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Introverts as Salespeople? Sure!

May 21, 2013

Goldfish IntrovertI usually hate articles published on career/job hunting sites, but I enjoyed this one on Monster, about how introverts can succeed in sales.

I spent my life thinking that there was no way I could learn to sell because I’m an “introvert,” and people like me are better off programming computers or doing other back office work where we never encounter other people. I thought that sales work was only for “people persons” who flit around rooms, chatting up everyone they see.

This notion stems from a misunderstanding of sales, or at least professional sales. Most people associate sales work with sweaty-palmed shysters slinking around “Buy Here Pay Here” car lots, telemarketers, or door-to-door hucksters peddling cable TV. Those salespeople don’t care about selling to anyone twice. That’s why, when these types of salespeople launch into their pitches, the potential “customer” never gets a chance to get a word in edgewise. The objective is not to allow the customer to ask questions. The objective is to get the customer to hand over their credit card information before they’ve had any opportunity to think about it, then run.

Professional sales, on the other hand, is about building relationships, so that the same customer keeps coming back and refers others. The customer is encouraged to ask questions so that the sales professional can match them with the best solution for their needs.

While an introvert may not feel comfortable chatting up all 30 people gathered at a party, they are comfortable with having substantial conversations with two or three people, which is arguably a more effective way of building a lasting relationship.

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One Comment
  1. It sounds like you’d really enjoy Daniel Pink’s latest book: “To Sell is Human.” In it, he explains how the best salespeople aren’t extroverts (nor are they introverts). Instead, they are AMBIverts! It’s a great read and has quite a few 5-star ratings on Amazon (175 out of a possible 246).

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