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The Top Four Introvert Marketing Strengths, as Rated by Introverts Themselves and the Public

by Marcia Yudkin

To many people, the concepts "introvert" and "marketing" seem as incompatible a combination as oil and water. After all, marketing has to do with getting your name and your business reputation out there, and introverts are by definition inward-looking people, right?

Not really. Introverts are simply folks who need to recharge their energy alone rather than in a group, in contrast to extroverts, who lose energy by themselves and gain it with other people. It's true that introverts will never grab center stage at a party, and they are not masterful at small talk. However, introverts have many other abilities that take them far in business, and it can make a huge difference to potential clients when those qualities are spotlighted in their marketing.

In a survey I recently did of people who identified themselves as introverts, the introvert characteristic mentioned by far more people than any other as being helpful to them in business was creativity. Creative people have flexible thinking and good problem solving skills. They're good at creating opportunities and moving things forward without a lot of resources.

Creative people can also find humor where others don't. Does all this matter to clients? Yes! IBM's Institute for Business Value found in a 2010 study that chief executives from every corner of the world value creativity higher than any other business-related competency.

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The second most often mentioned introvert strength in my survey was listening. People who listen get better results than those who don't, and clients recognize this, too. In a 2009 study by Rain Today, the most widely cited complaint, named by 38 percent of those buying professional services, was: "Service provider did not listen to me." Additionally, 55 percent of those surveyed said they would be "much more likely" to consider hiring a provider if they listened better.

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The third most common introvert strength mentioned in my survey was trustworthiness. Because introverts are careful in what they say, they tend to be more likely than extroverts to deliver what they promise when they have promised it, as well as to claim only what they can back up. Trustworthiness matters greatly to clients, too. In 2010, the annual Edelman Trust Barometer survey found that 83 percent of college-educated, savvy and well-to-do individuals in the U.S. ranked "transparent and honest practices" as important.

Fourth in my survey was critical thinking. Introverts don't care as much as extroverts about what everyone else thinks of them, so they're more able to think independently and voice contrary views. An introvert is the person who doesn't hesitate to say the supposedly sour soup is actually salty or that the color the client has chosen for the restaurant's decor won't go over well with patrons. Discerning leaders value someone who can be trusted to say what's what rather than what the client would prefer to hear.

According to Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, author of The Introvert Advantage, introverts are disproportionately represented among high earners. Perhaps the above four qualities explain why. If you're an introvert, forget about the silver tongue and social finesse you may not have, and highlight your less obvious personality strengths that matter and have value in the marketplace.

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Your marketing mentor,

Marcia Yudkin

P.S. If you're an introvert and could use intensive feedback and guidance on your branding, web site, marketing strategy or a publication project, come work with me one-on-one next spring on Maui. Your retreat is structured so you have ample time to relax on the beach and tour the island, too - and most likely, your whole trip is tax deductible.  Maui private marketing retreat. 

And be sure to download the free Marketing for Introverts Manifesto!

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