You hear people refer to extraversion everywhere. Simply put, extraversion is a personality spectrum where extroverts are said to enjoy social interaction and introverts prefer solitude. The concept is straight to the point. With that said, common sense pretty much implies that extroverts will be better at a social activity like selling. A recent 2013 study, however, shows a new contender might give extroverts a run for their money.
Extroverts, Introverts and Ambiverts
Ever since extraversion was popularized by Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology, it was generally assumed that the spectrum consisted of mainly extroverts and introverts. The majority of people do not know there is a third personality type that sits right in between the two; ambiverts. Like extroverts, ambiverts are comfortable with people, but similar to introverts, ambiverts also relish being alone. This hybrid of characteristics may have given ambiverts an edge in a study by The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
“A study of 340 outbound-call-center representatives supported the predicted inverted-U-shaped relationship between extraversion and sales revenue.” The results of the study showed ambiverts performed 24 percent better than introverts and faired even better against extroverts at 32 percent. Whats even more surprising is introverts performed relatively better than extroverts.
Personality Preference of the Future
The results of this study imply that extroverts are not any better at selling than introverts. According to the author of the study Adam Grant, “…ambiverts are likely to express sufficient assertiveness and enthusiasm to persuade and close a sale but are more inclined to listen to customers’ interests and less vulnerable to appearing too excited or overconfident.” Being at either extreme side of the extraversion spectrum puts the person at a disadvantageous position when it comes to interacting with costumers. Ambiverts seem to have the capability of discarding all the disadvantages of being an extrovert and disadvantages being an introvert while retaining the advantages putting them at a more calibrated personality temperament.
Adam Grant added, “…research presents a fresh perspective on the personality traits that facilitate successful influence and offers novel insights for people in choosing jobs and for organizations in hiring and training employees.” Currently, many companies are targeting sales jobs toward extroverts. If you went job hunting recently, some companies require you to take a personality test. These tests are designed to select personality types optimal for the job. The future implications of this study suggest that companies may start targeting individuals more towards the middle of the spectrum rather than the extroverted side.
Despite significant results, there needs to be more research in this field before broad conclusions are drawn. Since the participants used a phone to interact with potential costumers, the perceived experience of being in a social situation may have been lessened. Talking on the phone and interacting face-to-face are two very different things. It may be possible that ambiverts with a slight tendency toward extroversion are better at face-to-face interaction while ambiverts with a slight tendency toward introversion are better at phone interactions.
Being an ambivert is not about some kind of eugenic-mindset where other personality types are considered substandard. I think its more about personal growth and improvement. Extroverts could be happier and more successful if they learned a few things from critical thinkers and the same could be said for introverts who might be able to learn a few things from party animals. Its always good to have balance in your life and I believe that is the concept ambivertion seems to allude to. So, are you an introvert, an extrovert, or an ambivert?
1. Grant, A. M. (2013). Rethinking the Extraverted Sales Ideal The Ambivert Advantage. Psychological science, 24(6), 1024-1030.