6 years ago
June 1, 2018

Do Good Salespeople Have to Be Outgoing and Have a Big Personality?

What makes good salespeople? It’s a question that many sales organizations have pondered for decades. Which types of people are best suited for selling? Which types of people should sales…

Rhys Metler

What makes good salespeople? It’s a question that many sales organizations have pondered for decades. Which types of people are best suited for selling? Which types of people should sales companies be looking for when hiring people to fill out their sales team?

If you ask most to describe a typical salesperson, they would likely say the person needs to be outgoing, have a strong personality, be persuasive, and be an excellent communicator. They need to be extroverts. Introverts are not cut out for sales.

However, recent research suggests the most successful salespeople don’t need to have big personalities or be extremely outgoing. They have moderate temperaments and have personalities that are somewhere in the middle between introverts and extroverts.

“Store managers and psychologists have long believed that outgoing individuals make the best salespeople. Yet research now suggests that extroverts are actually less successful at making sales than people with more moderate social temperaments,” says Melinda Wenner from Scientific American.

The Best Salespeople are Ambiverts

A term coined by Adam Grant, associate professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, ambiverts are people who have personality traits that place them in the middle of the spectrum between extreme extroversion and extreme introversion.

Grant’s research found that:

  1. Ambiverts earned 24% more in sales than introverts
  2. Ambiverts earned 32% more in sales than extroverts

The study suggests that ambiverts tend to find the right balance between talking and listening, two very important parts of the sales process. They are not too pushy, but they take action when it’s warranted.

Therefore, you don’t need to be really outgoing and have a big personality in sales to be successful. It could actually be detrimental. Rather, having a strong mix of skills is the most important.

The Takeaway for Sales Recruiters & Organizations

The big takeaway for sales companies is that hiring outgoing people with big personalities is not always the best approach. Rather, recruit candidates who have a combination of introvert and extrovert traits. These are the reps who should help create the best sales results for your sales team.

More Salespeople Tips and Advice from Our Sales Recruiters

Learn more about the skills and traits of good salespeople by reading these blog posts by our expert sales recruiters:

4 Challenges for Sales Reps and How to Overcome Them

5 Different Kinds of Sales Approaches Every Sales Rep Should Know

5 Skills Sales People Will Need by 2020


SalesForce Search is a sales recruiting company which specializes in the recruitment and placement of sales professionals. We recruit salespeople in every sector of the economy including, software, manufacturing, financial services and medical devices. Find the right salesperson for your organization, start your search here.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.