Jul 20, 2015
The feeling is all too familiar. It’s the anxiety you get when you’re in a situation where you have to influence others.
You’re very much aware of the toll that sales interactions can take on your psyche. Since you’re one of the introverted entrepreneurs, human interaction drains your energy. It’s not that you don’t enjoy other people. You are able to have fun in the company of others.
However, these social interactions don’t give you energy — they sap your energy.
This, combined with the fact that selling requires a lot of human interaction can make sales a seemingly daunting task for introverted entrepreneurs. For them, selling can sometimes feel like running a marathon with an elephant strapped to your back.
Okay, I’m exaggerating a little, but it’s true.
If you’re an introverted entrepreneur who doesn’t know how to sell, this can be a huge challenge. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Don’t believe the myth that only extroverts can be great salespeople. Introverted entrepreneurs actually have strengths that can lend themselves well to influencing others.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably like many other introverted entrepreneurs. You have awesome ideas. You have a product or service that could literally change the lives of the people who buy them. And you’re having some trouble getting others to see the value.
Perhaps you’re too intimidated by the idea of having to sell. Maybe you think you won’t be as good at it because you’re not the outgoing type. This article will give you some practical tips that can help you utilize the strengths you have as one of the introverted entrepreneurs out there.
These strengths actually give you an advantage in the world of sales.
Introverted Entrepreneurs Can Sell!
I’ve been in sales for about 10 years now but I’ve been an introvert all my life. I love being around people and having great conversations, but after a certain amount of time, I need to “disappear” and have some time to myself.
If you’re also an introvert, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
When I first got into sales, I realized very quickly that if I was going to succeed, I had to take a different approach than my outgoing, extroverted colleagues. I hated the idea of being that pushy, aggressive salesperson. I knew that most customers found this obnoxious.
Instead, I realized that my strengths lay in the fact that I knew how to form relationships with my customers. I was typically able to get a customer to like and trust me pretty quickly. As a result, I was able to provide more value and establish more credibility in the mind of my prospect.
Over time, I began to understand how I could leverage my strengths to become a better salesperson. When I embraced these strengths, I became a far more effective influencer.
Jennifer Kahnweiler, author of “Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide To Making A Difference,” says it this way in a recent interview:
“Introverts can be really highly effective influencers when they stop trying to act like extroverts and really build on the strengths that they have inherently.”
Introverted entrepreneurs can be just as effective at sales as extroverts, if they know how to use their strengths. If you’re an introverted entrepreneur, don’t try to use the same techniques as extroverts.
It doesn’t work. It’s like trying to join the NBA when you’re only 5 feet tall.
Instead, work your strengths.
When you learn how to leverage your strengths, you become far more influential, especially when it comes to building long term, profitable relationships with your clients.
Allow Time to Recharge
If you’re an introverted entrepreneur, you need to accept the fact that social interactions will drain your energy. There’s nothing you can do to prevent it.
Make sure that you carve out some time during the day to recharge. It’s important. You won’t be able to function at your best when your batteries are almost drained. If you want some good tips for recharging your introversion battery, check out this article.
Introverted entrepreneurs need to take time throughout their day to be alone. Even if it’s just for 10 to 15 minutes. I can tell you from experience that it makes a huge difference. These short recharging sessions can give you the push you need to close the next sale.
Focus On the Relationship
However, being an introvert doesn’t mean that you’re unable to socialize just as well as an extrovert. It just means that you socialize differently from extroverts.
Introverted entrepreneurs tend to do better in one-on-one interactions. Whenever possible, try to limit the interaction to one other person, or a smaller group. This will make it much easier to form a real relationship with your prospect.
Don’t feel like you have to rush right into the sale. It won’t work. Instead, take the time to understand your prospect and allow them to understand you. Show your human side. Find things that you and your prospect have in common and have a conversation.
It may feel like you’re wasting time on things that are irrelevant, but you’re not. You’re forging a bond between you and your prospect. When you do this, they are far more likely to turn to you as their resource. This is because you took the time to invest in them.
People buy from salespeople that they know, like, and trust. Without forming a relationship, you won’t know, like or trust you.
Also, don’t think that forming a relationship has to take a long time. You don’t have to spend weeks chatting about things you have in common. Just allow the prospect to see who you are beyond your company, and take the time to find out who they are beyond your desire to get them to buy. Once that is done, you will have begun building the relationship.
Use Your Superior Listening Skills
If you’re an introvert, you’re not much of a talker. You’re a listener. You like to get people to tell you their stories rather than having to share your own. You have a natural curiosity that makes other comfortable with telling you about themselves.
As a matter of fact, people have probably spilled their whole life stories to you even though you didn’t intentionally try to get them to open up. It’s a normal part of being introverted. People tend to trust us more easily.
Contrary to popular belief, great salespeople don’t have to be great talkers. They have to be great listeners. Otherwise, you’ll end up talking about a lot of things that don’t really address what your prospect’s needs are.
As an introverted entrepreneur, you are able to listen to what someone is telling you, and glean the information you need. It’s easier for you to gain a fuller understanding of your prospect’s situation. This is essential for any successful salesperson, regardless of where they fall on the extrovert/introvert spectrum.
Use your natural skill at listening to ferret out your customer’s pain points. Figure out how you can provide a solution. Don’t feel like you have to rush into your sales pitch. The more your prospect talks, the more you will learn and the more you will build trust with your prospect.
Don’t Focus On Selling, Focus On Consulting
In addition to being great listeners, introverted entrepreneurs also tend to be deep thinkers. We are able to take the information that is presented to us and use our critical thinking ability to discover needs and figure out how our product or service fills that need.
The best way for anyone to sell is to focus on the customer’s pain points. You shouldn’t be trying to sell a product, you should be trying to sell a solution to a problem.
Take a more consultative approach. Use your expertise to educate your customer on what they need. It’s a great way to provide value to the customer without them paying for it.
This is important. Why?
Because the amount of influence you have with a prospect is directly tied to the amount of perceived value you bring. If you can give them advice that actually helps them, you have provided value. This helps you establish yourself as a credible resource in the customer’s mind. You increase the chances that they will choose you instead of your competition.
Don’t Be Afraid to Close
I struggled with this. I was great at listening and getting the prospect to know, like, and trust me. But I wasn’t good at closing. I felt like I was being too pushy or aggressive.
I was wrong, and I’ve lost plenty of sales because of it.
Then, I realized that closing isn’t too pushy. If you have taken the time to engage with your prospect, listen to their pain points, figure out solutions, and offer helpful tips, you’ve earned the right to ask for the business.
However, you won’t get the business if you don’t ask for it. So don’t be afraid. If you have done your job well, your prospect won’t think you’re being too pushy. It doesn’t mean that they will accept your offer, but depending upon their objection, you may still be able to win the sale.
As a matter of fact, your natural listening skill can help you better understand why they are objecting. This puts you in a better position to turn the “no” into a “yes.”
Being a successful entrepreneur means knowing how to influence others. Of course, as with any skill, practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
If you’re an introverted entrepreneur, selling doesn’t have to be an intimidating undertaking. Don’t try to sell like an extrovert. Learn how to play to your strengths and you will become an unstoppable force of sales awesomeness.