Yes, it goes against everything you thought a good hire should be, but extremely outgoing sales and marketing reps are not the most productive.
They don’t exactly jibe best with customers, according to recent research.
A new study published in the journal Psychological Science, found that contrary to popular belief, extroverts do not make the best salespeople.
But on the flip side, neither do introverts.
Instead, the study concluded that a third personality type reigns supreme: the ambivert — a person hovering between extreme extroversion and introversion.
The study looked at three months worth of sales records for more than 300 salespeople. It also conducted a personality test of each person involved in the study.
The results: Ambiverts sold 32% more than extroverts and 24% more than introverts.
The study also found that extroverts didn’t even outsell introverts, whom companies typically assume aren’t cut out for sales at all.
The best of both worlds
The reasoning for these conclusions is pretty straight forward:
- Extroverts have a tendency to come on a little strong and their enthusiasm tends to drown out the customer
- Introverts, on the other hand, listen well but don’t possess the confidence needed to ask for the sale, and
- Ambiverts, as you can imagine, combine the best of both worlds.
Adam Grant, of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, who conducted the study, called this “the ambivert advantage.”
“The ambivert advantage stems from the tendency to be assertive and enthusiastic enough to persuade and close, but at the same time, listening carefully to customers and avoiding the appearance of being overly confident or excited,” Grant said.
Where to find them
Employers take heart, the study doesn’t advocate that you change your hiring practices to seek out ambiverts. Reason: You’ve probably already got plenty of them on staff.
Despite companies’ concerted efforts to find extroverts, they’ve likely hired mostly ambiverts — as the personality surveys showed that most people fall in the ambivert range.
However, if you feel you have someone on staff who’s extremely extroverted or introverted, this study shows it may not be bad idea to pair them up with a different personality type. Maybe they’ll pick up a thing or two that could help improve their performance.