While some people are born salespeople, others find touting their wares does not come naturally at all. Selling is especially difficult for introverts; even more so if the thing they’re selling is themselves.
However, introverts can make great authentic salespeople by playing up their natural personality traits.
In fact, extroverts could learn a thing or two from their introverted counterparts; being a little less in-your-face could actually boost their close rate.
Here we outline 10 ways anyone can increase their selling skills by understanding some basic human psychology.
Introverts are naturally better at listening than they are at talking. This can be a real strength when it comes to selling. Although many sales people are non-stop talkers, and do win sales with their bombastic chatter, not everyone responds well to this technique. Ultimately, people like to be heard and respected.
Actively listening to your potential customer’s needs and then explaining how you can help meet those needs sets the tone for a long-term, collaborative working relationship and not just a one-time sale.
- Ask questions
In addition to listening, you can show genuine interest by asking questions. This strategy is a winner for those of us who are a little shy, because it deflects the spotlight from you onto your customer.
It helps to lead the conversation forward and lets you really get to know your prospect. People often think selling involves waxing lyrical about their product or service, but by making the sale about the customer you can enhance the feeling of goodwill between you.
- Believe in yourself, your events or ideas
It’s hard to sell something you don’t truly believe in. If you doubt the quality or value of what you’re offering, your sales pitch will lack authenticity. Therefore, it really helps to feel good about what you’re selling.
Before going into a sales situation, take a few minutes to think about all the benefits of what you’re offering and the reasons why buying it from you is a good option. Write it down if it helps. This self-belief will shine through when you talk to others.
- Draw on emotion
People make purchasing decisions emotionally. Marketing messages are pre-consciously evaluated in the amygdala – the emotional centre of the brain – and then reacted to. One study of TV advertising found that emotional response had three times more influence on the decision to buy than the actual content of the ad.
As such, it’s helpful to think about the intangible benefits of what you’re offering. For example, if you’re running a yoga class, you’re not just offering the chance for people to become fitter and more flexible, you’re providing an opportunity for them to find an hour of peace and serenity in their busy day. Try to express how what you’re selling will affect them on an emotional level.
- Justify with facts
While emotion plays a large part in the decision to purchase, people like to justify their decisions with facts. It is especially useful for introverts to be armed with some convincing facts to help seal the deal.
Maybe you’re one of the longest running companies specialising in this particular field, perhaps your product has a five star satisfaction rating, or you have won an award. Having this information to hand will help you believe in yourself, and your customer to believe in you.
- Be yourself
People buy people. It’s not always the most qualified person who gets the job, or the company with the cheapest quote that clinches the deal. We get a ‘feel’ for people and decide if we want to do business with them.
It can be hard for introverts to express their personality. However, going in with a smile and sharing some information about yourself that helps you find common ground can get your relationship off to a good start.
- Use social proof
According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. Word of mouth marketing is so persuasive. You can use this to your advantage by asking current clients if they would recommend you.
Ask for direct referrals, a shout-out on LinkedIn or incentivise customers to bring along a friend, depending on the nature of your business. Gathering a selection of written testimonials and online reviews can help you sell, without having to blow your own trumpet.
- Conduct advance research
Potential customers will be both impressed and flattered if you’ve taken the time to learn about them before pitching.
Introverts are often good at researching, so you will be in your element as you find out about your prospect and their organisation. Having this knowledge will give you the confidence to start a conversation, even if it’s a ‘cold’ contact you’re approaching.
- Find non-intimidating networking opportunities
There’s nothing more daunting for the introvert than finding themselves alone in a roomful of strangers with whom they must network.
To avoid this, look for alternative networking opportunities where you socialise around an activity, such as having dinner, or more targeted networking where you’re matched with relevant contacts. Thankfully technology is making this easier than ever.
- Offer reassurance
People often have a mistrust of salespeople, believing they will say anything to secure a sale. Introverts will particularly struggle with this association, but you can build trust and reassurance by offering a money back guarantee or flexible contract.
Explain that if the customer is not happy and you are unable to fix the problem you will refund all or part of their costs. This might seem like a risky strategy but in most cases, even if things do go wrong, customers will give you the chance to rectify the problem. However, it offers a sense of security for the customer and gives you a clear conscience when making a sale.
The truth is that anyone can sell effectively if they identify and hone the methods that are right for them. The key is to stop thinking about selling as a dark art and start thinking about it as a way you can genuinely help people with their needs.