Not Knowing You Are an Introvert or Extrovert Can Be to Your Selling Advantage

spinach on introvert teethDiscovering I was an introvert when I was promoted to sales manager in the 1980s was news to me there even was such a distinction of people. It’s a bit like finding out you have spinach stuck on your front teeth. With 10 years of previous top of the team sales results, it never occurred to me that I was – unsociable, aloof, or awkward in anyway.

What did happen was something was just under my skin as a minor irritation causing me to turn down invitations that others would ask me, “Why aren’t you going?” Not knowing I was an introvert or an extrovert gave me a distinct advantage and like the Energizer Bunny®, I just kept on going being my natural self. {EAV:6a548d732e8e4215}

It’s helpful to be authentic. Being one of those more naturally curious introverts, my sales presentations rarely jumped the hurdle directly to talking about my company, my technical team, or me. What I first wanted to do was know about – you, my potential customer. There was only one time in those 15 years of being a salesperson that someone told me, “Are we finished with the questions? I’d like one (a computer),” and that is what you want to listen for anyway! It’s a salesperson’s favorite phrase, “I’m ready to buy.” And I did listen.

Training by extroverts can be helpful. It’s an assumption I make that the corporate trainers I had early in my career were extroverts. The clue? They would party all night into those hazy, early hours of the morning and after an 8am to 5pm workshop, which was complete with role-plays, which were not an option. Geez, I’m exhausted just thinking back to those events. It was an immersion of sorts into a world that I had no idea I shouldn’t be in. I just said no.

You can high jump at least one sales hurdle that extroverts might find difficult. This challenge is still true today in selling. I remember the first time I acted against my intuition with this it cost me a change in jobs that I wanted. If you were trained in the same time frame and in a similar philosophy, this will make perfect sense. It’s drummed into you, “When you ask a closing question, the first person who speaks loses.” In other words, when you ask something like, “So when do you want to start?” and your motor mouth has you answering the question with options, you likely have just talked your customer out of buying. Does time to think sound like an introvert mantra?!

Why worry about that spinach in your teeth anyway? In this economy you might be wondering about your next job or your next line of work. You might even be in direct marketing or an author and business coach like me. Even introverts can be uber successful in sales. And the less you know about your drawbacks as an introvert, the more success you are likely to have.

What have you found with possibly not knowing your own personality type? Is it helpful or hurtful? Tell me please – my curious nature wants to hear from you.

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  1. Like you, I was a very successful sales person. I was always underestimated. I think because I was unknowing an introvert. As an executive, it was the same, but I was still able outpace my colleagues. That said, I agree, not knowing was an advantage for me. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Irish Beef Stew: RecipeMy Profile

  2. Yes Susan. You don’t always benefit from knowing something. Often, having a different perspective, not so fraught with cautions, can help us.

  3. Jeannette Paladino

    I’ve take the Meyers Briggs type indicator several times and I always come up an ENTJ — an extrovert. This is helped me enormously in dealing with other people, particularly when I was a senior manager in companies and agencies. For example, we ENTJs want to come to closure faster than introverts, who are more introspective and want to keep the conversation going. So you’ve got to strike a balance between your own natural tendencies and respect how other people approach problem solving.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Use Mobile Technology to Engage Your Customers, or Bye-ByeMy Profile

  4. Love the strike a balance between who you are and who others are. Thanks Jeannette.

  5. Well done Pat, I didn’t know you were in sales. Agree with Jeannette’s phrase “you’ve got to strike a balance between your own natural tendencies and respect how other people approach problem solving.”
    Catarina recently posted…Could your visual presentations be better?My Profile

  6. Geek Girl

    I am a big introvert. However, as a software trainer I think it actually helped me. I did not always know I was an introvert so I adopted some ‘skills’ from those I watched, not realizing I was adopting some extrovert tendencies for the purpose of training.
    Geek Girl recently posted…Top 100 Book Related Blogs To Follow In 2013 [Infographic]My Profile

  7. Catarina, in reality, I am STILL in sales! Thanks.

  8. Cheryl, that’s a wonderful example of – the power of not knowing. We just take on the task and get into action. Thanks.

  9. Jonathan, you sound like you’ve found how to keep in the flow of things. Delighted you saw value in the post.

  10. Patricia, great perspective. As an introvert myself, I have found the ability to leverage my natural tendencies and preserve who I am. This involves making sure I have plenty of “me” time in advance, so that I have the energy reserves to handle more extraverted environments when they arrive. Gotta keep that gas tank filled!
    Jonathan Harrison recently posted…6 Stupidly Obvious Ways to Start Accomplishing Your GoalsMy Profile

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