By Katy Carpenter and Michael Walker
When attempting to attract someone’s attention, what do you do? Make eye contact, smile a little and then look away? Or do you hold the eye contact and add a gesture with a ‘come here’ motion? To attract clients, some of the same psychology is involved. You must make contact with your prospective client, hold their attention, and instantly articulate a solution to their problem(s).
This concept can be slightly intimidating to an introverted person—one who is not driven to talk all the time or to meet new people.
The “world” thinks an introvert is characteristically a ‘shy’ person; perhaps involved in their thoughts more so than the world around them. However, an introvert is not always shy, nor are they necessarily self-involved or selfish.
Instead, they are thinking of the world and others around them, and most likely, profound thoughts. They may not feel driven to share those thoughts and opinions with everyone in the room. Introverts tend to feel more energized by being alone, whereas extroverts gain energy from the people around them. We do not imply that introverts cannot speak in front of people or that they are too shy to make friends. It merely means that introverts may work best in one on one situations or smaller groups.
Now, some of you may be thinking but how can I get clients if I can only operate in smaller groups? Well, read on, and we will tell you!
Step 1: Play to Your Strengths
Being an extroverted personality type is not essential to attracting clients. What is most essential is being able to connect your strengths as solutions to the right people.
Strengths are those skills that you do best and the traits that give you confidence. When you are confident, you are more likely to engage with others around you, and your passion for what you do comes out.
Step 2: Focus on Them, not Your Self-Perception
Next, and there’s no way around this, you need to work on the ability to speak up. And, for all of us introverts out there, we may think we’re assertive toward others, but other people may not think we’re as assertive at all. It’s a matter of personality types (which we’ve written about before), and it’s the receiving person’s personality where we should focus.
For most introverts, this takes practice. Which leads to our key technique…
Step 3: Practice, Practice, Practice
Join a group where you can practice.
Toastmasters is an international organization focusing on nothing but helping you improve your speaking ability—clearly, concisely and with purpose. It’s a safe environment to enhance your skills. This setting can be extremely beneficial in helping you streamline what you need to say to those prospective clients.
Although not at the level of Toastmasters, Opterre’s coaching program includes practice for speaking in front of potential clients in various scenarios.
Step 4: Go Back to School
Take some marketing or sales classes. Many of these courses will give you opportunities to present—and sell—in front of a class. Here is another safe environment where you can practice and improve your skills before going out into the “real world.”
Enhance your strengths through knowledge and practice.
Step 5: Join Networking Groups
A more advanced option is to join a meet-up or sales networking group of other professionals so you can ask questions and gather information on how they attract clients. You’ll find some people are natural sellers—genuinely interested in others and solving their problems, some are “cheesy,” and some are pushy.
Listen. Observe. Learn their behaviors and what to do and not-to-do. Once you have a better awareness and understanding of how “naturals” obtain clients, you can then apply some of those tips to your efforts and see what works versus what may not, based on your style.
If you’re just starting out, we don’t recommend BNI just yet – their protocols require higher engagement than most introverts can commit.
And if you’re not ready to meet strangers in meet-ups and networking events because they seem intimidating, go to smaller meetings. These are usually more specific and discuss special interest topics, such as “10 Best Ways to Reduce Patient No-Shows for Orthodontists.” (Ouch!)
Step 6: Have a Wing-man (or woman)
If you do attend larger group sessions, attend these functions with someone you already know, ask them to introduce you to others and build your network that way. Once you’re introduced, share your strengths freely but with no overt sales pitch.
This opportunity will help you continue to grow that confidence as well as practice your speaking!
Step 7: How to Engage
For the group meeting, make a list of must-meet key people. Research anything that is relevant to them. Prepare a list of four talking points to discuss. Next, approach them or have your wingman bring you in.
Then… open your eyes wide. Smile. (And…if you’re starting out “cold;” that is, no small talk had taken place before you spoke up)…start with an “anchor.” An anchor is a shared-experience topic. For example, discussing that the venue is “way different than what you expected.” And for this example, don’t leave your comment negative or positive. Wait for their response.
Next, reveal something about yourself that correlates to their response. Then encourage the person to say more. (This can also be the step to start at if you’re joining a conversation already in progress).
Then, ask relevant questions to get them talking about their interests and goals. Use your talking points to ask about their favorite subject. Don’t push them to see your point of view.
Before you leave, try to re-engage those key people. A second meeting makes you more memorable. Reiterate a previous talking point and say you look forward to meeting again.
Step 8: Use Social Media
Social media is ideal for introverts because you’re not in front of someone, but, really, you are… just virtually. Using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great opportunities to share your strengths with the world. And in that world, there are billions on social media—eventually, someone engages with you. Be ready! Share consistently. And respond quickly when engaged. However, be aware that social media is never a complete or adequate replacement for one-on-one communication. The form of communication you choose to drive your professional relationships ultimately influences the quality of those relationships.
We could (and should) write a complete article on social media strategies for consultants, but for this article, we recommend sharing your strengths in the form of solutions that other people value.
Hopefully, we’ve given you practical tips that will help you take the initial steps to engage other people which will enable you to become a successful consultant. Note, there are no quick fixes. Practice in safe settings. Have mentors and coaches.
And don’t take seriously those who say that they can “break you out of your shell.” They don’t understand your psychology.
Don’t listen to them. But don’t just listen to us.
Do your research. And to get you started, one book we recommend is Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
We look forward to meeting you in person. Contact us here.
Katy Carpenter is a “Content Artist” and the President of Katy Carpenter LLC. She specializes in writing great content for great leaders.
Mike Walker is the guy who can be blamed for starting Opterre.