A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon a fantastically simple infographic / cartoon that highlights the difference between introverts and extroverts. When we hear those 2 words we are often filled with dread (particularly if you are an introvert like me) because of the fear of being labelled with the wrong interpretation.

I shared it on Linkedin but wanted to add some Travel Retail perspectives to it.

It’s All About Energy

When understanding behaviour, Introverts and Extroverts are labels for describing where people get their energy from.

Depending on where you get your energy from, you are likely to express certain behaviours.

Of course, this has implications for those who deal with people (that is almost everyone!) but especially managers and those on the front line talking to shoppers.

Managing People

When managing teams, of course it helps to understand how individuals generate their energy. What is also useful as a manager is to help the team understand where YOUR energy comes from.

If you are an Introvert (you create your own energy) and you are managing a team of extroverts, it can become very tiring. By helping the team understand that you need some space or ‘thinking time’ every so often, they will actually get more from you.

Talking to an introvert that is fully depleted of energy can be like talking to a wooden post (just ask my wife!). Introverts do not want to be that way, it is just that the battery is flat! They need to recharge.

The Front Line

There are implications here in terms of your  front line retail teams too. What is your recruitment process? How do you screen and assess your candidates?

I am not suggesting that you should only recruit Extroverts in your sales teams but it is good to understand how the candidate would fit in and the mix with the rest of the team.

Travel Retail is a challenging environment. A question or 2 in the interview process will highlight which type of person they are.

Introverts can make great sales people but they will find it exhausting so don’t be surprised if they find an excuse to take 5 minutes out during breaks.

Shoppers

Of course, shoppers are people too!

When you approach a shopper who seems cold, distant and is avoiding further interaction – they might just be Introverts.

Acknowledge them, welcome them and then give them space. Do still use open questions but give them the opportunity to come and find you rather than harass them. Introverts often like to reflect on the situation, take in information and then make a decision. If they feel that they need more information they will ask for it. If you have something to say, make it count. Tasting / sampling works well in this situation.

Extroverts are more likely to start a conversation, respond well to being approached and like to discuss all sort of things – I had one customer when I worked in an electrical retail store tell me all about how they would go through the different varieties of bread in the supermarket to make sure that the slices fitted the toaster they had. They decided that their new toaster should accommodate their preferred bread choice and they promptly produced a cardboard cut out of the bread and went through every toaster on display to find the right one. I had a running commentary from them as they tested each one. It would be an easy mistake to assume they were Introverts…. but remember… it is all about energy.

Finally….

If you are a manager, being aware of energy sources can help you make your team more productive. It also helps if your team understand YOUR energy source.

If you are on the front line, be aware of the shopper behaviours. Treating them in the right way will unlock significant value.

Do you get your energy from social interaction? or do you create your own energy? If you create your own, how do you recharge your batteries?

As ever, thanks for reading….

Kevin