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Why Introverts Make the Best Sales People

Why Introverts Make the Best Sales People

What is your idea of a great salesperson?  An email came across my desk the other day that really made me think about this question.  Like so many great ideas, this one is inspired by my loving mother (thanks Mom!). The email she sent had one small statement which really caught my eye:

“Your little brother is about to graduate and I think he should get into real estate sales.  He’d be great at it because he will talk to anyone!”

She’s right on a few points: My little brother is about to graduate, and he is in fact the type of person who will literally go up and speak to anyone. Even if the person isn’t particularly interested, he will just keep talking. It’s charming in a way, but also annoying at times. The area in which I disagree with my mother is about whether or not being willing to go up and talk to anyone makes you an ideal candidate for a sales position.

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When most people hear the word “salesman” , they picture a flashy, overly-smiley guy with smooth words and lots of charm.  He will chat with you for hours about anything and everything, and if he’s really good, he’ll have you handing over your credit card before you even understand what he’s sold you. He’ll collect his nice commission check and move on to the next customer, forgetting all about you.

This doesn’t really describe a true salesperson—this is the description of a con-artist. Sales is really the art of influence and assistance. As a salesman, I help people solve problems that my products or services address. If the potential customer doesn’t have a problem I can address, he’s not someone I will sell to. It’s that simple.

The key to being successful at sales is in understanding what needs drive your customer and how you can help them fulfill those needs. This is where being an introvert is a huge advantage. Most extroverts tend to “wing it” quite often, as a natural tendency: they like to get into a situation and figure things out as they go along, which is a great quality in social settings and creative work. Spontaneity is common and fun is almost guaranteed. This trait will also kill a sales career.  Customers become very suspicious of someone who is constantly smiling, laughing, joking, and talking—we all have an inherent “b.s. meter” that flares up anytime someone begins talking too much.  It’s quite a turn-off, and not conducive to making a customer want to buy.

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This is a field in which introverts excel, as they go about the sales process in a very different fashion.

Introverts:

1 Study their product/service deeply, knowing the strengths, weaknesses, and ideal prospect

Introverts know what they have on a deep level. When you begin speaking to an introverted salesperson, he or she will be scanning their knowledge to judge whether or not they can help you with their offering. Before they even begin to talk to you about what they have, they will determine if you are a good prospect to spend time with. They understand it takes more than a pulse and a wallet to make a good sale.

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2 Prepare their presentations and anticipate objections

I was a sales trainer for 7 years and I never worked with a top producer who would always “wing it.” The best of the best know exactly what they should say in any given situation; they study customer reactions to certain phrases and adjust their vocabulary accordingly, and read a lot of material on how to become better in their profession. Lastly, they realize they will likely only get one shot to present their product, so they make it count.

3 Think about the long-term value of the customer

Many extroverts will have dozens of casual friendships. They can go anywhere and meet people they know, hang out with them for a few hours, then head home. It’s easy to make connections, but because they are connected to so many people, it’s difficult to develop deep relationships. When it comes to sales, this leads to many short-term successes with angry customers on the back-end.

Introverts tend to have fewer, but deeper relationships with their customers. They really want to get to know the customer and help them over time. They aren’t looking for a single sale to get a bonus; they’re building a list of clients they can service for years, which creates a constant stream of referrals and repeat business.  It takes longer to build this type of sales cycle, but it’s the only way to create long-term success.

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So, contrary to popular belief, the talkative, loud, constantly laughing guy is not the “born salesman”; the quiet, introspective, hard-working person is.  That’s not to say extroverts are totally bereft of good sales qualities—the ability to approach people is crucial to sales, as is the capacity to handle rejection well. Introverts need to develop these skills as well. The difference tends to be that introverts will often work hard to develop the extrovert’s skills, while the extroverts will continue to try to get by on their natural charms.

As an extrovert, you can still be a top performer in your field; simply take the best qualities of introverts and pull them into your sales style.  You’ll be topping the charts in no time.

Thanks,

Trent

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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