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Personality and Career

Hi Friend,

I have just graduated from university, and now i have started my first job. I feel not so comfortable with it. As my personality doesn't suit that job. I work as sales executive which requires those who are extraverted and good at communication and building relationship. However, i am an intraverted person. I am not good at communicating and expressing myself clearly. When i need to build relationship with a customer, i don't have much to say to make them become my friend. i want to improve my relationship with customer, but i can not find any reason to visit them often to build up our relaltionship....

All in all what i want to ask are:

1. Should i change my career to suit my personality or adjust my personality to suit my job? If i have to change my personality, do u think it is possible and how to do it?

(Note: I choose to be sales executive, becaue my future goal is to run my own business. That's why, i think selling skill is needed to achieve my goal.)

2. What are the way to build up relationship with customer? How to make them become friend?

3. How to be able to find word respond and continue the converstion without getting stuck and feel uneasy?

Thank you for your advice. - by Angelic
Hi Angelic, congrats on graduating from University. I'm sorry to hear your job is not so comfortable for you. Here's some feedback for you to consider:

Contrary to popular belief, introverts can make excellent salespeople. Having an "internal" orientation versus "external" orientation can be an asset in selling. Shyness, however, is not an asset in selling.

1. Should i change my career to suit my personality or adjust my personality to suit my job? If i have to change my personality, do u think it is possible and how to do it?
I don't think you can substantially change your personality. But you can change your behavior. The question is, "what behaviors do you need to be doing that you aren't currently doing?" If you can identify those, then you can set out to change them. This may be easy or difficult depending upon what those behaviors are.

I choose to be sales executive, becaue my future goal is to run my own business. That's why, i think selling skill is needed to achieve my goal.
I agree, Angelic. Selling is an excellent background (and a required skill) for many entrepreneurs. But people with an accounting/financial background can be excellent entrepreneurs, too. The qualities of entrepreneurs are not equally aligned with the qualities of salespeople, but they do have a lot in common.

What are the way to build up relationship with customer? How to make them become friend?
Building a relationship with a customer is important. Your relationship may or may not lead to friendship, but friendship isn't required for your customer to keep buying from you. It's more important for salespeople to be friendly to their customers than it is to be friends with their customers. And it's way more important the salespeople have the ability to get their customers to trust them.

How do you build up a relationship with a friend? Or a family member? Or a colleague at work? Do the same thing in your sales role. Do what you say you're going to do; walk your talk; follow- through; be available; be proactive; be likable; listen to your customers; get your customers talking so you can get listening; be genuine, etc.

You need to determine if your current job is uncomfortable for you because of the tasks required, or because of the company you're working for. It sounds like your discomfort comes from the tasks required to be successful in the job. Then, you have to determine if you are capable of doing those tasks. If you can learn them and improve them, you might be okay. On the other hand, you need to feel comfortable in your own skin to be able to sell (or do any job, really).

Perhaps you'd want to take a sales assessment to help you analyze your sales strengths or weaknesses.

I'd also suggest you take the Strengthsfinder (available when you buy the book Strengthsfinder 2.0, which may help you shed some light on where you should be focusing your energy).

I hope that helps, Angelic. - by Skip Anderson
Dear Angelic, I once thought about selling in the same manner that you perceive it to be. I had the impression that selling required me to be charismatic, outgoing and be an extravert. Well, maybe after a few decades people consider me an extrovert. If they only knew the truth.msnwnk; Yes, I was a very shy person and in some ways, I still am. However, I don't have a problem speaking or writing about selling and sharing my view point.

I honestly don't think you will have to change anything about yourself. You can remain the introvert you claim to be if you want. In fact, you might find it very helpful in some areas. Quite frankly, more people like to talk about themselves that you might think. The highest and most important quality you have as a salesperson is listening. Talking is over rated. What you need to focus on is the questioning skills and learning how to lead a conversation in the direction you want. Your goal should be to uncover problems and issues with a customer or prospect. You want to become a problem solver! YOU want to be known as someone people can count on when things go bad. You want people to trust you. If you can do that - you are an ideal salesperson.

Making friends with customers is also over rated. People buy from people they trust. I can tell you that I don't trust some of my friends. You are probably the same way. However, when you purchase something, you feel much better when you trust the person or company you decide to engage with. You can build trust, which incidentally is what you need to make every sale, by listening and keeping the customers best interest in mind.

When you get stuck in a conversation and don't know what to say, don't say anything. Silence is a great way to keep a conversation going. You can also ask for more information with simple come back lines like, really, is that so, tell me more, why do you think that. Your goal is to lead a conversation. There will always be a time when YOU have to share your recommendation. However, that time only comes when you are ready and that time should be near the end of the conversation when the customer is very much at ease with you. It will be the time that you know you have a solution for the customer and you are ready to share your recommendation. By this time, you will have built trust through listening to them and understanding their needs.

All of what I am relating to is part of following a selling process. If you think that selling is telling, you aren't really following the selling process that I recommend. You are trying to sell to people who aren't ready to listen to you yet. Now, that is harder and more uncomfortable. When you do that, you will feel rejection more and as an introvert, it is harder to sell. You must recognize that we are generally in a society that is very self -centered and it is all about us. Keep this in mind when you are talking to prospects and customers. They will be happy to do most of the talking when you learn how to lead them with great questions. Focus on learning how to question people and spend 80 percent listening and 20% talking.

I hope this helps. - by Steve Martinez
Hi Angelic,

I agree with a lot of what everyone else has said - but I am going to be a bit more critical too.

You don't need to be an extrovert to succeed in sales - but almost all the key moments in sales do involve interacting with other people. And often you have to initiate those interactions.

It sounds like you don't feel comfortable or enjoy interacting with other people. To succeed in sales you will need to get over this.

There are many careers - usually more technical ones - where people who don't have great social skills and who don't enjoy that element can succeed. But sales is not one of them.

By putting youself in a sales role you have given yourself a great opportunity to become more comfortable interacting with others and to learn these skills. But if you find that after (say) a further 6 months you still are not enjoying it and haven't improved in these areas then I would take a long hard look at whether you may find greater success and fulfilment in a different sort of role.

Best of luck

Ian - by ianbrodie
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