Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Ambivert Advantage

Have you ever been to a car dealership and had to deal with a very aggressive sales personality. Those types of sales people are extroverts. Or have you ever been to a party and seen the person (likely a farmer or engineer) who is quiet and contemplative, who stands to the side enjoying listening to the conversation but not initiating much, they are typically an introvert. The terms introvert and extrovert were first popularized by the psychologist Carl Jung.

So which personality type makes the most sales. A research program led by Adam Grant from the Wharton School of Business found that both personality types sold  approximately the same. Yes the introverts sold about as much as the extroverts. I would not have expected that result. We all know by virtue of our culturally biased beliefs, that the extroverts sell more right? Well apparently, mostly not, based on the latest business research.

Here is the real break through insight in Adam Grant's research, the ambiverts, people who fall somewhere between extrovert and introvert tend to be the best sales people by a very significant margin of 30%. Extroverts have a cost to their approach, and often exhibit "too much of a good thing". The "ambivert advantage" comes from being assertive and enthusiastic enough to persuade the prospective buyer and close, but also listen carefully to customers and avoiding the appearance of being overly confident or excited.

So those of us that are in the middle can be very good persuaders and selling is a part of life. If you are married you have been a great sales person. You work daily to persuade your children. Many of us persuade at work for new initiatives and the value of our contributions. For sure, we are engaged in persuasion at the farmers market.

In the past when a farmer lived in small communities with people who they grew up with they did not need a strong emphasis on persuasion. Everyone knew each other, what they could do and who they were. This is not true today. The farmer who wants to market to his neighbors in the city must persuade or sell the value of his or her products. Selling is a skill that farmers can cultivate and be really good at. The latest business research says this is true, we just have step into the light and learn some new skills.

Winter time on the farm is a time to plan, to think and to learn. The sales potential of the ambivert farmer is something to think about and plan to implement in your next selling season. If farming is not your occupation you can also apply this in your career.

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