The Introvert's Edge

How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone

The Introvert's Edge

Author: Matthew Pollard
Pub Date: January 2018
Print Edition: $17.95
Print ISBN: 9780814438879
Page Count: 240
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814438886

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Looking back, though, I can easily see now why John failed. He simply wasn't a salesman. He was a typical engineer: an introverted, analytical problem solver. Nothing he learned could have possibly prepared him for selling real estate services to homeowners. Going out to meet new people and drumming up business was simply not in his nature.

It's not that he wasn't smart; obviously, he was. He wasn't lazy. But rather than focus on sales, he focused on doing things he was already good at. You could say that he was trying to save money by doing the work himself, but the truth was he hid from doing something that made him uncomfortable. Instead, he did what we all tend to do: gravitated to what he knew well. What's more, for introverts, the thought of selling their services isn't just unpleasant; it can be downright terrifying. Many of the introverts I work with can relate. They like doing what they're good at, and they hate doing what makes them uncomfortable (as do most people).

So, they concentrate on the work. Business owners often go into business for themselves because they're great at their functional skill. Lawyers start their own firms because they know the law. Electricians start their own electrical contracting companies because they're good electricians. IT professionals start their own consultancy business because they're proficient with a specific platform.

But just because you're good at something--or even great at it--doesn't mean that customers will automatically show up at your door. Even if you pour money into advertising (usually not the best solution to your sales problem), you still have to speak to people when they walk in or call you up. Marketing may turn up an interested prospect, but there's still a gap between the customer knowing what you do and actually wanting to buy from you. You still have to sell.

Of course, the problem is that lawyers, electricians, and consultants aren't salespeople; they're lawyers, electricians, and consultants. To them, sales is something done by salespeople.

These smart people can learn how to balance the books (like a bookkeeper would), how to hire and train employees (like a human resources professional would), and how to address customer complaints (like a customer service representative would). But for some reason, these same brilliant business owners don't think they can be taught how to sell (like a salesperson would).

That's because they believe that learning the law or electrical maintenance is a skill, whereas sales is a personality type. To be successful at sales, you have to be charismatic. You have to be outgoing. You have to know how to schmooze and how to work a room. You have to be likable. Sales is something where "you either have it or you don't."

That's the myth so many introverts buy into. They give up on sales before they even begin. They think that because of their personality, they're not good at selling. So instead of learning how, they plow their time and effort into getting better at their functional skill and pour money into advertising, hoping those two things will somehow magically close the gap. "Build it and they will come" may work in the movies, but if that's your strategy in business, you're just counting the days till you close your doors.

Here's another myth. What's the number one problem small businesses cite time and time again? They'll tell you it's finding customers. However, after working directly with so many entrepreneurs and professionals, in industries from writing to real estate to personal training, what I've discovered is that finding customers isn't really the problem. Business owners often have their head in the sand: They don't want to meet people, to network, to attend events, to get on the phone, or to set up meetings. They don't see the value in contacting past clients for referrals. And they have trouble qualifying leads and recognizing the ones with the most potential.

It doesn't matter if you're the best voice coach on the Eastern seaboard. If no one knows it, how can you expect to sell to them? These small-business owners and entrepreneurs climb most of the mountain, only to let their dreams die a few feet from the peak.

The problem is sales--but it's so easy to fix!

Working directly with thousands of business owners, salespeople, entrepreneurs, and professionals has taught me three truths:

1. Sales is a skill anyone can learn.

2. Anyone can create a sales process.

3. Armed with these two facts, introverts make the best salespeople.

Excerpted from THE INTROVERT'S EDGE: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone by Matthew Pollard with Derek Lewis. Copyright © 2018 Matthew Pollard and Rapid Growth LLC. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

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