As a CEO and founder of a company that mentors introverts, many people find it surprising that I only admitted to myself recently that I was an introvert.
Which is crazy, since I remember being in the second grade absolutely horrified that the teacher might call on me and the entire class might stop and look at me all at once. I used to hide at lunch time in high school because I was too embarrassed to ask someone to sit with me. Because the truth is, I thought being an introvert meant that something was wrong with me.
Fast forward a few years and I somehow ended up with a job in corporate sales. I forced myself to attend conferences that drained me, pretended to be outgoing, attempted to make small talk, and did all the things I thought I needed to do to be a high performer.
But, I finally got to a point where it was just too exhausting. The incredible thing was that once I started being myself, I became more successful.
When I started teaching others how to sell and grow their business revenue, I finally realized that I had adapted my introverted style to work for me. Not only was it not a flaw or something I needed to change, it was my greatest asset.
It might be yours, too. So, I created five simple tips for thriving in sales that I want to share with you.
1. Be the Real You
The key to confidence in sales is knowing and owning your selling style. Many people have a false perception that they must be pushy or “salesy” to succeed.
You don’t. You can be quiet, introverted, goofy. You don’t have to fake it, you just have to be you (in the way you’re most comfortable).
2. Make it Personal
Your story is what makes you memorable. Talk about yourself and what makes you unique—your hobbies, your family, your love of pickles, whatever. People remember the person, not the product. And no one can question your expertise in yourself.
3. Don’t Quit Before You Get Started
Half of the people I talk to say they’re terrible at following up.
Newsflash—the money is all in the follow-up. This is the single, easiest thing you can do to increase sales. The first ask is only the beginning.
Not everyone is ready to buy today. If someone tells you they’re not ready or puts off the discussion, its OK.
But, you need to check in—tomorrow, next month, next year. 60% of sales are made after the fourth discussion, yet 94% of people quit after the fourth call, says Jack Canfield in his book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. The reality is those 6% are making a lot more money.
4. Say Good-Bye to Guilt
Being successful in sales is about having the right mindset. If you feel guilty about asking someone to buy, you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
Instead, approach each discussion knowing that selling is serving, and that you may have a “sacred contract” with the person you’re talking to. You’re sharing your special gift, or your magic, with someone. There are people who’re as much in need of what you have as you are to share it.
LOOKING FOR A NEW SALES ROLE THAT YOU'LL LOVE?
Yes, we used the L-word!
5. Show Up and Be Seen
Not publicizing our gifts can be especially hard for us as introverts. Your amazing business shouldn’t be your best kept secret. And, no one can find you if you’re hiding your awesomeness.
Take a baby step: post your writing on Facebook, show a friend your art, just take a small leap to show someone your skills. You may be surprised at how great it feels and what amazing feedback you receive.
Want to find out more about how to sell using your introverted strengths? Join our free LinkedIn group, Quiet Selling.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn. It has been republished here with permission.
Photo of person talking courtesy of PeopleImages/Getty Images.
Christine Pereira is the founder of Soulful Selling, a company that empowers introverts to sell and promote themselves with confidence and authenticity. She has over 15 years of experience in sales and marketing at Fortune 500 companies and startups in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow her on Facebook or LinkedIn.More from this Author