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Some of the Best Salespeople Are Introverts

May 18, 2011

Lincoln, Socrates and Ghandi Were Introverts

I recently read an article published by Harvard Business School Introverts:  The Best Leaders for Proactive Employees. Some key points made were that introverted leaders are more likely to listen to and process ideas than extroverted leaders.  In a work situation, introverts are more likely to empower their employees.  Some of the great leaders were introverts like Abraham Lincoln, Socrates, and Mahatma Gandhi. Does this reasoning also apply to sales?

Introverts Ask Purposeful Questions and Listen Intently

In the classical sense of being a salesperson, introverts are shunned.  Yet it has been my experience that some of the best salespeople I know are naturally introverted.  Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be a social butterfly, or a super networker in B2B sales to do a great job selling. The best cold calling salesperson I know out of New York is an introvert.  He does not mind hearing “NO”, but he firmly believes in the service he is offering.  He is not as concerned about being liked, and he is extremely disciplined in making the calls and asking the right questions, he gets in a lot of doors.

One of the key attributes in being a great salesperson is in asking purposeful questions, and listening intently.  By nature most introverts are listeners in a conversation rather than the ones dominating it.  This is not a learned behavior for them like the classical extroverted salesperson, it comes naturally.

Introverts Excel In Long Term Relationships

Even in building relationships over the long term, introverts excel.  If your product or service relies upon a strong continuing customer service, and with defined territories, an introvert is more likely to be a better candidate.

So the next time, you are hiring a salesperson think very carefully what you truly need.  Is the company better off with the classical super friendly extrovert, or the disciplined, questioning, relationship builder introvert?

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