The Monday Morning Memo: Selling to Introverts

Monday-Morning-Memo-Logo1By Roy H. Williams

The ratio of extraverts to introverts in our nation is 50.5 to 49.5 percent. So why do sales trainers assume that every customer is extraverted?

Extraverts like to engage you verbally, believing that dialog produces superior thinking. Consequently, the best way to keep an extravert thinking about your product is to continue talking with them about it. But that’s the worst thing you can do when selling the half of America that’s introverted.

Introverts aren’t necessarily bashful and extraverts aren’t necessarily gregarious. In fact, half of the world’s public performers are deeply introverted and extraverts can be painfully shy. Psychologically, introversion and extraversion refer only to where a person finds their energy. Extraverts are energized by people, places and things outside themselves. But introverts prefer to turn their thoughts inward to a laboratory of the mind where they like to “try things out” before taking any action.

When they say, “Let me think about it,” extraverts often mean “You haven’t really engaged my interest so I’ll be leaving now,” whereas an introvert usually means, “You’ve told me something new, surprising or different, so now I need some undistracted time to decide how I feel about it.” But this doesn’t mean that introverts can’t make snap decisions. In fact, introverts usually respond with lightning speed when asked about something they’ve already thought about.

Knowing that half our population is introverted, I advise my clients to show the price on every item they offer for sale. Upscale retailers are resistant to this idea, feeling that it somehow demeans the merchandise. But an introvert who’s deeply impressed with an un-priced item will think, “It’s obviously overpriced, or they’d be willing to reveal how much they’re asking. If I inquire about the price, I’m going to have to listen to a salesperson yammer on and on until they force me to tell them that it’s outside my price range. And I’m just not willing to put myself through all that.” By not attaching a price to every item, upscale retailers are missing a lot of potential buyers.

The same is true of classified ads that offer a glowing description without naming a price. The (probably extraverted) writers of these ads think, “I’m going to make the reader call and ask me the price. That way, I’ll have an opportunity to interact with them and tell them all the good things I didn’t put into the ad.” But introverted readers will likely keep on reading until they find an ad that gives them enough information to “try the product out” in their inner laboratory. The result of this inner lab is that when an introverted person calls about your ad they’re usually already half sold.

The great David Ogilvy was famous for his long ad copy. I’m betting that David Ogilvy was an introvert.

Due to the fact that they can act exactly the same, there are no simple, outward signs that will easily allow you to distinguish introverts from extraverts. But when you’ve finally learned to do it, you’ll be better able to sell each customer “their way.”

And you just can’t imagine what that will do to your close rate.

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