Read around personality typing and you might be fooled into believing that it is the extrovert that makes the best salesperson. Of course, being outgoing, socially at ease, charismatic, happy to strike up conversations, and a persuasive self-promoter may put the extrovert one step ahead of the more reserved introvert. But extroversion can have its downsides.
Being able to act confidently may get an extrovert’s foot in the door, but are they jumping in too quickly? Are they failing to listen to voices other than their own, which could actually turn buyers off?
At the beginning of my career I thought being smiley and nice helped to win deals. Well, that’s wrong.
I always say that people buy from people, who they trust and deliver value. Your clients/prospects/partners need to respect you before they like you. And, everything equal, introverts are much better in this sense than extroverts.
Introversion can often be a strength when it comes to sales as introverts tend to be better listeners, thought-oriented, and better at keeping the focus on the buyer. They take a more strategic approach to interaction and respond in a more measured way.
Popular school of thought might be class everyone as either an introvert or extrovert, but in truth we are probably all a mixture of both, falling someone along a personality spectrum. We may lean naturally towards one personality type, but the key to being a great sales person is having a combination of both extrovert and introvert traits – the social confidence of extroversion combined with the listening skills of introversion.
Social selling – the pathway to ambiversion
Social selling is levelling the playing field. It offers the opportunity for every sales person to become an ambivert by breaking down barriers, building sales aptitude, and unlocking the potential to be a star salesperson no matter what your natural personality type.
For the extrovert it offers a chance to do their homework without slowing down their pace or enthusiasm. Social listening, participation in groups and forums, gathering and tracking buyer sentiment, and identifying trigger events can all help to build a more strategic customer-focussed approach, whilst at the same time continuing to build personal reputation and influence.
The introvert can truly indulge their natural tendency to learn and prepare before jumping in. But at the same time they can connect, grow their network, strike up conversations, influence decision makers and build trust in proactive ways, all without stepping too far outside their comfort zone.
Whichever side of the personality spectrum you naturally find yourself, social selling enables you to become a star performer by offering limitless opportunities to succeed and stand out from the crowd.
For more on how to develop your sales skills, check out our guide to The 7 Habits of Social Sellers.