Networking, sales calls, customer service and vendor relations. These are all activities every entrepreneur knows they need to handle well if they want to stay in business.
But for entrepreneurs who are also introverts, these types of tasks are bound to cause a little more stress and anxiety.
What is an introvert?
Because introverts are possibly the most misunderstood people on the planet, let’s just clear the air on exactly what we mean by introvert. We’re not talking about shy, quiet people who may be socially awkward — though some introverts may have these traits.
We’re talking about people who get energy from being alone.
They may actually be very outgoing and social, but spending time with others can be exhausting. They need to re-energize with some alone time. Finding ways to conserve energy is super important.
If this sounds familiar, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re introverted. Most people aren’t entirely introverted or extroverted. We all tend to live on the spectrum and have a different combination of the two traits.
If your combination leans towards introversion and you’re an entrepreneur, congrats. You’re in great company. In fact, some of the most successful people on the planet are introverts. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk — all introverts, all incredibly successful.
That’s great for them, but here’s what’s important for you.
These guys obviously found a way to manage the constant demands every business owner faces when dealing with others. Most of them found partners or teammates to help them tackle activities they weren’t suited to do.
But, if your business can’t afford to bring on new team members, there’s still hope. You just need the right tools.
How CRM Software Can Help
Customer. Relationship. Management.
Those three words alone can send introverts running into a corner with headphones and their favorite hoodie. But managing relationships with your customers is vital to the health of your business.
A good CRM system can automate many of the interactions you have with your clients. More importantly, it can also make those interactions feel thoughtful and personal.
And don’t be deceived by the word “customer” in customer relationship management. CRM tools are great for managing relationships with vendors and investors too.
Here are just a few ways we’ve seen introvert entrepreneurs use CRM software to help them succeed.
Making In-Person Interactions Easier
Networking for introverts can be tedious, and anything to smooth out those interactions is a win. With a cloud-based CRM, you could have personal details about clients and potential investors in the palm of your hand.
Picture yourself at a networking event.
You see that guy you worked with last year and you’d love to get more business from him. You catch a glimpse of his nametag and quickly bring him up in your CRM system. Your notes tell you his wife is named Judy, his dog Sam is a border collie, and he is possibly the biggest Cowboys fan in the world.
Now that you have plenty of positive things to talk about, going up to him doesn’t seem quite as intimidating. Go get ‘em, Tiger. Break the ice and get that sale.
Prioritizing the Interactions You Must Have
Let’s look at that last scenario from a different angle. Maybe you check your past interactions with that same client and you see there was an issue with his last order. Your customer service rep did the right thing and refunded his money, but he wasn’t entirely happy.
This is the perfect opening for you to make an apology in person and earn a customer for life.
In fact, one study showed that 37% of customers are satisfied with a refund or credit, but the satisfaction rate doubles to 74% when an apology is added on top of compensation. Imagine how much impact a personal apology from the owner of the business would make on a less than satisfied customer.
So why is this especially useful for introverts?
Let’s be honest, you can only handle so much socializing in one night. A CRM will allow you to prioritize which are the most important in-person interactions you need to have during an event.
Minimizing Unpleasant Interactions with (Digital) Communication
As an introvert, you probably avoid or postpone as many personal interactions as you can. This can leave your clients feeling alienated and uncared for. It can also create bigger problems because those tiny interactions you’re avoiding might be important to your clients.
Or, let’s say you’re taking a quick vacation. Can you imagine how your business would suffer if you neglected to let all your clients and prospects know you would be gone for a few days? Those hot leads might grow cold, and your clients might have already found your replacement by the time you get back.
But you don’t have to personally visit each client or give them a call to make them feel special. In fact, 74% of people choose email as their preferred communication method for companies or brands to interact with them.
A good CRM can also remind you to contact the client for important things like a client’s anniversary date, membership expirations, birthdays or any number of other events. An even better CRM will allow you to write, schedule and automatically send these emails when they need to go out.
Other Tools for Introvert Entrepreneurs
While CRM software is definitely on top of the list of must haves for introverts, there are other business tools that can enhance your relationships with clients and prospects.
Client Self-Service Tools
Empowering your clients to book their own appointments and make online payments is almost a given for any introvert business owner.
It’s also something your clients want.
In fact, 61% of consumers either expect local businesses to offer online booking and payments or feel it would set the business apart. You can still be in charge of your schedule by blocking out the times you need for yourself. And giving your clients the option to pay online will actually put money in your pocket faster.
Automated Text and Email Campaign Tools
Pairing online booking and payments with automated emails or text messages is another win for the introvert entrepreneur. By automating confirmations and reminders, you’ve created a waterfall of small, positive interactions that are completely hands off.
Persistence is your secret weapon when trying to win over a client or get a sale, and automated nudges in the form of friendly messages will make all your prospects feel like they’re important to you. It will also ensure that you don’t neglect follow-ups and no one falls through the cracks.
There are so many qualities introverts have that make them incredible entrepreneurs. One of them is to recognize where they may need help so they can stay hyper-focused on doing what they’re good at. Having the right tools at the right time can make that difference for you.