Picture a salesperson – what do you think of? Unfortunately, most of us will conjure up an image of a sleazy used-car salesman, an incessant call center employee, or a pavement-pounding 20-something knocking down your door with an offer that you just can't refuse.
Now picture an entrepreneur. What are you seeing? Likely a young, hardworking genius, probably a college dropout trying to make something brilliant happen in their garage. When the time comes, this entrepreneur has a killer sales pitch snatched from the lines of a movie. They have the drive and, let's face it, the flair and style to convince anybody of anything.
One common thread you probably imagined when thinking of the stereotypical salesperson or entrepreneur is a predilection for being outgoing – a person who can, without hesitation, approach anybody about anything. You were thinking of the type of person who could make everybody seem like an old friend and, most importantly, could sell sand to an Egyptian.
But what of those who aren't natural salespeople, who wouldn't dream of starting a conversation with a stranger or venturing out of the corner at a party? What about the introverts among us? Are they to be banned from sales or entrepreneurship? Given their inherent strengths, this would seem a poor idea.
Introverts will always have a hard time convincing themselves that they can be good salespeople, but with the right approach, they can be just as successful as anyone else. If you're an introvert with entrepreneurial aspirations, the following sales strategies could help you break through.
1. Be a nerd about what you do.
This may sound like hyperbole, but it's the truth. If you, as an introvert, want to get over the nerves or discomfort of pitching a product, you have to be genuinely passionate about the product. Join fellow introverted entrepreneur Bill Gates and own the nerd label.
It doesn't matter if you're selling basketball shoes or computer hardware – if you've devoted a significant portion of your life to your product, you'll be passionate about it and know it inside and out. Communicate this passion and people will respond.
2. Practice saying hello.
Often, the thing that impedes introverted entrepreneurs from being successful salespeople is that simply greeting someone they don't know is insurmountable. The best way to remedy this is to just get into the practice of saying hello.
When you're walking down the street, sitting in the office or hanging out at your kid's soccer game, practice saying hello to everyone you meet. At first, it will be one of the most painful things you do, but in time, it will allow you to naturally start conversations in the business world.
3. Get outside.
It's natural for introverts to prefer the solitude of a home, laboratory or office to the hustle and bustle of the city. If you're an introvert, you're almost certainly more comfortable at home with a good book than you are walking among a throng of people on the street.
If you're hoping to make a splash as an entrepreneur, however, you'll have to get comfortable being surrounded by people. Acclimate yourself to this lifestyle by getting outside and just physically being around others. If you're lucky, you'll pick up some new ideas to go along with your improved ability to associate with strangers.
4. Learn from the best.
Luckily for you, you're not the first person to start a business or have a great product idea. Look for a well-known, successful firm or coach – like Sterling Griffin, Grant Cardone or Anthony Iannarino, for example – and learn from them. Make a note of what they say, how they pitch and the tactics they use to win people over.
Pay attention to their experiences, and note where and how they were able to find and take advantage of opportunities. While no two paths are identical, you can pick up on general themes and strategies that seem to accompany the bright and successful. Take what you learn and apply it to your own journey.
5. Work with others.
Maybe you've had bad luck closing of late, or maybe you just need a breath of fresh air. Either way, it can be beneficial to take a break from your own sales and offer to help out others. This keeps you from getting stuck in a rut and offers you valuable new perspective and potential new ideas.
By teaming up with others to help them make sales, you'll see what makes them good or bad salespeople, and you might be able to recapture success during a time period when your own numbers may be bottoming out a bit.
When it comes down to it, everybody can be successful at sales. As long as you're willing to move past your initial idea of what a salesperson is supposed to look or sound like, you can carve out your own path and find the right way for you to become a master at sales.