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Why Introverts Hate Hype

by Marcia Yudkin

Almost always when I am talking to someone who wrinkles their nose at online sales pages with outlandish, bold red headlines and breathless paragraphs of hot air, I later learn (or already knew) that this person is an introvert – someone who prefers to hang back in social situations, enjoys spending time alone and is not a natural showoff.

In the last few days, I’ve given some thought to why introverts recoil from techniques that are commonly labeled "hype."

First, the tone of voice that goes with hype is just way too loud and obnoxious. As an introvert, you are never the loudest person in the room and rarely the best friend of the loudest person in the room. Someone who uses a lot of capital letters, attention-getting adjectives like “killer” or “hot” and multiple exclamation points doesn’t come across as someone who likes you the way you are or someone who understands you.

The cadence of these sales pitches is also far too fast. They’re designed to sweep you up into a tide that keeps relentlessly coming, without giving you a rest to think. Introverts prefer giving purchases careful thought and don’t enjoy being swept up into that kind of momentum.

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Hype-filled pitches often exaggerate – another no-no for introverts – and make questionable assumptions and generalizations, such as "Everyone loves fast cars" or "The next time you have 20 people over for dinner." Supersized promises fall into this category, too, like "Finish your book in less time than most people spend mowing the lawn!"

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In their heart of hearts, introverts know they’re not like everyone else and don’t like being treated as if they were. More congenial is a quiet reference to your individuality and a matter-of-fact explanation of why something might be right for you. Introverts appreciate the feeling of being treated as an intelligent, thoughtful buyer.

Introverts also are less susceptible to trumped-up fear and marketing that throws out threats, such as "Without this program, competitors are going to be left in the dust" or "What will you do when your husband walks out to be with a prettier woman?" If you run your life by an inner guidance system rather than by others’ expectations and opinions, then such appeals are either embarrassing or offensive.

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One marketer in particular has been barraging me lately with emails laced with shame, envy, fear and greed instead of holding up a vision of what he can help me attain. I decided to shut him out by unsubscribing to his list, even though I think he’s extremely smart and means well.

In short, the style, pace and psychology of hype probably feel wrong for you if you’re an introvert, and hype’s showmanship without substance doesn’t match how you prefer to make decisions. Don’t get sucked into the hypester’s claim that selling requires techniques that leave you cold.

Creativity, richness of detail, humor, evidence, samples, honest drama and suspense – these are all elements of a non-hyped approach to persuasion that sits better with those whose personalities fall on the quieter side of the spectrum.

Your marketing mentor,

Marcia Yudkin

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