Can introverts succeed in sales? There’s a common misconception that extroverts are more successful salespeople, as they’re naturally outgoing.
If you’re not naturally outgoing and often don’t feel comfortable in social situations with lots of new people, sales could make you feel like a fish out of water. But actually, being an introverted sales person can be a huge advantage! Yes, introverts can be successful in sales too, albeit in a different manner. How? Read on to find out.
What is an introvert?
Introverts are not social recluses or anti-social. The biggest difference between the two personality types is that extroverts tend to get energized by being with other people, whereas introverts may feel that being around other people is somewhat draining, and introverts often need to retreat for a while afterwards to refresh their energy stores.
In other words, introverts get energized by being alone, while extroverts are invigorated by social situations.This is not always a negative trait in business – plus, an introverted person possesses other great qualities that can be very beneficial in a professional business setting.
Introverts are often:
- Able listen deeply and intently to others
- Humble when talking, and do not tend to boast or brag about themselves
- Excellent at showing excitement about or genuine belief in a product or service, thereby are great at selling it, because they truly believe in it
- Able to provide deep, thoughtful responses with enough preparation time
- Great at analyzing buyer personality types, since many introverts are great at reading other people
Who makes the best salesperson: Extroverts or introverts?
In fact, most people tend to be ambiverts according to certain studies, (i.e. a combination of both introvert and extrovert) and these tend to make the best salespeople, as they possess characteristics from both personality types.
This study from The Wharton School says, “Despite the widespread assumption that extraverts are the most productive salespeople, research has shown weak and conflicting relationships between extraversion and sales performance”.
An introverted salesperson who doesn’t have back-to-back meetings every day may well be successful in this line of work. Sometimes just an hour or so in between meetings may be enough to “restore” their energy. It all depends on where that person is on the introversion scale.
An introverted salesperson is often able to dedicate their full attention to the customer and takes ample time to understand their needs. No one wants a pushy salesperson these days anyway: Consultative selling is all the rage and something the best sales leaders should aspire to.
If you think you are an introvert and want to succeed in a sales role, try the following tips:
1. Practice your small talk
When you cold call someone, you’ve never spoken to them before. It’s absolutely fine to pull out your go-to small talk questions, which you can prepare in advance.
- What’s the weather like where you are?
- Did you do anything exciting this weekend? (“Oh, wakeboarding, cool, I do/my brother does that all the time!”)
- What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
- Did you go away for the holidays/Thanksgiving/[fill in blank]?
- How long have you worked at [current company]?
- What are you currently struggling with there/challenged with there, in terms of [area of your expertise]?
- Oh, that looks nice! Where was that picture taken? [If they have a picture in the background of your Zoom call, for instance].
You don’t want to waste their time, so prepare some questions in advance that also provide insight into the type of conversation you’re about to have.
2. Research your prospect fully, and we mean FULLY
Naturally, you will research your prospect – but most sales reps do a quick skim of the prospect and that’s it. Not enough.
Sure, you have limited time, but a part of consultative selling is to go deep and truly understand what your prospects are challenged with. And it may be something you haven’t anticipated at all.
Researching your prospect is the most crucial component of sales, which will improve the chances of offering them a valuable proposition.
To check if there’s a good match between your value proposition and your prospect, consider:
- Department of work & industry
- Company size
- Annual revenue
- The business problem they’re facing
- If your product or service can address their business problem
- Their history of buying similar solutions
- Any big business deals or mergers they’ve had recently
Ask yourself; What’s the most important thing for your prospects? Some things you can consider:
- Check their social media to see what they’re passionate about based on the content they’re reacting to or sharing
- Do they have any new announcements or updates?
- Are there any things that connect you? Have you been to the same events?
- Have they been to your website recently? If that’s the case, what search keywords brought them to your site? What pages did they go through?
This makes you more prepared for the second part of the sales cycle and helps you understand your prospect better overall.
3. Prepare & practice
To excel in sales, introverts benefit from ample preparation time so they can thoughtfully create their arguments.
Before the actual call, especially if it’s a follow up call, carve out some time to prepare.
If it's a big deal and a business-critical call, role play it with a colleague or even your sales coach acting as the customer, to get some critical feedback on your approach.
Record your conversations so you can replay them and amend your pitch as needed. This helps you identify things you may need to improve upon, and better prepare you for real-life customer conversations.
Keep a list of all of the objections that you’ve heard so far. Or, you can probably imagine all the potential objections that anyone might ever have. Then, prepare answers to known and possible objections, and you’re less likely to be caught off guard, scrambling for answers. This can also help ease your nerves and to build up confidence.
4. Ask questions, listen more & summarize
When you are in the actual call with a prospect, take time to actively listen to what they are saying. Take lots of notes, and record the call if you can and have their permission.
When you’re listening to your prospects and prompting them to go deeper by asking questions, you can summarize what they’ve said and demonstrate your understanding of their challenges.
By summarizing the main points of the conversation (ideally including: their situation, challenges and the type of solution they may be after) you’ve heard so far, we demonstrate that we’ve been listening. This will trigger an “Aha!” moment for prospects and is a great way to connect.
Then ask: “Is this correct?” The prospect will either light up and say, “Yes, that’s exactly right,” or they’ll clarify that you’ve missed a crucial point. Either way, you’re going to go even deeper.
Giving examples and telling stories will help here too, as they paint a picture of similar situations you’ve dealt with successfully.
5. Allow yourself time to recharge your social energy
Does talking to people all the time feel too much to bear? As we mentioned above, since introverts get energized by being alone and extroverts are invigorated by social situations, introverts need time to recharge after social situations.
This isn’t something that should set you back.If you’re able to build in some admin/ email time in between meetings, it’s a way to make that recharge time count.
It’s important for introverts to be mindful and know when to pull back from too much socializing to avoid a burn out. Also, the sales industry has its ups and downs, likewise busy periods and quieter periods.
Some days you may be successful, while other days may be slightly slower. As an introvert, you may tend to dwell longer on rejection – but don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s just all part of the game. Overthinking your prior performance or stressing over what has been will do no good. Keep focusing on new opportunities that you can leverage in the market.
To keep your energy levels up, eat healthy, sleep well and build in some time to recover, especially with admin time in between calls. The key is to find a good balance and give yourself the much-needed break to remain focused.
Own your introversion by displaying quiet confidence
One of the most important things for a sales person is displaying confidence. Why? It gives more credibility to both you and your company. A person who comes off as confident in what they're speaking about will be more credible and believable. “They really know what they're talking about!”
Customers will develop confidence in you if you are confident in yourself. However, we're not talking about boastful, brash confidence as this can be very off-putting, even for Alpha-prospects. Quiet, humble confidence wins the day. Talking in an excited, yet clear, and confident manner, will help you come across as more knowledgeable.
It doesn’t instill confidence in your prospects if you talk too fast or sound too monotonous, boring orscared, trying to convince your customers to buy from you. One tip is to visualize yourself already having won the account, achieving your end goal to give you that confidence boost.
Another pro tip: Invest in the right revenue enablement tools. Especially those who help you with integrated guided and consultative selling.
If you’re an introvert and want to be the best salesperson, don't despair! Just because you’re naturally more reserved doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. Capitalize on your strengths and don’t let your weaknesses dictate your journey to success.
Sign up for a free demo to find out how Pitcher can help you create an effective sales enablement program at your company.
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