Harness Your Energy This 2019 To Become a More Successful Salesperson
With regard to selling, it’s very easy to instigate the nature vs. nurture debate. Are salespeople made or born?
While we do believe that anybody can build their sales skills through practice, some inherent personality traits can make you a better salesperson than others. Take for example, where you lie on the introversion-extraversion spectrum. Introversion is the tendency to gain energy from internal pursuits, while extraversion is the tendency to gain energy from interacting with other people.
The general idea is that extroverted people make the best salespeople. By nature, they’re more sociable, assertive, lively, and gregarious. It seems easier for them to approach and talk to people, and because they get energized by the presence of others, their enthusiasm can be conducive to influence and persuasion.
Or that’s what we tend to think.
Research shows that it is not the extroverts but the ambiverts who perform the best when it comes to selling . Take for example, a study conducted by Adam Grant, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who tracked the sales representatives’ revenues of a software company over a period of three months after having them complete several personality assessments. He found that introverted sales reps earned an average of 120 $ per hour compared to the 125 $ per hour earned by extroverts. Ambiverts outperformed both groups by earning 155 $ per hour.
Ambiverts fall in the middle of the introvert/extrovert continuum and have the right blend of personality traits from both ends to make them comfortable in a range of social situations. Ambiverts can be excellent conversationalists as well as excellent listeners. This could explain their advantage over extroverts whose assertiveness and zeal may lead to a lot of talking but not enough listening.
Selling requires a delicate balance of inspecting and responding. If we are to liken it to the analogy of a dance, extroverts try to lead so fast that their partners trip over their feet, while introverts get so shy they don’t even approach the dance floor. Ambiverts, on the other hand, have the perfect balance of traits to dance just right.
But what if you were not a born ambivert? Is there a way to control your energy level and build your mental fortitude so you can be a superstar salesperson?
Since introversion and extraversion are personality traits that deal with energy management, there are other ways to harness your energy, including nutrition, exercise, meditation and sleep.
While nutrition and exercise are important, we’re going to focus in the next section on sleep and mediation, starting with the latter as it can help you find an ambivert’s balance.
Meditation is a set of techniques intended to encourage a heightened state of awareness and concentration. There are many types of meditation but in the most popular one — focused-attention meditation — you focus on your breathing, and whenever thoughts spring up, observe them without judgement, continuously bringing your attention back to your breathing.
Meditation is known to improve your ability to introspect (which is good if you’re naturally an extrovert), and also increases your emotional and social intelligence (which is good if you’re naturally an introvert). It also increases positive emotions such as love, joy, gratitude, contentment, hope, pride, interest and amusement . All of these build towards the positive attitude required to face the multitude of rejections that come with a sales career.
However, you can’t expect to reap the benefits of meditation by doing it once. It needs to be a continuous practice, and you can start with the simplest form as delineated below:
- Set a timer for five minutes
- Sit or lie comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly.
- If your mind wanders and thoughts start appearing, imagine they’re clouds that are passing by and return your focus back to your breath.
Sleep is another important key to mental health. Besides processing complex information, consolidating memories and clearing out toxins that can contribute to neurodegeneration, sleep carries a number of benefits for health and cognition. For example, a study reports that morning-type individuals report higher levels of positive affect and score higher on measures of energy-alertness and lower on tiredness compared with evening-type individuals .
Unfortunately, despite all the benefits of sleep, we don’t get enough of it thanks to the omnipresence of smartphones and tablets. Research has shown that the bright light emitted by smartphones disrupts sleep by interfering with the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycles .
In conclusion, it’s important to know where you lie on the introvert-extrovert spectrum as a salesperson, and to take positive steps towards managing your energy and building your positivity and mental fortitude through different means including sleep and meditation.
This post was co-written with Amina Islam
 D. Pink, To Sell is Human. New York,: Penguin Group, 2012.
 A. Grant, “Rethinking the extraverted sales ideal: the ambivert advantage”, Psychological Science, vol. 24, no. 6, 2013. [Accessed 25 December 2018].
B. Fredrickson, M. Cohn, K. Coffey, J. Pek and S. Finkel, “Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 95, no. 5, pp. 1045–1062, 2008. [Accessed 25 December 2018].
R. Biss and L. Hasher, “Happy as a lark: Morning-type younger and older adults are higher in positive affect.”, Emotion, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 437–441, 2012. Available: 10.1037/a0027071.
 Mayo Clinic. “Are smartphones disrupting your sleep?.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2013.