Setting up a business demands marketing skills. If you like big crowds and get your kicks from socialising, marketing's a blast. If, like most introverts, you'd rather stick your head in a gas oven than cold call and chitchat, marketing is downright terrifying. This doesn't mean that introverts can't be successful marketeers – quite the opposite. Introverts, more than extroverts, possess the skills that inspire trust in their colleagues and clients, making them naturals at building long-lasting and loyal relationships. Introverts don't shout at the world, they listen. They acknowledge concerns, think before speaking, solve problems and deliver tailor-made solutions. These are highly desirable skills. The trick is to play to these strengths. 1. Send Your Website into Battle Writing is a skill designed for introverts. Quieter personalities spend a lot of time listening closely, figuring out what they need to do and then thoughtfully stating their case in writing. A good website – one that says all the words your customers want to hear – does the selling so you don't have to. On your landing page, tell potential customers what you can do for them. Introduce yourself via an engaging bio, tell the world about your track record and back up your credentials with testimonials. Set aside time for writing promotional materials, whether it's a white paper, brochure or a blog, and update your content regularly. That's your elevator pitch sorted, and hundreds of cold calls saved, without you having to say a word. 2. Do What Comes Naturally What comes naturally to introverts is preparation. While extroverts tend to wing it, introverts work through all the variables and follow precise, methodical steps to get to where they want to be. So, do your research. Study before networking events. Figure out who is attending and how you will approach key contacts. Know what's happening in their world. Prepare your opening line so you can hit the ground running. If that's too scary, cheat a little: something as simple as creating a striking business card you can hand over as your introduction gives you a ready-made conversation starter. Be sure to have a pitch at your fingertips that precisely addresses your contact's challenges. This degree of preparation sets you apart from your extrovert colleague, who may not have prepared the facts to back up his argument. Sometimes the quiet, considered opinion is the most persuasive. 3. Enjoy the Blessings of Social Media For an introvert, social media offers a great way of connecting with others through the safety of a computer. Whatever platforms you choose, you can source an audience, expand your market research and network with key contacts through discussion forums and introductory emails. However, some sites, such as Facebook, require introverts to expose more of their personal feelings online than you may feel comfortable with. The trick is to choose your medium wisely and not spread yourself too thin. On the plus side, to do social media well you need to create unique content and update it regularly – which suits the introvert down to the ground. Twitter, LinkedIn and so on let you plan what you are going to say. Use the flexibility and the breathing space to prepare insightful material that truly guides your audience. Solicit responses from your readers and suddenly you are in the middle of several one-on-one conversations. Use it to tease out your potential clients' concerns and the nuances of their business situation so you can sell your services in the most effective way. 4. Become a Host Often overlooked, the role of the host is a great tool for introverts because you get to play by your own rules. Don't like big groups? Keep the guest list small. Need frequent time out from the crowd? Opt for informal drinks over a sit-down dinner and choose a venue with breakout space. A host has many legitimate reasons to slip away from the hubbub, giving you time to refocus and regroup. As a host, people will seek you out. They will greet you when they arrive and thank you when you leave, opening up easy conversations. Better still, hosting boosts your credibility and implies an ease of social connection that can only enhance your reputation. 5. Build Your Network One Brick at a Time Too much interaction with strangers drains an introvert's energy and leaves her feeling overwhelmed. Don't set yourself up for failure; accept that the shotgun approach to networking is not for you. Choose one prospective client at a time and ask to meet with them, one-on-one. That way, you can impress with your attentiveness and preparation. You may find that your personal touch wins you referrals, too.
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