9 Proven Sales Tips for Introverts
Grant Cardone is an international sales expert, New York Times best-selling author, and radio show host of The Cardone Zone. He has founded three companies: Cardone Enterprises, Cardone Real Estate Holdings, and the Cardone Group. He has shared his sales and business expertise as a motivational speaker and author of five books: Sell to Survive; The Closers Survival Guide; If You're Not First, You're Last; The 10X Rule; and Sell or Be Sold.
Meet me at a party and I won't have a lot to say. Sit next to me on a cross-country flight and I may not say a word to you the entire trip.
I am an introvert.
It has never been easy for me to start a conversation with people I don't know. But you wouldn't know it if you saw me on a Google Hangout, in a TV interview or at one of my sales seminars. When I got out of college I was terrified to go on a job interview until I realized employers weren't going to come to my house and hire me. At 23, I sold cars for seven years and never got comfortable saying hello to a customer. Yet I still figured out how to reach the top 1 percent of all the salespeople in the auto industry.
We can all be introverts or extroverts, depending on the situation. I know people who would be viewed as extroverts at a party they host, but when they are guests at a party where they know no one, they appear to be introverts. As a professional speaker and educator, I become extroverted in order to deliver information, but when I attend seminars I am much more introverted.
So, how do you become extroverted in a sales situation when you are not naturally comfortable with it?
This is what I do to step out of my comfort zone:
Get passionate. I become so excited about what I'm selling that I have to share it with the world. Becoming passionate about your product or service makes you less interested in how you are perceived and more concerned about showing excitement about what you have to offer.
Do one thing a day that you fear. It’s very important for me do the things that make me most uncomfortable. You need to be courageous and make a point of facing your fears, no matter how big or small. The single scariest thing for me was visiting my customers or prospects in person. So that is exactly what I did first thing every day to get over my fear. It instilled courage in me, belief in myself and changed my focus from limitations to possibilities.
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Be so persistent you get criticized for it. In life and in business, especially sales, you won’t become successful if you never get criticized. Follow up on customers so much that they actually complain about it, and once they do, keep following up until they admire you for your persistence. If you believe in your product, company and yourself, then you will be willing to insist—and risk being criticized for it.
Say hello to everyone you pass. I refuse to walk past any person without acknowledging him or her. I force myself to look everyone in the eyes and say hello. This builds a muscle enabling me to decide at will when I want to be extroverted, whether in a sales call or other situation.
Observe people for their differences. After a series of failed sales calls, you may start to see all prospects as likely rejections. What you need to do is take a moment and observe how people are different from one another. This will stop you from thinking that everyone is going to respond the same way your last few prospects did.
Force yourself to be in public. Step out of your home and office often so you can socialize with people. When I move to a new city, I will go to the same place over and over until I am comfortable and know everyone there. I have done this same thing with my children, bringing them to the same grocery store every morning until they could talk to the people working there as family.
Deliver public speaking engagements. The only way to become comfortable speaking to people is to get in front of audiences. Join a supportive group such as Toastmasters International where everyone is learning how to speak in front of others.
Stay busy. When you're constantly on the go, you don't have time to be uncomfortable. You have to ask for help, get help and talk to people because you are running from one sales meeting or event to the next. So, get moving.
Help other people make sales. Anytime I go a few days without making a sale for myself, I immediately offer my help to other salespeople because it’s a great way to get outside yourself. After several failures to close, a salesperson can become introverted and anxious. But by working with someone else's prospective customers and having nothing to lose yourself, you will feel more relaxed and regain your confidence. Once you score a sale for someone else, it’s back to your own prospects again.
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By Kerry Hannon, author of What’s Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job, www.kerryhannon.com.
I spend a great deal of time in the small Virginia towns of Culpeper, Sperryville, Warrenton and Washington, all about an hour-plus drive from Washington, DC, and none too far from Shenandoah National Park.
My husband and I have a tiny cottage out that way. The vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, rolling fields and mountain streams are the lure. And of course, there’s the awe of star-strewn night skies.
It’s the land of small business and sole proprietors. Everywhere I shop or dine is operated by a small business owner. I’m on a first name basis with most of them. They run the gamut from the corner store grocer to the coffee roaster to my dog’s vet to the antique store, the silver and gold jeweler, and the fish market. There are wineries, dairies, pie shops, and simple restaurants touting meals made from locally-grown and raised ingredients.
There’s a tack shop for the horsey set with saddles and stylish riding boots that smells enticingly of rich English leather and liniment. As a horse-addled adult, I’m biased, of course.
One bakery, in particular, makes me instantly hungry just by opening the door. And don’t get me started about Janet’s pies. Then too, there are dozens of artists who have studios here and market their goods privately by word-of-mouth. There are farmers raising sheep and cattle, and stable owners who board and train horses for a living.
This world is a network and community of small business bravehearts with entrepreneurial drive and a belief that they will make it, and the lion’s share are… for today. And that’s what small business is often all about, the present. It’s frequently tenuous, living on the edge.
It can be a struggle when the leaf peepers and park hikers are gone, and the short, cold days of winter set in. But year after year, they keep at it. Of course, there are those that fall by the wayside, and we mourn the loss. We root for them to succeed and put our money where our mouth is by supporting them.
These towns depend on small business to thrive. More than a few of the owners are mid-life entrepreneurs, who have switched careers to do something they love.
Rick Wasmund is one. The 51-year-old sells Wasmund’s Single Malt and Rye Whisky, produced at his Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Va. Wasmund dreamed of running his own business since he was a kid in upstate New York.
But until he took a leap of faith and started his distillery, he spent his days selling insurance policies for Northwestern Mutual, and doling out financial planning advice to many small businesses, as well as accountants and physicians. ”I saw first-hand the challenges of running a small operation, and went for it anyway.”
Five years ago, he sold his first bottle of single-malt. This year, Copper Fox will produce about 3,000 cases, up from 2,000 in 2009. The challenge is turning a profit. “I have been working basically for free, subsistence level, for a couple of years. You would like to think at some point that money is not going to be an issue,” he says. Luckily, Wasmund is frugal, but with a newborn son, he knows he needs to keep the pedal to the metal
Going solo isn’t for everyone. You need business chops- an understanding of the whole kit from marketing to sales and finance, or the willingness to learn those integral facets.
At the heart of it, though, is something that can’t be taught. It’s what keeps Wasmund trucking his whiskey for tastings up and down the east coast and sometimes sleeping in his van –an intense self-motivation and inner drive..
Here are my seven What’s Next steps to help you get started down this new path:
Find a mentor. Who do you know who might be able to guide you along your new path? Take the time to meet with your mentor and enlist his or her invaluable help behind the scenes in learning the ropes.
Delve into your network of friends, family, and business colleagues. Tap into LinkedIn and Facebook contacts. If you’re interested in starting a small business, check out StartupNation.com, a site dedicated to small-business groups.
Broaden your mentor search. Get involved your local Rotary Club and contact the chamber of commerce near you. Another way to connect with a reliable person to guide you is through SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and to the formation, growth, and success of small business nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Both working and retired executives and business owners donate time and expertise as business counselors. SCORE mentors will advise you for free, in person, or online. The Association of Small Business Development Centers, a joint effort of the Small Business Administration, universities, colleges, and local governments, provides no-cost consulting and low-cost training at about a thousand locations.
Prime your sales pitch. Evaluate your skill set and be confident. If cold calling isn’t your top move, focus on your best sales technique and hone it to market your new venture.
Be prepared for setbacks. Starting a new business in uncharted territory takes time. It might take off like gangbusters, but in time, you will hit the inevitable setbacks. This not only will require internal fortitude, but also will force you to ask others for help and guidance. This is when a solid mentor by your side comes in handy.
Seek and listen to advice from people who have been successful in the field. They can help you find leads when you’re ready to get your foot in the door, but more important, they can give you a real sense of what their work is like on a day-to-day basis. Use their advice to get a sense of what has worked for them in the past and what stumbling blocks to avoid, as well as a sense of what the work entails and what opportunities might be out there for someone with your background.
Tap into your personal network. You never know who can bring you clients or help you build your business. Reach out, for example, to potential contacts through alumni outlets such as publications, Web sites, or regional associations.