Sales is a people game.
Conversations, collaboration, discussion, partnership, and yep, even disagreement—it’s all part of making it in this industry.
But for some, the social aspects of the job can be draining. And that spells out serious problems for earning potential, career trajectory, and professional success.
If you’re a rep that leans more towards introversion than extroversion, you might feel like a fish out of water. But with a little bit of work, you can train yourself to become more of a social butterfly. And in doing so, you can unlock all the sales benefits that come with this personality trait.
Today we’re looking at how to be more extroverted. What does it mean? What are the benefits? And most importantly, how do you do it? We’re tackling all that and more.
And by the end, you’ll walk away with a handful of actionable techniques you can use to boost your extroversion.
Sound good? Let’s go.
What Is an Extrovert?
Before we dive into how to be more extroverted, we need to agree on what that means. And that requires coming up with an extroversion definition.
Extroversion – The personality trait of being energized and gratified by interacting with others.
First introduced by Carl Gustav young in the early 1900s, this trait was originally meant to describe personalities that focus energy on interacting with the outer world (as opposed to the inner world).
But these days, people use the term to describe social interactions, not necessarily the “outer world” as a whole.
Examples of Extroversion
So, what does an extrovert look like?
An extrovert will usually:
- Seek out and enjoy social interactions with others.
- Thrive in large groups of people.
- Think out loud.
- Enjoy working in teams.
- Be more forthcoming with personal information.
- Strike up conversations with friends, family members, and even total strangers.
- Be friendly and approachable.
It’s important to remember that extroversion is not necessarily arrogance. While arrogance is a need to tell others about how great you are, extroversion just describes how energized you feel while interacting with others.
“Every sales professional wants to be just south of arrogance. You don’t actively go out there to be arrogant. You just drop below it and just create that presence and that aura which says, “I’m here to do a job. I’m a sales professional. I’m here to make my company money, and I’ll make you some money too.” – Interview with Matt Sykes, Sales Trainer, Host, & Podcase Host
What Is an Introvert?
Now that we have a handle on what extroversion is, let’s talk about introversion.
Remember how we defined extroversion as being energized by interacting with others? Well, introversion is just the opposite.
Introversion – The personality trait of being energized by and focusing on internal emotions, feelings, and thoughts.
Introverts feel at their best when they’re alone. And they will need to spend some time solo after social engagements in order to reenergize.
It’s estimated that people who are mostly introverted make up about 25% to 40% of the population. However, different cultures value extroverted and introverted traits differently. And as such, that number tends to fluctuate wildly across cultures.
Examples of Introversion
So, what does an introvert look like?
An introvert will usually:
- Get satisfaction from individual activities over social ones.
- Prefer smaller groups of tightly knit people.
- Think before speaking.
- Like solo projects.
- Be more reserved with personal information.
- Like to learn by watching.
- Be drawn to jobs that involve independence.
Similar to extroversion not necessarily being associated with arrogance, introversion doesn’t mean low self-esteem. Self-esteem issues are just as common in both types of personalities. And a quiet, reserved individual can have a healthy perception of themselves just as easily as an introvert can.
Am I an Introvert or Extrovert?
In all likelihood, you’re probably a bit of both.
See, introversion and extroversion aren’t binary—you don’t have to be only one or the other. Instead, think of introversion and extroversion as a scale. You can be introverted 70% of the time while being extroverted 30% of the time. And the opposite (as well as any other ratio) can also be true.
With respect to this guide in particular, say in the mornings and evenings you like your alone time. Before and after work, you feel reenergized by reading a book, listening to a podcast, or simply taking some time for yourself.
But when you’re at work, maybe you feel extroverted. You seek out conversations, are quick to speak up at meetings, and get a thrill out of discussions with others.
It’s possible—and likely—that you feel like you belong in both camps throughout the day.
And even more importantly, it’s healthy too.
A Bit of Both Is Healthy
Being part introvert and part extrovert is normal. And it’s healthy.
Like most things that can be described on a scale, being at either extreme is where things get problematic.
Let’s take a look at what a full-blown introvert and full-blown extrovert might look like.
- 100% Introvert – These individuals will thrive in solitary conditions. But they’ll avoid social interactions (especially with new people) as much as possible. This can lead to problems with creating new relationships both in business and in their personal lives.
- 100% Extrovert – These individuals will thrive in social conditions. But they’ll also fall apart when they’re on their own. Solitary tasks will drain the life out of them. And they’ll end up avoiding any activity where solo work is required.
As you can see, either extreme is going to be detrimental, both in a personal and professional setting.
Beyond that, being capable (and comfortable) with both introversion and extroversion lets you more skillfully “adopt” either mindset when the time calls for it. And that can lead to a healthier, happier life and open up the door to many more opportunities than if you were confined to being only one or the other.
“We can’t be workaholics, no extreme is good. So we want to be able to relax, recharge, have fun. Therefore, finding time to be inspired and do things you love has positive domino knock-on effects for the rest of your life. As does having lots of energy. Because your health is good, having healthy relationships at home and in your family is good.” – Interview with Matt Anderson, Author, Coach, & Speaker
Why Is Being Extroverted in a Sales Role Valuable?
Now, there are obviously upsides and downsides to both introversion and extroversion. And having a blend of each isn’t just normal, it’s healthy.
But when it comes to being a sales professional in particular, it’s especially beneficial to be highly extroverted. And there are a few specific reasons for that.
A) You Bring Energy to Sales Interactions
One major difference between introverts and extroverts in the selling environment is their energy levels.
With reps that are introverts, there’s plenty of thought and consideration going on upstairs behind the scenes. But to buyers (who remember, have limited time with reps), all that calculation isn’t immediately apparent.
And as a result, introverted reps have a much harder time driving excitement.
But with extroverts, it’s easy to pass on enthusiasm to the buyer in as little as an instant. That’s because extroverts are energized by talking with others. And since that energy can be contagious, it can get buyers more excited about what you have to offer.
B) GIVE Energy in Convos Rather Than Suck It Up
Piggybacking on that last point, extroverts bring the energy. But introverts take it away.
For instance, if you’re an introvert that doesn’t bring enthusiasm to every conversation, buyers won’t just lack the urgency to buy.
More than that, they’ll actively avoid talking to you. Why? Because they’ll constantly feel like they’re making up for your lack of excitement. And that’ll leave them drained and thinking, “Well, I never want to do that again.”
C) It’s What’s Expected
I know, I know. There’s TONS of articles out there these days on the value of introverts in the workplace. It seems like every day there’s a new Forbes listicle on the top professional benefits of introversion in the office.
But in sales specifically, buyers want you to be a talker. They expect it.
And if they have to work to get information out of you, they’re going to high-tail it out of there.
The more you can meet and play to those expectations, the less distracted (and annoyed) prospects will be. And the more seamlessly you can sell them on why your product is the obvious solution to their problems.
D) Easier to Connect Emotionally
Time is a huge factor in sales. The sooner and more deeply you can connect—I mean really connect—with your buyers, the better your chances of closing.
Extroverts are naturally easier to connect with because they put themselves out there more. There’s less time spent breaking down communication barriers. And rather than teasing out who an introverted rep is, extroverts tend to show buyers their true colors right off the bat.
This more immediate connection also makes it easier to leverage emotional selling when trying to close a deal.
Logic (product specs, price points, use cases, etc.) definitely has its place in B2B selling. But even still, emotion also drives decisions in this space. And the more connected you are to your buyer, the harder your emotional pitch is going to hit.
“Fundamentally, we make decisions emotionally, and if all we’re doing is spouting features and benefits, we’re really engaging the logical part of the brain. The logical part of the brain does not make decisions. But analyses and captures information to weigh pros and cons, but decisions are made emotionally.” – Interview with Adrian Davis, Founder & CEO of Whetstone
The How to Be More Extroverted Framework
Now, as we saw before, there’s nothing wrong with being an introvert. But in the world of sales, it literally pays to be more extroverted.
But don’t worry!
You can train yourself to be more extroverted. But you’re going to have to deal with a little bit of anxiety first.
To explain, any time you step outside your comfort zone, you’re going to feel anxious. Whether it’s as monumental as jumping out of a plane or as mundane as trying the new Ethiopian or Indian restaurant across town.
We naturally fear what we don’t know.
But if you can learn to control that anxiety, you can push through and become more extroverted. And The How to Be More Extroverted Framework teaches you to do just that.
All it takes is:
- Understanding the Cycle
- Breaking the Cycle
- Cultivating the Desire
Now, let’s dive into the framework and make you an extrovert.
1) Understand the Cycle
As you start to approach your sales position with more extroversion (bringing more energy to conversations, cold calling with confidence, being more open with buyers, etc.), you’re going to run into anxiety.
Again, this is natural.
But the trick is what you do to cope with that anxiety. If you’re using coping behaviors that are holding you back from engaging with buyers like an extrovert, you’re not going to be successful. Which is why we’re going to be focusing on how to change those coping behaviors into ones that are more productive.
To do that though, we first need to understand the anxiety cycle. And that looks a little something like this:
- External Event
- Internal Anxiety Alarm Triggered
- Coping Behavior Initiated
- Others See Your Coping Behavior
- Opinions of Others Restart Cycle
A) External Event
Anxiety doesn’t just come out of nowhere. There’s always an inciting external event that sets off the adrenaline avalanche.
Maybe it’s an especially tough rejection on a cold call. Or your boss is mad about your numbers and about to take it out on you. Or maybe you have to speak on stage, and as an introvert, that’s the last thing you’d ever want to do.
No matter what it is, this is the event that puts everything else in motion.
B) Internal Anxiety Alarm Triggered
Next, you react to that event with your internal anxiety alarm.
Your head gets foggy, palms start to sweat, and your heart is about to beat out of your chest.
This obviously isn’t a pleasant experience. Being anxious clouds your judgment. It causes you to do and say things that you’d normally never do. And of course, it feels like shit at the time too.
All of that unpleasantness leads you to the next stage of the cycle.
C) Coping Behavior Initiated
Since this anxiety is so unpleasant, you start trying to deal with it. You want it to go away, so you start doing things to make it stop.
For some, these coping behaviors are unproductive.
They may, for instance, hide in the bathroom to avoid the angry boss. Or they might pretend to make more cold calls but never actually dial any numbers.
And these behaviors, while they might make you feel better in the moment, are actually just passing the buck to your future self. You’ll have to deal with the consequences eventually. Just not today.
D) Others See Your Coping Behavior
Eventually those bad coping behaviors catch up to you.
Your boss will eventually find you, even if you hide in the bathroom for a bit. Your numbers will eventually reflect someone who’s avoiding cold calling. You’re starting to sweat and fidget on a discovery call.
And when you realize others see your coping behavior for what it is, that sets off the next and final (sort of) step of the cycle.
E) Opinions of Others Restart Cycle
When you become aware that others are forming a negative opinion of you because of your coping behaviors, that’s when the whole cycle restarts again. Except the external event has shifted to others forming those opinions of you.
And whether you’re in the office or on a call with a prospect, that added anxiety can seriously hurt your effectiveness as a sales rep.
“When your anxiety level goes up, you actually become less effective, and your customer will sense your state of anxiety. They will then feel anxiety, not knowing why, and when people feel anxious, they don’t want to sign on the dotted line.” – Interview with Dr. Robert Glover, Writer, Coach, Speaker, & Author
2) Break the Cycle
As long as you continue through the same cycle caused by bad coping behaviors, you’re always going to be trapped in an anxiety loop. And that’s going to make it difficult—if not impossible—for you to become more extroverted on the job.
The solution, then, is breaking that cycle by using better coping methods. And the best coping method I’ve found for tackling anxiety by far is reducing self-focused attention.
Self-focused attention is one of the central aspects of selling anxiety.
When you focus your attention on yourself, you become painfully aware of what’s happening, and this leads to self-consciousness. The flywheel of panic gets spun up and at its worst, self-consciousness can then dominate your attention and make it very difficult to think of anything else. In B2B sales, it’s paralyzing.
So, how do you break out of self-focused attention?
I’ve found two exercises to be the most effective:
- Attention Switching
- Killing Anxiety With Curiosity
Method #1: Attention Switching
The anxiety problem stems from your inability to focus on anything other than yourself. So to fix it, you need to draw your attention away from the self and towards something else.
There are two things you can focus on to shift your attention away from the self:
- Other People – See how they are sitting. Do they look stressed, or do they look happy? Do they look like they’re inviting a conversation, or are they chilling out watching TV? Really think about them. Try and understand what their emotional state is. Ask yourself how you can add value to them.
- The Environment – What objects do you see? How would you describe these objects to someone who is blind? What’s the boldest color you can see? What can you hear? How will this environment be different 12 hours from now?
Now, switching your focus (especially when your anxiety has already kicked in) can be tough. Which is why it’s important to practice.
Try practicing in a situation where you feel calm and unthreatened—maybe when you’re lying in bed, going for a walk, or resting on the sofa.
First, focus on yourself for one minute. Focus on your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions. Then switch your attention to something else for another minute and keep going back and forth until this becomes seamless for you.
This may sound incredibly basic and simple at first. But when you can consciously switch from yourself to other people in a moment of selling anxiety, you can instantly turn it off. It is remarkable how easy this becomes with just a little bit of practice.
Method #2: Killing Anxiety With Curiosity
When I personally feel any anxiety, I let my curiosity take over.
When you force yourself to be incredibly curious, there is little processing room or overhead left in your brain for it to focus inward on your own anxiety. And so, rather than getting caught up in your own thoughts, you become completely immersed in the person in front of you.
I try to put myself in the position of the person I’m speaking to and attempt to completely understand their emotional state. I become incredibly curious about how they are feeling and how I can give them value, help them through a situation, or better our relationship.
Additionally, when I am speaking on stage and I feel a random bit of shyness or nervousness, I’ll pause, take a look into the first row of the crowd and start to observe how they are taking me in. I become insanely curious about a couple of people’s reactions, and it allows me to break out of my own anxiety and get back to the job at hand.
So next time you start to feel yourself get anxious in high-extroversion activities, start getting curious. Not only will you feel better. But your buyer will appreciate the level of attention you’re giving them too.
That’s a win-win!
“I think many salespeople come in and you can tell right away that they have an agenda and something that they have to get to. I teach people a lot to focus on being interested, not interesting. So instead of how do I come across, how do I position myself? I’m genuinely curious, but I want to know what you’re dealing with. What are the struggles, what are you seeking for? How can I help you? And in that approach, if I can be curious from that standpoint, I demonstrate my willingness to jump in and engage with you at a different level than just here’s my agenda, and here’s what I want to pitch you on.” – Interview with Ty Bennett, Speaker, Trainer, Author, & Coach
Questions to Cultivate the Desire
Now that you understand the nature of the anxiety cycle and how to break through it, you need to have the willingness to change.
I know, I know—we already talked about the benefits of being more extroverted on the job. But until you bring those benefits back to you, you’re likely going to resist the change. At least at first.
So to help speed this process up, I want you to ask yourself these three questions.
A) What’s Your Potential?
What would it look like if you were extremely confident in all of your selling activities?
Ponder on this for a second. Seeing the other side of being anxious is a powerful step to breaking through it.
Until you get your brain going imagining what the better outcome would be, it’s going to struggle to do anything other than what it’s doing right now.
So what would your future look like if you could be more extroverted on the job? What would a higher income mean for you and your family? How would your social and professional life change if you moved up through the company ranks? What other positions would you unlock that are off-limits today?
And don’t hold yourself back either. With the right mindset, everything—yes everything—is possible.
“We have abundance on this planet. The only limitations that are set, are set ourselves in what we believe we’re able to achieve in a world full of abundance. Literally when you open your mind to that understanding, then why wouldn’t you want to go out there and get every single thing you can. Because you know everything you could ever want and more is right here in one place. And it’s nothing new. It’s just a matter of you getting your hands on as much of it as possible.” – Interview with Ryan Stewman, Sales Expert, Coach, & Entrepreneur
B) What Could Go Wrong?
If you do start using these anxiety coping methods to become more extroverted, what could go wrong?
Get real with this question. It’s very unlikely that anything very bad would happen if you tried a different way of dealing with your selling anxiety. Maybe a cold call might not go as well as you planned. Or your coworkers might notice you’re doing something a bit different. But so what?
If there’s little downside to trying something different, then there’s no harm in trying it, right?
C) What Have You Missed Out On?
Typically when our students start answering this question, they start getting frustrated with themselves and slapping their own foreheads.
If you didn’t feel any selling anxiety, would you have made more money in the past? If you were less anxious overall, would you have asked out that girl or guy on a date 10 years ago?
If you knew that there was probably no real downside to what you were doing, other than maybe looking a little silly for a moment, what would you do with your life?
Answering this question is going to be liberating for you.
Sales is an industry built for extroverts. Sure, you can be an introvert and still make a name for yourself. But if you can learn how to be more extroverted on the job, you’ll start bringing more energy to sales conversations, engage with buyers more deeply, and up your close rate substantially.
And with The How to Be More Extroverted Framework, all it takes is:
- Understanding the Cycle
- Breaking the Cycle
- Cultivating the Desire
Listen, I know change can be hard—especially when it comes down to something as deep-rooted as personality. But with a bit of work, consistency, and optimism, it’s not nearly as difficult as you might think.
And when you realize what’s on the other end of that change—higher earnings, career advancement, more control over your career—I promise you’ll never look back.