The Secret to Great Sales is Out

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Friendly? Reserved? Introvert? Extrovert? What is the best approach when you’re in sales? Should you ramp up the energy, give an almost crushing handshake, look them in the eyes and give the customer a full view of all 32 teeth? Or, should you hang back in the shadows and let the customer seek you out? It can be confusing with so much conflicting information on how to be a great salesperson.


What is the secret to being a great salesperson? Well, a Forbes article, “The Unexpected Secret to Being a Great Salesperson,” has a secret that might surprise you. It’s not one or the other, but a combination of both. It’s the ability to shift between personalities to match that of your customer. And it has a new name. The secret to being a great sales person is the ability to be an Ambivert—a person who can change colors like a chameleon between being an introvert and extrovert.


A study in Psychological Science proved the myth wrong that extroverts are the best salespeople. So much for the outgoing, friendly, slap-em-on-the-back personality that never met a stranger. Sales, like management, isn’t about you, it’s about the employee, team or customer. The wrong approach or personality can put off a customer and have them heading for the door, clicking off the phone or deleting your latest marketing blast.


Ambivert may be a new name, but it really boils down to being versatile. After all, not everyone who walks into a showroom, retail store or hotel has the same personality. Sales are all about building rapport and relationships. People feel comfortable with those who mirror their own styles and personalities. The sales person who can adapt his style and approach quickly in response to a customer has a better chance of making a sale.


Set in your ways and feel you’re too old or disinterested to change? The article offers some tips on how to improve your versatility. 


  1. Observe. Put aside your objectives and standard approach and observe the customer. What kind of cues are you getting about their personality? Does he grab your hand, look you in the eye and engage you in conversation as soon as you enter the room? Or do you have to take the initiative to introduce yourself? 
  2. Make the effort to adjust your style to the customer. If you’re laid back and they’re not, try being more approachable, conversational and make great eye contact. If you’re ready to leap across a table to shake hands, you may need to tone it down rather than scare your more reticent customer.
  3. Be yourself, just a little repackaged. You don’t have to divorce yourself from your real self. Flexibility and the ability to mimic your customer’s personality actually remove barriers so the customer can feel more comfortable and receptive to what you have to offer. 


A great product, message or management style won’t have much effect if people are put off by your approach or delivery. Improving your versatility will make it easier for customers to hear your message without turning off. The secret is out, and becoming an ambivert is the name of the game.


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