There’s a common stigma in the sales world that top-performing reps need to be Type-A, extroverted personalities. When we think of the ideal salesman or saleswoman, we’re imagining a smooth talking, outgoing, loud, and confident person. While these sales traits are true on many levels, effective salespeople come in many forms.
Introverted, Calm, Reserved...That was me.
Growing up, I was always told I was great at selling, whether it was upselling as a bartender, presenting a school project, or convincing friends to believe my idea was golden. However, I didn’t buy into it. I figured I did not possess many of those sales genes. As I graduated from college, the natural trajectory for many marketing majors is to go into a sales, marketing internship, or lower-level business management role.
I was well aware that I didn’t fit the common mold for a ‘successful’ salesman and I was petrified of the idea of making cold calls, leading sales meetings, or for that matter presenting in front of a board. I wasn’t shy, but I didn’t want to be the traditional sales guy, pushing services on prospects and harassing them with calls and emails until that 5% closed. I never wanted to be part of the numbers game, so they say.
Knowing that marketing is as a tough an industry to get into without years of internship experience, I bit the bullet and joined a marketing agency, Marketing Eye, as an inside sales executive. As this position was geared primarily towards inbound sales leads, I figured this would be doable.
Sales is sales...
Little did I know... inbound… outbound... doesn’t matter. Sales is sales. Business development demands both cold and warm conversations via phone, email and in-person. And I was in charge of it all. I ran the entire sales process, from the first call to the sales presentation and contract write-up and close.
In my first three sales meetings, I closed all three. I don’t say that to brag, as it’s merely three deals, but at that moment I realized “I can do this”. I shockingly thought to myself, “how did I do...what made my pitch work?”
So I asked my team and the clients we signed what made them choose us, besides the obvious in services and talent. To use slang, all of them said that the approach was very non-sales-like. They said it worked because it seemed genuine and honest.
While the traditional salesman would push to sell the entire room, I spent most of the meeting listening to them. In a sales meeting, I firmly believe the seller shouldn’t be doing all of the talking, but it happens far too often. Buyers want to be engaged. They want to be heard.
They say "Heros come in all shapes and sizes", but I believe sales reps do too. I'm living proof that introverted, quiet personalities can be highly successful in today’s era of sales. All it takes is devotion, an open ear, and a relational approach.
Thanks for reading and please share your thoughts on your sales experience.
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