Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Selling for Introverts: Quiet Persistence Breaks Down Resistance

In my post From Dog Food to Filet Mignon, I share my selling journey as an introvert and how I went from failure to success.  In this post, I want to continue and share some additional lessons from my selling journey.

When I returned to selling the second time, 10 years after having failed the first time, I still hadn't really learned how to sell, nor about target marketing, defining a niche, speaking, writing, serving on committees, and so on--elements I talk about in my post From Dog Food to Filet Mignon.  These elements came much later in my selling journey, as I gained experience and learned more about selling.

When I went back into sales, I began by selling door to door, calling on local businesses.  I didn't know any other way.  And I figured that I have to start somewhere and at the time door to door method seemed as good as any.  So I mustered up my inner strength, grabbed my bag and off I went.

I would begin each day visiting high rise office buildings. In each building, starting with the top floor, I would visit each company on each floor asking the receptionist who buys their printing.  If he/she gave me a name, I would leave a handwritten note for that person letting them know I stopped by and that I would call them later to request a meeting.  Then when I returned to the office, I would type out letters and mail 'em out to these folks, reintroducing myself.   Then few days later I would follow-up with a phone call to request the meeting.  Of course, I heard the usual objections and faced numerous rejections.  Still, along the way I also got some meetings, by following this system day after day.

In those cases where the receptionists didn't give me the name of the buyers during my initial visits, I would call them back at lunch hour. At that time usually a temp was covering the desk.  These temps were more than happy to talk and would freely give out information.  So that would get me what I needed to start with within those companies and I would be back in the game.

Given I was selling door to door, and that many buildings had "No Soliciting" signs, there were also times I would be escorted out the buildings by security guards.  But hey, buildings are permanent, security guards are not.  In those situations, I would simply go back some time later and often there would be new guards who wouldn't recognize me.

In addition to above, if I didn't get a meeting, I would keep revisiting the offices and over time that too would lead to some opening.  Either they felt sorry for me, just got tired of seeing me, or whatever.  It didn't matter. I eventually got my foot into many doors this way in many places, and that's what mattered.  It frequently started with a small job. Then as relationships strengthened, larger sized and repetitive orders followed.

So what's my point in this post?  Their are several and they are:
  1. Don't let anyone ever tell you that introverts can't sell.  We can, we do, and we do it very well, in the right environment. 
  2. Don't ever tell yourself that you can't do something.  That's hiding behind "That's how I am".  No you're not.  Those are stories we tell ourselves and they don't serve us.  Look, I am introvert. Even though the above was uncomfortable, tough to do, and very unnatural for me, once mind was put to it, it got done.  It was simply a matter of will.  In addition, failure was not an option.  I had resigned from my well-paying secure government job to go into business and there was no turning back. I had to succeed. Plus, truth be told, I hate to lose.
  3. When you're feeling stuck, unsure what step to take, just do something. Some action is better then no action.
  4. Don't strive for perfection but rather continuous improvements.  Many introverts are notorious for perfecting and they'll do something only after it's perfect.  And since it's never perfect, no action is ever taken. And that results in no results.  Therefore, strive instead for improving. As long as what you do today is better then yesterday, and what you do tomorrow is better then today, you're doing great.
  5. Follow a sales process, a system.  It'll keep you focused and on track.
  6. Don't let anyone defeat you.  The only person who can defeat you is you.  If you decide to succeed, you will.  It may not necessarily happen on your time frame. But if you hang in there long enough, keep showing up, consistently keep doing what you need to do, success will follow. 
  7. Be creative, be persistence.  If you can't get in the front door, try the back door.  If the back door doesn't work, try the window.  If the window doesn't work, try the attic.  If that doesn't work, dig a tunnel.  Look, where there is a will, there is a way.
Bottom line is that persistence is a key element of selling.  And we introverts have this natural talent where we can focus and stick to something for a long time.  So leverage this natural strength of yours and quietly persist my introverted friends.  Then success is simply a matter of time.  Guaranteed.

1 comment:

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