Can an INFJ Survive a Sales Job?

Last Updated on October 7, 2023

When it comes to leading a happy life, an INFJ should pursue careers that capitalize on their strengths. In many cases, this may entail working in a quiet lab environment, writing in the solitude of one’s own home, or meeting with patients one-on-one in a private office. As such, popular careers for INFJs include jobs within science, writing, and especially psychology. INFJs experience the greatest job satisfaction when their work puts their intuition, empathy, and altruism to good use. It is noted, interestingly enough, that jobs in marketing and sales are at the top of the list of the most unsuitable jobs for an INFJ.

So guess what I did? I went out and got a job in marketing and sales, of course! 😉

Background Information on the Sales Position

The main reason I decided to try out this job was to see what it would be like to work in a sales position as an INFJ. I was job searching on a whim when I stumbled into what soon became my first full-time sales job. After accepting the job offer around the end of August, I began working for a national retail marketing company as a sales representative out in the field. Our office’s main client is the Home Depot. To help them gain business, we go out into their stores and help promote their services face-to-face with the customers. When you boil it down, I basically work as a lead generator for Home Depot. My goal is to have people sign up for no-cost and no-obligation kitchen cabinet refacing consultations. You might say it is not “sales” in the traditional sense but you definitely have to sell the promotion or people won’t sign up. You only get paid commissions in addition to the base salary when people sign up and go through with the consultation.

My Experience as an INFJ Working in Sales

It’s not easy, I can tell you that much. The emotional energy any sales job is going to require is INTENSE. Like, very very intense.

You have to be MENTALLY TOUGH or you will not make it. Fortunately, mental toughness is something that can be developed with time if you feel your mental state is not yet where it needs to be. In the three short weeks I have had this job, my mental toughness has improved drastically. It is so easy to feel like quitting when the majority of what you deal with on a daily basis is 99% constant face-to-face rejection.

Check this out.

Tallying My “Talk-To’s” on Home Depot Paint Cards

Every day, I travel to a new Home Depot and talk to OVER a hundred people I have never met before. Total strangers just going about their business. I casually approach them, introduce myself, and inform them about the promotions I bear. For every 1 person who signs up for a promotion, 40 say NO. In the early stages, it took time to learn how not take the rejection to heart. It is an adjustment learning how to brush off the no’s while keeping your head in the game. Once you realize how to not take rejection personally (as some people can be quite nasty, while others may not be), the job does become much easier. Like anything else, it really is a numbers game.

Since I started working in Home Depot, I’ve already approached over 1,170 people and generated 49 leads. If you play the numbers right, this isn’t unusual. In fact, it is very much on-par with what the company expects from successful reps. Within my first week in the business, I already qualified for a promotion to a higher position as a campaign manager!

My Greatest Fear Going Into Sales

Honestly, my greatest fear as a more reserved, introverted, gay guy going into a sales position based inside Home Depot was not connecting with the customers who shop there. I can safely say I’VE NEVER SPOKEN TO SO MANY STRAIGHT MEN IN MY LIFE.

I’m serious, there was a real learning curve for me just to figure out how to connect and relate with the particular types of customers who shop in Home Depot. The cool thing is I’ve gotten much better at relating now. I just laugh it off when I say something stupid or otherwise embarrassing. Interestingly enough, my results started improving ever since I decided to be my bubbly-self inside the stores rather than trying to blend in or act as someone I’m not.

My Recommendation for Introverts Working in Sales

Striking up small talk may seem especially draining in the early stages of your job. DON’T WORRY (don’t quit early from social exhaustion!). You’ll soon realize that the stuff you say to one customer works just fine with 80% of the rest. It will get repetitive and easier with practice. Don’t sweat the small talk. There will be days you’ll go home mentally drained. I know I meet 100 or more new people every single day. I promise you, the constant initiation of small talk gets easier once you become more familiar with the types of conversations you’ll be having with people over and over again. Most people say the same few things. Its funny how it happens so systematically. If your business has a system: follow it.

Most importantly: don’t give up when times get tough! You can succeed in sales but it will require a lot of mental energy! Know that going into it and be sure to take care of yourself throughout the process. The emotional aspect of working in sales will probably be the hardest part for any introvert. One customer was especially hostile towards me on Thursday and I literally walked away and started crying in Home Depot. I didn’t think I’d ever let anyone in the stores get to me but he knew just the right things to say in the worst tone possible to push me right over the edge. Luckily, a coworker caught me right after and knew exactly what I needed to hear. You’re going to have those breakdowns and emotional challenges – it is normal. Invest in self-development, learn from those challenges, and get better.

Can an INFJ Survive in Sales?

I’m sure a few have and I would love to hear from them! Though, I can already see why it isn’t advised for the grand majority of INFJs. I don’t know how long I personally plan on sticking with my current sales position but for now, I’m thriving in my role. I’m still figuring out my long-term objectives. There is a lot of room for upward growth in the company but the sustainability of such an emotionally draining job is questionable since I do see the social-aspect of the job taking a bit of a tole on me already. My plan is to have fun, make money, and positively impact as many people as possible while I stay in this role. If I ever see a negative change in my attitude or happiness because of the job, I’ll make a straight beeline for the exit. Until then, I won’t let the everyday hiccups stop me from achieving my goals.

The Team

Share your MBTI type and Career Path in the Comment Section below! Would love to hear about your experience too.


  1. Anonymous

    This was an enjoyable read! I am an INFJ who was excelling in retail cosmetics for almost two years. I loved the one-on-one interaction with customers and I was able to reach many customers that some of my pushier or less-than-patient co-workers couldn’t. I loved the service aspect and the teamwork aspect of the job. Competing with co-workers was tough; I love winning, but I need a harmonious atmosphere, so I would often tone things down just to keep everybody happy. I know my superiors saw that as my weak point, although I personally don’t believe competition is always the greatest motivator. I have since taken a position as a preschool teacher to better fit my children’s schedules, but I miss adult interaction and I find it stressful to be channeling the energies of so many little people at once.

  2. Jenifer

    I, too, am in sales. I have been for most of my adult life, with only one exception for 6 months. I love sales, but hate the term salesperson, because I am all about helping people find a solution to their needs, not about selling something. I am currently in a sales position that is high pressure to sell and it comes at a very heavy price for me. Everyday, I want out! I won’t pressure people into buying something, I feel it is dishonest and not how I would want to be treated. I have always had the highest sales numbers and kpi’s in retail, but I don’t push, I show solutions. I rely on my intuition and rapport that I build with my clients to increase my sales numbers. My conversion rate is always the highest in our department. Where I struggle, is once the day is over, I am so drained and need to be alone and veg. I give all of my energy at work and then I just crash. What I would really like to do is be a counselor. But, at my age, that isn’t going to happen. Having my own business, as I have in the past, is also a passion of mine and I would much rather run a business that do this. Anytime someone mentions opening a new business, I just want to jump in with them and get out of this rat race! Thanks for taking the time to read my rant. Venting has helped!

    1. The Rocky Safari

      Hi Jenifer! It’s amazing to see that you’ve harnessed your natural attributes in such a way that they’ve enabled you to be successful in sales. I think that’s a key factor in achieving success. I don’t know your age of course but I do believe you could theoretically pursue your goal of becoming a counselor if that is what you ultimate wish for! It’s never too late. I also see you also wish to become a business owner! Maybe you’d like to do what I do! I’ve been with Primerica for nearly 2 years now and it’s changed my life and financial future. My family and I are properly protected, I’m building my own business, and our company is founded on the principle of helping people. It sounds like it could be of interest to you. Let me know. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave a thoughtful comment as you did!

  3. Dan

    Absolutely. I’m an INFJ and I’ve been in sales for over 15 years. Not to brag but I’m also one of the top 3 producers in my division of 150+ reps. INFJ’s have an extra advantage in that we can “connect” instantly with prospects/clients. They say sales is 80% listening, which comes natural for us. Also, INFJ’s can easily identify “patterns” through the sales process and can excel with our natural problem solving skill set as well as placing ourselves in the position of the client and build that level of trust that is crucial in any sales process.

    1. The Rocky Safari

      Congratulations on your success, Dan! I agree that listening is a huge part of sales. INFJs definitely have a knack for connecting and empathizing with others and I’m sure many of those qualities help INFJs build rapport with potential customers. I’ve had ups and downs with my own sales experiences. My stats were generally great in the field but it was my own feelings and emotions after a long day at work that posed the greatest challenge. I still struggle not to feel burned out by it. I would be extremely grateful if you could share any tips or advice with the years of experience that you have under your belt!

      1. Anonymous

        I hear ya. The biggest challenge is having to deal with the day to day stress of being in sales as it can get emotionally draining. so it’s important that you have a daily routine after work to recoup / recharge after a long day’s work. I’m a family man so I have daily responsibilities after work, but once I’m done with my daily obligations, I pretty much lock myself in my basement and spend the remainder of the night either reading a book, working out, watching youtube, or daydreaming while listening to music. You need to create an outlet for yourself to release the built up tension/stress otherwise you won’t be able to sustain for the long term.

        INFJs need to find purpose in what we do. Most people think of sales as selling. I think of sales as delivering solutions to my clients. Find purpose in what you do and your job will be that much more enjoyable.I believe INFJs when motivated and driven with a purpose, can outperform, outmaneuver, blow away all other MBTI types in any field, including sales.

  4. Kathy

    Thank you so much for your story. I am an INFJ who was in sales, construction sales. I was dealing with ST’s all the time.

    I was there for over four years and yes it required a lot of mental toughness, shifting from my natural self and not understanding why everyone talked about the same thing. I agree when you said if your small talk worked for one customer, it worked for 80% of the other customers.

    I value the relationships that I’ve made however was not one of the pushy sales people. It was not a fit for me and I’m looking back to see why. It required quick decisions, tight deadlines and continual collaboration. And being in sales people had their hidden agendas which often triggered me.

    That was when I didn’t know that my INFJ side wasn’t like the others and I tried to fit in and be accommodating. I’m glad to realize my strengths and shift to a new career in meditation teaching :). I think I’ll be a lot happier with this and I can use my sales skills to help.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Kathy! Yes, the sales training we have acquired through our past work history will always help carry us into new career paths. I have no doubt your skills will continue to aid you as you aim to achieve success in meditation teaching. (By the way, meditation teaching sounds incredible!) I hope you find it aligns better with your personality type and interests. Best of luck to you!

  5. Well good sir,

    I recently took the Myers Briggs test and found out I’m about a %60/%40 split INFJ-P. Been in sales almost 8 years in various roles! What I’ve discovered is believing and relating to customers is relatively easy compared to how exhausting my type A, extroverted bosses and co-workers can are. It’s like hanging out with a bunch of vampires all day and them getting mad when you don’t want your blood sucked! LOL

    I have made it this far because I just put my head down and do what I need to do to make a living at it. Do the right thing, every time, all the time and the rest will come.

    1. Solid advice! Thanks for sharing, Anthony (and nice to meet a fellow INFJ -type!) I completely agree with your approach to sales and think that what you’ve described is precisely why INFJs are very good at sales. We take a more laid back approach. It may not work for Type A people, but I think it comes very naturally to INFJs!

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The Rocky Safari