For years we have assumed that extroverts were better salespeople. Extroverts rule the room. They have no problems meeting new people. They are naturally gifted people in social situations. But what does the science teach us?
There have been many studies over the past ten years that evaluated this myth… 35 studies to be exact. The verdict? What they found may surprise you.
Let’s take a recent study done by professor Adam Grant at the Wharton School of Management. His team examined the effect of both introversion and extroversion on the effectiveness of a salesperson. They followed the results of 340 salespeople over a 3-month period.
They found that extroverts do in fact sell more. Extroverts averaged $125 per hour in sales. Introverts only averaged $120 per hour in sales. So extroverts are better salespeople… but not by much.
Oh, wait. I forgot to talk about one more category they evaluated. The group that could not be identified as either extroverts or introverts… because they demonstrated both behaviors… They sold almost twice as much, $208 per hour!
They also found that the more extroverted you were… the less you sold. Why do you think this is the case? It’s because of what your mother told you a long time ago. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. You should spend twice as much time listening, as talking. Extroverts do the opposite. They LOVE to hear their own voices.
That said, anyone can get better at sales by simply learning to listen more. One great exercise I have all my coaching clients complete each day is what I call the 15-minute drill. They take a conversation that they have recently had and evaluate 15 minutes of the conversation. Here are some of the things they look for…
- How much time they spent talking vs. the time the client spent talking. Here’s the simple formula: Minutes Client is talking ÷ 15 minutes = % time client spent talking. If it is below 35%, meaning you are talking 65% of the time and the client just 35%… You are demonstrating extroverted characteristics. The lower the percentage time the client spends speaking… the lower your closing ratio will be. The first time you do this… you are likely to be a little sheepish when you see the number.
- Another exercise you can do with the 15-minute taped conversation is to count how many questions you ask in those 15 minutes. If you ask less than 15 questions… you are again displaying extroverted tendencies. Something I like to call Telling-Selling-Preaching and Teaching.
- Count how many times you speak over the top of a client… if this number is greater than ONE… you have a problem. NEVER speak over the top of a client. Extroverts are experts at speaking over the top of people.
There are other things to look for in these 15-minute clips of conversations, but just looking for these three things will give you a pretty good indication as to whether you are leaning too far towards extroverted tendencies.
If you find these three things to be out of whack in your conversations, the fix is SIMPLE… but HARD. Simply focus on hearing what the other person has to say more than what you want to say. Go into conversations with the mindset, “I really want to understand this person and what they have to say.”
Doing this will make you remarkably likable. It will make you an excellent conversationalist. It will make you unbelievably successful.