Why Extroverts Make Poor Sales People

Traditional sales wisdom claims that the best sales people are extroverts. They are outgoing, social individuals who are believed to be so naturally gifted that they can “sell ice to Eskimos.” What’s more, often when hiring sales people, managers will use personality tests to identify those who are extroverts. Potential candidates are posed questions like, “When at a party are you more likely to be the center of attention or remain in the background?” Every sales person who has ever been asked such a question knows that the desired answer is the one that demonstrates that he or she is the life of the party. There is just one problem with the longstanding belief that top sales people are extroverts. It has been proven wrong by modern science.

The Extrovert Myth

There is an abundance of scientific research that has shattered the myth that elite sales people are extroverts. One such example was a meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Selection and Assessment that examined the findings of 35 different research studies. The conclusion of this comprehensive study was that there is no causal relationship between extroversion and heightened levels of sales performance.

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