When you're an entrepreneur, selling is an essential part of what you do. Some people learn quickly, while others have trouble with selling anything. Sales for introverts can be especially difficult because they tend to prefer their own space and thoughts.
Cold-calling random businesses is one of their least-favorite activities. Instead, they'd rather be creating or getting results for clients. I'm an introvert, so I know firsthand how it can be.
In this article, I'll run through a few strategies I've used to get over my fear of rejection, talk to more prospects and grow my business as a result.
Reframe the internal narrative
The first step is to reframe the way you think about sales. Many new entrepreneurs who don't have a sales background think sales is sleazy and deceptive.
It's a pervasive association, but the reality is much different. Look at it like this: Most people don't buy something unless they want or need it. When you target the right people, you'll be welcome.
Instead of being considered a nuisance, you're solving some kind of problem for them. If someone wants to remodel their kitchen and needs expert help, they're not being taken advantage of. They understand they don't have the skills needed to bring their vision to life.
If you were to step in and help them design their dream kitchen, would you consider what you did sleazy? Of course not.
A potential client needs a solution, and you're in a position to give it to them, but there are others vying for that business. That's why you sell – so they can understand the value you bring to the table.
Until the internal narrative is rewritten, sales will remain difficult for introverts. Instead of thinking about how people will be turned off by your cold calls or cold emails, reframe the conversation in your head. Consider it your duty to direct them through the process so they make the best decision and get the outcome they're looking for.
You're the guide they truly need to achieve the best outcome. There's nothing wrong with being a guide and dynamic knowledgebase for your clients.
Play to your strengths – listen deeply
An introvert's ability to listen deeply and extract insights is one of their biggest strengths in sales. You may have been on a sales call, demo or had an informal meeting with a sales rep and been turned off by how much they talk.
It seems like they're only interested in getting you to sign on the dotted line (and hearing their own voice). People can tell when you're only trying to close them because you don't listen or you don't frame your product as the solution to their problems.
When you do listen and do care, this isn't an issue. Your prospects will tell you everything you need to know about their wants and needs. It's up to you to echo those thoughts back at them and show that you're listening. At the same time, you'll be able to position your services as the perfect solution for them.
This process takes the Jobs To Be Done theory into account. What job are your prospects hiring your solution to do? It may appear obvious, but you shouldn't take that for granted; every situation is unique.
For example, an entrepreneur sells digital marketing services with a focus on Facebook Ads. If a prospect tells them they're having trouble turning trial users into customers and they think it's a messaging problem, the entrepreneur just gained a deep insight.
Instead of saying we'll ramp up the Facebook Ads and the volume will offset the low conversions, the introverted entrepreneur will acknowledge their concerns. They'd talk about a strategy where they dive deep into demographic and psychographic segmentation so they'll be able to hone in on the best messaging through high-tempo testing.
After they find the right messaging, they'd be able to ramp up acquisition with Facebook Ads.
Which scenario do you think would be more appealing to the prospect? If you said the second one, then I'm in agreement with you. When someone has taken the time to meet with you, they're already sold to an extent. All you have to do is show them you understand their needs and that you will dedicate the time and energy needed to help them achieve their goals.
Do your preliminary research right
All salespeople have been in a situation where they didn't do their research properly, and it came back to bite them. Prospects hang up on you, gatekeepers turn you away, etc. It happens to the best of us.
The initial research you do is essential. The first step is a clear understanding of your buyer persona. What kind of people buy your service most often, pay you the most and get the most satisfaction from it? Those are the ones you need to focus on.
After you have a clear buyer persona, you'll know the kind of people to reach out to with your outbound prospecting.
The research doesn't stop there.
It's important to research your individual prospects as best you can. Find out if they've won any awards, if they've complained about a vendor, if they've written an interesting article, the content they've interacted with on your website (if applicable) and whatever else makes sense.
This is easier when you're selling to businesses, because most of them maintain an online presence. It's not impossible when you're selling to consumers, but you may need to get more creative. Instead of one-on-one selling, you may need to look at your target market as a whole and find segments that react well to certain messages.
Incorporate that research into your conversations with them. It shows you've taken the time to find out their wants and needs. That kind of attention to detail should translate into your work as well.
Would you rather have any client that will hire you or clients that understand and appreciate the value you bring to the table? Most people would like to have clients that appreciate and understand the value they bring to the table.
When you prequalify clients, you can save a lot of time and energy by focusing on the ones who are ready. It also makes the conversations you have easier because they believe in what you're doing – you're not forcing yourself on them.
There are countless ways to do this. You can send them to a landing page that talks about your services and showcases client work. With the landing page, you can ask them to book a call or request a call back from you. Conversely, you can focus on getting prospects to sign up for your email list and drip out relevant content over the course of a few days.
You can also use a webinar platform to set up a short automated presentation (20 minutes) where you walk through your services, clients you've helped in the past and what they can expect. After it's over, invite them to book a call with you. Note: You should be collecting contact details before people can gain access to the presentation.
In both cases, it's important to set expectations. What you can and cannot do. For example, you can't help them if they have a bad product that people dislike. When it's time to talk, you'll have a friendly conversation instead of pushing your services too hard.
Over to you
Sales is not impossible for introverts, but it requires deliberate effort. Instead of following all the playbooks out there, build your own system. Use these steps to build your playbook:
- Reframe the internal narrative.
- Listen deeply.
- Research your prospects and market.
- Prequalify prospects.
- Sign clients that are happy you exist.
It may take some getting used to, but don't let that discourage you. The best sales leaders in the world started out with zero knowledge and improved over time. Let me know how you're selling as an introvert, and don't forget to share.