How can an introvert be successful in business?
I have a great business idea and have thought through a business plan on paper. The problem is I am not good at sales and have no desire to become a salesperson. I enjoy being behind the scenes. How do other introverts find balance in their business and become successful?
Is this still an active question? If so...I'm not a professional marketer or business developer, but I would be happy to share a few things I've learned so far.
As the founder of the business, you will be the face and the voice of the business, even if you stay behind the scenes much of the time.
Have you determined the best ways to get your product to market? The reason I ask this is that this could help you to figure out what your sales/marketing strategy will be and, subsequently, what kind of help you need. For example, you could explore the possibility of using distributors to sell your product. You could also consider finding a customer to partner with you in developing and piloting your product.
Or, you could hire someone, take a partner or outsource business development to a professional who could network, participate in Industry trade shows and conferences to speak and demonstrate your product to attendees in your target market. Your local area may have relevant associations where you can make connections and build relationships with people who are part of your target market.
It has helped me to shift my thinking and approaches from selling to educating. If you identify your target market and what your product will do that is better/faster/easier than others, that's the start. You may want to engage a marketing/branding consultant to help you to develop a marketing/sales strategy and goals as a first step if you haven't already done so. For me, this has been (and probably will always be) evolving.
Its very simple actually. (I am an Introvert and I am in selling of Capital Equipment for more than twenty years now). Whenever, a sales call is impending, do you feel some pesky creatures like butterflies in your stomach? Do you find more of them as the time gets nearer? If yes, I've got news for you. Many successful sales people feel the same way. The solution is to think what is the worst possible thing which can happen. You may forget something and make a hash of it, or you may get tongue tied and embarrass yourself. Right? So what's the big deal! You cannot be arrested, or executed, right? Try it out once- I can guarantee you that the results will be totally different from what you expect. All the best and happy selling.
Are you still having a problem? Let me know, there are many different ways I can help, you do not have to be outgoing to be good at sales!
Hi Alexandia, I am introvert by nature and have been in "Sales" for my entire working life. My advice is if you find something you are passionate about then it is never a sale, you are endorsing your product or service. People buy from people and I have found that the two my important behaviours that have served me well are a; passion b: self belief in what I am advocating. Both these drivers can help you go far. People by nature enjoy purchasing from people that are rock solid in their product/services. Good sales is actually about listening once you know the needs of your audience!
it's good in everything. talk less, think less, do more. something that i will i have to strive for to learn for my entire life
Lots of ways to do it. It is about having a a Plan and Executing the Plan. You have to have a plan in all aspects of the business. With a Plan all things are possible. without it, you will flounder and you will dwell on what you are not good at. I help Start-ups with a Planning Process. That is what I do! Feel free to reach out and I am happy to help you I have worked in 22 countries around the world. If i can help you, would be happy to do so.
I don't understand the connection between personality type and success. Here are a few examples of high profile people who are considered to be introverted and who are / were / have been extremely successful in business: Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder), Larry Page (Google co-founder, Elon Musk (founder of PayPal, Space X, and Tesla), Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder).
If by sales you mean blabbering on enthusiastically ad nauseam about how great you and your product/idea is, then your definition of sales is limited and limiting. Sales is about engendering the trust and confidence of people in you and your product or idea or proposal.
Many extraverts can come across as sleazy, slippery and superficial if they jabber on and hog the limelight and if they respond with a slick (and well packaged) answer to any and every objection.
Many introverts can come across as having depth of expertise and knowledge, the willingness to listen to clients and take the time to digest client feedback/input and provide thoughtful responses without jumping up and down like a loopy loon.
As I am an introvert as well and began to venture out on my own and start a new business I only have one answer to that question. You should read a book written by Susan Cain entitled....
QUIET - The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking.
I promise if you read this book all questions and doubts about what you are trying to accomplish will be silenced. You will come away with a renewed self-confidence. This book is a paean to introversion.
Hi - like yourself, I am also an introvert and do not naturally feel comfortable with being in the position of selling. However, when I believe in a product or service and become passionate about it, then it no longer becomes "selling!"
Here's the thing. We are selling, pretty much all the time. Selling ourselves to our prospective life partners, our in-laws, new friends and acquaintances, new employers - the list goes on.
Simply put, if you want to run a business, you need to be able to sell. It is not a dirty word - it is business. I spent 14 years in the Royal Navy - before entering the business world. Selling seemed a dirty word to me - well it isn't.
So, stick your toes in the water - you might be surprised at finding skills you didn't know you had. Mark and Dean above have nailed it.
Then don't be a salesperson. Tell people about your product and how it will help them. Believe in your product and yourself and the product will sell itself.
Have you considered you are not going to be "selling" but educating others on why your goods or services are a benefit to them? Have the heart of a teacher educate prospective clients. It terminate the sales approach, and builds relationships with clients and in my opinion is the fastest way to grow a business.
If you don't take a chance, you will never know! Do not be afraid of failure, and look at sales as an avenue of sharing information about your product. You talk with people a lot of the time, so nothing is new excepting your information that others need to have.
I have a few suggestions:
1) Stop labeling yourself as an "introvert". You are arguing for your limitations.
2) A successful salesperson is simply someone that is very passionate about both their product/service AND are interested in people. Switch your focus from "sales" to better understanding how your business idea will help your target clients. Switch your attention on how you can help your clients (instead of selling your product).
3) Instead of trying to "sell" your product/service to someone; spend your time attracting people that are already looking for what you have to offer. That means start getting interested getting to know people through networking.
Focus your attention and energy on other people (their challenges and desires) - instead of your challenges (being an introvert and not being good at sales). Create a self-fulling prophecy around great sales (instead of one of failure).
I've read some great answers to your question, so I'll keep this brief.
If after reading everything you still feel you can't make sales, or don't have the kind of personality that naturally reaches out to other people, consider forming strategic alliances with people or business who perform that function, or employ someone to do it for you.
As individuals we often focus on defining ourselves through strengths and weaknesses, when what we should be doing is looking at where we excel at doing something well. Maybe you need to consider bringing new people into the business.
When you bring in new people, whether through complementary business arrangements, or as employees, they often bring with them strategies and ideas that you would never have thought of on your own. This can strengthen your business as a whole, and lay the groundwork for expansion into whole new untapped markets.
Well, you're on MosaicHub and you're asking a group of strangers a question that pertains to your personal character. This is social media and I'd say continue to use it to your advantage, especially since you're an introvert. By the way, I can relate to your dilemma being it that I'm an introvert as well.
The internet has given us the opportunity to leverage our weaknesses, if we're able to find creative ways of utilizing this tool to our advantage. As mentioned by others, if this business plan on paper translates into a business that can be operated online or by a representative with selling skills; then you've got something viable.
And even if you'd like to remain behind the scenes, sometimes the greatest reward can be the opportunity to meet new people. Especially if you what you offer has truly helped them solve a problem or significantly improve a situation for them.
Join Toastmasters International, and build your self-confidence in public speaking and leadership.
As a business owner you need to be able to talk to and understand your customers and their needs. If this does not appeal, I would question whether you really want to run your own business. That said and as others have mentioned, if you have a good product you do not need to sell. Position it in your head as a conversation to help your prospective customers solve problems with your (product's) help. If they do not need or want your help that is fine - don't try to force the sale but learn how to identify who most benefits from your product so you can better target your next conversation. You really do not have to be a sleazy sales person to succeed. Quite the opposite.
I would check in with your local Score chapter for a free/confidential assessment of your business plan as well as suggestions regarding the sales process (without knowledge of your business, recommendations are really a "shot in the dark").