We all have an image in our heads of a typical salesperson. Generally, they will be an extraverted person – the kind of person who will strike up a conversation with anyone and make a fantastic first impression.
But sometimes, that can be a bit a turn-off to people. Starting a conversation with an aggressive sales pitch can mean you aren’t building much of a relationship with people. So what skills do introverts have that make them great salespeople too?
Introversion isn’t about being shy or lacking confidence. An introvert is someone who gets more enjoyment and energy from solitary activities, rather than social activities. Where an extravert tends to be impulsive and act first, think later, an introvert prefers to think things through first and make decisions after observing the situation and listening to what’s going on before they speak or act.
So how does that relate to sales?
While extraverts are very good at getting on the phones and securing new business, introverts find those initial conversations more difficult. But their natural tendency to hold back makes them better at listening to customers’ needs and acting accordingly.
Introverts tend to be more measured in their approach and make lasting impressions on a customer. Extraverts on the other hand are more like to just wing it; they might make a brilliant first impression, but building long term relationships with customers doesn’t come as naturally to them.
Relationship building is a hugely important part of sales – most businesses rely on repeat business and long-standing customers, not just new customers. There are only a finite number of new customers out there, after all!
Just because a certain personality type fits people’s stereotypes of who would be good for a role, it doesn’t mean that others won’t be suitable, or even make stronger candidates! This doesn’t just apply to sales either – think about the stereotypes in other job roles too.
Recruiting a successful sales team means bringing in different types of people that can work in different ways. Your clients or customers aren’t all the same, so the same should apply to your salespeople too.
Sales training and entry level sales jobs are typically geared towards extraverts – cold-calling telemarketing roles and boisterous group activities often put introverts off starting a career in sales, despite potential aptitude for it.
In truth, there’s no one type of person who excels in any given role. So whether you’re recruiting yourself, or thinking about applying for a new job, don’t let your own prejudices about the sort of person you expect to apply affect your decision. You might be missing out!