Tips for Dealing with Introverted and Extroverted Prospects
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I recently gave a workshop to a group of advisors. I started by asking them to self-identify as either introverts or extroverts. About 40% said they were introverts. One advisor asked this insightful question: What difference does it make?
An incorrect assumption
His question illustrates a significant problem. Many advisors have a routine they use in their meetings with prospects. After they greet the prospect and quickly dispense with pleasantries, they launch into a presentation geared to persuade the prospect to entrust them with their assets. This protocol doesn’t involve any introspection. The underlying assumption is that the prospect wouldn’t be in the room if he or she were not interested in hearing what the advisor had to offer.
The reality tends to be quite different. For instance, there is no support for the proposition that prospects are persuaded by a demonstration of technical expertise and competence. On the other hand, there’s ample evidence that credibility is directly related to a perception of likeability.
Is your prospect introverted or extroverted?
The perception of likeability is directly affected by the ability (or inability) to establish an emotional connection with a prospect. A critical component of doing so involves an understanding of whether both you and the prospect are introverts or extroverts.
Fitting into one of these two categories is not a matter of choice. Studies indicate that whether you are an introvert or an extrovert is actually determined at a genetic level. The difference manifests itself early in childhood. Introverts and extroverts have been shown to have different neurological responses to external stimuli at a young age.
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The difference between the way introverts and extroverts view the world is profound. Introverts are well aware of the bias in our society for charismatic, outgoing, fun-loving people, but there is nothing they can do about how draining they sometimes find personal interactions. Conversely, the extrovert is energized in social and business settings.
With this understanding, the answer to the question I was asked is clear; unless you are reflective enough to understand whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you will be unable to connect with your prospect.
If you are an extrovert, you may assume your prospect views the world as you do. You enjoy being the center of attention. You find prospect meetings exciting and interesting. If your prospect is an introvert, he will not share these feelings. He may feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. He may sit quietly and not give you any indication of how he is inwardly reacting.
If he is an extrovert, he may feel frustrated that you are hogging the limelight. It is particularly difficult for extroverts to passively integrate facts and data presented to them by others.