Ever feel like you’re neither a introvert or extrovert?
Perhaps you’re the lesser known personality type ‘ambivert,’ one whose personality is an intermediate between extrovert and introvert.
In his 2013 research paper Rethinking the Extraverted Sales Ideal: The Ambivert Advantage, The Wharton School’s Adam M. Grant studied the correlation between extroversion and sales aptitude. It’s been long assumed that extroverts have characteristics that make them successful salespeople. Grant found that this is, in fact, out of line.
It’s actually Ambiverts who’re quite influential.
“Ambiverts achieve greater sales productivity than extroverts or introverts do,” he wrote. “Because they naturally engage in a flexible pattern of talking and listening, ambiverts are likely to express sufficient assertiveness and enthusiasm to persuade and close a sale but are more inclined to listen to customers’ interests and less vulnerable to appearing too excited or overconfident.”
So, what are the Ambivert traits that translate into sales success?
Ambiverts are flexible
Ambiverts are outspoken, socially adept individuals, but at the same time self-contained like a hermit. They act like extroverts in social situations and introverts when alone. They know when to be outgoing and when to be reflective. As a result, they are sensible, reasonable and well-balanced.
Ambiverts are intuitive
Sales intuition is, by far, the most powerful tool. Ambiverts are known to act on intuition. They “know when to speak up and when to shut up, when to inspect and when to respond, when to push and when to hold back.”
Ambiverts genuinely listen
Ambiverts outsell extroverts. Contrary to popular belief, extroverts can actually damage sales performance. They talk too much and listen very little. As a result, they lose sales from disinterested buyers. A McKinsey study of European and American customers noted that “the most destructive behavior of salespeople was an excess of assertiveness and zeal that led to contacting customers too frequently.”Often, extroverts are taught to adapt the traits of an introvert – talk less, ask more questions and listen harder. This is why ambiverts outsell extroverts.
Ambiverts know how to hold an intellectual conversation and talk effortlessly. They know when to stop and listen. They’ll pay attention to others’ views and be receiving about it.
The good news is, ambiverts make up 68% of the world population, says Barry Smith, professor emeritus and director of the Laboratories of Human Psychophysiology at the University of Maryland. “This whole distribution of introversion/extroversion is strongly influenced by genetics, ambiverts inherit a tendency to be ambiverts,” he adds. Their tendency to be assertive and enthusiastic, but at the same time listening carefully, works in their favor. In fact, sales leaders believe ambiverts are the people well-suited for selling.