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  • Writer's pictureBen Paul

BD and networking for introverts

BD and Networking for Introverts

Can introverts be good at networking and business development? Or is it best left to the extroverts in your firm? The short answer is that introverts can make excellent relationship builders and, in some cases, end up being better at building long-term relationships. To get to this stage it is often important to provide the right support and mentoring aimed at BD and networking for introverts.

Before, we explore what skills and techniques introverts need to succeed in the basics of sales, it is first important to understand what an introvert is. A quick Google search finds this definition, "introverts seek out and enjoy opportunities for reflection and solitude". Another way of putting this might be that introverts, while they, like all humans, enjoy socialising, they replenish their energy and collect their thoughts in isolation. This element of being more reflective is a real strength in sales.

To help develop the skills and habits for BD and networking for introverts, below is a list of 5 steps to follow if you are an introvert looking to build your networks and develop more business.

BD and networking for introverts – 5 powerful steps

1. Utilise social media (Personal Branding).

I’ve lept straight into an area that can be terrifying for all professionals let alone introverts. However, with the right strategy and thought it can be highly effective. Having a profile that is well-thought out, considered and shows who you are professionally is really important, especially on LinkedIn.

Then there is what you post. The good news for most people in professional services is that this doesn’t require prolific posting, instead well-thought out posting once or twice a week can produce really good results. This is where time alone, reflecting on what interests you and also what you think will interest your clients and prospective clients is important.

Once you have the articles or short content you want to post, you can simply post on LinkedIn using its in-built scheduling tool to post one or two months’ worth of content.

When you think about it, social media posting is best done in front of a screen, in isolation, with careful and considered thought. Perfect for introverts.

2. One to one meetings.

If not one to one, then smaller meetings tend to be where the best BD is done. This means that it is really about asking questions and allowing the person you are meeting with time to think and talk. And above all else, it is about listening and taking in what they are saying.

This is ideal for introverts, as the desire to run or overtalk the client is less than with extroverts, and listening is a more natural way of participating in a conversation.

3. Preparation.

This applies to introverts and extroverts. Yet for introverts, it is even more important. The idea of ‘winging it’ is likely to bring an introvert out in a cold sweat! Therefore, the more preparation ahead of a meeting or important call the better. Just be careful not to over-analyse and overthink things. Too much research can lead to inaction. Sales, networking or BD does require reaching out to people and being active.

However, researching your clients, understanding their market and the current challenges and opportunities they may be facing is a great idea. Have some questions pre-prepared and if you can, rehearse/role-play an important meeting with a colleague ahead of attending. While you may find the rehearsal cringey, it really will make you more confident for the real meeting itself.

4. Quality over quantity.

Rather than trying to speak with 20 people at a networking event, allow yourself to have, and enjoy, a couple of good conversations with people. If you find common ground, use your strengths of listening and answering questions, then it should be easier to follow up with the person you met and book in the next meeting.

5. Take time to isolate.

 Phew! You don’t have to put yourself out there 24/7 to build a strong network of contacts. It is important to take time out, relax and breathe. Remember, introverts do enjoy socialising, meeting people and learning from them. However, they also want time to reflect and collect their thoughts. So, if you are an introvert, set aside the time to do just that.

Conclusion – BD and networking for introverts

Some of the best winners of work I have coached and mentored have been introverts. The ability to listen, understand client needs and reflect that back and build solutions tied to those needs is really a natural ‘introvert’ super-power.

It takes confidence and the ability to try some new skills without over analysing them, to have more conversations and meetings with clients and prospective clients. The good news is that it is easily achievable with the right mindset and even support. BD and networking for introverts is really about creating the platforms for conversations, to allow those natural introverted characteristics to really shine.


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