If you’re a struggling salesperson, it’s easy to think that great salespeople must’ve been born that way, not made. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Sure, some people just have “that thing” that makes them immediately great at sales. But that’s not true for the masses. For most of us, and for introverts, in particular, getting ahead in sales means following a learning curve that builds up to a trajectory that propels you into success.
Fake It Until You Make It
If you were to meet me in person, you’d probably never guess that I’m an introvert. Why? Because despite this quality, I’ve been very successful in sales. I faked it until I made it.
When I started selling, talking to strangers was really difficult for me. But as I continued to make myself approach complete strangers, I got a rush when I overcame my fear and pitched my product to a potential prospect. Making the sale gave me a confidence I hadn’t previously experienced before I tried my hand at selling, and eventually, selling started to feel more natural.
Taking Advantage of Your Introverted Qualities
Extroverted salespeople aren’t the only ones with advantages when it comes to selling. Introverted people also have natural qualities that lend themselves to a successful sales career. Here are just a few:
- Non-threatening approach. Extroverted salespeople often come off as aggressive, a quality that can turn people off — quickly. But introverts are non-threatening. In fact, their demure, gentle approach is actually attractive to people, because it doesn’t make them feel threatened.
- Sensitivity. Introverted salespeople are also more keen to sense how the prospect is feeling. So the introvert will notice when a prospect is uncomfortable and doesn’t want to hear about a product. On the other hand, an extroverted salesperson won’t realize a prospect is uncomfortable, nor will he care. Introverts tend to be more aware of these feelings but know how to navigate around those feelings in a respectful way, to get the prospect to listen to the pitch.
- Connectivity. While extroverts often have lots of casual relationships, introverts shy away from casual connections in favor of developing a few deeper relationships. As such, they are also able to connect with a different kind of audience than the extrovert can.
An Introvert’s Guide to Better Sales
Celebrate the qualities you bring to the table. Improving your sales’ abilities is possible, and it doesn’t mean trying to fit the mold of an extroverted salesperson. Here’s what you can do:
- Ignore the uncomfortable feeling. Essentially, you just have to rip off the Band-Aid. Embrace feeling uncomfortable. Because you are more sensitive to how other people feel when you approach them, you can connect better. But to sell, you have to be able to get around talking to strangers to make that connection. Use a friend to practice your cold-call pitch. Be prepared to stink at it—at first. But you’ll get better, and the guy that turns into a prospect will provide fuel for your fire.
- Keep pounding the pavement. Just because you get turned down by all 25 cold calls you make in one day doesn’t mean you won’t eventually be good at sales. Sales is an art, and it requires practice. Practice talking to strangers, pitching your product, and closing the deal.
- Create a challenge. Set goals for yourself that you must meet every day. For example, make 20 cold calls. Then, come up with a negative consequence for not meeting the goal – like skipping dinner or donating money to an organization you dislike – to provide motivation for meeting it.
- Roleplay. Find a friend or sales’ associate who will play devil’s advocate to your pitch. Tell the person to come up with every conceivable objection so you can practice how to respond.
Instead of looking enviously at extroverts, use your introverted qualities to your advantage and improve your sales, one day at a time.