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Psychol Sci. 2013 Jun;24(6):1024-30. doi: 10.1177/0956797612463706. Epub 2013 Apr 8.

Rethinking the extraverted sales ideal: the ambivert advantage.

Author information

1
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370, USA. grantad@wharton.upenn.edu

Abstract

Despite the widespread assumption that extraverts are the most productive salespeople, research has shown weak and conflicting relationships between extraversion and sales performance. In light of these puzzling results, I propose that the relationship between extraversion and sales performance is not linear but curvilinear: Ambiverts achieve greater sales productivity than extraverts or introverts do. Because they naturally engage in a flexible pattern of talking and listening, 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. A study of 340 outbound-call-center representatives supported the predicted inverted-U-shaped relationship between extraversion and sales revenue. This 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.

KEYWORDS:

personality; personnel selection; social influences

PMID:
23567176
DOI:
10.1177/0956797612463706
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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