Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Do Introverts make good Sales People?

I have sold and been sold to. And even more importantly I have been frustrated and annoyed by sales people with whom others were completely enamored.

Sales by and for introverts is tricky. But it can be done; in fact some of the best sales people I know consider themselves introverted.

I have thought long and hard about what makes me a good sales person and how I can be better. The formulaic “sales training” routine doesn’t work. I can understand personality profiles and learning how to get a customer to answer back “positively” until I am blue in the face. The thing that works for me is establishing a relationship, cultivating that relationship, and then being the best contact/goodwill ambassador for that relationship. It is about being more selfless than opportunistic. Being great at sales is about passion for what you do and appreciation for what others do.

The same is true if you want to sell to me. Don’t give me the “Meg, don’t you agree…” b*s*… It irritates the heck out of me. Learn about me, ask questions, share things about yourself. Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole—sometimes what you are selling is not what I need. (And the more you push, the more likely you are to see me glaze over and put up the invisible wall).

A good sales person will tell you never to try sell to someone unless they are a good candidate. They must be qualified. I will tell you the same thing, with one caveat. A good sales person doesn’t have to try to sell. They just sell. They work on the relationships. Establishing these relationships doesn’t mean just establishing relationships with “qualified” potential customers. It means everyone. It means talk to the lady who cleans your house and the kid that bags your groceries. It means reach out to community leaders and newspaper editors. It means meet as many people as you can, from all works of life. These people may not be your customers, but they may know your customers. If they like you, if they believe in your character and know your passion, they will bring the qualified customers to you.

So, you are an introvert and I just told you to meet as many people as possible. Furthermore, I just told you to meet them, and then get to really know them—and let them know you.


Yes, I know. It can be daunting. But it is just talking. It starts with small talk, and works its way into what you do for a living, and why you love it. Introverts are excellent at building strong relationships with a variety of people. Smile. Be friendly. Take a couple extra minutes to make eye contact and show a genuine connection.

That is, after all what we all want. As introverts, strong relationships are most important. Your best customers will be the ones you know the best, the ones who send you birthday cards, the one’s whose kids play with yours. This is your strength as a sales person—and it is what will make you a success!

Go out and meet someone knew.

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

being new to sales (after 8 years of being confined to a computer within a cube) AND introverted... this post really spoke to me. one example... i bought my honda 7 years ago and i still get b-day card from my dealer every year in the mail. how odd that a b-day card from a near stranger could flatter me so, but it makes my purchase feel like more than just a sale. and as a result, i am comfortable in passing along referrals.

seems so, human?

(and it was nice to meet you, in person, a few weeks back) :)