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  • Diana Schneidman

Are you an ambivert? (an important question for freelancers and consultants)

I just found out I’m an ambivert.

What’s an ambivert?, you may ask.

An ambivert is someone who falls in the approximate middle of the introversion-extroversion scale.

The real difference between introverts and extroverts

Let’s get clear on the definitions of “introvert” and “extrovert.” The two are differentiated by how people are energized, not by their ability to keep a conversation going.

An extrovert is energized by being around other people; an introvert is energized by being alone. An extrovert tends to think best while talking; an introvert tends to think before talking.

It is widely believed that extroverts make the best salespeople and introverts are not suited to this profession. However, research publicized by Daniel H. Pink in To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others finds that ambiversion is the best orientation for salespeople. This orientation gives people the flexibility to bring more skills to the sales conversation and adapt more effectively to what is needed.

Test where you fall on the scale at with a simple quiz that takes about four minutes.

If I were not given the choice of ambivert, I would admit to being an introvert. This self-assessment has in the past caused me to shrink away from tasks and jobs I could have handled effectively.

After years of hesitancy in taking on more assertive, lucrative responsibilities, I finally allowed myself to become a freelancer / consultant and reach out to prospects I felt confident I could help. Recognizing that I am capable of assertive marketing was an important step forward in my life.

We are all salespeople

It’s vital that we learn how to sell because according to Pink, almost all of us are in sales roles, in the broader sense of the term, whether we know it or not. The proportion of people who are self-employed grows, and especially in a single-person company, selling is everyone’s job.

Fortunately, we are all natural salespeople, says Pink. Everyone is persuading as part of the job, and success isn’t reserved for the few. In fact, it’s even possible to be too extroverted to be the ultimate salesperson.

Working with my tendency to build on what is effective and manage what is less effective has worked for me. I’m naturally interested in other people so when I overcome my reticence and ask a few questions, I get involved in connecting with the prospect and finding ways I can help him.

Two cool takeaways from Daniel Pink

This book has lots of other interesting ideas. Here are two tidbits I enjoyed.

First, positivity is a plus in the sales process, although it is possible to be too positive and therefore, out of touch with reality.

You can measure your positivity at

Second, Pink suggests an excellent way to start a conversation. He recommends asking “Where are you from?”People may answer with a city, where they work or something entirely different.

Pink contrasts this with “What do you do?” The latter question is weaker because it shuts some people down. They don’t want to talk about their job.

Originally posted 7-15-14

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