Let’s face it introverts believe they are entitled to a lot of things including success fame and this stems from the fact that most tech founders who happen to be Introverts also happened to be somewhat good students in schools, getting attention of the teachers and appreciation from their peers.
Now cold water on the face.
The problem is that we got to sell for our entire lives, starting from getting a job to convincing investors or motivating your team to adopt a course of action. We gotta Sell! Period. And today’s tech entrepreneurial world is churning out founders and CEO s from the tech space who incidentally happen to be introverts. They weren’t prepared for this onslaught.
Introversion literally meaning is an act of looking inwards and searching something inside. I am not a psychologist and I don’t want to delve much into the topic of how psychology behaviors and natural environment plays a role in becoming an introvert or an extrovert. Our society, media and the entire human kind in its pursuit of duality has to tag Introverts as “negative” and Extroverts as role models or “positive” people.
Let’s look at some of the strong points of introverts
- They are highly rational and analytical
- They can come out with multiple solutions to single problem
- They can think through a problem
- They have lot of internal strength and have a good reservoir of it
- They are very good listeners
- They have empathy
- Very good observers
Now look at some of the weak points of introverts
- Not approachable
- Less Aware
- Don’t take initiative and are
- Sometimes lazy
In my case I was a certified introvert from my school days growing up to my college days and until very recent say 8 years back. I was thrust into a Sales role by my ex CEO who believed that I can perform. That is when I realized if I have to succeed in my job I need to have different skills and different tools to make myself competent and winnable.
I believe there are no pure introverts or pure extroverts. They could be a blend of the best of the both of the worlds, referred to as ambiverts, which can make us perform and be true rockstars in sales. So if we have to spend rest of our lives selling we better get rid of the lies and excuses we have been telling ourselves “I am an introvert and I can’t Sell”. Hell yes, you can Sell!!
Now let’s look at 5 tactics (not strategies) designed for Introverts to be Rockstars in this game of Sales.
Strengthen that muscle
The two key words are Consistency and Increment. We got to grow incrementally, very little very slowly but consistently, every single day.
The best analogy is that of a seed growing into a mighty oak tree. A literal dot on an ultra sound screen to a baby, to a teen and to an adult. It happens very slowly but surely each day.
By growing here means, surround with right people and tools who would help you grow.
Uncomfortable task : Call a random stranger, from the industry or domain each day. The world is filled with strangers, right? You will be surprised to see how people are accommodative and nice.
Hit people on LinkedIn, groups. Facebook, whatsapp groups, paid or free communities, Google places — tons of avenues available all around us. We can find 5 phone numbers for the week.
Call them and tell them how great they are doing. Talk about them, it releases the pressure off you. No pitch, no convincing yet . Have a small talk for 5 minutes and end by saying that you will stay in touch. That’s it! Simple? Even complex B2B conversations with top C level guys have a similar structure.
So day 1 is done, day 2 looks better and by the time Friday arrives you would have spoken to 5 new people for at least 25 minutes which translates to a mighty 240 new people in a given year excluding multi level connects from the new connections !!
Still keep the target as 1 new person / day for 1 month.
Trust me, when month 2 arrives you are ready to surprise yourself and push your targets to 2 per day or maybe more. You are already on the Rockstar path!!
Simple human behaviours
I have been fortunate to have met a lot of techie founders and co founders who have assumed a CEO/ COO role, however deep down, just dread on doing sales for their companies. Most of such people happen to be in the introvert space.
They ask me to not confuse and pressurize them with more of Sales and Marketing mumbo-jumbo, all they want is simple techniques on how they can Sell and be more confident during client meetings.
This is what Sales or Selling is for me — barring aside all stereotypes that we have in this world for salespeople , including social media.
“Do you know how to Ask people, — like can we meet next week?
“Do you know how to show something to people and make them understand, like how a smartphone works?”
“Do you know how to motivate and make people interested in your opinion, like lets watch this movie, it amazing?”
So if you can Ask, Show and tell, Motivate, you already know how to sell. Take the pressure off from yourself like Sales, Revenues and profits.
All you are doing, is asking your potential customers, what their business is and what challenges they are facing. It’s all about them, so where is the pressure on you?
You are telling them about your product / service and what it does. This is what you know already well, because that’s what motivated you to start this company in the first place. Its cakewalk for you.
And lastly, can you build some sort of enthusiasm in the other person, without any theatricals on what they felt about features about your own product or service. You are getting feedback by asking more questions. Easy?
So in sum total, there are no other skills required than the skills that we are already born with.
Capitalise on strengths
Like we established that Introverts come with their own powerful strengths and they should be allowed to capitalize and grow like a flower in a vase — nurtured daily but surely.
- Take pride in your silence, because Sales is 70% of listening and 30% of you talking. That’s easy and comes naturally to you.
- Love the fact that you are able to have intense and quality discussions with a few selective people in a conference rather than being that enthu-cutlet who is all over the room, meeting everyone but doesn’t leave an impact with anyone. The key is quality conversations vs. quantity
- Be extremely proud that you are able to empathise with people, that makes them get pulled to you vs you pushing towards them. Chasing people is “Salesy”. Making them pull is Authority. We want authority
- Yes, you can chart your own course and you are self reliant. Introverts are in their own world, thinking, analyzing and coming up with solutions. How many people have this skill, specially required during those lows, which you should get used to.
I personally have made friends for life and great champions of my business during such crowded networking meetings, by laser focusing on certain individuals by respecting them, learning about them, listening and never interrupting them.
You earn your badge of honor in the midst of all turmoil and chaos. Its priceless that people think of you as trustworthy, respectful and professional.
Stay in the zone
Awareness is a huge skill that rarely people possess and once someone has that, they are going to crush it. Awareness of circumstances — why something is happening the way it’s happening. Awareness of your own self — strengths and weaknesses.
Now that Introverts know what works, for them and what doesn’t , it comes back to just plain simple doing it, daily and slowly crawling out of their comfort zones.
If you start making those phone calls, don’t stop them because it so easy to slip back and find yourself with your own introvert self. Your network won’t grow and that muscle will grow weak. Make that commitment to yourself to continue and not stop. Bounce back when you are down and start it all again.
Keep meeting with lots of people, make those valuable and quality contacts and keep adding value and respect in their lives — it’s an investment into your future.
So staying in the zone, meeting other introverts and other people who are willing to help you in this journey is very important. If you don’t find such people, no worries, because you are an Introvert, you are your best friend, any which ways.
Enjoy the journey and teach others how you did it
Now that we have taken pride on who we are, learnt those simple human behaviour which are needed in Sales, capitalized on our strengths and we are in the zone, doing it and crushing it each single day, now is the time to enjoy. Literally enjoy!
Tell others that you are an Introvert, with a capital “I”. Tell others that you never liked interacting with people, let alone Selling. The more we face and are in terms with our weaknesses, we take power away from them and make them useless.
People will be amazed at your confidence and self awareness. Now they would like to be you.
In this entire journey, the goal shouldn’t be for you to convert and be an Extrovert. No. You are unique and all I am seeking of you is to play to your strengths, enjoy the process and then teach others how you did it.
Again, in this entire process I didn’t bring up technicalities like Prospecting, Funnel Building. CRM, Negotiations, Closing techniques and what not. Introverts need that foundation to build that Sales personality where they can “pull” people and tell them what what their company does. Rest is all mechanics, you will figure them out eventually!