The Introverted Salesperson
Who is the more qualified sales team? Choose one of the images below:
Who would you want to speak to when you are trying to decide which house to buy? Would you want the over-the-top enthusiastic stereotype? Or the person taking notes, allowing you to take time and have space and someone who is listening to you and your needs.
You want to close a deal in Times Square during rush hour? Hire an over-the-top salesman. Looking to grow your pipeline and retain your customer base for years to come? Hire that introvert!
When it comes to sales, the lifetime value of a customer is golden. One off sales hurt your bottom line especially when you consider the need to cover your customer acquisition costs. You want repeat customers. You need repeat customers. You want salespeople who are in it for the long haul.
Breaking the stereotype
Extroverts can take it too far. Their over-the-top demeanor can be a turnoff and translate as inauthentic. Introverts, however, bring a lot to the table. A lot more than you may have realized.
Human connection and the ability to engage in conversation with others are both required to be a successful salesperson. You need to appear to be happy and enthusiastic about your job and potential sales. You cannot be a complete hermit and make it in sales.
But. You should not just be talking for the sake of talking.
Speak and relate to clients with purpose. Introverts naturally inhibit essential traits and skills key to advancing in the field. Introverts may need to overcome some shyness, but the core of what a great salesperson comes naturally.
Want to make connections, build relationships and close deals? You’ve got to listen. Introverts are more naturally inclined to listen. They allow space for other voices and want to hear what they have to say.
Your job as a salesperson isn’t to push a product on someone who will have zero interest in it once they arrive home. It is to listen and understand your customer and use your expertise in your product line to suggest the best fit for the customer. You are kind of a matchmaker. You don’t want the “relationship” to end up with a messy divorce.
Listen. Know your client’s wants and needs.
Story from the field:
“One of my co-workers was a classic extrovert. He could strike up a conversation with anyone and walk into a social setting and quickly become the life of the party. Not to mention, he was able to close more deals than I was able to at a faster clip. However, by the end of the first year, more of my clients expanded their investments with my station and more of them renewed every quarter. I even found myself being invited to weddings and milestone birthday parties.
I think the big difference in our styles, is that I listened more, worked harder to understand my client’s needs and demonstrated more empathy. And while my relationships took longer to develop, they were deeper and more meaningful. My friend and I finished the year and over lunch, I said, “I don’t know how you do it… how do you get these people to buy so fast?” He shook his head and laughed. “I don’t know how you do it. You’re clients always come back and buy more from you.”Santo Criscuolo, SVP of Client Development at Collective[i]
Extroverts have a lot of friends. Introverts also have friends! They generally have a tighter circle with deeper relationships. Introverts savor meaningful human connection. They want it to be deeper and more authentic.
A challenge for an introvert in sales is how to get to a place where you are comfortable approaching a customer?
Don’t fall into the trap of asking the most common salesperson’s question “Can I help you with anything?” Odds are, 80% of the time we all say no to that question. We can navigate the store on our own. An introvert could easily flag that question as a nonstarter.
Want to make that meaningful connection? Channel your interest in substantial connections and get to know your customers and allow them to get to know you. Introduce yourself and give them a complement. Create common ground and get to know them a bit. A sales transaction should not be purely about the product. You can go deeper, like an introvert.
Don’t just offer complements and gather information about a customer to make them feel good and pretend that you care. If you ask a laundry list of questions without purpose, your potential customer will know. It’s obvious!
Take note of the information that you are asking customers for. (Literally!) Use that knowledge today and moving forward to demonstrate that you understand your client. You know their preferences and can anticipate their needs.
Armed with extensive knowledge of your clients, you will know when a product or service is a good fit. You will be able to make it relatable to your client in their language. You can now speak their language because you built that relationship and common ground. You “get” them.
Introverts have empathy. Introverts understand the need to cultivate and nurture relationships. You need to have empathy in sales because numbers and data only get you so far in closing deals. You don’t need a person to run numbers for a client. There is an app for that. You need a salesperson who is there for the client.
Without empathy you don’t have a sale.
Introverts had a hard time growing up. They were probably made fun of for not wanting to be loud and cheerful, etc. As a result, they can keep their cool. They can deal with harsh feedback and have thick skin.
You need to have grit and resilience to survive in sales. Ask your colleagues how they build up their resilience. Introverts have discovered coping strategies to navigate feelings of frustration. Ask them how they do it.
Remember that relationships matter. A lot.
You’re never going to close a deal with someone who has a great relationship with someone else who sells what you sell. Relationships really matter.
Selling is about assuring. It’s not about convincing. Channel your introvert in identifying with your client and building your relationship. It is why they will listen to your feedback, advice, and suggestions. Most of all, it is about caring.
Looking to collaborate with your introverted and extroverted colleagues? Looking to get input from your colleagues without worrying about mistakenly looping in your clients and prospects?
Let us introduce Collabria, an email collaboration tool that keeps those private conversations private. Apply for early access by becoming a Collabria Design Partner.
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