Introvert in Business to Business Sales: Take the Hard Way Out

confidentI’m going to tell you the truth – which may be painful.

You may hope that this will be an article in which I detail how introverts can make millions in sales and never have to be uncomfortable or speak to anyone – that somehow I will have the “secret” to selling without any discomfort.

Well, I don’t.

The reason why good salespeople often make as much or more than many in upper management is because of their willingness to deal with painful experiences – like getting rejected – again, and again, and again. The “secret,” if there is one, is to keep going until the discomfort and rejection don’t bother you anymore.

Introvert in Business to Business Sales: Take the Hard Way Out

The truth is, if you want to be a top salesperson, you are going to have to pay your dues. And it is usually painful – at first. You will be rejected – many times. What you may not realize is that top salespeople, many of whom consider themselves introverts, have learned to be comfortable with discomfort. The pain and rejection doesn’t bother them like it may have in the beginning. They know that discomfort, when consistently confronted, gives way to confidence. This feeling of strength does not come by reading this article. It does not come by imagining that you are confident. This strength only comes to those who, in real life, endure pain and discomfort until they give way to confidence and strength.

How do you get confident?

By consciously choosing pain and discomfort.

By choosing again and again to stretch your comfort zone by doing what is uncomfortable – until the discomfort gives way to confidence. If you are uncomfortable with public speaking, join a speaking club. If you don’t like picking up the phone, force yourself to make a certain number of calls before lunch every day. If you would rather email than meet in person, meet in person anyway. Face your fear and take the hard way out at least once a day.

Facing My Fears

Picture this: It’s my first day on the job as a door-to-door salesman. I’m nervous, not sure I want to be there, but hanging on. It can’t really be that hard, right? I try to tell myself that as I timidly begin my “training.” I am to follow around a successful salesperson so that I can learn from him. Together we go from door to door, on the fifth door or so he sold.

That’s it—training completed.

With that, I was told to “Go try it on your own—that is the best way to learn.” To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I had probably a half hour or so of training, and now it was time for me to strike out on my own. I walked timidly across the street and knocked on a door.

Now, there is a moment, right before you do something that you’ve never done before that can be terrifying—this moment is key. It’s the moment where you are actually growing, if you let yourself, by pressing forward through the fear. On the other hand, if you give into your fear and run away or otherwise try to avoid taking it head on, it is the moment that you build a wall around your potential. That is why this moment is so important. You have to have the determination to endure it. You have to be able to endure the discomfort.

The door opened and a very nervous me tried to sell something that I only had a bit of training for. I felt the fear. I knew that I might mess up and, true to my belief, I messed it up – big time.

I continued to fail – again and again.

I began to think that sales was not for me. Maybe the salesperson that I had just worked with had the gift of the silver tongue and I did not. Perhaps his gift destined him to sales success while my lack of sales skills would doom me to poverty. My fear of failure continued past that moment and seemed to deepen as I continued knocking doors with no success.selling_gets_easier

However, something else was happening that I didn’t even notice at the time. Each door was getting a bit easier—not very much, but just a little.

The bad news: the beginning is the most difficult. The good news: it gets easier.

It’s the initial part that is the hardest and that requires endurance. But gradually it will get easier. Now I can knock on doors all day long without the slightest bit of discomfort. Selling will get easier until it is as natural as anything you do, if you are willing to pay the price in the beginning.


Thank you to guest author: EksAyn Anderson is a speaker and an expert on sales and negotiation. He is the author of The Key to the Gate – a book that shows how applying timeless principles and truly caring about people can help you get appointments with decision makers in organizations.

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  1. Jeannette Paladino

    If you can sell door-to-door you can sell anything. What could be worse than having doors slammed in your face time and time again? I remember when it used to bother me when people didn’t return my phone calls. It doesn’t any more. By the way, know when it’s time to move on. Don’t keep knocking at the same door if it will never open. Move on to targets who are better prospects.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Why WPBeginner is the Go-To Site for All Things WordPressMy Profile

  2. I think rejection is hard for everyone. When I sold real estate I had to knock on doors. I hated it and I am an extrovert. I felt that if someone knocks on my door, I find it irritating, so how could I sell anything when I didn’t believe in it. Trying to get referrals, you will deal with rejection. I have learned not take to take it personally. This has been the greatest lesson I have learned in selling
    Arleen recently posted…What Changing Fall Leaves and Your Business Have in Common | Managing Business ChangeMy Profile

  3. Spot on. Nobody likes to do cold calls. But we get used to it and are not bothered by rejection because it’s an inevitable part of such calls. Being a door to door saleswoman I’m not sure I could handle though for the simple reason that it’s not only about rejection you could come across violent people as well:-)
    Catarina recently posted…Interested in exporting to Southeast Asia?My Profile

  4. Cheryl Therrien

    I am not a sales person and have no aspirations to be one. I will hire someone to do that for me. Yeah, I am an introvert taking the easy way out and I admit it.
    Cheryl Therrien recently posted…#DIY Natural: A Must Follow SiteMy Profile

  5. Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie)

    Ahhh…the days of the cold call. I thought they were over and then I wrote a book and had to market it so…here we go again, right? Laugh! But so true about it getting easier as time went on. I learned to believe that they were rejecting my fryer, my HVAC system or anything I had no part in creating.The book? Whole new ball game Patricia…can we talk? Sigh:)
    Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) recently posted…Respect… Where’s The Justice?My Profile

  6. Very inspiring post Patricia. Pushing on until the discomfort does not bother you anymore. But who wants discomfort? That’s why there are more quitters than those who persevere. Again, means more pain.
    Welli recently posted…Unblinker your viewMy Profile

  7. Rejection is pretty much hard for everyone. I mean no one likes to get rejected. But this post showed that there’s way around that. That there’s a way to endure it and grow as a person and learn to take on that fear. Great post, Eksayn and Patricia!

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