There has been a lot of interest lately around the two personality types of introversion and extroversion. If you are introspective, prefer a book to a party and only like being around people in small doses, you probably classify yourself as an introvert. Conversely, if you are outgoing and love interacting with people you probably identify as an extrovert.
Each type has its pros and cons – even in the workplace. Extroverts are great at networking while introverts tend to sit back quietly until they have a thoughtful idea to share.
Stuck in the middle
No one is an absolute or pure introvert or extrovert. The categories exist on a spectrum and whichever one you tend more towards is your personality type. However, some people sit right in the middle of that spectrum and have both introverted and extroverted qualities in a balanced amount. These people are called ambiverts, and research suggests that they make excellent salespeople.
Ambiverts can live in both worlds comfortable: alone or in crowds. Besides being a flexible person with regards to social situations, there is evidence to suggest they are ideally suited to certain kinds of jobs.
A social psychologist and management professor at the Wharton School of Business, by the name of Adam Grant, studied a group of call centre operatives. First of all he gave them personality tests and measured where they fell on the introversion-extraversion spectrum. Then he had a look at their success rates. What he found was that introverts averaged $120 of revenue per hour, while extroverts averaged only slightly more at $125 per hour. Common sense tells us that extroverts would indeed do better than introverts at a sales job, because after all the role relies on one’s ability to interact with other people. However, the success rate between the two personality types wasn’t very significant.
Grant discovered an interesting statistic though. Ambiverts, existing in the middle spectrum, brought in on average $155 per hour in revenue. That difference in value certainly is quite significant, especially when you also take into consideration that the outliers who brought in a whopping $208 per hour scored a solid 4 on the 1-7 introversion-extraversion scale.
What could account for the ambiverts’ success as salespeople? According to Grant:
“They know when to speak and when to shut up. Their wider repertoires allow them to achieve harmony with a broader range of people and a more varied set of circumstances. Ambiverts are the best movers because they’re the most skilled attuners.”
There you have it. If you are looking to fill call jobs in sales or wondering who would benefit most from call centre courses, the “not too cold, not too hot” ambivert is one to look out for.