Listen Up, People!

Think you know who makes the best fit for a sales role?  Think again.

Just read a fascinating article  in Forbes  magazine that shakes up the age old notion that extroverts make better sales people.  As a sales trainer, one of the biggest challenges I see is getting people to learn to listen.  Many extroverts, including myself, probably wouldn’t score high if we were tested for our listening skills.  Why?  We’re too busy being extroverted (think, talking, laughing, telling stories, talking, jumping up and down, bubbling over with enthusiasm and confidence, and more talking).

Just last week I had a VP of Sales ask me to help his team learn to ask better questions.  “How are they at listening?” I asked.   He responded by telling me that if they asked the right questions the rest would take care of itself.

Well, frankly, nothing takes care of itself when it comes to communicating with customers and prospects.  Most sales people are planning their response, WHILE the prospect is speaking. So much for those listening skills.

Here is why the research is interesting:  between an extrovert and an introvert is someone who has both speaking AND listening skills.  They are flexible in being able to switch back and forth, which is much  more in tune with a prospect’s rhythm.  This type of person is an ambivert.  Even more interesting is the fact that in the study, the ambiverts had higher sales than extroverts, and that extroverts and introverts actually are extremes, whereas most of us fall in the middle.  The good news is – we’re all capable of being effective in sales.

Check out the research here, and let us know what you think.  We promise to shut up and let you talk!

Lisa Dennis

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