“Extroverts make the best sales people!!” Are you guilty of assuming this is true? We’ve all been there: eccentric, boisterous people seem to be the most personable, outgoing, and, when it comes down to it, salesy.
It’s usually assumed that these types of people will be able to find the deal and close it. Quiet types, or even those who are slightly more reserved, may be pushed aside for more extroverted types. But he or she who speaks loudest isn’t necessarily the best for the job!!
In the business world, the term “sales” doesn’t always mean making cold calls and striking deals. Most business leaders are actually in sales-type roles when it comes down to it: pitching ideas, negotiating strategies, persuading or influencing their employees, and trying to make an overall positive impact.
Social scientists have researched the connection between extroverts and sales success and have found that the connection is actually very weak.
Recent research coming out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Management revealed that it isn’t introverts OR extroverts that fare the best in sales roles: it’s AMBIVERTS.
What is an ambivert? Coined in the 1920s, the term is used to describe people who fit into neither the introvert nor extrovert category, but right in between. They are neither quiet nor loud. They’re assertive without being too aggressive.
The study, which tracked sales performance of employees with varying personality traits, revealed that ambiverts earned average hourly revenues 24% higher than those of extroverts.
But the salespeople who did the best of all, earning an average of $208 per hour (versus $155 for extroverts), had scores exactly in the middle of the introversion-extroversion personality scale. According to The Washington Post, the majority of the population falls into this middle category of personality type.
In my 20 years of recruiting experience, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a sales manager or other executive pass on a candidate because they were perceived as not outgoing enough, loud enough, or not smooth enough. Many of the candidates deemed ‘not qualified’ were hired by the competition and in a short matter of time, were meeting and or exceeding performance goals – specifically sales attainment.
It’s time to re-evaluate what we believe the key criteria for success in sales really is!
We are all equipped to be successful in different ways. Extroverts, introverts and ambiverts all bring unique and crucial attributes to the table that can be utilized and collaborative in a sales and business environment. The key is finding that balance within your workforce and welcoming differences of opinion within these diverse personality types.
Let’s break the mold of only hiring the smooth talker! Look beyond external traits to truly understand a candidate’s qualifications before making a decision and keep an eye out for ALL types of people.