Introverts aren't as expressive as extroverts

Who is better: introverted vs. extroverted salespeople

We are all looking for the best employees on a daily basis and therefore also looking for the best sales staff - for B2B acquisition, for the office or for the field service, for "hunters" and "farmers". The question that often arises here is: who are the better salespeople, who is the better sales representative? Introvert or extrovert? The right cast leads to success, but which type of character is the right cast for B2B sales? We looked a little deeper into the merits of both characters "extroverted and introverted".

We at PHOCUS DC carry out a year-round continuous recruiting process for the selection of new sales employees, because we

  1. want to attract the best employees for our customer projects and
  2. Due to the very heterogeneous B2B sales projects, we are downright dependent on providing the most diverse sales characters within our sales team.

After all, it makes a huge difference whether we work in the scheduling for a provider of engineering services - in the context of which we are in sales dialog with development managers or whether we use the online shop manager / e- in telesales for cloud software on the subject of "customer ratings". Addressing those responsible for commerce.

If the actors are not cast correctly, the film is a flop

In a similar way you can compare the recruiting process and it is a “high stakes game”. The costs for a wrong appointment in sales are at least between 25,000 - 50,000 EUR, not really quantifiable damage such as loss of reputation with (potential) customers, unrealized sales and the effects on morale in the sales team are not yet taken into account.

The popular belief is that extroverts who are associated with attributes like sociable and sociable make better salespeople. Introverts are often assumed to be clumsy and shy.

We do not share this opinion, at least not in general.

Did you know, for example, that Gwyneth Paltrow, Bill Gates, Clint Eastwood or Harrison Ford are introverted people? You see, introverts are in good company.
Although introverts make up about a quarter of the population, they often seem to be drowned in a sea of ​​extroverts. The remaining 75 percent are too dominant, extroverts appear too self-confident in all situations, too quickly they take the floor and simply "take over" everything.
It is often the introverts who analyze a problem more clearly or really think a strategy through to the end.

First, very few people are 100% introverted or 100% extroverted. I am happy to refer to it here Marti Olsen Laney, a psychologist who makes it very clear that "the extroverts" and "the introverts" represent the two extremes. Most people hover somewhere between the two extremes and display both introverted and extroverted tendencies. And depending on which tendency is more pronounced, there is a tendency to be introverted or extroverted.

Second, let's clear up a misconception: not all extroverts are brightly colored butterflies that fly from flower to flower, and not all introverts are generally shy and isolated. In my opinion, the distinction is not necessarily just a question of personality or character, it is more important to consider where the two characters get their motivation and energy from. Some "strengthen" themselves through the be alone, the others draw strength from the social environment.

Third, research has shown that extroverts are not necessarily better salespeople. An evaluation of 35 studies with more than 4,000 salespeople shows that there is almost no correlation between extroversion and sales success, the correlation factor is a statistically almost negligible value of 0.07. And I'm sure that each of us knows this kind of salesperson that nobody needs: namely, those who don't listen and drive over you like a steamroller without paying attention to the needs of the customer - they're actually just the extroverts.

Let's take a closer look at the merits of both characters ...

What Makes a Successful Extroverted Salesperson?

  1. Extroverted salespeople network quickly
    There is no position in sales in which a sales representative does not come into contact with customers. Calls, meetings, webcasts and presentations are an integral part of sales. And since the extroverts draw their energy and motivation precisely from this social interaction, the "extroverts" find it easier to exchange ideas and network with prospects and customers.
  2. Extroverts are expressive and enthusiastic
    The "Extros" get their energy from their social environment and also use this energy for their environment. They speak louder, skillfully use the modulation of their voice, appear solid and convincing, gesticulate more and can thus perfectly convey enthusiasm for a product or service.
  3. Extroverts are good at small talk
    Whether you like small talk or not - it's a part of it. And small talk is easier for the extros to get over their lips. Seller and customer do not have to become best friends, but the ability to exchange ideas with a prospective customer or customer beyond professional aspects is advantageous and very useful - because it reaches the emotional level. Small talk often finds intros boring, exhausting and frightening. But small talk is simply part of every call, every meeting - or have you ever seen "the topic" being addressed immediately after the greeting?

What Makes a Successful Introverted Salesperson?

  1. Introverted salespeople are inherently astute!
    I want to get on the book here "The Introvert Advantage" of Olsen Laney To refer to. A study has shown that a neural stimulus or impulse travels significantly longer distances in the brain in an intro than in an extro. This means that more mental and intellectual connections are made as a result. And since critical thinking and questioning are of decisive importance in sales, this aspect represents a very great advantage. The ability to anticipate objections or to anticipate them and to respond attentively to the customer's questions is particularly decisive in consulting-intensive B2B sales .
  2. Introverts better listen!As part of the needs analysis in sales, active listening is the most important thing for me personally, only then will I be able to recognize the needs of the customer and work out an appropriate solution for the customer. And it is also essential for customers that they feel that they are being listened to, that there is real interest. Intros do not feel the need to play the dominant role in a phone call or in a meeting. Some extros in sales like to hear themselves talk and forget about their customers.

With a few exceptions, none of the above behavioral patterns can only be ascribed to an intro or just an extro, they occur to a greater or lesser extent in all people - depending on the tendency of the direction.

The exceptions are, on the one hand, the salespeople, who we perceive as “steamrollers” and prefer to hear themselves talking, or the terribly dry salespeople, who we also find unpleasant or brittle, as they cannot convey any enthusiasm and inspiration at all.

So are the ambivalent salespeople the best salespeople?

A study by Prof. Adam Grant / Wharton School of Business showed that the ambivalent salespeople, i.e. those who lie in the middle between extro and intro, are the most successful salespeople - and this is no surprise. Sales are so diverse, every call and every meeting is different, a sales specialist has to adjust to every new dialogue. This will only be successful if you are able to adapt to the respective situation like a chameleon. This in turn only works if salespeople are able to show both forms - dominant, inspiring and leading, but also cautious, analytical and advisory.

As part of the study did Prof. Grant applied a personality analysis in which salespeople were rated on a scale from 1 (absolutely introverted) to 7 (absolutely extroverted). A three-month study has shown that the intros (grading 1 and 2) and the extros (levels 6 and 7) achieved almost identical sales. The ambivalent salespeople with the rating 4 achieved up to 80% more sales.

What can we derive from this and take away from it? When hiring sales staff, we should pay great attention to the fact that we can optimally identify the ambiverted salespeople and win them over to us. Because only these can best meet today's diverse requirements and the heterogeneity of our contacts on the customer side, and only then is maximum sales success possible.

Take the test: are you more of an extro or an intro?

Happy selling
Philipp Moder

Would you like to know how you can achieve noticeable company growth in sales? Then our e-book "Growth through effective C-customer care"Just the thing for you. The e-book is available to you as a PDF and of course free of charge.



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