Selling is an activity that I struggled with greatly when I first started my technology business. I used to be a very introverted person, and talking to strangers (let alone trying to sell them something) was extremely difficult for me! I can remember pacing the floor for an hour before making a sales call, going over in my head exactly what I would say. Or if I was meeting someone in person, I would have the A/C on full blast in my car while driving to their office, just to stop the profuse sweating. A typical sales call included getting tongue tied and mostly making a complete fool of myself.
Because I was a one-man operation in my technology business, I couldn’t just sit back and do the behind the scenes work. I had to learn to sell, because it was the only way of gaining clients (and a paycheck!). I knew that I had to learn how to sell as an introverted person, and not try and duplicate the techniques of salespeople who are more outgoing. After reading several books on selling, but mostly trial and error on my own, I found several techniques that not only helped me stay calm while selling, but also helped close sales more often than not. Here are three of the techniques I benefited from the most:
Know your product.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has tried to sell me something without even knowing the ins and outs of their own products. I received calls all the time from people trying to sell me website hosting, the latest antivirus software or other technology related products. When I questioned them on certain features or aspects of their products, I often found out that they didn’t have the answers. And they expected me to buy it?
No matter if you’re selling a product, a service or an idea, you need to know everything about what you are trying to sell. For an introverted person trying to sell, it’s crucial that you stay calm during the sales process, or you’re likely to get too flustered to actually make the sell. If you know everything there is to know about your product, you won’t get tripped up or start raining sweat down your face when a potential client asks you a question.
You’ll also be able to stay focused on what your product can do for the client by knowing all of the benefits your product has to offer. This is what clients really care about! Know your product and how it will benefit the client, and the sale is half made.
Let the other person do the talking.
I often assumed I was bad at selling because I didn’t like to talk. Now that I’ve had the chance to sell to hundreds of customers, I know that I was exactly wrong. In fact, I sometimes feel sorry for those salespeople who are extremely extroverted and like to hear the sound of their own voice.
I strongly believe us introverted people have a leg up over our extroverted counterparts, because we don’t like to do the talking. Any good book on selling you read or great salesperson you visit with will tell you that getting the other person to do the talking is key. So what do you have to be good at as an introvert? Asking questions and listening.
As an introvert, I’m sure that you’re probably already a pretty good listener! The area of listening that I had to improve upon while selling was remembering. It’s not just enough to hear the client and their needs, you also have to remember those needs so you can fill those needs during the sales process. Don’t be afraid to take a few notes as the other person is talking to you, just be sure to look up from your notepad from time to time and make eye contact with them, so that they know you are still listening.
You’ll likely struggle more with asking questions. Thankfully, you’re selling the same products each time for the most part, so after a few sales you’ll start to figure out exactly what questions get the responses you’re looking for. It’s also helpful to make a list of questions you’re going to ask before you meet with the client. Then all you have to do is ask the questions and set back and listen!
Remember, you’re selling yourself.
I’ve found that the reason I’ve closed most of my sales, and in turn generated more sales through referrals, was because people were in a sense buying me. Someone else may have just as good of a product as you, maybe even at a lower price point, but people will do business with a person that they like and trust.
When you’re headed into a sales call or meeting, it’s important to understand that they are not only buying your product, but in all likelihood determining if you are the type of person they want to do business with. Because you already know your product inside and out (remember tip #1? ), you can stay focused during the selling process on selling yourself. You do this by listening to their needs and showing that you care about them (tip #2!). People also want to know that you will be there for them from the time you first visit with them, through the sale and especially after the sale. If they feel they can trust you and that you will take care of them, you have all but made the sale.
While I didn’t mention anything about closing the sale (which is a crucial part of selling), I’ve tried to give you techniques that will make the closing practically a formality. As an introverted person, asking someone directly to buy something was the most difficult part of selling. I found that by using the above techniques, most of my clients either asked for the sale themselves, or all I had to do was ask when they would like to get started. Once you have found out what the customer needs, demonstrated how you can fill that need and shown that you are a person they can trust, you’ll find it easy and enjoyable to finish the sale!
I would love to get your feedback if these techniques help you in your sales process, or other selling techniques you have found useful as an introverted person! Please leave a comment below, or send me an email with your thoughts!