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.
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.