
Introverts Evaluate Leads Better
“Extroverts try to say what you want to hear and do everything possible to win the business. An introvert approach would be to evaluate whether the business really has a need for his or her services and whether they themselves can really add benefit. When they spot that and genuinely agrees that they can add value the passion comes out, and clients see that.”
5 Tricks, Tools, and Tips to Sell Better (Without Changing Who You Are)
Diversity is crucial to the success of any workplace. And it’s not just demographically, a team made up of different personality types is essential. While you want to excel at sales, you don’t want to change who you are or try to become someone you’re not in the process. Here are some tricks and tools for how to make that sale more easily.
1. Start by Talking to Strangers
- Ask people how they are doing when they ring you up at the grocer, look your server in the eye. And even though you’re a homebody, go out and force yourself to have a little fun sometimes. Take baby steps, by taking low-pressure social actions like these where you make eye contact and smile to each person.
- Focus on developing the contacts you make, less on making new ones. An extrovert can work a room at a networking event, meeting 40 people, but what would she do with that? If you take it slow and meet three people, you are much more likely to have a memorable first meeting and to follow up properly toward a mutually desired action. (Plus, it’s much less exhausting for you this way.)
- And work to develop every teeny contact you make, no matter how far they are related to your sales targets. It’s not about how many people, it’s about how many people you know who know other people. Sometimes there’s more power in you following up with that one extrovert who worked that whole room, who can then introduce you to that one other person in the room who could be your perfect contact.
2. Play Well with Others
Partner with other sales reps. Working as a team means that you will probably service your clients better and you won’t feel alone. Here are some fab collaboration software to help you do just that. Each app comes equipped with Gantt charts, file sharing, and look to improve your team’s productivity and profitability. Either of these three collaboration apps could help you better communicate with your team in order to offer the best service possible, which, in itself, is the best sales.
3. Use the Internet to Its Full Advantage
When you’re reticent to pick up the phone, you want to use all the tools available to you to manage and organize your customer relationship. Specifically a customer relationship manager or CRM is a great way to integrate your various forms of communication — email, social media, notes — not only for yourself but across teams.
4. Do Your Homework
Sometimes you are going to have to jump in the deep end, but you can still wear your water wings. Before going to an event or making a sales call, do your research. Know who you want to talk to and have an idea of what they want. Surveying and feedback management tools are logical ways to do that.
5. Work with the Customers You Already Have
It doesn’t take as much effort to contact the folks you already know and they can help you find new clients. They can also become the sellers of your product, as brand ambassadors through affiliate programs. Promote your business on as many review sites as possible to let your clients do the talking for you.
6. Bonus Disney Lesson
In the end, take advice from Dory, and just keep swimming. The busier you are, the harder you work, the more you achieve, the less you’ll notice your nervousness and worry! Just remember, nobody’s perfect, so don’t try to be!
And when all else fails, if you are passionate about your what you’re doing, you will find it much more natural to sell.