The Introvert Entrepreneur

The Introvert Entrepreneur

Some of the most successful business people of our time – Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page – are all introverts. Rather than being shy or reclusive, introverts are people who tend to focus on an inner world of ideas and experiences. Characteristics include a preference for written communication, being private and contained and feeling comfortable being alone.

Introverts need to make the most of their own skill set to really nail sales, says Beth Buelow, author of The Introvert Entrepreneur. She says: “Introverts are really good listeners and have a strong ability to problem solve and connect to people on an emotional level.”

When it comes to pitching or meeting new customers, introverts need to know their product inside and out. “The key point is to go in and ask really good questions. You need to focus on what your customer needs and how your product can best solve their problem,” says Buelow.

“Get your customer to sell for you, actively or passively,” suggests Mike Southon, entrepreneur and author. In practice this would work by business owners writing a case study of a customer based on their use of the product or service, which could then be published on the company’s website. “Tell people the story, how your business solved their problem and what the result was.”

Buelow encourages introverts to get comfortable with public speaking as it enables business owners to target more people at once. “When you are public speaking you are in control and are positioned as an expert. You’re also able to prepare.”

Networking can be an introvert’s nightmare, but new connections are vital for growing a business. Self-confessed introvert Lyndsey Haskell, founder of online garden gift shop What You Sow, recommends going to talks or presentations that are followed by networking sessions. “It means you have something to talk about following the presentation,” she says. “This can then lead on to the next conversation – such as ‘Have you been to one of these events before?’ or other similar questions that invite a dialogue. If I stay for two hours and have really good memorable conversations with two other people, I see it as a success.”

For cold calling, prepare by sending a warm-up email or by engaging with a potential customer through social media, by commenting on a post or sharing a tweet. Buelow suggests writing a script of what you want to say and rehearsing the first and final sentence. “How you open and close your talk is important, you can trust the middle to take care of itself as that will be about listening.” During the call itself, she suggests standing up and smiling to help inject a dose of confidence and friendliness.

It may be daunting, but stepping outside of your comfort zone can lead to big rewards.

What advice do you have to share for introverts?

Adapted from an article by Suzanne Bearne,

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