Extroverts are Overrated in Sales

Gift of GabThe “Gift of Gab” does not hold the virtue it once did in sales. Old school sales philosophies told us to bring out the extrovert from within and have lots to say. Nowadays, everything has changed. Prospects no longer want to be talked at by some smooth and slick sales stud. In fact, prospects have grown tremendously weary of this once-hailed approach. In the current market, prospects simply want to be understood and listened to, so the salesperson’s job becomes asking effective questions to determine whether there is a fit between prospect and solution.

Here are three reasons that extroverts are overrated in sales nowadays:

1. The best salespeople are listeners: Extroverts have spent so much time in their lives talking that they often never learned how to effectively listen. Introverts, on the other hand, are born listeners. They can pay close attention to exactly what the prospect is and is not saying.

Whether you are a natural introvert or extrovert, it’s time to start paying much more attention to your prospect. If you are doing any more than 20% of the talking during your selling interactions, you are talking too much.

2. You must be able to observe prospects: Prospects are constantly dropping very subtle hints as to what they need, want or struggle with. However, if you are spending all of your time thinking about what you are going to say next, you are going to miss these cues. The introvert knows how to listen and watch for what the prospect really desires. Even if you are naturally more of an extrovert, it is time to change your mindset to focus on what the prospect is conveying through actions and words.

3. Break the need for approval: Extroverts generally seek to be the life of the party. On a deep level, this is driven by a desire to be well-liked. In social situations, this can translate into popularity. However, in selling situations, this desire for approval can translate into a fear of rejection. When you are afraid to hear the word “no,” you are selling from a place of weakness. Indecision is always worse than a “no,” so let go of the need for your prospect’s approval and instead strive to solidify decisions.

As you can see, extroverts are not the born salespeople that we once thought they were. Introverts naturally possess many characteristics that breed selling success. Whether you are an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between, follow these three steps to achieve sales mastery.

Do you consider yourself an extrovert or introvert? How does that affect your selling? Please share below in the comments.

Get 25 tips to crush your sales goal. Written by Marc Wayshak, sales strategist & author of the book, "Game Plan Selling."


  1. Don Leon says

    It has been stated and written by Daniel Pink (“To Sell is Human”) that the best sales people have qualities of both introverts and an extroverts. They are classified as “ambiverts.” Being an exceptional sales professional myself (and recruiting sales executives for the last 14 years), as well as sharing this test (within the book) with other exceptional sales people I know, it is true that AMBIVERTS rule. A true introvert may have strong listening skills (your example), but there are qualities of a full-blown introvert that would make them unsuccessful sales.

    Reading Daniel Pink’s book, may give you new thoughts regarding your theories.

    • says

      Hi Don,
      Thanks for the feedback. I have read Pink’s book. My take is that going with “ambiverts” is a bit of a cop out. It’s just riding the fence. Of course if you are an extreme introvert, you will have serious issues selling, but overall, introverts are better equipped to sell based on asking effective questions.

  2. Rob says

    I would say that ambiverts are best at selling. I don’t really think it is a cop out. I think it is saying that salespeople who know how to adapt to the person they are selling to, whether an extravert or an introvert, make the best salespeople (which, as an extrovert kills me to say! Ha!) Also, I believe that introverts are better at selling not because they are better at asking effective questions, but because they do a better job of listening to the answers to the questions asked. They really know how to make a person feel like they are listened to and “gotten.” The person feels understood because they do a great job of listening.

    • says

      Well put. A lot of extroverts are great at asking the questions on the script, but may not be paying enough attention to the answers, or may not seem to the prospect that they are paying attention.

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