Personality matters: how adaptive selling skills mediate the effect of personality traits on salespeople’s exploited cross-selling potential

Christian Homburg, Maximilian Knapp, Robin Wagner-Fabisch

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Abstract

This article examines how salespeople’s personality traits influence their adaptive selling skills and exploited cross-selling potential. We collect both a cross-industry and cross-country dataset of 430 salespeople who engage in cross-selling activities. In contrast with prior research on the relationship between personality traits and general sales performance, we find none of the big-five personality traits to have a significant direct effect on the exploited cross-selling potential. However, drawing on the theory of self-monitoring, we find that the big-five traits have dimensionally varying, significant effects on adaptive selling skills. In turn, adaptive selling skills have a significant direct effect on exploited cross-selling potential. Moreover, our analyses reveal that the personality traits conscientiousness and extraversion have indirect positive effects on exploited cross-selling potential. These findings provide beneficial insights for human resources as well as human development practice in both recruiting and training initiatives. In particular, we provide guidance on how to hire and train the best personnel for intensive cross-selling sales positions in firms. In addition, we introduce new perspectives for research on the relationship between personality traits and performance measures by identifying the importance of possible mediators.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Personal Selling and Sales Management
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • cross-selling
  • adaptive selling
  • personality
  • big five
  • traits

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