How can you start (or improve) your Salesforce Consulting if you are an introvert by nature?
April 23, 2021
So the Salesforce ecosystem, well tech in general, are filled by an interesting bunch. And while there are people who are extremely technically savvy, but that doesn't always go hand in hand with being extremely extroverted. Studies suggest that more than half of the people in the tech industry have an introverted personality (see below). Any while it’s certainly not a bad thing to be an introvert, it can pose a challenge to those looking to start freelancing and consulting as the big question for someone starting out is “How do I get clients?”
So if it’s inevitable that an introvert may be taken out of their comfort zone, what are some ways that an introvert (that is concerned about getting out of their comfort zone) can use to help better prepare themselves for the process of getting their clients? Bradley Rice from Talent Stacker and I tackle the subject below:
The bottom line is that one must get comfortable in speaking settings, especially when looking to land your first few clients. There is no silver bullet here, and it takes a process of repetition to break down these barriers to be able to have these discussions more comfortably. But if you find yourself looking for ways to get comfortable without having to wait for your first proposal negotiation meeting, then there are simple solutions.
One great alternative is to attend Salesforce Saturdays, and make it a goal to take out that mute button and say something. Engage in conversations, comment, and start getting comfortable in those conversational situations. Similarly, check out similar social media platforms where conversations are happening with regards to Salesforce. Other great suggestions are LinkedIn, Slack (#OhanaSlack Community), Discord (SF Exchange Discord), or other apps like Clubhouse, etc… but don’t just read/listen to consume content: Get Involved. If you’re not taking these opportunities to start getting more comfortable in conversational settings, it won’t help you making progress for that situation when you’re a freelancer and you’re sitting across the table (or webcam?) from your future customer.
Someone Catches You on the Spot
“But what happens if I’m in the middle of a meeting, and someone asks a question like ‘Can we do it like this instead’ and I have no frickin’ idea on how to respond?”
It will happen. Let me say something: at the time I write this post, I’ve been consulting for almost 10 years of my life and it still happens to me every now and then. Let me share with you a tip that you can use to stall for time to figure it out and maintain a professional attitude to the question posed. If someone asks you a valid technical question of which you don’t know the answer right away to, you can deflect with one of these two answers (and practice these in the mirror):
- That is a really good question. Let me double check on how your system is set up presently to make sure that it’s not going to cause any conflicts and I’ll follow up with you to confirm.
- You know, I don’t know this 100% off hand, but I remember that there may be something in the recent Salesforce Release Notes that addresses this. Let me double check to be certain and I’ll confirm this for you, but it should be possible.
Either answer above does two crucial things. One, it buys you the time you need to not give an answer right away and risk being wrong. Now you can go (after the meeting) research the crap out of said subject and make sure you thoroughly understand the question asked and the why or why not something can be done in that particular manner. Two, it keeps a professional expectation established and shows that you are looking out for the best interest of the customer (and a good sense of attention to detail).
All of it without needing to compromise their perception of you as the Salesforce professional that was brought in to resolve their problems.
Long Term Plans for an Introvert Salesforce Independent Consultant
In the long-term, as you start getting more established in your consulting, you may want to start finding people in your network that you may want to partner with and share the responsibilities that you do not necessarily want to develop or work on. Bradley gives some great examples of being a developer, and perhaps partnering with a person who is an administrator for the more simple tasks you may consider dull, or a person who loves sales to help working with the clients and participate on meetings, etc…
You could certainly find those individuals in the forceAnywhere network, and there is tons of precedent: you’ll find that there are many micro-consultancies out there with teams of 2-3 people where they each own key specific roles that each individual personally prefers (and excels) at. This would prevent you from having to say “no” to project opportunities because you don’t necessarily want to do a large part of the job because it doesn’t necessarily interest you.
So as always, best of luck out there, and remember that we believe in you!
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