I recently stumbled on Matthew Pollard's book on marketing for introverts. This is the second in his introvert series, the first is on sales. I will definitely get that book, but this one is a better starting point.
You can't get sales (or interviews) if you don't have leads. You can't get good leads without marketing. Does Matthew's introverted marketing strategy hold up?
A Couple Of Clarifying Questions
- Why is this relevant for dev.to?
For me, marketing myself is something I've never been good at. I'm sure there are at least a few others like me who can benefit from an approach specifically for introverts.
- What is an introvert?
There are a lot of definitions thrown around, but I agree with Matthew's: someone who gains more energy (or recharges) alone.
On to the book.
Why Introverts Make Better Networkers
The first part of the book covers explaining the problem (a vital part of telling a compelling story, but that's explained later), which starts by going back into history. It is really about how sales has changed, but gets to the meat of the matter quickly.
A few hundred years ago, most people lived in a rural setting and everyone knew the people they ran into and being a salesman wasn't necessary. Reputations where solid and people provided a valuable service to their neighbors that they needed. Bakers, farmers, blacksmiths, etc.
As travel became easier, salesmen went from town to town to find more business. They got a few sales in one town and never came back. Most didn't care about being trustworthy or having a good reputation because communication was difficult and they'd likely never be back. This is definitely what comes to mind first when I think of sales.
This describes "transactional networking", which isn't just about sales. It is the what people often think about when it comes to networking. Going from person to person offering what you do to see if they want to buy it. It is a numbers game.
Generally, introverts don't enjoy doing this. Many extroverts do; meeting new people and talking with them lights them up. Personally, I've tried knocking on doors to sell house painting when I was in college. It was miserable. A different approach to personal marketing and sales is a godsend.
Matthew says introverts are listeners so they are better networkers than extroverts. But, we can't just copy the extrovert approach. We need to use a different strategy.
At this point I was still skeptical because I'm generally turned off from networking events. Trying to have a genuine conversation in a loud, crowded room is difficult and uncomfortable. But, maybe I haven't found the right kind of event yet.
Instead of a "spray and pray" approach, Matthew says to use a system. An approach that has a step-by-step approach. A process. He provides a couple of examples. The first is a business owner; the second an employee. It shows this approach works for both kinds.
The key to this strategy is displaying yourself as unique. You are one of a kind. Nobody else has the same background and experiences you do. Leverage that with positioning. Positioning yourself instead of making what you do a commodity works for business owners and employees. It even works for kids making friends.
All you need is planning, preparation, and practice. Sounds a lot like software engineering to me.
Next Time: Discovering Your Positioning (Superpower)
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