It was the 1938 Pimlico Race that Seabiscuit outraced Triple Crown winner War Admiral. Why? Experts say that Seabiscuit held with the pack and was trained to start from the gate with a burst of speed right from the starting bell. It’s important that as a salesperson you find your starting bell - that thing that gives you the jolt into your daily activities that creates the highest payoff each day. And just what are those daily jolt activities, in particular for the introvert, shy or reluctant who sell?
Start each day in a way that will energize you in this extroverting activity of selling. This will be different for each of us. However, it is important in particular for introverts since the majority of our sales day will be a slow discharge of personal energy as we talk with prospects and customers. Energy can be physical, mental and emotional. Meditation, spending ten minutes reading something motivational, and even exercising before you start your workday can charge you up for the day.
Remind yourself throughout the day you naturally have all the skills that customer’s crave. Be yourself: focus on the customer. Listen to them as you normally prefer to listen to people before you speak. One four year study by David Kurlan, The Modern Science of Salesperson Selection, published five major weaknesses in the April 1994 issue of Inc. Magazine in an article called “Psyched Up or Psyched Out.” One of the weaknesses, the tendency to become emotionally involved, affects listening skills to become more self-focused rather than prospect focused. Our distinct advantage as introverts is being able to maintain focus, hear important points and maintain control of a meeting. That’s one of several important skills that in innate in introverts. Remind yourself of this!
Recharge throughout the day as needed to keep your optimism high. Over 30 years of research by Martin Seligman and his colleagues with more than one million salespeople have confirmed the importance of optimism in salespeople across several industries. It’s to a degree of being able to outsell from 20% to 40%. As introverts we tend to roll things over and over in our minds. Take time to think over positive affirmations. Find things to be grateful for. Stop, take a break, and recognize even the smallest sales task accomplishment. Listen to uplifting music to help sharpen this competitive advantage of optimism.
End your day inside your head again with a focus on your inner game. A Harvard study which compared more than 60,000 sales people, concluded that one common success factor was the ability to manage the "Inner Game of Self Management." They not only know the rules, strategies and objectives, but they manage their inner game. It is like the horse racing around the track with action, sweat and yet simply running the race. Get some good training or coaching. Learn the rules, the strategies, set your goals and then take those end of day contemplated actions.
In 1938, two hundred yards from the wire, Seabiscuit pulled away from his rival. He extended his lead in the horse race, finally winning by a clear four lengths. As long as you steadily increase sales, you have more than a horse’s three years to win the race of selling. What is going to be your starting bell? Plan your energized approach, practice optimism throughout the day, recharge regularly and focus on your inner game. Then race to the finish line of top salespeople.