Do you have to be outgoing to succeed at sales?

23 replies
I guess learning and being successful are two totally different things, so maybe a better way to put this is, can sales be learned by someone who is intelligent, articulate, and motivated, but shy?

I know that for most jobs there is a learning curve, and to put it bluntly, sales doesn't come with prerequisites like being an RN, teacher, or doctor does. You can't just start learning to be an RN on the job, basically, you have to go through specific training and education.

Sales isn't for dummies, and people who don't want to couldn't do it, but is sales more like plumbing, where someone with the will to do it, even if they're shy, can be taught?

Then, maybe as a follow up - can someone who is shy be successful at sales, or does success in sales favor someone who is more outgoing and gregarious?
#outgoing #sales #succeed
  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    I've recruited a few thousand of them and never had any success with 'shy' ones.

    Could you make a speech in front of say 50 people?

    Could you walk up to a complete stranger and engage them in conversation?

    I'm struggling to think that shyness and selling go together.

    Good luck though.
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel LaRusso
      Originally Posted by helisell View Post

      I've recruited a few thousand of them and never had any success with 'shy' ones.

      Could you make a speech in front of say 50 people?

      Could you walk up to a complete stranger and engage them in conversation?

      I'm struggling to think that shyness and selling go together.

      Good luck though.
      I guess I need to rethink calling myself shy. I do regularly speak in front of groups of 5 - 50 people, no problem. I do walk up to a complete stranger and engage them in conversation. I do cold walk business owners and engage them in conversations.

      I think that personally, where I need more help is on the sales conversation side. I'm thinking maybe a mentor would help me, or just having more and more conversations and sales discussions.

      I can honestly say that I haven't had anywhere near the number of conversations where I've point blank looked someone in the eye and asked them for a sale. That's my problem. Your follow up did help me, thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    He He....you might want to peek at my sig in that case

    ;0)
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  • Profile picture of the author digichik
    Yes, you can be shy and be a very successful sales person. I speak from experience, I am extremely shy in most social situations. I will say that learning how to sell has helped me to overcome a whole lot of my shyness. It was more important to me to learn how to sell successfully, than to remain shy.


    - Sales is not personal, it is business.
    - Rejection is not personal , it really does just get you closer the prospect who will buy from you. Learn from it.
    - I have a genuine interest in helping their business, I project this.
    -Just because I am shy doesn't mean I am a wimp, and they can drive over me, they can't.

    Selling is listening more than talking, learning how to ask the questions that will give you the answers you need for the prospect to sell themselves.

    Closing is just simply asking for the sale and the money. It is not rude to ask for the money and the sale, it's how you get paid and how you will be able to help the business.
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  • Profile picture of the author helisell
    digichik

    Sales is not personal???....Really???

    To me it seems one of the most personal things a person can do.
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    • Profile picture of the author Enfusia
      Hi, I came out of door to door. Did that for 5 years. Then built my own sales company for a little more than 30 years.

      The best guy I ever trained in door to door (which is the toughest sales career out there) was so goofy and goofy looking that it was nearly embarrassing. Why did he succeed? He had an unshakable belief in the product, 100% positive attitude and was so goofy happy all the time that it was contagious.

      One of the worst guys I trained was a pro used car salesman. He was Mr slick. Door to door kicked his tail and bad.

      1/2 of the sale in door to door was made in the 1st 20 seconds. Either they like you or they don't.

      You may not want to ever do door to door and I'm not saying that.
      I wanted to preface this; DO YOU BELIEVE YOU CAN?

      A saying I made up a long tome ago is: I've never yet seen a man do anything he truly believed he could not.

      If you don't believe you can, than who am I to change your mind.

      But, if you believe you can you then you can.

      Always remember; can't just means don't want to bad enough!

      Patrick

      P.S. Yes YOU CAN
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  • Profile picture of the author digichik
    digichik

    Sales is not personal???....Really???

    To me it seems one of the most personal things a person can do.
    Yes Really. Many sales transactions happen daily which are in no way personal. It can be personal, but it doesn't have to be personal. A salesperson doesn't have to take things that may happen in the sales process personally.

    Been selling successfully for years, so yeah, I stand by what I said.
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  • Profile picture of the author Huskerdarren
    I don't know about shy so to speak, but you can be a little on the introverted and reserved side. It depends on the product. If you're approach is more consultative and educational, a high energy sales person might be too much.

    You can overcome whatever ideas you have about yourself in order to succeed in sales. You can learn to be more outgoing. There's nothing genetic about shyness. It's an idea in our minds that we accepted somewhere along the way. Maybe someone told us that and we just accepted it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel LaRusso
    There's hope for me yet then. I'm going to give you a shout on Monday, Helisel. And Enfusa - I did some door to door final expense sales again with no mentor, just took a script and did it. I made some sales actually, I just had a pitch, talked to folks, and knew that most people would say no, but the ones I met that would talk to me would be good. Heck, I actually even spent some down time going downtown and riding the city bus all around town, and striking up conversations with folks.

    I guess this is opening my eyes a little bit. I'm a bit introverted and quiet, maybe not shy, but I have no fear about prospecting. My need is in closing the deal. Thanks y'all for giving me your input.
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  • Profile picture of the author PanteraIM
    Whether you say to yourself you can or can't, you are right.

    I wouldn't say that being extroverted is a prerequisite to success either, it's more about how you think being introverted will affect your sales.

    There are far more important qualities that will determine your success than being outgoing or not and it sounds like you may just some professional sales education. There's hundreds of books on the subject.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Outgoing personality is not a requirement for success in selling.

    Absolute commitment to success in selling IS.

    When things get tough, do you drop back into a factory line role? Or are you committed to doing what it takes to succeed?

    Several of the business owners I worked for were not what you would call outgoing people. One was even downright geeky. BUT they believed in what they were doing, knew they could help others, and that gave them the strength to go out and talk about it.

    The real questions you need to ask about sales candidates are:

    * are they coachable?

    * are they trainable?

    * are they committed?
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    • Profile picture of the author PanteraIM
      Great post.

      Your level of self-belief is always shown and measured in your actions, not what you say or intend. Persisting and being tenacious is self-confidence in action.


      Excellent stuff.
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      you cant hold no groove if you ain't got no pocket.

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  • Profile picture of the author flightrisk
    Im a "One Call Closer" in the Home Improvement business and im I an outgoing person? Far from it, but I am used to talking to people in a "Sales Mode".

    I just do it...thinking back when I first started doing this, 6 years ago, I think it's crazy just to go up to people, talk to them and ask for $25k or more, but I can.

    I think the thing you have to understand, people ARE receptive to talk to people about something they want, so if you come across as an authority then is doesn't matter what your personality is.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    I would say that in the current environment being the extroverted, overly gregarious sales guy is not necessary. It might even hurt you.

    I know many times I have encountered "sales guys", who I just knew were full of shit and did not have my best interests at heart. And Im not talking about the obvious sleazy people who lie to get deals, Im talking people who thought that kissing my ass and telling jokes while laughing at mine was all it took to get a check.

    What is more important is being an extroverted LISTENER and connecting with your prospects so you can really understand where THEY are coming from.

    Im telling you that when they feel you and KNOW you are on their side and really want to help, asking them for money is like asking them if they would like a big slice of apple pie with ice cream on top... they wont be able to say no.

    ( unless they are diabetic or broke, and you should know that before investing much of your time to begin with)
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    I suspect that you are talking about being introverted as opposed to extremely, awkwardly shy.

    I recall a sales trainer a long time ago contending that introverts
    actually did better. It was maybe Zig or Tom Hopkins. I was trying
    to find that research and so I Googled: introverted salesman and
    introverted salesperson - many, many results

    A lot of times they outperform the extraverts:

    An Introvert in Sales? - SalesHQ

    Susan Cain: The power of introverts | Video on TED.com

    http://www.wikihow.com/Succeed-in-Bu...e-an-Introvert

    I'm on a Promotions Committe and we just decided upon a website
    presented by a total programming geek. And he was the highest bid.
    The expertise and genuineness shined through.

    If you follow the many Google links, there are a lot of
    strategies you can use to get the best outcomes for your personality.

    ----------------------------------------

    Sales is not as personal or difficult to introverts as is a social setting,
    friendship, or relationship with your significant other.

    Dan
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      I sold vacuum cleaners in people's homes for about three decades, and trained hundreds of salespeople.

      Shy is fine. Lazy isn't.
      I can only tell you about what my personal experience is;
      I don't take rejection personally. But I don't take success personally either. My heart doesn't change it's beat when I make a sale. I expect to make a sale.

      And when I'm not selling, I'm not a social person. It's not that I'm shy, it's that I don't find small talk interesting.

      Belief in your product is important. But your desire to make a sale is more important. Most people cannot overcome the cultural belief that selling, and asking people to buy are somehow wrong. Your desire to make the sale has to be stronger than any comfort issues you have.

      Most low level salespeople are outgoing. Having an outgoing personality will make selling a little easier. But most stop the continual learning you need to become great at it.

      Have you ever been sold something by a master salesperson? It just sounds like a pleasant conversation.....like one person trying to help another.

      "He has the gift of gab"..."He can talk anyone into anything"...."He can BS a BSer".... These guys are not at the top.

      The people at the top of selling are usually quiet types that know what they are doing.

      Is the best doctor the one that tells the most jokes? talks the fastest?
      No. The best doctors are the ones who really want to be the best doctor.

      That's what sells. When people trust what you are saying, because 1,000 nonverbal signals (which we cannot stop), tell the prospect that;
      You know exactly what you are doing...and
      You are looking out for their best interests.....

      At least that's my experience.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Durham
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post


        Shy is fine. Lazy isn't.
        Precisely.

        I am thinking of this guy named Robert in my last telemarketing room in Nashville... He was the most quiet guy in the world.... Nice, but not real outgoing. He stuck to the rebuttals, stayed on the dialer all day, took every call... and he worked hard but he was pretty shy, and by God one month he even made TM of the month in a room of about 60 people and beat a bunch of people who were way more outgoing than he was.

        My own style is kind of unassuming and not really aggressive, I just keep my head down and try to really pay attention to whats going on in the conversation and follow the energy... And dial alot.

        As Claude says, you can be shy, that's fine...Alot of salespeople are. The only thing you cant be is lazy and I will add "stubborn"....too stubborn to follow the plan.

        When my brother James hit six figures as a MLMr, he didnt seem like the most likely candidate to accomplish such a thing. I asked him how he did it, and he said he was just dumb enough to follow the plan, not try to reinvent the wheel, work his numbers, and do what he was supposed to.

        -John

        Ps. About Robert...lol (Claude you will laugh at this)

        It was a charity fundraising room... and he was SOOO stuck on 2 rebuttals on every call, as nice a guy as he was...He just wouldnt budge or stray from the rules even though everyone else did within reason.... I was monitoring him one day in the headphones from my desk...and I heard this lady say "My HUSBAND JUST PASSED AWAY!"

        And he said (trying to do as he was instructed and always do two rebuttals) "Im sorry to hear that Ma'am, (Pauses for a second)...Hey, you must have gotten a pretty good settlement from that, right?"

        She slammed him. And I laughed and told him it was okay to make exceptions within reason, and he didnt even seem to realize he'd done anything wrong, he was just working the two rebuttal plan on every call.

        If you had any idea how shy and nice this guy was it would crack you up. I played his recording to the whole room because it was so shocking from him, and everyone cracked up , he just sat there with a look on his face like "What? I was just giving two rebuttals? It was the first thing I could think of...".
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          I trained a Russian young man named Oleg several years ago. No sales experience. But he was willing to work, and willing to learn.

          I had injured my back and had to go out selling vacuum cleaners on crutches.

          Oleg carried my stuff, and handed me things as I demonstrated my machine.
          He also made me work harder because I paid him a portion of my commission.

          After a few months, he asked what I would pay him if he sold on his own. I told him, and he wanted to do it.

          We went to a door, I got us started and handed it over to Oleg. He did my entire presentation, word for word. Same inflections, same timing, same jokes...everything. He knew my answers to objections, and saw how sales were made.

          He was great. He was me...with more hair and a Russian accent.

          He stayed with me for a couple of years, until a home improvement company made him an offer he couldn't refuse.

          But...he was a quick learner, had no fear of work, and liked money. there was really no stopping him.

          John; Your story reminded me of Oleg. On New Years eve, during a snow storm, about 8PM.... he stopped by the office.

          He told me that he needed one more sale to make a contest, and he had no more appointments. He wanted me to knock on doors to get him into a home.

          (If you knew him, you would understand why. He looked tough, and he was tough. It was hard for him to canvas and get good results)

          I really wanted to beg off, but he insisted...and he was in a contest...MY contest, so I couldn't say "No".

          So I drove to a street we hadn't worked...in the dark...in a snowstorm...on New Year's Eve. It was maybe 9PM by then.

          I said "I'll knock on ten doors. That's it, and then we're done".

          On the eighth door, the lady let us in...and was willing to take a look at our vacuum. Yup, we made the sale.

          We walked out of there about Midnight. That's why he was successful.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        I can only tell you about what my personal experience is;
        I don't take rejection personally. But I don't take success personally either. My heart doesn't change it's beat when I make a sale.
        THIS is my takeaway and what I want to do a callout for from your post here, Claude. It jumped out at me because I mention it in my training--and I believe most people flash right by it. Especially the second part.

        We all "know" not to take rejection personally.

        But not take success personally too? Why the heck not?!

        Because you will then think "Oh, it's all downhill from here! It's gonna be EASY to make sales from now on! Yeah!" And then you get back on the phone for 4 hours or go knock on another 100 doors and get a big ol' barrel of "NO."

        Now your self-esteem is knocked down hard. "But I thought it was gonna get eaaaasieer!" you whine.

        Nope. Them invisible sales laws still apply.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel LaRusso
    Thank you all again for your insights. What I'm reading, and the links I followed, definitely rings true with me. I think I'm about at the goal line, and if I keep on going, learning some fine points about closing, I'll be unstoppable.

    I'm more motivated now than anything.
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  • Profile picture of the author TyBrown
    I know it's been mentioned a lot in this forum, by myself included, but the book Spin Selling talks about whether or not being outgoing is necessary.

    The authors studied the sales making process over years and determined that being outgoing had nothing to do with long term sales success.

    What did create success was following a system (consciously learned or innately learned) and working hard and working consistently.

    I think you can sum up success in any profession, whether it be a major league pitcher, a scientist, or a hot dog vendor, by following that pattern.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
      Originally Posted by TyBrown View Post

      I know it's been mentioned a lot in this forum, by myself included, but the book Spin Selling talks about whether or not being outgoing is necessary.

      The authors studied the sales making process over years and determined that being outgoing had nothing to do with long term sales success.

      What did create success was following a system (consciously learned or innately learned) and working hard and working consistently.

      I think you can sum up success in any profession, whether it be a major league pitcher, a scientist, or a hot dog vendor, by following that pattern.
      Ty, you just reminded me of something. (ooh hey my 2500th post)

      Outgoing people are often outgoing because they need to be liked.

      In sales, the need to be liked is a real problem. If you're approval-seeking, you will give a lot away--free layouts, free consultations and education, samples, price cuts and more--all in the name of being liked.

      One of these guys on your salesforce is bad enough--Imagine having a dozen of them, and the DRAIN on your resources that creates?
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    There are many very, very successful people who are introverts.

    Sales is a performance. And act. You get your script ironed out. You get your path laid out, and you act the part.

    After awhile, it becomes part of you and gets very easy. But if you are shy, just get your act figured out. How would you ACT if you WEREN'T an introvert? Act that way NOW.

    Before long, it will just become very natural.
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    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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