I came across a fable recently that seemed to resonate. It goes like this; According…
I talk a lot about Emotional Intelligence and business concepts; Of Leadership skills and of how best to connect with others but, what if these ideas seem so out of reach… what if the very concept of putting yourself ‘out there’ seem totally unattainable?
People are often surprised that I consider myself an introvert, in-fact, often people simply dismiss the idea as fanciful when the reality is, I am as introverted as they come. Over the years and with the help of my training and experiences in business, I have developed some tools which (mostly) serve me when in the public eye. I have learned what I can do, and where my limits (for now) lie. I have also learned to identify the markers or warning signs when I need to exit and regroup… I have learned to thieve in my unnatural environment.
How does this relate to selling? Well, Introverted people often find selling one of the most daunting tasks. They worry about sounding inauthentic, or about coming across as boasting and bragging. Other common fears include sounding cheesy, sharing too much or too little, trying too hard, over-selling—all the concerns that a thoughtful person might have when trying to sell their products or services. Needless to say, this, in turn, makes self-promotion, initiating new relationships, or the classic networking sessions seem more difficult than climbing a mountain.
So if you are an introvert, you will be thrilled to discover that sales, that word that sends shivers down the spine of many, is actually most effective if you build connection. Selling is actually about making friends. It’s about creating goodwill and investing in relationships and it’s about you authentically as a person and the loyalty and trust that develops as a result.
You’ve heard the saying ‘people invest in people’, well this happens to be true.
When you’re able to bring your beliefs, core values, and your marketing stories into alignment, you feel authentic, your confidence is boosted, and you connect with others much more effectively. Magical things happen. When these things are dissonant, it shows, and people are less trusting of your message.
So how can you, as a quiet person, find and connect with a loyal community of people who love what you do? People who will become your customers, clients, fans? People who will share the love and recommend your work to others?
Stop selling—lead with your values.
I’ve been talking a lot recently about really identifying who we are in business; Understanding your personal profile and how to reflect that in your marketing strategy. When you are clear on that, then your stories (or your storytelling), becomes more aligned with what people see. Your words match your actions. For introverts, storytelling, as opposed to selling, is the way to go! Your story creates a bond between yourself and your customers or clients. It enables them to grasp your values and helps them get to know, like and trust you.
But, There’s an art to personal storytelling. You need to find the places you can really shine—and use those platforms to show the version of yourself that people will be drawn to. For some of us, the focus may not be on the written word, but on presenting things visually (Art is storytelling and comes in many forms), or creating podcasts, or making a video; and the message needs to be diverse but consistent. Consistency leads to credibility which leads to trust; and only then will people invest.
How can you reduce the fear factor?
- Remember that you are not alone. Even highly experienced people are anxious under pressure.
- Don’t try to battle your fear—Acknowledge it, even give it a name ‘oh there’s my public speaking fear again’ Naming it helps you identify it as a recurring negative thought pattern—that can be disrupted.
- Think about your greater goal — not just the current task. Breaking it down into smaller tasks makes it much more achievable but focus on the bigger picture will remind you of the ‘Why’.
- Become aware of your more challenging patterns and put in place some tools for future events. Knowing how you plan to address the feeling in the future is the secret ingredient for success.
- Be kind to yourself. Know when you have reached your limits and have an escape plan worked out ahead of time.
Selling in some form is present in every person’s life, therefore, our ability to make that process work for us is the difference between success and …not quite getting there. Introverted people are not ‘less’ than their extroverted counterparts, in-fact, in many ways, we add amazing value to communities, to business, and to relationships. With that in mind, I really encourage you to look at who you are and what you represent. Use that special ‘you’ to attract and connect with people that are ready and willing to connect with you.
Share your stories and values,. Then, let them have the choice to come on your journey with you; Because, isn’t that what it’s all about? Connection and the journey.