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Everyone expects a salesperson to fit the high energy, fast talking, in-your-face stereotype. Many qualified people shy away from sales as a career because they are not perceived as a “people person.” But, being more comfortable listening than speaking can be as much of a benefit as the gift of gab. Selling for introverts requires understanding and emphasizing your strong points. It also means stepping out of your comfort zone in some areas. If just the idea of initiating a conversation makes you feel queasy and start to sweat, these tips are for you:
Listening skills are so important that the top companies give training classes on the art of listening. Introverts are great listeners. A great way to show you care about someone is to let them speak uninterrupted. You have to relax and focus on the speaker. People love to talk about themselves and allowing them to do so arms you with a lot of information about their needs and prepares you for their objections once you get into your pitch. You cannot allow yourself to be distracted by how uncomfortable you may be or preoccupied by what they may be thinking of you. Good listening means it is all about them; it is about understanding their words and feelings.
A successful career in sales is built on referrals and repeat business. Selling for introverts begins with trust. It may take more time to get to know a person who is an introvert, but they are typically viewed as more trustworthy than their fast talking counterparts. When you put the other person’s interest above your own, they know you are trustworthy.
Create a system to follow up and stay in touch with people. Begin by putting family and friends in your task management system. If you do not speak to or contact a person for months, you are off their radar. Get into the habit of contacting everyone on your contact list at least once per month by a phone call or email.
People do not like to be talked into something. They want you to solve their problems or fill a need. Give them some information of value upfront to demonstrate your knowledge. Even if you are brand new in your field, you have more understanding and expertise in your field than they do. While extroverts become bored easily researching and reading, an analytical nature and book smarts are beneficial to selling for introverts. Spend your cherished alone time becoming an expert in your field and you can worry less about reaching out to others, they will be drawn to you. When you are able to provide some insight or valuable information upfront to a potential client, they are immediately drawn in and interested in maintaining a relationship with you.
Change your mindset about sales. The world of sales does not belong to the loud snake oil salesmen; it belongs to the highly influential person who is comfortable and appreciates their own natural strengths. You do not have to shout to convince someone you are honest and care about them. It is obvious in your behavior. When you are knowledgeable in your profession, your social limitations and idiosyncrasies are less of a distraction for you. And when you are honest and truly caring about your clients, your traits and mannerisms are endearing to them.
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