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Making MBTI Work For Sales Teams

Making MBTI Work For Sales Teams. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most widely used assessment of psychological type and an enormously insightful tool when understood and applied well.

In our work with many sales organisations we find that whilst MBTI is used effectively for the personal understanding/awareness of team members [their natural style, way of working, strengths and likely weaknesses, reaction when under stress etc] and for good team working [examining how the differing types act when in team situations and in particular how they cooperate with others to achieve tasks], the value adding piece of the jigsaw which is missed is the application of MBTI thinking to customers and the subsequent flexing of selling style to better build rapport and customer relationships.

In this series of short papers we will consider each of the four MBTI scales –

  • Extraversion to Introversion
  • Sensing to Intuition
  • Thinking to Feeling
  • Judging to Perceiving

..and for each we will consider the following critical questions for sales –

  1. How do we spot this characteristic with confidence
  2. What selling style/techniques will a customer with this style type best respond to
  3. How should we communicate to better ‘connect’ with a customer of this type

When applied well, the combination of a number of relatively small ‘flexes’ of style leads to a significantly faster build of rapport and trust with customers and has been shown to SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE SALES OUTCOMES. Training your sales team to apply MBTI will provide a significant and measureable ROI within months of completion.
Let’s first consider the Extraversion to Introversion scale –
Before we begin one point must be stressed – extraversion and introversion are the most commonly misunderstood concepts within MBTI. Extraversion is NOT about being a loud, larger-then-life, dancing-on-the-tables character type and Introversion does not signify that an individual wishes to live a solitary existence on a remote Hebridean island!
Extraverts are fundamentally people who take energy from social interaction – so at the end of a long hard day an extravert will recharge their batteries through socialising in some way. They will also enjoy large social groups – perhaps choosing to holiday with friends and/or extended family.

Introverts are not ‘shy’ – they are individuals who expend energy in social interaction. Introverts who need to recharge their batteries do so from within themselves – hence an introvert at the end of a long day is likely to seek out peace and quiet to reflect. Introverts are likely to find large social groups [over extended periods of time] exhausting and hence are likely to prefer holidaying with immediate family only.

So…to our three key questions

  1. Spotting the customers preferred type or style –

Below outlines things to look for when trying to spot extraverts and introverts –

Extraverts – look for:

  • Enjoys team sports – football, rugby
  • Seeks out larger social groups – lunch at a table for 6+
  • Happy to be the centre of attention – often the focus of conversation
  • Speaks quickly and with enthusiasm about passions
  • Likely to share personal details early in the relationship
  • Shorter attention span – need a high energy approach or can become bored
  • Expressive body language – fills the space
    Seeks out opinions of many others
  • Physical – comfortable with others inside their personal space

Introverts – look for:

  • Enjoys individual sports – squash,golf
  • More comfortable in smaller social groups – lunch for 2-4 will be more comfortable
  • Prefers a more supportive role and not to be the group focus
  • Communicates in a quieter more reflective manner
  • Will share limited personal information until trust has been established
  • Happy with and even crave the detail behind proposals
  • Controlled body language – smaller space
  • Uses personal reflection
  • Likes personal space to be respected


The above list is by no means exhaustive – look for other ‘clues’ in speech, body language and social preferences to help you.

2. Effective selling to extraverts vs introverts

Utilise the guidelines below when selling –


  • Keep presentations/pitches shorter
  • Use pictures/visuals more than words
  • Keep your personal energy high
  • Express obvious belief in what you are selling
  • Vary your tone – regular high energy injections are critical to maintain engagement
  • Get them involved in developing the solution
  • Forget pre-meeting work
  • Close early – sale can be very fast


  • Provide the detail
  • Provide evidence – words supported by pictures
  • Remain calm and paced
  • Focus on quiet credibility
  • Consistent authoritative tone/delivery
  • Provide ‘expert opinion’
  • Send pre-work/reading in advance
  • Provide time for reflection – they may genuinely ‘want to sleep on it’

3. Communicate better to connect more effectively


  • High energy
  • Faster pace
  • Repeat carefully chosen motivational words [often focussed on major customer benefits]
  • Focus on simple ‘storyline’
  • Focus on outcomes


  • Calm Clear
  • Regular/slower pace
  • The devil is in the detail
  • Fact/evidence based
  • Credible references and quotes matter
  • Outline processes impacted

A word of caution – look for congruence in customer communications – sales people need to find several clues to type before deciding on their flexing.
In our MBTI training we simulate both the spotting of types in ‘real-world’ situations and the flexing of delivery to better connect with customers.
In the next article we will consider the Myers Briggs Sensing to Intuition scale and how knowledge of your customers type can allow flexing of selling style.


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