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How to Appeal to Your Introverted Clients

8 September 2014 One Comment

According to Psychology Today, up to 50 per cent of the population can be defined as introverted. While significant publications like the The Atlas of Types Table (Macdaid et al, 1994) describe the sales industry as predominantly populated by extroverts, your customer base is not. This means that while you’re unbridled zest and enthusiasm will win you points in the office, and with many customers, you’ll need to try a different approach to appeal to introverts.

The Five Characteristics of an Introvert, and How to Use Them

Luckily, a wealth of research has gone into defining exactly what an introvert is, and what their preferences are when it comes to communication and forming relationships (however short). You can also take my Sales Introvert/Extrovert Quiz here.

In brief, introverts have 5 key preferences:

  • A need to get to the point quickly, without small talk or airs and graces.
  • They are guarded, playing their hand close to their chest.
  • They are keenly attuned to duplicity and the inauthentic.
  • Thus, they want to be approached in a unique manner.
  • Nothing sparks the in-authenticity antenna of an introvert more than a string of sales pitches they’ve heard five times already that day, small talk they’ve heard a thousand times, or laboured hype.

All of this represents quite a challenge for the ordinarily extroverted salesperson. These five characteristics essentially demand that the salesperson drop their pitch. Introverts commonly regard themselves as unable or unwilling to put up a pretense or put on a show for any length of time, and a sure way to win their heart is to approach them from a ‘no nonsense’, everyday, “I’m a sales person and my name is” rather than “I’m here to change your life. Sign here” game plan. Aim for a smart-casual style, saving the bells and whistles of your product’s blatant glory for those who will share your enthusiasm.

Dropping the Pitch Without Dropping the Pitch

This sounds like a Zen riddle, but in reality it points to the introverts need to feel an honest connection with those their speaking to in order to feel safe enough to come out of their shell.

What ‘dropping the pitch’ really means is knowing it well enough for it to become second nature, so you can ‘ad lib’ and adapt in the moment, tailoring it to suit the individual you’re selling to. Remember that in all likelihood extroverts have been badgering this introvert for years, rather than accepting their introverted nature on it’s own terms.

There is a very fine line between small talk and approaching your introverted potential customer as an individual. Many such characters are highly aware social observers, and you probably have only a handful of seconds to reel them in with a first impression. How do you do this? Set the playing field by letting them make the first move, letting them feel like they’re giving the conversation/pitch direction. Let them know in your manner, your body language, your tone, that they are free to engage only as much or as little as they like. They will give you clues and indications when a particular tactic is working well, as these indications are permissions, on a subtle level, to proceed further.

How To Turn The Tables

The key difference is that rather than using techniques like ‘Jones-ing’ to compel your potential customer, you’re looking for clues from them and in most cases having to adapt your pitch to fit chinks in their armour. It can seem like hard work, and you’ll probably wonder whether you’d get a higher conversion rate from stick with extroverted customers. However, what introverts lack in terms of initial (or at least open) enthusiasm they make up for many times over in loyalty. These are the life-time members, the loyal followers, the enduring supporters of the enterprise you represent.

Remember that you’re dropping the pitch without dropping the pitch – you’re waiting for their cue to enter sales arena from a particular perspective which they find most appealing. And just because you’re trying to limit small talk doesn’t mean you can do without an introduction, just that you have to keep it short and make it appeal to the introvert as quickly as possible by finding a lead. There will be one, and selling to introverts is perhaps the most task you have as a salesperson because it won’t be given up freely.

Introverts are still people, they are still customers and consumers, and will react to the same cues provided that you have signaled to them that it is safe or meaningful enough for them to do so. Try to approach them with curiosity – actively wonder what’s going through their head and how they tick. Approaching from this perspective gives you the time and ground necessary for tailoring your pitch.

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Alen Mayer was recently voted as #2 on the list of Top 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management in 2013. He helps sales leaders enlarge their sales circles and tap into their team members’ individual strengths to increase sales results. He works closely with companies to create a tailor-made, irresistible language for introverted clients.

Whether you need to sharpen cold-calling techniques or sales strategies, Alen will improve your business. Please call 647-427-1588 for more information about his powerful sales training seminars, in-house workshops, and speaking engagements.

To learn more about selling for introverts, get his e-book here.

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  • Skaled

    Whenever you are approaching a new contact, you should always be mindful of how they prefer to interact with you. Mirroring is one of the hardest things for salespeople to master, but once you have it, it’s much easier to understand how to engage new clients.

    However, I don’t believe that our pitches and the way we present our product is something we should adjust often. Now, of course, this is assuming your sales process is proven to be affective and successful – never shy away from adjustments that can make you better. As a former sales representative and manager for a global software company, we always emphasized our product during our pitches and how the product could help the client. In sports, there is a saying of “we will play our game,” meaning that regardless of what the other team has devised, if we focus on our strengths, we’ll come out on top.

    Of course, in sales you always want to have a soft touch that tailors to the client, but for the best outcome with a sales process, be sure your product can speak for itself as much as possible.