What Personality Type Makes for the Best Salesperson?

Guest Blog Article by Marc Miller PhD.

What Personality Type Makes for the Best Salesperson?

If you are a business owner or a sales manager interviewing prospective new sales reps for your company, who would you look to hire, based on who has the best potential for selling successfully? What personality type makes the best salesperson? Would you choose an extravert or an introvert?

An extravert, of course. Everybody knows that, right? Extraverts are outgoing, personable, the kind of people who attract attention with their humor and sense of self confidence, who are the life of the party and of every networking event they attend. They are so personable and gregarious that they can charm anyone into buying anything, right? One problem is that extraverts talk more than listen, and this can be a major impediment in sales success. Nonetheless, most people make the assumption that extraverts make the best sales professionals, and this is almost always the assumption when businesses hire for sales positions. There’s only one problem: this assumption is incorrect.

Well, it can’t be introverts, right? That is usually a correct assumption (though not always). Introverts tend to be quiet, more apt to sit back than jump into conversations, and are often perceived as somewhat detached and aloof. Actually, introverts are excellent listeners and observers. As they keep somewhat removed from the interactions, they are noticing and thinking about important issues that are usually overlooked by their more outgoing extraverted counterparts. Introverts, when they speak, tend to ask really excellent questions that focus on clarifying the needs of their customers and clients, and they convey a sense of genuinely caring about what those customers and client really are feeling and what they want. But introverts are often impeded by their inward focus and their inhibitions about speaking up, and are therefore usually not seen as good candidates for sales positions.

So what’s the answer?

Research by Dr. Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business has shown that while extraverts slightly outperform introverts in sales success, the top sales people, by significant margins, are “ambiverts.” What’s an “ambivert”? These are people who fall somewhere between the two ends of the introvert-extravert spectrum, meaning that they possess a balance between the outgoing style of extraverts and the inward, more reflective and attuned style of introverts. They can meet people and interact well, but are also good at asking questions and paying attention to the answers.

Clients and customers want to feel that their needs and desires are the primary concern of those people they buy goods and services from. Ambiverts are successful because they balance the strengths of both extraverts and introverts. Luckily, most people fall into this range, and those who are more at the extremes can develop their abilities so they can “stretch” more confidently toward the middle of the spectrum. This is where good professional coaching comes into the picture.

Marc Miller Marc Miller Ph.D MLM Coaching & Consulting LLC www.marcmillercoaching.com E: drmarcmil@gmail.com  T: 516.835.5977