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One of the greatest misconceptions in sales is that you need to be an extrovert to succeed.
This goes hand in hand with the greatest stereotype of a salesperson; a used car salesman. A loud, boisterous, opinionated person who assumes to know which car is best suited for you, without having heard a word come out of your mouth. People easily remember these kinds of bad experiences, and so they feed the stereotypes.
The good experiences are the ones in which the salesperson makes it appear as if the client has made their own decision. By asking the right questions, the salesperson guides them into understanding and uncovering the solution to their pain point.
This is achieved successfully by both extroverts and introverts alike.
Introverts vs. extroverts
According to Dave Kurlan, introverts are people who are shy, and need to be liked. Extroverts are people who talk too much, listen too little, and most importantly, have a strong need to be liked.
Why introverts can make great sales reps
Contrary to popular belief, introverts can be good salespeople, just as long as they possess the characteristics of sales DNA.
- No need for approval;
- Control of emotions;
- Supportive beliefs;
- Supportive buy cycle;
- Comfort discussing money;
- Handling rejection.
Your DNA is what determines the core of who you are, and introverts can have the right DNA to succeed in sales.
Will to Sell
The same goes for desire or willingness to sell. If they aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, if they don’t want it bad enough, introverts will be just as miserable in sales as extroverts with low desire.
In the end, introverted people who desire success and are engaged to learn, can be just as successful in sales as extroverts and vice versa.
Personality traits like introvert vs. extrovert don’t correlate with sales success – Sales DNA and Will to Sell do.
Benefits of introverted salespeople
Introverts generally keep their opinions to themselves, and often don’t seek out social interaction. While they still can maintain conversations, it’s something they choose as opposed to being a need.
This said, socially introverted people who choose to go into sales and have the right DNA are in a great position because rather than doing it out of a need to interact, they do it because they have a goal in mind, to serve their client.
In consultative selling, during the questioning process, they’ll can go a lot deeper because they don’t have this explosive desire to jump in and get carried away.
Introverts shouldn't shy away from sales
An introvert can become a great salesperson, because they are generally the attentive. Their natural reaction won’t be to burst out with a solution after having received only fraction of the prospect's problem or pain point.
They’re more inclined to listen and wait until they’ve gotten 100% of the issue, which will lead to a greater understanding of a client’s situation.
Social skills: a typical issue with introverts
In my experience, a common problem for introverts is their difficulty in making connections. They may, therefore, be more reluctant to pick up the phone to contact a prospect.
This characteristic typical of an introvert is directly related to the sales DNA.
They absolutely must work on: practice getting out of their shells. No matter how many good questions they ask, if a representative has a strong need for approval or does not manage rejection well (characteristics often associated with introverts), they may have more difficulty building trust with their prospect.
Coaching an introvert
There’s not much difference between coaching an introvert or an extrovert. As we already determined, the importance remains in having the proper characteristics of the sales DNA. While these qualities are mostly inherent, they can be improved upon if found lacking.
In a team of 30 or 40 people, you see the different characters and personality traits. In my experience, I’ve realized that there is no one model which performs better whether introverted or extroverted. I’ve seen both become incredibly good salespeople.
What they all had in common were their sales DNA.
Ultimately, sales is about uncovering pain points to which you can find solutions. As Dave Kurlan states, the data already shows that both introverts and extroverts are generally ineffective in sales.
But extroverts who have overcome their need to be liked, developed their skills and learned to listen and ask questions can become great salespeople. Similarly, introverts who don't need to be liked, and have the listening and questioning skills I was mentioning above, can become great salespeople.
In the end, if a salesperson has a strong sales DNA, a desire for success, and is engaged and open to learn, there is no question that both personality types can be just as successful as the other. It's a question of good salespeople vs. bad ones, not introverts vs. extroverts.
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