I’d have to say I’m fairly introverted. INTJ all the way. When I was younger, it wasn’t easy for me to start conversations with strangers. However, there are some things I learned over the years that after my first two years in sales made it possible for me to always be among the very top sales reps at any company i worked for. I was pretty good before then, but lacked the charisma to be a top producer without having to make twice as many calls or presentations… that is, until I developed a few consistent habits that made it very easy for me to be comfortable in any first contact situation.
My father used to tell me as a kid ‘If you stay busy, you can’t get in trouble.’ The same goes for nervousness and discomfort in social or sales situations. Keep it moving and you won’t have time to be awkward, uncomfortable, or scared.
Get out there
Go outside, take a walk in the park, get around people. In the same way that you don’t need your GPS to get somewhere once you’ve been there a few times, going out in public a bit more will make it easier for you to talk to people.
Help others get sales
This habit I didn’t develop on purpose. Even in my less social years, I was still a pretty good salesman, so the companies I worked for usually sent newer people over to me to be trained… so I had no choice but to talk to them. This will also get you more comfortable with your pitch, as well as with the process of engaging someone, establishing rapport, and adjusting your close. It was after I started helping others to get sales that I began to consistently rank among the top salespeople at that company… so give it a try, you can only get better.
Greet everyone you see
I was never much of a smiler, and this put me at a disadvantage when conducting sales in-person, since my serious demeanor could easily be misinterpreted as being unfriendly or worse. However, one day, I met a man named Mark, who wasn’t in sales, but seemed to be able to get anyone to like him. I noticed after a while that Mark would smile and greet everyone who came near him, and usually, they’d smile back. So I began to do the same, and to this day, this habit leads to new connections… and new sales referrals. Why? Remember, sales is a numbers game. The more people you have positive contact with, the more of a chance you have of meeting someone who just happens to know someone else who needs your product or service and will introduce you just because they thought you were such a nice guy. However, be genuine! You don’t need to try to network this way, just be really interested in others, and they will find you more interesting.
Do some public speaking
One of the best ways to get comfortable speaking with new prospects is to speak in front of audiences. Join Toastmasters, and you’ll find a good number of people who also want to improve their communication skills, and who are willing to help one another in doing so.
So, get to it already, and have a profitable week!