Can INFPs work in sales? 

I received an email from someone who is unhappy in sales that reads:

“I’ve just joined in a job which is completely opposite of my values as an infp, to be exact it is a position with 80% of work as a sales executive. You would know that as an infp it drains me and its demoralizing. I don’t believe in manipulation or politics. I really need your expert advice at this point. I wanted to work for a big company and here I am hating every bit of it living in a city I hate.”

First, let’s make sure we don’t use the INFP type as a reason why we aren’t happy. I’m quite sure there are many INFPs who are in sales and excel at it.

Ultimately I think it’s doable if you believe in the product and both the job and company align with your values.

There are companies that will force you to use scarcity and other selling tools. That’s fine if you believe the product will help the person. Scarcity sometimes gets people to move on important things in their lives that they otherwise would have ignored.
But if you’re selling something you don’t believe in, you’re going to have a hard time convincing your heart that it’s worth it.
A good way to see what you’re having trouble with specifically is looking at your values and anti-values.

Values are the things you admire about yourself and others. Mine are creativity, courage, compassion, hilarity and intellect to name a few.

Anti-values are the things you can’t stand about yourself or others. Mine are greed, stupidity and a few others that my brain won’t let me access right now.

Here are examples of what would work and not work for me as a salesman:

1) If I were one of the assholes selling Martin Shkreli’s HIV drug (quick backstory, he increased the price from $13.50 a pill to $750), I would have had trouble. Before the price hike, I would have been behind selling it because it saves lives. After the price hike, my anti-value of greed would have kicked in and I would have either quit or been stuck because I had a value and anti-value conflicting and pushing in different directions. The value says “you need to help the people who need this drug”. The anti-value says “it’s not right to let the rich get richer on the backs of the sick.” And I’d be paralyzed.

2) If I were selling Legos, I’d be rich. I would happily sell Legos to the entire world. Kids, adults, everyone! They are the greatest toy in the world and I love everything about the toy and the company. My inner child dances with joy at the thought.

Ok, that oversimplifies things of course.
It would be a challenging job for me.

My fear of rejection would kick in a lot so I’d need to get comfortable with the fact that some people won’t buy and some might buy down the road. (I have a lot of vendors present to me at work and the best ones let me walk away and come back months later without annoying the hell out of me every week).

My fear of being the center of attention would kick in so I’d need to work on my presenting skills.

And let’s not forget the company that you work for.

If the selling culture was to annoy customers and “not leave any money on the table” and to “close close close!!!!” I would jump off a bridge. But if it’s “treat customers like humans and create relationships with them. Plant seeds that grow organically,” that’s a very different culture that I can get behind.

Do you see the differences there?

Even if you’re not in sales, what can you take from this and put into place in your own life?