reading a bookI’ve always been very curious about the traits that seem to predict success in different industries. Sales is particularly interesting to me because most people (myself included) seem to first associate salespeople with car lots and extraversion. I asked the self-described “Sales Introvert” Alen Mayer, to shed some light on one of the most misunderstood traits in sales success: introversion.

Introverted people by their nature are considered to automatically have a dead-on-arrival status in the world of sales. However, this reputation is generally created and believed by people who have no idea who the most successful salespeople can be. More often than not, some of the leaders are actually self-admitted introvert types who have learned how to make their natural inclinations their strengths in the world of business.

What Does “Introvert” Mean?

An introvert by definition is a person who prefers solitary activities such as reading and writing, and they enjoy time spent alone. She finds less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though she may enjoy interactions with close friends. An introvert excels in her skills and performance when working on her own; her energy expands through reflection and she prefers to concentrate on a single activity at a time. She likes to observe situations before she participates.

Why Do Introverts Find Success In Sales?

The world of sales does not belong anymore to the loud snake oil salesmen; it belongs to the highly influential person who is comfortable and appreciates their own natural strengths.

Introverts have game, and quite a bit of it to be exact. The advantages and strengths of introverts are multiple, and those who know how to draw upon such strengths have excelled greatly in the sales field as a result, many times catching critics by surprise.

The first major strength involves composure. Often mistaken for being too reserved or shy, many introverts instead sit back to give themselves a better vantage point.

Introvert salespeople put a high priority on relationship building with customers and clients. They’re not into the deal for a single sale and then off to the next one. Instead, they are far more likely to build long-term streams of revenue by working with the same customers again and again.

Introverts have a keen, well-trained ability at listening to people.

Often, customers want to tell people what they are dealing with, explain the issue, and discuss what really matters to them. Unfortunately, many sales people already have a script they feel they need to follow to make a sale. The two don’t mix. Instead, the customer ends up being turned off because the salesperson won’t do the most simply, easy thing in selling: listening.

Many introverts are passionate about the work and projects they are assigned to. This type of “love” of work goes far beyond just a pay check and completing tasks.

Persistence is another common trait introverts can draw upon from themselves. Similar to passion, persistence involves sticking with a project or task often when it may be difficult or require additional resources to make happen.

Introverts also have a keen ability to observe and draw conclusions from watching other people and how they behave.

By leveraging the above skills, the Introvert salesperson can realize significant successes, often at the expense of a traditional salesperson’s weaknesses.

Introversion is not a limitation to effective sales careers. A large number of very good salespeople are admitted introverts and get along just fine. In fact, many represent some of the most successful sales  people in their industry.

The beauty of being an introvert in sales is that perceived weaknesses become some of the greatest strengths. While everyone is scrambling to land a deal based on fast-talking, appearance, and the appeal of the given product or service, introverts can connect on a personal level.

That allows them to build long-term relationships that become more than just individual sales. Instead, such connections develop into well-established accounts, allowing introverts to use their expertise and talent for finding solutions to problems to land big deals.

So if you’re an introvert and worried about succeeding in a career in sales, don’t be. [Tweet This!] Your natural talents and skills are your breadwinners in the field, and they can easily help you succeed. Don’t consider being an introvert as something that holds you back. Put it in the right frame and perspective and use your talents to move ahead and succeed.

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“Salespeople aren’t born. They’re made. I make them.”

Alen lives, eats and breathes sales and combines over 20 years of experience in international sales and business development with the persuasion, psychology and magic of NLP. He is a newly appointed President of the Sales Association Ontario Chapter and President of the International Association of NLP Sales Professionals. He was voted #2 on the list of Top 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management in 2013; he is one of the Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012, and published author of 5 sales titles including “Selling For Introverts”. Visit his website for more information about his sales training seminars, in-house workshops, and speaking engagements.


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Kayla Kozan

Kayla Kozan

Director of Marketing at Ideal
Kayla spent the last few years studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship on 3 different continents. Now covering the latest in predictive analytics, workplace diversity and big data. She has a keen interest in tech and discovering underrated brunch spots.
Kayla Kozan