It is often thought that an extrovert makes a better sales representative by his ease in communicating, self-confidence and persuasive ability. But is this really the case or is it just conventional wisdom?
Having the gift of the gab, being communicative and energetic are often the qualities that come to mind when we think of the salesman type of profile. For sure, to sell, you have to know how to be persuasive. And who can persuade better than someone who is self-assured and has contagious energy and enthusiasm?
However, since the release in 2012 of the book by Laurie Hawkes and Susan Cain (La Force des discrets, JC Lattès) [The Strength of Introverts] followed in 2013 by the study by Adam Grant, professor at Wharton School of Pennsylvania University, Running ahead: The ambivert advantage, introverts are popular and performance is no longer linked to extrovertism.
Adam Grant demonstrates that a third group of people, which he calls “ambiverts”, exceeded extroverts by 25% in terms of sales performance. As for Laurie Hawkes and Susan Cain, they emphasize the participative management style, based on listening by introverted profiles. In short, these authors have just reversed the trend, after years of glorification of extroverts.
The strength of introverts
It must be said that even though they are naturally more turned in on themselves, introverts possess very useful qualities for the sales profession.
First of all, they often show a coolness and self-control that both reassures the customer and maintains a persuasive heading. In addition, introverts know how to listen. And we well know that a customer who feels listened to and who knows that his needs are correctly understood is a persuaded customer.
Rather than talking incessantly, the introverted seller will leave the customer in first place and only have to restate his words in his own terms to confirm his needs and provide solutions.
Seen as reliable and trustworthy, he will then establish links with his customer much more easily and then retain them naturally.
Coming back to Adam Grant’s study, ambiverts present the profiles of perfect salespersons, more so than extroverts. Why? Because being midway between extroverts and introverts, neither silent nor talkative, they know when to speak and when to keep quiet. In short, these people sometimes act like introverts and other times as extroverts, adapting their behaviour to the situation.
Whatever the various theories, in fact we all have two opposing personalities in us that we use depending on the situation. So we need to both listen and talk, reflect and act, energize our staff and analyze our tasks, etc. And if the solution is to put forward our personality traits that are most beneficial under the context, like ambiverts do? There are ways to correct or adjust come of our traits to perform better. After all, perseverance is available to everyone, both extroverts and introverts!