You heard me right, that is an indirect quote from this Inc.com article. This topic comes up often in our sales hiring activities as the conventional wisdom is that extroverts make better salespeople. Not true. Successful salespeople have a wide variety of abilities that go far beyond their communication style. And that is the point here, introvert/extrovert is more of a communication style than anything else. It is important to know a salesperson’s style, but it is not predictive of sales success.
Here is some excellent advice from the article (emphasis mine):
“When selling as an introvert, use your abilities as a good researcher to really know audience, know what matters to them, and figure out a product match before you go in. You’ll be meeting with people, so rest up before social interactions with those you are selling to or speaking in front of. Prepare and practice because as an introvert you will think before you speak – as opposed to extroverts who speak as they think. So having a few lines ready, or thoughts composed in advance will be beneficial. Rest, prepare and practice is the magic formula because of the way introverts are wired.”
Extroverts need to start talking to get to their point. Introverts have to think of their response before they speak. This point is never more obvious than when you are interviewing sales candidates. When I sit in on interviews with my customers, I always make sure to tell them if the candidate is more extroverted or introverted.
My experience is this – an introverted hiring manager will be unimpressed by an extroverted sales candidate in terms of communication. The hiring manager has a tendency to comment on the candidate’s rambling answers, long-windedness and tangential topics. At this point I explain that the candidate is extroverted and needs to start talking to get to his or her response. If they are strongly extroverted, they will have to rev up their answer a bit before delivering the point. This isn’t necessarily a weakness, it is simply a style issue.
I have seen a recent rise of the introvert in one key sales area – relationship selling. The reason is this:
Introverts do well with deep relationships and conversations rather than chit-chat.
If you have a relatively long or extended sales cycle, an introverted selling style is probably a more natural fit for your sale’s requirements. As sales move away from one-call closes and on to relationship-based deals, introverts will play a prominent part in a sales team’s success.