If you are a business owner and you are an introvert, marketing today feels like a rerun of high school years: who’s most popular, who’s not, who’s in, who’s out.
OK, so maybe it’s not that bad, but certainly you’ve noticed that those who feel comfortable in the limelight seem to have opportunities stacked in their favor? Networking, public speaking, social media, branding videos, how to videos, email marketing, self-publishing, and blogs—all tools that help those reach prospects every day. For introverts, these can seem like torture devices.
For example, a few weeks ago I was at my local BNI meeting. Great group, lots of friends there, but not enough for me to enjoy the fact that we were asked to sing our commercial. A few weeks earlier we had been asked to say it as a poem. Was this a joke? I felt I was back in junior high, counting the minutes, hoping I wasn’t called upon to read to the class.
You guessed it. I consider myself an introvert, and perhaps you’re wondering, “Why is he blogging then?” Well, for the same reason I look for public speaking opportunities, go network a few times per week, and am in charge of business development for my company. It’s the same reason I sang like a canary and even struggled through my poem. The business requires it.
Three networking tactics for introverts
If you are not ready to sing, there are a few things you can do as an introvert to get started. Ultimately, you can push yourself as far as you can—getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is part of doing business—and these three tactics are low-intensity starters.
By volunteering for specific tasks that may be of help to others, introverts can create the opportunity to collaborate and show their value. Introverts do best when there’s a problem to solve and they can provide solutions. This removes the discomfort of small talk and puts the focus on analytical tasks—which we love.
- Show You Care:
Introverts often have great ideas that can be helpful to many, yet we often shy away from sharing them because our inclination is to first make sure they are perfect. So, play to your strengths. When you can, share ideas via email, a handwritten note or through social media—all of which offer the opportunity to fuss over the details. As you grow in your comfort, expand your reach: write a blog, self-publish a book, and spread news of your business through a monthly e-newsletter. All of these are safe and controlled ways to help build your image as an expert
- Give Continuously:
Introverts should constantly give advice, referrals, resources, encouragement, and ideas. Giving is a relationship builder for everyone, but especially for introverts. That’s because we are often seen as thoughtful, careful thinkers who build deep relationships based on trust. As such, we are a great source of referrals. We may not know as many people as compared to our social butterfly friends, but those we do know have been vetted.
While these may still seem like “devices of torture” to introverts, I assure you these tactics are introvert-friendly. Trust me–just get started. Face your fears and give extroverts a run for their money.