The Introvert Advantage in Sales

3 Advantages of Being an Introvert in Sales

While researchers have difficulty determining the exact numbers, it is estimated that somewhere between 16% and 50% of all people are introverts. Contrary to many stereotypes, being introverted does not mean the same thing as being shy. It actually has to do with the wiring of the brain. But in such an outgoing profession as sales, is there a place for introverts?


At first glance, it is understandable how people would assume extroverts have a leg up in sales. They have little trouble talking to strangers and aren't afraid to approach others. They seem to have the gift of gab and can avoid those awkward lulls in a conversation.

While those can be fantastic qualities that help a person professionally, here are three areas in which introverts have the distinct advantage over extroverts:


One of the top qualities of a sales professional is having the ability to ask the right questions. Asking questions is how we determine the true needs of a client. This is the part where we find out if there are any pain points in the client's current situation or with one of their vendors. A downside to being an extrovert who enjoys talking is that sometimes you forget to ask the questions that will ultimately lead you down the path to a sale. An extrovert may actually talk themselves out of getting a sale through not truly understanding a client's needs and wants while an introvert can have the natural bent to ask questions, truly wanting to get to know more about that client.


Asking a question and not listening to the answer is an exercise in futility. Listening may be the number one quality of a good salesperson. As a sales professional, your goal is to paint a picture for your client of what will happen when they purchase your product or service. But how can you know what picture to paint if you aren't listening to them describe what is important to them? An obviously absurd example of this would be a customer shopping for a hybrid car and being shown an SUV by their salesperson. While that is an extreme example, how many times do clients give brief glimpses into their thought process that are missed?

Sometimes the salesperson is too busy thinking of the next thing he is going to say to actually hear the customer speak. Other times, he just can't handle the brief silence while the client is trying to come up with the answer so he keeps on going, essentially trying to answer the question for the client. Either way, an introvert can have the advantage if he truly listens and then moves to a question based off the answer he just heard.


We've all heard the adage that customers buy from people they like. This is also the key for repeat and referral business. So how much does developing a relationship with your customer determine your future success? If you've taken the time to get to know your customer, preferably at a deeper and human level, that customer is likely to feel a connection with you. Why would they go somewhere else when you already know them -- their business, family, likes and dislikes? If you've taken the time to get to know them and they feel that connection to you, they are far more likely to bring you more repeat business in the long run.


There tends to be a cartoon-like caricature in the media of what a salesperson looks like. It's the overbearing closer who gets in the customer's face and can somehow get them to buy what they're selling in spite of how obnoxious they might be. But as any true sales professional knows, that is far from reality. It's time for introverts to stop buying into this caricature and realize that they actually hold a distinct advantage in the sales game for creating a long-term relationship with clients who actually enjoy doing business with them and appreciate what they have to offer.
Matthew Robison
Matthew Robison> all articles
Matthew Robison has worked in a variety of sales and management positions. He enjoys teaching others about the benefits of developing a relationship with customers to help build a long-term relationship.
  • /data/userPictures/2DA3CBAC-7737-45A3-9713-D2756BDDD565.jpgCassandra Light1/6/2017 2:13:27 PM
    Thanks for posting. Great point of view.

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPicture.jpgDavid Pearce, Mr.1/17/2017 2:29:36 PM
    Hi Matthew, I was doing some research for a new article about introverts I am now writing and came across yours. Thank you I like it very much. FYI here is a previous article I wrote "Why some of the very best sales people are introverts"
    I think you will find it interesting. More and more I hope the worn out old assumptions about what it takes to be successful in sales seem to be falling by the wayside.

  • /data/userPictures/1DEE5E59-18C4-49B6-B573-617DDFD8302B.jpgMatthew Robison1/17/2017 3:04:08 PM
    Thank you both for your kind comments.

    David, excellent article yourself!

  • /data/userPictures/0038828B-F334-4093-B786-760CBC9F256E.jpgEmily Wertheim1/18/2017 9:43:19 PM
    I feel validated after reading this article as I was intimidated to even start the CPSP process. This intimidation was based off of previous experience with extroverted salespeople. However, I am now learning that my training in counseling/therapeutic services may actually be extremely beneficial in the sales profession. I have been trained at the Master level in the techniques of active listening, asking questions, reflecting tone and body language, building rapport, etc. and I am thrilled to hear there is a connection between these two professions. This may ease my career transition. Thank you!

  • /data/userPictures/1DEE5E59-18C4-49B6-B573-617DDFD8302B.jpgMatthew Robison1/19/2017 9:23:29 AM
    Thank you Emily. I have no doubt that you will crush it!

    Never underestimate the power of being genuine. People would rather buy from someone who is genuine than that caricature extrovert salesperson. Plus, you'll have trust on your side which helps lead to repeat business.

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureMale.jpgKorey Aukerman1/27/2017 5:55:34 PM
    I love this! I am a big extrovert and actually see myself not listening to others as much as I should. I need to stop and listen to others because it couldn't help me personally and professionally.

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPicture.jpgCole Zoldi1/27/2017 7:52:48 PM
    Cool seeing how you can succeed in sales even if you aren't someone who is naturally talkative/outgoing. Good points!

  • /data/userPictures/1DEE5E59-18C4-49B6-B573-617DDFD8302B.jpgMatthew Robison1/31/2017 12:35:52 PM
    Great recognition Korey!

    Cole - there's hope for us introverts for sure!

  • /data/userPictures/8348204F-7330-4A26-8AA5-4657FA77C843.jpgChuck Gennarelli4/5/2017 9:57:33 AM
    thank you excellent article

  • /data/userPictures/1DEE5E59-18C4-49B6-B573-617DDFD8302B.jpgMatthew Robison4/5/2017 3:55:38 PM
    Thank you Chuck!

  • /data/userPictures/D3D159FA-61F6-42C9-9AAA-D63D8BBCD6B5.jpgJennifer L Young4/12/2017 7:55:36 AM
    Really interesting perspective, Matthew! Great article!

  • /data/userPictures/1DEE5E59-18C4-49B6-B573-617DDFD8302B.jpgMatthew Robison4/12/2017 12:25:57 PM
    Thanks Jennifer!

  • /data/userPictures/5C600581-1E6B-47F7-A320-A1DC78A33767.jpgLogan Bridges4/18/2017 11:24:45 PM
    Wonderful article Matthew, several things that extroverts may in fact have trouble with!

  • /data/userPictures/C69D4536-C657-4D73-A3C4-9098D95A6E9F.jpgRobbie Gongwer6/14/2017 2:18:05 PM
    Interesting. I think I may be an introvert that in an extrovert's clothing.

  • /data/userPictures/E394EBDD-7B52-4424-9952-D63EDC8129C3.jpgTim Jobe, Jr.7/19/2017 7:07:24 PM
    Love this point of view. Great article Mathew, thank you!

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureMale.jpgGreyson Curry9/9/2017 9:03:53 AM
    Very well written and thought out. Thank you for writing this.

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureMale.jpgColin Schreiber10/17/2017 11:40:36 PM
    This is extremely helpful to me as I'm introverted by nature, and trying to break into the world of sales.

  • /data/userPictures/DA043A01-2CE7-4E72-AC1A-FDE3C3C6EE62.jpgCatherine Ing2/16/2018 6:56:14 PM
    Excellent article! There really needs to be more recognition in the business world about how much introverts can actually accomplish when given the right opportunities. Especially in a field like sales where the majority of business is often coming from repeat clients, someone that truly listens to client needs and can develop meaningful relationships with them is essential.

  • /data/userPictures/093EC457-52A5-41BE-93A4-6B10D775DCF9.jpgMike Morgan3/6/2018 1:55:03 PM
    Good perspective. Introverts can carry the opportunities as a sales rep if they maximize their advantages. Not every person has to follow a prototypical stereotype. Some of the most annoying sales folks are extroverts but are to a degree that they are most in tune with themselves than anything else, esp the customer.

  • /_ckcommon/images/blanks/userPictureFemale.jpgKayla McLendon3/15/2018 12:30:09 AM
    As an introvert I find this very encouraging! Thoughtfully written and relatable.

  • /data/userPictures/414B7551-D218-4F85-88C1-CAA0A06959C6.jpgBlaise Craft4/8/2018 1:44:17 PM
    Great article Matthew. As an extrovert this is helpful to see the introvert side of the world as well.

  • /data/userPictures/F83B34B8-5376-4D75-8EBE-7B5A57D02991.jpgMichael Hare4/10/2018 5:35:54 PM
    Thanks, Matthew! I am right on the introvert/extrovert line and agree that some of my more introverted tendencies have substantially helped me relate to and hear my clients. I love building those REAL relationships. Seeing this has realized that being an introvert can certainly be a huge asset.

  • /data/userPictures/1DEE5E59-18C4-49B6-B573-617DDFD8302B.jpgMatthew Robison4/11/2018 3:18:39 PM
    Thank you all. I truly believe that recognizing your natural bent and then using it to your advantage is so very important.

  • /data/userPictures/BD498EAA-76BC-4262-B951-EB2ADCAC7D3D.jpgChristian Ogbokor, Mr4/25/2018 6:23:53 AM
    This Article will bring the best out of ones self. It will put someone in the right track during sales process

  • /data/userPictures/CBC45CD6-4846-4EC8-866F-897237754470.jpgArsenio Bell5/8/2018 9:44:23 PM
    A strong change of pace, and unique perspective.
    I agree with the relationship piece the most.
    I have a colleague who is introverted and she does well for herself in sales.

  • /data/userPictures/C9880537-3E0E-4264-8A54-54CC7AD95B85.jpgEarvin Corpuz5/22/2018 8:51:45 AM
    Great read!

  • /data/userPictures/BAB10855-ACCA-44E2-8624-F50286F5304F.jpgJoseph Bagal5/22/2018 9:59:23 AM
    Nice perspective: asking the right questions definitely helps in uncovering the needs of the customers. Being able to listen to the answers goes without saying.

  • /data/userPictures/77A38D44-11E6-46BB-B041-8C0E9B0C8562.jpgFabio VillasBoasDeAlmeida5/23/2018 8:03:14 AM
    Thank you for taking the time to write this article. I am an introvert and I am happy to see that "there is light at the end of the tunnel". I need to stop believing into the caricature of the typical extrovert salesperson and work on my key strengths of questioning and listening. Inspiring and motivational!!!

  • /data/userPictures/1DEE5E59-18C4-49B6-B573-617DDFD8302B.jpgMatthew Robison5/23/2018 8:30:06 AM
    Thank you so much! Glad you enjoyed it. Keep pushing!!

  • /data/userPictures/6860157B-9737-4952-B7D0-39E40B684EED.jpgDaniel Konrath12/5/2018 2:04:54 PM
    Well written! Especially regarding truly listening not just hearing customers