The introverted personality is getting a lot of media attention lately. Author and lecturer Susan Cain brought the introverted personality into the spotlight when she published her book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” in 2012. It’s been a hot topic ever since. Some jobs seem more suited to extroverts than introverts. Is that a fair assumption? How about sales, where interacting with people is necessary? Can an introvert be as good a salesperson as an extrovert? Let’s find out.
A Slap on the Back or a Sympathetic Friend?
We’re all familiar with the used car salesman stereotype. A loud, back-slapping guy who makes all kinds of promises is an exaggeration, but slightly toned-down sales techniques are still around. The problem with that is the old way of selling is no longer viable. Today’s customer is more responsive to a sales professional who acts like a friend. Mutual trust, agreements, commitments and respect are key and all skills in which introverts excel.
Sales and Social Media
The elimination of strong-arm tactics is not the only difference in today’s selling environment. Developing, engaging in and maintaining relationships with customers through social media is extremely important, as you can see in this example. Social media sites Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provide communication avenues that can make or break a sale. What’s more, when visitors read through social media interactions, they form an opinion about the company or individual. Does what they read encourage or discourage a sales relationship? Introverts are typically great written language communicators and that talent fits right in with successful social media marketing.
Reading the People Cues
People are more than their words. A great salesperson thinks beyond what’s being said to ferret out what customers really mean. Really listening is the first step. Listening not only to what is being said, but what is not being said. Noticing the tone used. Reading body language. Skilled sales people know how to read the people cues and respond accordingly, an ability which comes naturally to introverts. That talent gives them an advantage on the sales floor.
Different Responses for Different Types
Extroverts are proficient at “on your feet” thinking. They thrive on interaction with others and perform best on the fly. Introverts, on the other hand, go about sales in a different way. They tend to be more studious about their product or service. They know its strengths, weaknesses and who their ideal prospect is. Introverts know the product inside and out; they study customer reactions. Introverts feel most secure when they leave nothing to chance. As a result, they don’t spend a lot of time with prospects who likely won’t respond in the long run.
If Not Now, Maybe Later
Building long-term customer relationships is key to the success of any sales professional. Introverts listen carefully, respond appropriately and focus on the customer as a whole, which builds trust. If a customer isn’t ready to buy, a supportive relationship leaves the door open for later contact. Asking questions and meeting a customer’s needs is where the sales are.
Does this mean that introverts make better salespeople than extroverts? No. In fact, most people are not purely one personality or the other. People can be introverted at times and extroverted at others . The key to a successful sales career is not whether a person is introverted or extroverted. It’s whether or not they have a passion for what they’re selling and convey that passion to the customer.