Let me start by defining the parties of today’s story. An Introvert is a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things whereas an extrovert is a person predominantly concerned with external things or objective considerations.
So, introverts aren’t necessarily shy. But, they are quieter than extroverts. Introverts will gladly open their mouths when talking about something they are passionate about, but they tend to stay quiet when the topic is small talk. Why? Because small talk just isn’t important to them.
Now, let’s say you have 2 salespeople – an extrovert and an introvert. The extrovert is likely to talk – and talk – and talk – which is exactly what you expect from a sales person. And in the midst of all this talking, the extrovert will make sales. But the introvert will do something the extrovert commonly fails to do – the introvert will ask questions and LISTEN to the answers.
I don’t mean they wait for the prospect to stop talking so they can begin extolling all the many benefits of the product. I mean they LISTEN. They want to know what’s keeping the prospect awake at night in relation to the problem the product solves. They want to know the prospect’s fears, desires, dreams, etc. They want to know what’s worked for the prospect, what’s failed for the prospect, and what that prospect really, truly wants so they can help this prospect get it.
It’s this same sales person who will continue to use questions as they present their product or service, questions that direct the prospect to the desired conclusion – that this product is what they want and need.
Everything else being equal, 9 times out of 10 the introvert salesperson will outsell the extrovert – all because they asked questions and listened closely to the answers, instead of just trying to sell their product.
Introverted marketers have the same advantage as introverted sales people. They dig to discover what it is their prospects truly want. They ask questions, be it in person, over Skype, in forums, via email, etc. And they pay close attention to the answers.
These same marketers spend time researching what successful marketers are doing. They don’t assume they already have the answers – instead, they look to those who’ve succeeded and they ask how it was done and how it can be duplicated.
That being said, extroverts can master the skills of asking questions and listening to the answers as well as any introvert, if they try. It doesn’t come as naturally for them, but it will come with practice and patience.
And if you look at the most successful people in the world, what you will find is they stand on the shoulders of those who came before. They asked questions, got the answers and used this knowledge to carve their place in the world.
Try it. Next time someone asks you for advice, ask them questions first. Next time someone asks about your product, ask them about their needs first. Next time someone is on a forum looking for help, ask them for more information. And then pay close attention to what they say before you respond.
This falls under my favorite category to talk about, something I call: “un-common sense”. But, asking the right questions and listening to the answers can be one of the most rewarding and highest paying skills in the world.