By Bryan Orr

When you think of a salesperson, what comes to mind? Do you imagine a quiet person who helps you solve your problems by listening and evaluating you as a customer? Probably not. When most people hear the word ‘salesperson’ they imagine a flashy personality who will talk to you for hours in order to get you to buy something that you may awkwardly be trying to get away from.

That’s not the definition of a good salesperson.

So, who would you pick to be a better salesperson — the extrovert or the introvert? Most people would pick the extrovert because they believe someone who can talk is someone who can sell. While it is true that being a talker may get your foot in the door, it is also true that it may turn off a potential customer and be more annoying than anything else.

A good salesperson is one who can talk and listen to the needs of the customer.

An introverted person is more likely to listen to you and learn about your interests, first, before carrying on a conversation. That is exactly what customers want from a salesperson. But given what we know about the introvert personality, how do you get an introverted person to walk up to customers, initiate a conversation and proceed to sell?

Anyone can be an introvert and anyone can be an extrovert, depending on the situation. A good salesperson is a combination of both introverted and extroverted personalities; combining the social confidence of an extrovert with the listening skills of an introvert.

If you are an introvert, you won’t naturally have the social nerve of an extrovert, but you can act like you do. Just like the catchphrase, “Fake it, ’til you make it.”

In your daily life start by simply practicing saying “hello” to passersby, forcing yourself into the public domain. You may even want to consider joining a public speaking workshop. All of those practices will help you become more comfortable with strangers and in turn they will feel more comfortable around you. You can also show your passion for your work. What you have to sell is pretty incredible. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be selling it, and you wouldn’t have customers looking to buy it. Each of these things will help you gain some extrovert qualities and make you a better salesperson.

If you’re an extrovert, it’s time to slow down and develop a few introverted qualities. It is human nature to enjoy talking about ourselves, but in order to build relationships we need to listen more. In your next conversation pay attention to what others are saying and ask questions. It will promote better listening skills and build stronger relationships with customers. Extroverts will often say they have a hard time sitting still and focusing on reading, but recognize that reading is an opportunity for you to learn more, to better prepare yourself, and will broaden your horizons as a salesperson.

It’s no surprise that the world of sales is changing. For years people hated to go buy an automobile because they didn’t feel as if the salesperson really had their best interest at heart and would put on a lot of unwanted pressure. These bad experiences are driving the change in sales.

We’ve said goodbye to the days of the cigar-smoking, backslapping salesperson and hello to a salesperson who has an obligation and desire to help the customer in what is their best interest.

What is one thing you can do today to change how you approach a customer?