When you think of a typical salesperson, you probably imagine a smooth-talking, outgoing and rapport-building conversationalist, someone totally at ease with cold calling or pitching to executives — someone with the so-called “gift of gab.” And while these natural salespeople certainly exist, it’s a huge misconception to believe you must share this extroverted personality to be successful at sales. The truth is, introverts innately have everything it takes to not only be effective salespeople, but to achieve results that put them at the top of the pack.
Whether you’re an introvert interested in a sales career, if you own a business and don’t necessarily want to sell but need to, or if you just want to be able to properly “sell” your ideas at work, discovering how to harness your natural sales strengths will pay off for the rest of your professional life.
Busting the myths about introversion and sales.
The idea that the best salespeople are extroverts is so ingrained that we don’t even question it. But there is zero evidence supporting this. In fact, according to a comprehensive study led by Murray Barrick of Michigan State University, there is no correlation between extroversion and sales performance. Harvard Business Review reports these surprising results from a study on personality and sales:
- Showy, bravado-type salespeople are more likely to alienate prospects than close them.
- Salespeople in the top 90 percent demonstrate traits of modesty and humility.
- Salespeople with high levels of gregariousness (friendliness and preference for being with people) ranked in the bottom third of overall sales performance.
So much for the gift of gab! But if the stereotypical, extroverted salesperson isn’t actually effective, then who is?