How to Sell When You’re Introverted or Shy

How to Sell When You're Introverted or Shy

Your eyes dart around the room, looking for the quietest corner. You head over there, hoping not to make awkward eye contact with anyone as you pass through. Maybe it’ll be easier to sell your product after you’ve settled into a corner. Maybe potential customers will approach you, money in hand, ready to buy before you even need to sell. No luck. Instead, there’s small hubs scattered around the room, each containing at least one charismatic, smooth-talking leader.

You adjust your name tag, check the time on your phone, and try to look important but approachable. It’s not working. Instead, you feel smarmy. But, you have to sell.

How do you randomly approach strangers and ask them to buy stuff from you? Is that even natural?

At first, you may think that you can never compete with that guy. You know that guy–the life of the party, the middle of the hub, the one who never meets a stranger, who thrives off of the excitement of the crowd, who basically body surfs over a group of prospective clients. Perhaps you’ve resigned myself to the idea that, in an extroverted society, your introverted personality is undesirable.

But, there’s a secret that will allow you to stay true to your introverted personality and still sell like a boss. I created this handy guide for you where I share the secret to successfully selling as an introvert. And it’s all yours for five easy payments of $19.95. I’m joking. It’s free. Here it is:

 Introverts do 7 things better than extroverts and these 7 things are key to selling.

You can be an excellent salesperson without flogging your introverted nature. In fact, in many ways, I think you can be an even better salesperson than your extroverted colleague. And no crowd surfing necessary.

But First, A Word About Shyness

Many people mistakenly confuse introversion with shyness. The truth is that shyness can affect both introverts and extroverts.

Are You an Introvert, or Just Shy?

Introversion is a personality trait. It refers to how you energize. While extroverts energize by being with other people, and exchanging ideas, and talking to think, introverts energize in solitude, have rich inner worlds, and think before talking.

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Some societies are decided more introverted (think China or Finland). In America, extroversion is the exalted ideal.

If your natural tendency is to develop deep relationships with a limited amount of people who know how to leave you alone so that you may spend indulgent amounts of time watching Netflix alone, you’re probably an introvert.

On the other hand, if you are stuck at home watching Netflix and craving social interaction but paralyzed with the fear of introducing yourself to new people, you’re probably just shy.

Introverts don’t want to; shy people want to, but can’t.

I can see how, on the surface, it’s easy to confuse the two. Shyness is commonly attached to introverts, but people misread the introvert’s dread of shallow social interaction as fear. Introverts aren’t afraid of social situations, just drained by the energy it takes to leave your rich, inner life and interact with actual people.

What If You’re Both Introverted and Shy?

The double whammy! Yes, it is possible to be both. But, because introversion isn’t going anywhere, it’s best to tackle the shyness. Fortunately, this guide will help you overcome your shyness, while championing your introversion. So, let’s dive in!

What You Do Well

1. You Prepare

An introvert is usually a well-prepared person. It’s rare for a situation to completely surprise an introvert. As an introvert, you spend so much of your time analyzing situations, thinking of how you feel, what you didn’t say, and what you need to say.

2. You Research

No extrovert alive can match the amount of research the typical introvert puts into simple act of ordering takeout. I know introverts who will spend an hour scouring Yelp before deciding on which restaurant to try.

3. You Listen Actively

Introverts seek deep interactions with others. Because of your normal tendency to keep quiet, you allow the other party to do the talking–but you also listen actively to what they say.

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Finally! A reason to champion your quiet nature. Although you may not be the loudest salesperson, you will undoubtedly be the most well-prepared. Being quiet allows you to truly listen to what is being said, and what’s not being said, as well.

4. You Forge Long-lasting Relationships

Because introverts crave deep interactions, you often establish relationships with few. Those relationships, however, are long-lasting because they’re built on mutual respect.

5. You Focus

Introverts excel at focusing on one task. Instead of multitasking where several tasks get shallow attention, introverts tightly embrace one task at a time.

6. You are Authentic

This is not to the exclusion of extroverts, but introverts often have a strong desire to be genuine and authentic. The reason many introverts eschew small talk is because it feels superficial and often-times denies one’s true feelings. An introvert would much rather talk about things that are true and valuable and deeply felt.

7. You Analyze and Solve Problems

One of the benefits of living in your head is that you’re constantly picking apart problems and finding solutions. Or, if you’re like me, you’re correcting people’s grammar in your head. Being able to see a problem and solve it is invaluable in Sales, and we’ll talk more about that in the next section.

Set Yourself Up For Success

So, now that you know the 7 things that you do well, it’s time to leverage them into a successful sell.

*Find a way to believe in what you’re selling

This is the first step, and you’ll be using your authenticity for this one. Whatever product you’re selling, it’s important to feel connected to it. Too often, sales is about how others can be useful to you as the salesperson. That model will come across as shallow and scammy to you, who craves deep interactions with others, even customers.

Answer this question: How can my product be useful to others?

Being able to answer that question is the first step to success. Once you start to see your product as a deeply valuable product to someone else, it’ll make it easier for you to sell to them. You will believe that the customer needs this item, and it’s no longer about tricking them into something.

*Become an expert

Now’s the time to use your superpowers (and Google) to research the heck out of your product. You’ll need the power to research and the magic shield of focus, and maybe your own theme song, if you’re willing to go that far.

It’s important to be fully knowledgeable about the product you’re selling. Whether it’s socks or stocks, you need to know all there is to know about it. And you can do it, because you’re an super introvert. I may be getting carried away with the superhero metaphor.

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How can becoming an expert help you sell?

When you reach expert status, customers start coming to you.

How do you become an expert?

Write the book on it. No, literally, write the book on it. Whatever your product, you can use your writing to position you as an expert. Write an ebook, start a blog, tweet responsibly and often. Introverts are often better at writing than speaking, so use it to your advantage.

Oftentimes, the website with more information wins over the customer because that website seems to have more authority and knowledge on the product.

*Understand your customer

Understanding your customer requires analysis and problem-solving. Here are two questions to help you decipher who your customer is

  1. Who is my customer? (Age, demographic, gender)
  2. Who is not my customer?

It’s very tempting to say you don’t discriminate, and sell to all, but that isn’t a very effective plan. For introverts, particularly, it’s important to narrow down who your target customer is, so that you can one-on-one relationship with that person. It becomes a more specific conversation, instead of seeing what sticks, and that’s crucial for the introvert personality.

*Warm Up to a Cold Call

Is there anything more dreadful than a cold call? I doubt it. But, for most salespeople, cold calling is a necessary evil.

Fortunately, we live in a digital age where you can warm up a cold call. Using your research skills online, you can locate the correct party you need to speak to, and approach that person through email, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Because your writing is so much better than your speaking (in most cases), you’ll really be able to show-off your product without stumbling over your words.

Social media definitely plays to your strengths. Even though you’re interacting with others, it’s at your own comfortable pace, after you’d had the opportunity to formulate your thoughts.

Work LinkedIn and Twitter like a part-time job.

Sell, Sell, Sell! (without being smarmy)

Now that the’ve set yourself up for success, it’s time to start selling!

*Perfect Your Pitch

As an introverted salesperson, you will probably need to rely on a script. This helps you overcome social awkwardness when you’re first meeting a client. At first glance, it may seem disingenuous to rely on a script because you’re not speaking from your heart, right?

Wrong.

You can write the script from your heart. You can (and should) deeply mean what you’re saying, but it helps to rely on a rehearsed message, instead of speaking extemporaneously.

Stumbling over your words gives off the impression that you’re an inexperienced newbie, and not the expert that you must be in order to sell.

Your script doesn’t need to be long or Shakespearean. In fact, it shouldn’t really be over 30 seconds, which is about how long it takes for the average customer to start getting bored.

Make your pitch informative and provocative–change the way your customer thinks about your product in order to solicit engagement.

*Approach customers one-on-one

Your power is in one-on-one interactions. In a crowd, you may be drowned out by the louder voices. When you speak to one customer at a time, you’ll really impress by your focus and attentiveness.

*Listen to the customer

Perhaps one of the best tools in your arsenal is the ability to listen actively. One thing I’ve found out is that customers LOVE to talk about themselves. Let them talk! Subtly interject questions that guide them down the path to choosing your product.

I guarantee you that if you listen long enough and subtly guide, you’ll find an opportunity to solve the customer’s problem with your product.

*Be an evangelist for your product

You are a salesperson, but avoid the idea of selling. Instead, become a facilitator. Let your desire for authenticity inform your approach.

You’re not selling. You’re offering useful advice.

Because you’ve listened to and studied the customer, you know their needs. And because you’re better at one-on-one interactions, you know to zoom in on your target demographic and speak to that one customer. Your product is made for that one person, and they need to know about it.

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When you esteem the message as more important than your temporary discomfort, you’ll start selling like hot-cakes. It doesn’t mean that you stop being an introvert. Instead, you use your introversion to help you authentically relate to the customer.

Close The Deal

*Be quiet

So many sales people talk their way out of the sale. It’s a proven fact that the longer you drone on and on, the more circumspect the buyer becomes. When you’re quiet, you give the customer permission to make a self-assured purchase. And a self-assured purchaser will not call you back with second-thoughts.

*Build a relationship

Now that you have a customer, use your desire for long-lasting partnerships to keep that relationship strong. Sometimes, a person isn’t ready to buy from you. Use that as an opportunity to build trust with the person. Keep up with them on social media, send friendly emails, and stay in touch. One day, that relationship may be profitable.

So, What Have We Learned?

Introverts are awesome. And, there’s a place for both introverts and extroverts at the Sales table. Although we often think of Sales as an extrovert-dominated field, introverts can and do thrive. Empower yourself in solitude and come out like a winner.

How can you be useful to others?

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  • Esther Akande

    Very useful article.

  • julia Gilroy

    Thank you for the points you make particularly distinguishing between being shy and introvert. Also the advantages of being introvert, that you mention, do give me hope that one day I will be able to sell successfully.

    • Ales Kopecky

      Same feeling to me.

  • Maurits Bos

    Thank you. This made it a lot easier to create a pitch. I still don’t really know how to find my clients and find a 1-on-1 oppurtunity to speak with them, but this has been helpful to get in that direction.