03 Jan 7 Ways Introverts Succeed in Business
Popularity and success in business are not reserved for extroverts only. This is a myth that many introverts believe. Learning to sell is a skill that everyone should acquire in life because selling is synonymous with effective communication. Guess what? The best communicators make the best salespeople. Introverts are thoughtful, strong observers and often become some of the world’s greatest influencers.
Despite a successful career in sales and marketing over the past two and a half decades, I’ve always been embarrassed at being labeled a salesperson. I am an introvert at heart. The word “sales” is a scary word for most and unfortunately, the role of a salesperson has been tainted by many people who have not quite been able to get it right (see more in my next blog on The Secret to Sales Success).
Here are the steps I took throughout my life to gain the benefits of behaving as an extrovert:
- Spend more time with extroverts
What better way to learn than to be with those people who don’t fear being “out there.” Instead of minimizing or devaluing myself when I was around people who are naturally outgoing, I admired those qualities that I did not possess. This allowed me to be pushed a bit farther out of my comfort zone. Over time, I noticed that I sought out people who were different. Extroverts love followings, so if you tag along with them, they love having you along.
“MOTIVATION is what gets you started, HABIT is what keeps you going.“ – Jim Rohn
This is probably the single most important contributor to my life’s many successes: being comfortable in the uncomfortable. Every time we step past the threshold of fear, it gives us a new sense of contentment and growth. Be careful though, this is what we call self-development and self-empowerment, and it can be addictive!
- Be assertive, not aggressive
Although extroverts are typically a lot of fun to be with, there are still some traits that are not so appealing to many. They can come off as aggressive and self-centered. I have always been cognizant to never give that impression. Instead, I prefer to create environments where it’s a win-win for everyone. It has always been so important for me to make a positive impact on society, so openly communicating my thoughts or opinions is critical. I learned to speak with conviction and respect that everyone has an opinion. We should be very comfortable with open discussions and dealing with conflicting ideas. Everyone’s voice deserves to be heard, including our own.
- Value trust and integrity
I struggled with trust from a very young age, and it is probably the single most important value I live by. I studied trust in human behavior and I learned that openness and reliability lead to trust. For this reason, I am always cognizant of walking my talk. How many times have you been asked a question and, instead of responding with your truth, you tell that person what they want to hear. In these circumstances, if you don’t deliver actions that match what you have said, then the trust may be broken. Integrity leads to deeper connections and better relationships. In the end, the only person you need to make proud is you, and once you have achieved this, then people will truly respect you!
- Ask for what you want
Extroverts are not afraid to ask for what they want. This was not so difficult for me because I made it a point to keep valuing myself for my strengths, particularly when it came to work. If I felt at any time I was not rewarded in the way I deserved, I would speak up. Of course, my inner introvert ensured that I was always fair and therefore open to negotiation. It is so important to actually list our positive attributes , skills and so forth, own and value them!
- Learn to sell without guilt
This is probably one of the biggest obstacles for introverts. We are prone to over give. Much of this may be due to self-worth issues. This is where I learned the skills of effective communication. People don’t really care about how much you know until they know how much you care. Don’t be afraid to ask real and personal questions to learn about the other person. This is super easy if you are genuinely interested in getting to know someone else. This means getting comfortable with talking about thoughts and feelings and being ready to be transparent yourself. Introverts are more about sharing than selling, but don’t forget that sharing becomes ineffective if we don’t know our audience. Only once you understand the needs of the other person can you sell effectively and without ever feeling guilty.
- Don’t Judge
One of the worst mistakes people make is assume to know what someone else might be thinking, especially regarding how they might view us. That assumption is purely based on how we view and feel about ourselves. Let’s stop judging ourselves and learn to live with self-love. Only once we are on this path will we no longer worry about being rejected, and we can be free to show the world our own greatness. We as introverts never have to fear that we appear arrogant because, at heart, we are humble. Don’t assume you won’t be heard or understood before this actually happens. And if and when it happens, don’t give up – just modify your message a bit for the next time.
- Embrace the attention others pay you
Every person in this world has an amazing story to tell. Extroverts thrive at the center of attention. They have learned the art of storytelling, and they modify the way they tell their story in relation to their audience. If you learn this skill, you should never be afraid to speak. There are so many good people with important values to share and instill in society. Why not find your voice and make an important impact in bringing peace by influencing rather than reacting? We all have a responsibility to remove conflict and judgement in the world.
I thank all extroverts in my life for teaching me the skills needed to make things happen for me. I learned the importance of just going out there and selling myself regardless of how scared I was. I had a dream to gain financial freedom and retire before fifty, and I accomplished it last year. I would not have been able to do it without following extroverts. I have stumbled many times, but I knew I couldn’t stop. My worst fear was living as a victim to life’s circumstances. I am forever grateful for the many lessons that enabled me to be more courageous. Every fall was attached to a lesson to do it better the next time around. It was never about the service or product I was selling – it was always about me. Respect is not commanded, it is earned. Whatever you are selling, whether it’s a service or an idea , needs to be authentic. And it all begins with you. Let’s start by making that commitment to embrace our uniqueness. So what makes you unique, my fellow introvert friends? Whatever it is, jump up and down and celebrate YOU! Now look for ways to incorporate into a healthy introvert/extrovert balance.