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?
Alexandra, I too deplored the concept of "selling" until I realized that rather than selling I am providing an invaluable service to small business people. That simple change of perspective was all it took to liberate my inner salesman. That said, you know what you can and cannot (or will or will not) do. If your place is behind the scenes and someone in the limelight is needed I suggest you first develop a clear vision of your intentions and purpose. Next, find and engage someone who enjoys "selling" and more importantly is able to grasp and share in your vision.
Hi Alexandra, I would love to learn more about the idea you would like to bring into fruition. You have two options: 1) Reframe your perception of sales, or 2) Stick to tasks that fit your personality. I consider myself an introvert, but I love to share! If you truly have a product or service that you believe can help others, then start thinking of promoting yourself and your business as sharing (not selling). I can relate to your struggle because I also love to work behind the scenes, but often you will find that people are buying into YOU not just your product/service. Therefore, you have to work on building relationships through marketing. As your business grows, you can start outsourcing the tasks you find undesirable. I find balance by diversifying my work, so when I am feeling less sociable, I can retreat to my comfort zone. For example, I did some TV interviews this year for my writing projects, but only corresponded with editors by e-mail. I also accept web design clients when I need to do something more solitary. Hope that helps!
That is a terrific question. You can feel good that it is a quite typical dilemma, but it is absolutely critical for you to resolve it.
Let me give you another piece of good news. An introvert that has a desire to be better at marketing and sales (and to do it right) will typically end up with better results than those who BELIEVE they are great sales people. That is because the vast majority of people do not execute the sales/marketing process correctly -- particularly for small and start-up businesses. I have studied this issue diligently and have several programs and free tools to assist with this challenge.
Another piece of good news. You can market quite successfully without having to spend any cash. Effective networking is one tool to do that. I KNOW... you are uncomfortable networking. I used to be also. I wrote a white paper on "How to Network -- for Those Who Hate It!". I urge you to take a look. It is free. You can find it by going to this link: http://bit.ly/NetworkingEbook
(If you are serious about learning how to be effective at marketing, also go to BizGrowthToolbox.com and watch the groundbreaking free video there, entitled "Everything You Think You Know About Generating Leads and Growing Your Business -- Has Changed!".)
I wish you great success. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
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).
Hi Alexandra, its not easy being an introvert and I do have some personal insight and knowledge of the emotions you are feeling. One way is to find someone to go into partnership with who is good at the things your not. The other is to learn to enjoy being a little extrovert and go out and do it. 7 years ago I was asked to help create a public speaking club through Toastmasters International. I had never delivered speeches before like you prefered to behind the scenes. A1 speakers was born and I run a company called Speech Genius. Have a look for a local Toastmasters group, go along they will make yu welcome and help you. If you need pointing in the right direction contact me and I wil find your local club for you.
Vice President Education A1 Speakers
It is always combination of strengths in a team that matter.
An individual cannot do anything alone unless he has people with him as customers, suppliers , family, employees, friends etc.
So the best option is to get in touch with people you know in the industry your idea pertains to. Take their opinion first then identify the customer potential and get a real feel of customer target market by meeting some test customers.
Next step is to identify and decide on the fact that whether you need to add someone to help your sales or you have to do it yourself.
Many products don't even need any major sales efforts and can be successful only by introducing online.
For many products there are sales specialists available who are willing to work on commission bases totally variable in nature so you will pay them a percentage only on the sales realized and in many cases even after you are paid by the customer as per contractual terms agreed.
So you should not waste time in thinking about personality traits and move fast in selling the idea and getting the feedback of customers.
Best Of Luck,
North York, Canada
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.
Some of the greatest sales people are introverts - don't be fooled by the Fundamental Attribution Error - either way.
Although there may be a higher psychological cost to personal interaction as an introvert (another assumption!) the other side is that there is less dependence on satisfying your prospect/client via "over commitment" etc. (another assumption.)
If you are an introvert, one of the best things to do (IMO) is to create a plan/schedule of marketing/sales that you can execute and measure.
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'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.
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.
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.
First of all, it completely depends on what your business 'idea' is. You simply hire someone to do your sales for you. However - you could easily do everything online as well. If you need a consultation, feel free to connect. I can help you start to brand yourself and provide your marketing solutions.
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.
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.
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!"
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.
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.
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!
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.