I’m An Introverted Consumer, Hear Me Roar…Whisper (Guest Blog)

March 26, 2014 by  

6 sure-fire ways to alienate 40% of your prospective customer base – and how to avoid it.

This article sprouts from my past week of being approached by multilevel marketing and direct sales reps – and extroverted salespeople – none of whom I knew prior to their approaching me. While written from an introvert’s perspective, I’m certain it will resonate with any mindful consumer who prefers to establish a relationship before being sold to.

It’s not meant to be a rant against extroverts or salespeople or MLMs. It’s meant to educate those people on the introverted consumer. I’m all about helping people understand who I am – and being introverted is a big part of me.

With this information, salespeople then get to decide what they want to do with it. My hope is that they’ll make some changes to their approach. After all, it will almost certainly result in greater customer loyalty and a greater conversion rate – both of which mean more business.

  • Don’t cold call me.  I know *you’re* excited about what you offer; do you know that *I* will be? Don’t come at me with your product or service as a solution without first finding out if I’m even interested. Pushy sales approaches don’t work with introverts. Someone called me, having seen my profile on LinkedIn.  He left a messaging saying he wanted to “ask me a couple things.” I had a feeling I was going to get sold, but hey, there’s always a chance… When I called him back, he asked me if I had a connection with a promotional products company already, and I said I did. End of conversation. What? Really?!
  • Don’t bait and switch me. I’ve received several outreaches via LinkedIn and Facebook. One used our “mutual group” as a connection approach – okay, but no cigar. One wanted to have coffee with me in person and another wanted to speak to me on the phone. The last two both positioned their approach as “so we can see how we can help each other’s businesses”. All three cases were people I had never even met or interacted with before. In two of them, they were MLM people.  Sure, maybe they were sincere about helping my business, but introverts like me need to feel a relationship first – we “see through” those tactics.  We’re observers.  We sense things. And if there’s a disconnect or misalignment in your approach, we smell it a mile away.
  • Don’t try to lure me with time-based offers or crazy discounts. I had a couple of meetings with a woman who sells skin care. She is very kind and giving, and I needed to try multiple types to see which worked the best for me. Out of the blue, she sends me a note saying she could give me a gift of $$ off if I acted tonight. “It’s up to you,” she said. The FB message (see below about this form of communication) was sent at 10:30 p.m., which gave me exactly 1.5 hours to act. I happen to have already been asleep. And think of how I felt the next morning, seeing the note. Even if I had wanted the discount, I missed it.  Either way, the approach left me feeling uncomfortable. My radar goes up immediately with these kinds of “offers” (and the ones that say it’s a trillion-dollar value, yours for only $197 – or the ones that say, I’ve had 3 spots open up in my practice, act now).
  • Don’t text me, tweet me, or Facebook/LinkedIn message me. If you want to get to know me, send me an email and introduce yourself, and tell me why you want to get to know me. Most introverts like to be “warned” that you’re reaching out so they can think about it and prepare. Email is more relational because it is a form that feels less “urgent”. As a biz dev expert, I even welcome you to call me (though most introverts don’t). Social media messaging is spastic, intrusive and not a welcomed way of communication from people who want me to buy their stuff. Better yet, ASK me how I’d like to be communicated with and how often – then adhere to it. One of my product reps insists on texting and FB messaging even though I’ve asked her to call once in a while instead. I’ve changed reps 5 times already, and none of them have done what I’ve asked.
  • Don’t recruit me into your business before I’ve even tried your stuff. While this point is primarily for the MLMers out there, I see it happen all the time. Extroverts might be easily convinced by the promise of residual income without having an attachment to the product, but most introverts won’t. We have to feel passionate about the product in order to authentically bring it into the marketplace. I once saw an extroverted product rep standing very close to an introverted health coach telling her why she should sign up to be a rep – the body language on the health coach CLEARLY said “no,” but the rep was oblivious. And, oh, even if I do come on board, don’t expect me to do the typical sales tactics that most MLMs teach because they don’t fit me. Introverts are amazing salespeople when given the room to do so in their way. Recruiting me too soon just ensures that I will avoid you in any way possible.
  • Don’t sell to me, then never contact me again. Again, it’s about the relationship for most introverts, so keep in touch with us periodically for non-sales reasons. We’re very loyal if you do. Send an email and ask about our family, pets, or work – send us an interesting article to read. Drop a notecard in the mail. And when it’s time to talk sales, give us an “out” to easily say no if we’re not interested. My 5th product rep didn’t contact me for over 8 months, and then  contacted me at Christmastime about buying gifts for the holidays. She never asked me if I needed anything.

So what’s the solution? Take a few precious extra minutes and interactions to determine what style the person is that you’re approaching. Most extroverts won’t and don’t take this time. Traditional sales tactics fit most extroverts, and most the time they don’t realize that people start to avoid them because of it. It’s estimated that 35-50% of the population are introverts. Just think about how many people you’re putting off with your approach.

It takes a little more effort and a little more time to “sell” to introverts. They value the relationship sometimes more than the product itself. Yet when you do, they will more than likely become some of your most loyal customers. Take time to observe your prospect’s energy level, are they subdued or talkative? Do they talk about others in their lives or talk about themselves? Chances are—if their energy is more even paced and they don’t prefer to talk about themselves – you’ve got yourself an introvert.

Then, take the time to get to know them, what their needs are, and only THEN ask them if they’re ready to get started with you and your service/product.

The squeeze sale I mentioned above? I received that via FB message, and I responded back that I don’t resonate with that approach and I told her that it didn’t even sound like her voice. (It breaks my heart that MLMs teach this approach, and that their introverted salespeople try to use it.) She came back with an apology and I’ve just placed my first order.

The extroverted salesperson who was trying to see if I’d be at the same networking event as him? He tried to sell me on the phone, after I told him I wouldn’t be going to the event. I told him I wasn’t interested.

The MLM salesperson who didn’t know me but asked to have coffee with me? I thanked her for her friendly outreach, and then asked her why she wanted to have coffee with me, since we didn’t know each other. She said she likes connecting with others that she knows – and that she has family in my town. I invited her to contact me the next time she’s in town.

While I hope to raise awareness for extroverted salespeople about how to deal with introverts, there is another guiding principle that we introverts must adopt: it is up to us to help people understand how we want to be dealt with/treated. You cannot stay silent. You are giving up your power if you do. You must learn solid communication skills and voice yourself, in a respectful way, of course. Empower yourself with the tool of communication. And if you need a little help, give me a call.

Christine Clifton (Languages: Negotiator (AQ), Imagemaker (AT), and Olympian (Tone))
The Business Development Whisperer
Client Centric Growth, LLC
“You don’t have to shout to Stand Out”





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