Five Simple Tips for Introverts in Sales

As a CEO and founder of a company that mentors introverts, many people find it surprising that I only admitted to myself recently that I was an introvert. Which is crazy since I remember being in the 2nd grade absolutely horrified that the teacher might call on me and the entire class might stop and look at me all at once! I used to hide at lunch time in high school because I was too embarrassed to ask someone to sit with me. Because the truth is, I thought being an introvert meant that something was wrong with me.

Fast forward a few years and I somehow ended up with a job in corporate sales. I forced myself to attend conferences that drained me, pretended to be someone outgoing, attempted to make small talk and did all the things I thought I needed to do to be a high performer. But I finally got to a point where it was just too exhausting. But the incredible thing was that once I started being myself, I became every more successful.

When I started teaching others how to sell and grow their business revenue, I finally realized that I had adapted my introverted style to work for me. Not only was it not a flaw or something I needed to change, it was my greatest asset. It might be yours too. So I created five simple tips for my introvert friends about sales that I want to share with you.

  1. Be the REAL You

The key to confidence in sales is knowing and owning your sales style. Many people have a false perception that they must be pushy or “salesy” to sell. You don’t. You can be quiet, introverted, goofy. You don’t have to fake it, you just have to be you (in the way you are most comfortable)  

2. Make It Personal

Your story is what makes you unique and memorable. Talk about yourself and what makes you unique. Your hobbies, your family, your love of pickles, whatever. People remember the person not the product. And no one can question your expertise in yourself.

3. Don’t Quit Before You Get Started

50% of people I talk to say they are terrible at follow up.  Newsflash – the money is ALL in the follow up.  This is the single, easiest thing you can do to increase sales. The first time you ask if only the beginning.

Not everyone is ready to buy today. If someone tells you they are not ready or puts off the discussion, its ok. But you need to follow up. Tomorrow, next month, next year. 60% of sales are made after the fourth discussion yet 94% of people quit after the fourth call*. Those 6% are making a lot more money!!!

*From The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

4. Say Good-Bye to Guilt

Being confident in sales is about having the right mindset. If you feel guilty about asking someone for the sale you are already setting yourself up for failure. Instead, approach each discussion knowing that selling is serving and that you may have a “sacred contract” with the person you are talking to. You are sharing your special gift, your magic with someone. There are people who are as much in need of what you have as you are to share it.

5.  Show Up and Be Seen
Not publicizing our gifts can be especially hard for us as introverts. Your amazing business shouldn’t be your best kept secret. And no one can find you if you are hiding your awesomeness. Take a baby step: post your writing on Facebook, show a friend your art, just take a baby step to showing someone your work. You may be surprised at how great it feels & what amazing feedback you receive.

 

Want to find out more about how to sell using your introverted strengths? I created a free video workshop called, “Quiet Selling” which is available just for the month of March. You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/2kqMmnY

 

Warmly,

Christine

Why Introverts Make The Best Salespeople

I recently got a nasty message on Facebook that questioned how I could teach introverts how to sell.  “Introverts can’t sell, I don’t know what your background is but you obviously don’t know anything about selling”  This made me laugh since not only do I have pretty stellar sales experience but I am also an introvert.  And I am not unique.

I took some time to ask former colleagues who worked in full time sales roles.  Did they notice a difference between introverts and extroverts on their sales teams?  Many mentioned that their most successful long term sales people were indeed introverts.  Why?  Because introverts are great at building deep relationships.  They are great listeners, they can read a room, they notice the fine details, they are great observers.  All required skills for high level sales.

So why would this person be so shocked that I am talking about introverts and selling?  While I can never be certain, I think most of us have an outdated view of selling.  When people talk sales, the first picture that pops into their mind is a used car salesman who is pushy, aggressive and often sleazy.  Our society constantly reinforces this inaccurate picture in movies and advertising.  These people exist but I would never say they are successful in their jobs.  They may achieve short terms wins but how many people walk away saying they would never come back?  How many of their customers refer them to others?  How many repeat customers do they have?  I am guessing very few.  And I would make a solid bet they are not the highest long term performers.

The best salespeople I have ever worked with know that listening is more important than talking.  That building trust takes time and authenticity matters.  They know that different personalities have different needs and they learn what each person needs by observing them, their team and what they say (and don’t say).  Introverts notice the fine details and while extroverts are often great at making introductions, its introverts who are building the relationships behind the scenes.

The other misunderstanding is that many people misunderstand the word introvert.  Even introverts themselves!  Introversion is a scale just like many things and some of us are highly introverted, shy or even have social anxiety.  Other introverts may love some social situations but need time alone to recharge.  I personally didn’t admit I was an introvert for years because I was really trying to be what I thought everyone wanted.  I looked at my introversion as a character flaw I should change instead of something to embrace.  But that left me with low confidence and very exhausted.

The fact is, the skills required to excel at high level sales are the strengths of introverts.  The problem is that many introvert think there is only one way to sell.  So if they are brave enough to try it, they often get discouraged if they fail or find it too challenging.  But those that persist often develop their own style.  They have in person meetings instead of big social events for clients.  They build deep relationships with a few key people.  They observe and listen to determine next steps.  And the great thing about sales is that is a results driven profession.  The end result is what matters, not how you got there.

I usually don’t comment back to people on social media who make nasty comments.  But I honestly couldn’t help myself when I saw that comment and had to respond.  “My background is 15 years of high level media sales for Fortune 500 companies.  I have sold well over $100 million dollars.  And I was such a shy as a kid, I couldn’t even raise my hand in class.  I am a total introvert.  Whats the last thing you sold?”  It turns out, he was a brand new sales person at an electronics store with only a few months experience.

Want to find out more about how to sell using your introverted strengths?  I created a free video workshop called, “Quiet Selling” which is available just for the month of February.  You can check it out here:  http://bit.ly/2kqMmnY

~

Christine Pereira is the founder of SoulfulSelling.com and mentors introverts & entrepreneurs how to gain confidence to generate more income, create better relationships and still be true to themselves.

 

 

The One Thing We Forget About Confidence

Last week, I spent a few days at the LinkedIn Learning offices in Carpenteria, CA.  I was filming my second class there on Salesforce.  And it got me thinking about confidence and how the process of presenting classes on their platform has challenged and grown my confidence in different ways.

Let me explain more.  LinkedIn Learning is a teaching platform and I was lucky enough to be hired as an expert in Salesforce.   I was paired with a professional producer (that’s her in the photo above), created an outline, script and spent several months practicing.   Months of writing, editing and organizing culminated in three days of live recording.  This is me in the recording booth.

inside the recording studio

I look happy in this photo because we took it at the end of three days (a picture on day one would NOT have looked like that).  I felt accomplished because not only had I finished the project, it had not been easy.  I got hours of feedback like, “Try that again, you were not speaking clearly”, “Too many ums, do it again”, “You are swallowing too much, do it again”.   All very valid observations that could improve my recordings.

Luckily, I was paired with an extremely professional and supportive producer who made it clear that all of her feedback was to help me improve and to create the best class experience possible.

And it made me think.  What if she had not been so supportive.  What if the criticism, while constructive, made me even more nervous?  The one thing we tend to forget about confidence is that our confidence can grow if it is challenged.

Confidence is something we are constantly working on and it fluctuates up and down at various times in our lives or even days of the week.  It is dependent on not just our experiences but how we react to those experiences.  And if you are an entrepreneur, this is even more important for you.  Confidence is what will get you more clients, make you more money, help you create partnerships and support you to keep going even though its hard.

The experience at LinkedIn really built my confidence in many ways.  First, it helped me become an even better teacher just through practice.  It allowed me to face a challenging situation and negative (but constructive) feedback and decide that I was going to allow that feedback to help me grow instead of make me feel insecure.  And that challenge only made me feel MORE confident after the entire experience was over.

It reminds me of what I told my son about one of his soccer games last year.  He played against another team who didn’t have enough players so they had to forfeit.  Of course, he was excited because his team won.   Then I explained to him, the wins that REALLY feel good are the ones that are hard.  When  both teams play their hardest and challenge themselves.  When you win that game, it feels even better.  As I told him that story, I realized there was a part of that story I needed to listen to for myself.  It was time to stop tackling the easy challenges.  It was time to push myself.

When we challenge ourselves and push through our comfort zone, the win is even more meaningful than our easy challenges.  So here is my question for you.  When was the last time you really challenged yourself in a big way?  What was your big win?  By sharing your story with us, it not only makes it more concrete in your own mind, it may inspire other entrepreneurs to do the same.

What's Your Super Power?

The Introvert’s Latent Super Power

Did you know that your introverted personality is a super power?

It truly is an amazing asset, let me tell you why…

What do you think is the #1 personality trait to help you generate more sales (and income) in your business?

It’s NOT a cheesy closing line.
It’s NOT how you look.
And it’s definitely NOT natural born talent.

So what is it…it’s the ability to LISTEN.

Think about what makes you introverted:

-Do you prefer deep conversation over crowded parties?
-Would you rather spend a quiet evening conversing near the fireplace than socializing in a loud club?
-Do you react to situations or reflect and contemplate before responding?

For introverts, the answers are obvious. And they boil-down to ONE key superpower: Active Listening.

After all, successful sales is all about understanding the needs of your customers and determining if you can fulfill those needs with your service or product. So while extroverts may have the ability to initiate conversation and deliver a sales pitch, they often forget to find out what the prospect really needs or wants.

It’s through listening you find out the pain points of your customers, discover their objections and (with a few good questions) determine the transformation they want to create in their life.

You have the innate skill to understand and empathize at a deep level.

In this way, people feel heard. They feel understood – by you.

This puts you in a very positive position: because if you’re the one that understands their problem, then you’re also the one to solve that problem… with your product or service.

Listening is the key.

I would love to hear from you.  What other introverted super powers do you have?

Making Friends with Rejection and Why It Could Be Your Secret to Success

A friend recently told me that being able to deal with rejection was the key differentiator between successful and non-successful sales people. And I have to say, I agree with him.

Rejection sucks, there is no other way to put it.  But letting it get you down is taking the easy way out.

I remember when I started my first real sales job. Before each call I would be terrified. What if they didn’t buy? What if they said NO? What if I was rejected? As an introvert it was easy for me to take rejections personally. As though it meant my product or service wasn’t good enough.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that most people don’t buy. This is true of every business, anywhere. On average, 80-90% of the people who see or ask about your product won’t actually buy. The minute I realized this, it immediately took the pressure off!

Suddenly, I could see rejection in a whole new light. Rejection became my friend!

First of all, not every client is right for your business. If you’re a creator or service provider who appreciates your customers, then you deserve clients that appreciate you.  A sales process that aligns with your unique voice and talents is a perfect way to naturally screen for your perfect client. Let every ‘no’ make space for the perfect ‘YES’.

Second, every sales call is an incredible opportunity to get to know your market in depth. Introverts are especially good at this and it’s true whether you make the sale or not.  You can find out critical information about your client pool – like demographics, motivations, desires and what problems they need solved.

Third,  a properly aligned sales sequence has the potential to give you vital feedback about your product. Done correctly, you can infuse product development in your marketing efforts.

Finally, ‘No’ is often just another way of saying ‘not right now’. This is actually great news for introverts (and not always for extroverts), because if you can create authentic relationships with people based on mutual trust then your chances for a future sale go way up. Remember, 60% of all sales occur after the buyer says no 4 times!

So, in a very real way, the sooner you make friends with “rejection,” the sooner you’ll be making sales, generating revenue and putting your business on the map.

So how do you get over the initial sting of rejection?  I am the first to admit some days are just harder than others and there are days when hearing a lot of “NOs” just feels horrible.  How do you snap out of it?  Let me share something I do when rejections get me down. I created a “Gratitude Page” with photos of clients, success stories, and inspiring quotes that I put near my phone! I am so grateful to have helped these people and I know the feeling is mutual. Any time I am feeling nervous or a little down, I use it to cheer me up. And I invite you to do the same! After all, your past clients know how amazing you are because they’ve experienced your magic. You can use their transformations and future transformations as your motivations!

Here’s to a successful 2017 with many many rejections (which lead to your true successes)!

Are You Exhausted By Pretending To Be An Extrovert?

Have you ever pretended to be an extrovert?

I have. More times than I can count.

For a long time, I didn’t even realize I was faking. I was just trying to be what I thought I “should” be.  More talkative, more outgoing, the life of the party.  Someone who could remember jokes and make  people laugh.

Because everywhere I looked, extroverts were succeeding.  In classrooms, at getting raises, promotions, even more dates! They were definitely not the most qualified.  They were the people who made sure they got noticed.  It seemed clear to me that the way to succeed was to be an outgoing extrovert. And I thought I was a pretty good actor.

So for years, I pretended to be one and it left me exhausted.  I did it for so long, I started to forget who I was and what made me happy.

Have you ever pretended to be someone you’re not?

Being a total fake really wears on you.  I felt really disconnected  to who I was which was pretty scary.  Do you think the only way to get ahead is to pretend  you are an extrovert?  

If so, I am guessing you are in one of two groups:

1-You believe you need to behave like an extrovert to  succeed but that is too painful for you. So you just don’t promote yourself.

2-You behave like an extrovert when needed and hope you can keep it up.

I’m so sorry to tell you this but neither of those is a good solution. 

No one is that good of an actor And if you continue to follow either one of those paths, its going to be really hard to make a sustainable change in your life or business.  I don’t know your situation and I won’t tell you there is one magical solution because everyone is different.

But I can tell you what worked for me. Once I slowed down and did some work on myself, I realized  I was an introvert.

But I had to do more than realize it, I had to accept and embrace it.

It was like coming home.
A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders.
It made everything easier.

And looking back, it seems crazy that I put so much effort into doing things that just exhausted me even further.

I had figured out how adapt to things in my own way.

But I had to retrain myself.
Actually, de-program myself.

The biggest reward was that I was able to see my life more clearly And to make some big career changes that supported me and my natural temperament. So I created a job I loved and enjoyed! I no longer felt like a fake!

I had more energy for myself and my family And I began the process of accepting myself.

Warmly,
Christine

Is THIS Preventing You from Creating Miracles?

I talked to an amazing woman named Melinda a few weeks ago and she was kind enough to allow me to share her story.

She is a really beautiful soul. She is also a cancer survivor (although  she hates that term).  She helps others who are fighting cancer through photography and her art work.

When I spoke to her, it was clear that helping others that are going through what she did through art was her calling in life. She was so passionate about it and so excited.  I could feel her amazing  energy and the love she wanted to share but she told me something that I hear all the time.

She was worried about promoting her business because of  what other people might think of her.

This is a woman who is doing her soul’s work.  Someone that is truly a gift in this world and her biggest concern was what others might THINK about her??

It sounds crazy but I get it.
And I hear it all the time.

Men and women who have so much to contribute, who can create miracles But they are afraid of being judged!  They are afraid someone will think they are greedy or pushy Or that someone may think they are taking advantage of others Or that they will think they are less than perfect.

So here is my question for you?

Is your fear of judgement bigger than the opportunity to help others with your special gifts and create miracles?

Would you honestly deprive another person of a miracle just because it causes you a bit of discomfort?

I am hoping you are saying NO in your head right now.  If you’re not, you might want to unsubscribe right now because even though you may know that it does not make sense logically, that doesn’t make it easy to change. 

You can’t just flip a switch  and change yourself. It takes a lot of work and it means you really have to recognize the special gifts you have and honor them.  You have to step up to it and be ready to do the work.

But the good news is that YOU can do it.

And imagine what you could create if you felt comfortable sharing your gifts with others?

You could touch so many more people
You could make the money you deserve
You could spend more time doing what you love
You could change the world!!

Warmly,
Christine

Are You An Introvert With A Voice That Needs To Be Heard?

As introverts we often live in a world full of contradictions.

We may be shy but what we have to say is important. We may be quiet but we have a voice that needs to be heard. I remember being so frustrated as a child.  I was terrified to raise my hand in class or talk to anyone outside my immediate family.  It drove me crazy when I didn’t feel like I could raise my hand when I knew the answer.

I lived in a world where I wanted to connect with people but the idea of taking the risk to talk to them was really scary and ironically, that is what lead me to my passion for sales.

I can’t remember exactly how it happened.  It may have been a school fundraiser or selling Girl Scout cookies.  But I distinctly remember the sense of relief I felt when I had something specific to talk about with people that I wanted to connect with. So for me, selling was the magic ingredient to break me out of my shell.  To finally be brave enough to talk to people I didn’t know (or even people I DID know but was afraid to talk to.)

It took me over 15 years of practice selling to become brave enough to share my REAL voice.  The voice that comes from me, not the details about some product, service or fundraiser And that was a lot harder and a lot scarier.  Because when we start sharing our true selves we are exposing our beliefs, our values, the core of who we are.

What if people don’t like our true selves?
What if they laugh at us or shun us or call us names? 

Well sadly, that may happen. 

But guess what else will happen? 

You will get encouraging emails from friends and colleagues that you may not have spoken to in years. You will have people call you and message you sharing their incredible gratitude for your voice.  You will have people walk up to you and hug you and tell you they have the same feelings and desires that you have and they want to help you spread your magic.

YOU WILL FIND YOUR TRIBE.

You guys, this is as awesome as it gets.

I know because this is exactly what happened to me when I finally connected with my true voice.  When you really connect with your core beliefs and your inner wisdom- magic just starts to happen.  Anyone can do it and its so easy that it seems too good to be true.

And once you get to THAT spot, it doesn’t feel like selling at all.  It feels amazing, the way it feels to hug someone.  The way it feels to give a thoughtful gift to your best friend and you both feel grateful to have received each others gifts.

I want to share this with you.

You have a voice that needs to be heard.

Your voice is your truth.  Trust Yourself

With Love,
Christine

Is Your Fear of Self Promotion Costing You Money?

One of the worst problems that introverted entrepreneurs face is their fear of self promotion.  

The idea of promoting themselves just feels wrong. Because if you do good work, people will find you.
But if no one knows about your business, how can you make  money? How can you build a sustainable business? 
You know logically, this is a problem but that doesn’t make  it easier to change.  In fact, that just stresses you out more.

Maybe you are afraid to promote your business to your friends.  Maybe you are even embarrassed to ask your own family to promote it for you.  But the worst thing about fear of self promotion  is that is can cause you to doubt yourself.
Doubt that you should even be doing your job  or following your calling.  And there is no feeling that is worse than that.

I know because I’ve been there I spent a lot of time beating myself  up and telling  myself all the reasons why I should give up.  I was depressed. I felt like life was so unfair because I had found my passion but the money wasn’t there.

Have you ever felt that way?

But there is an even bigger problem here And the problem is that most people don’t have a solution to fix it. 
They hope they will “get over it” Or they think they can just rely on referrals to build  their business

The sad truth is – that is not a realistic strategy

Sure, you can start a business on referrals and hope  they will keep coming. You can hope that if you do good work, people will notice.  But I have never seen anyone build a sustainable business this way without promoting themselves.  Have you?

So what’s your plan?

You can try to be more like your extroverted friends.  You can make a list of all the people who can refer you. 
But those things won’t help you build a long term sustainable  business.  And if you are an introvert trying to be an extrovert  it can only last so long (I know from personal experience!)

THERE IS HOPE

I was where you are right now. 

A shy introvert who was scared to even post about my new  business on Facebook. And I couldn’t believe it since I had over 15 years experience in sales.  I was so ashamed.  I had quit my job to follow my passion and I felt like I was letting my family down.

But something happened that changed everything. It was a baby step but it was a breakthrough. I went from almost giving up on my business to  being excited, hopeful and passionate again.

And everything got better-
My stress level
My finances
My personal relationships
My SELF WORTH
 
Warmly,
Christine

What If Your Biggest Flaw Is Your Most Fabulous Feature?

“You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”― Louise L. Hay

Recently I took an online quiz that identified me as a “rebel”.  This was defined as someone who refuses to work with any expectations from others and even from themselves.  While I was pretty sure before I took the quiz that it would say that, knowing that I was part of a group of other rebels was hugely comforting to me.  As someone who has always had a problem with authority figures I always saw that as a flaw in my character.  For some reasons, reading about “rebel” characteristics finally made me realize they are something to be embraced. In fact, I think my rebel qualities are the best thing about me.  But that wasn’t always the case.

For years I felt like I was the unruly student in the corporate classroom.  I didn’t want to follow the processes and procedures that everyone was buying into.  All the rules, the political maneuvering, the bullshit.  I felt like it was literally crushing my soul. And deep down, I always thought something was wrong with me.  Everyone else seemed to be fine going with the flow.  People would agree it was annoying and they didn’t generally agree with things but they did them anyway.  Why couldn’t I do that?

Most people I know have one quality they really dislike about themselves and want to change.  Many of us have more than one!  Maybe a parent pointed it out to us when we were young or it’s something that friends always joke about.  It’s that one thing we wish we could change.  I wish I could be more positive, I wish i didn’t talk so much, I wish I had more patience, I wish I wasn’t so lazy.

We all criticize ourselves.  Many of us also try to change our behaviors to make other people happy.  Sometimes we are trying to be more compassionate or more appreciative, maybe we are just trying to fit in at work or with family.  But what if we OVER accommodate. What if that ONE thing you are trying to change is the best thing about you.  What if that ONE thing is what makes you “YOU”.  What happens then?

How many times have you changed your own personality to try to fit in with friends or at work?  And what are you gaining from that?  Do we really want to work or live in a place where everyone is the same and everyone agrees on everything?  Our diversity and our differences are what makes the world such an interesting place.  When we stop being ourselves and start living our lives according to other people’s standards of what is “right” or “acceptable” we become a flock of sheep following each other.

I did this for years at work at a corporate job and didn’t even realize it.  It was a slow progression but after two kids, working full time and commuting I didn’t even recognize myself anymore.  So even though I knew something was wrong and I was unhappy, I had no idea how to change it.   I honestly couldn’t even remember what gave me joy in life.  And in the two or three spare hours i had each week in between working, watching my kids and eating granola for dinner I didn’t exactly have time to start a new hobby.  I just took at nap 99% of the time.

But the thing about losing yourself is that you are never really lost.  You are never truly disconnected from your passions and the unique qualities that make you who you are.  So even if you hide them, they will eventually make themselves known.  For me, authenticity has always been a core value in my life.  And for me that often translated into telling the truth some people didn’t want to hear.  But that was really hard in many of the work environments where I spent my time.  And I found that I had to keep telling that voice inside to be quiet.  But after a while, I couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t keep pretending to be OK with things that I didn’t agree with.   Because if I couldn’t be myself, who else was I going to be?  A bland, perfectly polite, politically correct, workaholic robot?  No thanks.

So I quit trying. I opted out of a system that didn’t support the unique abilities that I possess.  Now I choose the clients I work with and they all value that exact quality that no one wanted to hear.  In fact, if a potential client asks me what I am about I tell them I am a no bullshit person who gets shit done.  Because that is exactly who I am.

The interesting thing about these traits is that our friends and loved ones often seen them in a different light.  Maybe the person who wants to more positive is the realist that friends depend on when they need honest advice.  Maybe the person who talks so much is sharing a message that a lot of people need to hear.  The person who wants more patience is the person who takes action and makes things happen for others.  That lazy friend?  That’s the one I want to hang out with so I can just relax and not have to worry about anything.  That one thing you are hiding could be the best thing about you and it’s what makes you unique.  So OWN it.  Because every time you do, not only do you make the world a more interesting place but you make make your soul sing with happiness.

“Diversity creates healthy tribes.  And a healthy tribe gives your life resiliency.” -Danielle LaPort

So what is it for you?  What is that one part of yourself that you hide from other people?  Are you too loud, talk too much, are you too sensitive?  How do others see that quality?  And if you totally removed that quality from your personality, would you still be you?    I would love to hear your comments below.