In today’s fast-changing world, leaders rightly want to empower employees to take initiative, but that means they then have to act more introverted by asking more questions, listening more, and being more accepting of others’ views. Otherwise, it can lead to a struggle for dominance with followers ultimately becoming disenchanted that their leaders were not listening to them and following their advice. This may be especially important for sales managers. If you’ve risen from an extrovert pool to your current position, you may need to tone down your need to be the center of attention and to always be right.
Even in sales, a profession which seems to be tailor-made for extroverts, the picture is not so clear.
Extroverts have some definite advantages in sales. They are action-oriented, confident, and gregarious. They’re not afraid to make the calls and reach out to high level decision makers, and they have the energy and enthusiasm to entertain and develop strong relationships. They are great networkers.
And yet, especially in complex systems sales, success comes to those who research the customer’s company, who put together effective opportunity and account plans, who ask questions and listen. Introverts may not like to make cold calls, but they are more likely to create a calling plan and have the dogged discipline to follow it. As one highly successful salesperson says in the book: “I discovered early on that people don’t buy from me because they understand what I’m selling. They buy because they feel understood.”
Because both types have advantages, it stands to reason that the most effective salespeople should combine the best traits of each, or who can flex their style to match the needs of the situation.