Think you need to be an extrovert to be a successful salesperson? Think again. Various research has shown a weak correlation between extrovert personalities and sales success. But, as Banks Benitez points out in a recent Quartz article, “it’s a widespread belief that an extrovert makes the best salesperson.” A self-professed introvert, Benitez works in sales, and he personally knows that belief is just not true.
In his article, he shares what he calls an “introvert’s handbook” for sellers. Introverts don’t have to change who they are or what they’re comfortable with to be a good sales rep. “When you’re an introvert, you can’t necessarily rely on flashy persuasion, but you can focus on a different type of selling; one based on genuine interactions, long-term relationships, and commitment to details,” he explains.
First, he encourages introverts to “focus on the 85 percent.” Benitez shares that when it comes down to it, only about 15% of his time during a sales cycle is spent face-to-face. And, for introverts, it’s that remaining 85% where they can really shine. It’s a time for thoughtful and methodical planning, research, tracking, and other tasks that don’t require socializing.
All of this work will then prepare you for those face-to-face meetings because you’ll have done the legwork and can be confident in what you present. Before a big meeting or presentation, many reps focus on how they can motivate and “sell” during their presentation. Benitez encourages introverts to focus on being a detective, uncovering data and clues that can help you unlock the sale. “My goal is to capture as much information as I can, so I can resonate with them better, connect with them more deeply, and understand the path we might take to join forces through a sale or investment,” he writes.
Benitez then shares how introverts can successfully tackle the inevitable in-person interactions. Check out his advice in the article, and then take all of his suggestions and apply them to your own strategy. Benitez himself is proof that being extroverted isn’t necessary reach your goals. “Ultimately,” he writes, “sales is about two things: understanding someone’s problem and exploring how you can help them solve it. Sales is less about persuasion and charisma than it is about human-to-human problem-solving.”