Why Extrovert/Introvert personality types don’t matter in sales

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“What the hell is an ambivert?”

Something I hear regularly, is that to be a salesperson, you need to be an extrovert. This is the old, traditional, way of thinking about sales. People still believe that to be a salesperson you need to be outgoing, overly confident, and pushy. This may have been true in the age of the ‘hard selling’ salesman, but it’s an outdated thought that needs to go. No longer should salespeople need to use ‘tricks’ and push to get sales. People don’t respond positively to that and it creates pressured environments.

I constantly hear of people that avoid going into sales roles because they don’t believe they’re pushy enough, or strong willed enough to create sales. This is a huge misconception that seems to be believed by anyone who hasn’t put the time in to research the sales properly and find out more for themselves. The interesting thing I have found, is that introverts can also be amazing salespeople. This is because of how well they tend to listen. Which is a one of the most important parts of the sales process. Despite this, I don’t believe this necessarily makes introverts better either.

Yes, introverts and extroverts can definitely both be elite, high performing salespeople, but the ones who can really step up and shine are ambiverts. An ambivert is someone who is often described as having traits of both introverts and extroverts. However, they will often naturally lean to one more than the other. For example; if on a scale where introverts are number 1 and extroverts are 10, someone sits around 1 or 2. That would class them as an introvert. But the thing that sets an ambivert apart from the introvert is the ability to push out of their comfort zone and move more towards the centre, say, a 3 or 4. Likewise, an ambivert that sits at the other end of the scale needs to be able to pull back towards a 5 or 6 when necessary.

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This can be very difficult, pushing out of your comfort zone is never easy. But it can be trained by habit, an extrovert can work on listening, pulling back from constantly talking, and listening to the customer to find the right solution for them. An introvert can push through the walls and get out of their comfort zone. This may take a lot of fighting to get there, but it can be a huge benefit to learn the positive aspects of both sides. For example, introverts, as mentioned, are often fantastic listeners. If an extrovert can take a step back and listen more than they talk. That can be incredibly beneficial to their customer interactions, and in turn, their sales growth. Likewise, an introvert can examine the positive aspects of extroverts, who are often more than happy to make suggestions which may seem out of the ordinary, or start up conversations to generate more opportunities.

For example, I came into my first sales role almost accidentally, coming from a completely different industry and wanting a change. The first job that I got out of that industry was in sales. Which was unnerving for me, I didn’t think I had the right personality to assist in any form of sales growth, but I took the job. I quickly learned that in order to succeed I needed to be comfortable pushing through the mental barriers and trained myself to be able to adapt to match my customers.

When applying this to sales it can have incredible results. You are always going to have clients on each end of the scale, so, as I learned to do, you can adapt your new-found skills to match the specific customer and make them more comfortable when dealing with you, which leads to relaxed, open conversations where they are more willing to buy. For example; do you really think if an introvert walked in the store that they would be comfortable being approached by a super confident, chatty, loud, extrovert trying to sell to them? You can learn to tone it down a bit once you see how the customer is reacting and create a conversation which is more open and comfortable for them. Tailoring yourself to match your customer can make them comfortable dealing with you and more than willing to discuss what they need. Imagine again then, that the customer came in and was confident in what they want, taking control of the room, and displaying extrovert qualities, an introvert needs to push themselves further up the scale and be able to talk confidently to that customer. Almost matching their personality in order to make them more comfortable talking through what they need with you. If an extrovert came in, thinking they already knew what they want, when in reality it’s not the best option for their needs, an ambivert that sits closer to the introvert scale needs to be able to push further to the centre of the scale and challenge the clients’ perspective, offering other options that will be more beneficial to them.

The trick is to be able to analyse where you would identify on this hypothetical scale, and look at yourself, what can you do to push yourself nearer the centre and adapt to various customers’ personalities and needs?

Neither introverts or extroverts are necessarily better than the other at sales based on that single personality trait. Both have the potential to be high performing salespeople, provided they are willing to step out of their comfort zone in order to keep the customer feeling comfortable.

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