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The Introvert's Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone
The Introvert's Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone
The Introvert's Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone
Ebook263 pages3 hours

The Introvert's Edge: How the Quiet and Shy Can Outsell Anyone

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars



About this ebook

Sales is a skill just like any other, which anyone can learn and master--including the introvert who is more comfortable alone than in the sales field. As with any type of success, it’s all about learning how to leverage your natural strengths.

Extroverts are rarely short on words, and their conversations and pitches never feel sales-y to them. The world of sales just comes naturally to the extrovert. However, introverts aren’t comfortable with traditional tactics like aggressively pushing a product or talking over a customer's objections.

Known as “The Rapid Growth Guy”, author Matthew Pollard shares how introverts can feel equally comfortable and sincere in the sales world as well without changing who they are.

In The Introvert’s Edge, this book reveals how to:

  • Find your natural confidence
  • Prepare for every situation
  • Easily sidestep objections
  • Ask for the sale (without asking)
  • Leverage the power of virtual and social networking

The introverted salesperson is no longer an oxymoron, it’s a recipe for success.

Whether you want to drum up clients, pitch investors, or exceed quotas, The Introvert’s Edge will unleash the low-key, high-impact sales machine lurking inside of you.


PublisherThomas Nelson
Release dateJan 1, 2018
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Matthew Pollard

Matthew Pollard, known as "The Rapid Growth Guy," works with businesses around the world, from startups to Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft and Capital One. Responsible for launching five zero-to-million-dollar businesses, he also founded Austin's Small Business Festival, which is now a nationwide event. A native of Australia, he splits his time between North Carolina and Texas.

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Rating: 3.5555555555555554 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    This book gave me the confidence I needed to see my introverted nature as a gift rather than a curse.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    This is indeed a great book. Has lots of practical stories.

Book preview

The Introvert's Edge - Matthew Pollard


when introverts fail at sales

In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.

—DAVID OGILVY, Confessions of an Advertising Man

Alex Murphy’s dream-come-true was fast becoming a nightmare.

With financing from two family members, he had set up his own videography studio. Professional-grade cameras, cutting-edge software, boom mics, an impressive roster of talent—Golden Arm Media had everything going for it.

Except sales.

As the owner and face of the business, that fell to Alex. Unfortunately, like many people who begin with subject matter expertise and then create a business out of it, he didn’t have a knack for sales. In fact, as an introvert, he kind of hated it.

After junior high, he had developed a pronounced stutter, resulting in a lack of confidence. Since he was already somewhat shy, this only increased his natural aversion to casual conversations with strangers. His discomfort with social situations persisted through high school and college as well.

Fast-forward a few years to Alex starting his videography business from scratch. It wasn’t an established business with an existing customer base. He didn’t come out of another business with a portfolio of client projects or an extensive network of people and businesses to tap. He had to build his client roster from the ground up.

So if we’re taking inventory: a natural introvert with a stutter (made worse during times of stress) . . . with an aversion to creating small talk (a normal trait of introverts) . . . a skewed self-perception and the lowered self-confidence resulting from it . . . who faces the challenge of forming new relationships that comes from all those factors . . . puts himself in a situation where his livelihood depends on being able to sell intangible services . . . to complete strangers. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it?

It was.

When he got on the phone or in front of potential clients, he didn’t know what else to do but talk about videography and business. If they tried to make small talk or if they happened to share something personal, Alex would just simply clam up. There was a long, unnatural pause while both sides figured out how to get out of the conversational sand trap they’d somehow stumbled into.

We often say, People do business with people they like. Having spent hours with Alex myself, I know he’s a likable guy. But in a sales situation, he had a hard time getting over the hurdle of creating basic rapport with the potential client, much less establishing the necessary trust to persuade them to buy a customized professional service like videography.

So sales sucked.


We introverts live in a world (or, at least, in Western culture) that looks up to people who act like extroverts. (Even though a little digging shows that extravert is actually correct, extrovert is the far more common spelling. I’ve chosen to stick with it for convenience’s sake.) We often describe the leaders we admire as outgoing, charming, and charismatic. Successful people look and act extroverted. Therefore, extroverts are the people we believe we should model.

That doesn’t work for introverts like you and me. It goes against who we are, how we’re wired, and how we think. Sure, we can pretend to be extroverts and learn the tricks that mask our introversion, but at the end of the day, we can’t escape our DNA. Asking a hard-core introvert to get excited about working the room is like hiring a performing artist to get excited about accounting: It’s just not in their nature.

Carl Jung defined introverts as being inwardly focused while extroverts are outwardly focused. In another explanation, he described how these two types of people draw their energy: introverts from being alone; extroverts from people. In practice, that means an introvert can spend energy networking a crowd or performing for an audience, but we recharge our batteries primarily from being alone. Extroverts, on the other hand, can work in isolation, but they recharge from going out with a group of friends or being in a crowd of people.

Take me, for example. I may look like an outgoing extrovert on-stage and afterward while staying for questions or workshops, but once I get home, I turn my phone off and TV on, sit by myself for a few hours—no other lights or noise—and zone out to recharge my batteries. While I love helping people, the act of interaction depletes my energy. Contrast this to some of my extroverted colleagues who get a rush from being on-stage and then look forward to spending a night out on the town.

Speaking directly to Alex’s situation, those who’ve studied introversion point out that we often hate chitchat and small talk, preferring to talk about things that matter, or meaningful conversations, as many put it. Who cares about who won the game last night when you’re there to get a job done?

One telltale trait of introverts is what some experts call reflecting internally. It means that introverts do a lot more thinking before they speak. I have one coaching client who often takes so long to answer a question that we had to switch to Skype so I could tell the difference between him thinking and the call dropping. Extroverts, on the other hand, more commonly just think out loud. For us, though, our aversion to small talk comes across as being awkward, shy, uncaring, antisocial, or downright rude. We’re not. That’s just how it looks.

Alex, however, didn’t see himself as any of those things. In his mind, he was just getting down to business. That’s why he was there, after all. He didn’t quite know what to do with clients talking about their child’s recital or their plans for the weekend. Those things were ultimately inconsequential in a meeting about videography. It was almost as if Alex was trying to have one conversation while the person on the other side of the desk was having another. Getting through the sales meeting often became an awkward dance for both parties.

Once Alex had gathered all the information he needed and left the potential clients, he’d go back to his office and spend hours creating a proposal, sometimes as long as thirty pages. As soon as he was done, he’d excitedly email it to them. Then he’d wait for days, weeks, or even months to hear back—only to find out they had gone with someone else.

He watched as his dream circled around the drain. The few clients he did land never quite covered the bills. His start-up funds were rapidly dwindling. He had borrowed from his father and maxed out his wife’s credit cards—both of whom also worked for him. If his business failed, it would not only wreck their finances but also cause them to lose their livelihood. If something didn’t change fast, he was looking at the same hard realities facing nearly every failing business: unpaid bills, layoffs, and ultimately closing the doors for good. His wife, Sarah, later shared with me that because of the overwork and lack of results, she was shutting down emotionally. In her own words, It was just an awful, awful place to work.

To say Alex was desperate would be an understatement.

Of course, that desperation only fed back into the downward spiral. The harder things were, the more anxious he got about each potential project. If you’ve been on the other side of the table, you know what it’s like to interact with a salesperson who reeks of desperation. When prospects smell it, they sometimes try to take advantage of it by negotiating for a lower price or more deliverables (or both). Most of the time, though, it makes them uncertain, leaving them wondering if the salesperson will be able to deliver.

Does the service provider lack confidence because they are desperate or because they’re out of their comfort zone? If they’re desperate, then they must not be very good, right? Nobody wants to do business with someone who’s failing. Nobody likes dealing with a salesperson who’s practically begging for the sale. If they’re out of their comfort zone, it must mean that they don’t have much experience, right? We want to place our bet on those who have proven themselves (and who will still be there come tomorrow).

Alex was referred to me by a mutual friend who’d just met him. I saw his work and was impressed by his talent, but not his salesmanship. I have a soft spot for small businesses like his. While I like working with corporate clients, I know that all I’m doing is helping a successful enterprise become even more successful. It’s just not as soul-enriching as working with a small-business owner, where I know that my work could potentially change a life. There’s something heroic about people with enough skill, passion, talent, and belief in themselves to launch a business. It kills me to see those entrepreneurs fail at their dreams. I’ve watched mom-and-pop stores open, only to see the seats and aisles in these businesses go empty for a long time before they eventually shutter their stores. I’ve seen tradesmen with their equipment sitting idle in the garage, or home-based professionals with their calendars sitting empty, before having to go back to their old employer. I think of how stressful it is on a family: life savings lost, loans due, dreams crushed, divorce. In fact, I saw this happen to a friend’s family when I was young. His parents saved every nickel to pursue their dream of opening a restaurant. I remember the excitement of the grand opening and how bright the future seemed. About a year in, I noticed that his parents didn’t get along as well. A few months later, they closed the restaurant and eventually got a divorce. His dad moved to another city, and I was able to see my friend only half as much. A small business has the potential to completely change your life—for better or for

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