•  
  •  
 

Abstract

While the role of emotional antecedents of effective selling behavior would be important, the issue has not been fully addressed in the sales literature. To fill this gap, we conceptualize and empirically examine the relationships among salesperson``s emotional regulation processes such as emotional intelligence (EI) and emotional labor (EL), effective selling behavior, and sales performance on the basis of educational, occupational, social psychology literature and marketing literature (e.g., Henning-Thurau, Groth, Paul, and Gremler 2006; Kidwell et al. 2011; Liu et al. 2008; Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso 2008). First, salesperson``s EI is defined as his or her capability that enables correct perceptions about emotional situations in sales interactions. The EI is expected to work as psychological resources for different types of EL (i.e., deep acting and surface acting) to be performed by salesperson as emotional expression strategies (e.g., Lie et al. 2008). It is, then, expected that the features of EL selected by the salesperson would lead to different levels of adaptive selling behavior (ASB) and thereby sales performance (Monaghan 2006). Further, given that salesperson``s customer orientation (CO) is found to be an important correlate of ASB (Franke and Park 2006), it is expected that CO would moderate the relationship between EL and ASB (Rozell, Pettijohn, and Parker 2004). Hence, this research attempts to shed additional light on emotionally-driven (EL) as well as cognitively-driven (CO) antecedents of ASB (Frank and Park 2006). The findings of the survey research, done with 336 salespersons in insurance and financial companies, are summarized as follows. First, salespersons with a high level of EI are found to use both deep acting (regulating the emotions themselves) and surface acting (controlling only emotional expressions) in a versatile way, when implementing EL. Second, the more the salesperson performs deep acting, the more he or she shows ASB. It is, then, important for salespersons to use deep acting more frequently in the EL process in order to enhance the quality of interacting with customers through ASB. On the other hand, the salesperson``s surface acting did not have a significant relationship with ASB. Moreover, CO was found to moderate the relationship between the salesperson``s deep acting and ASB. That is, the context of high CO culture and individual salesperson``s deep acting would synergistically make the selling efforts adaptive to customer preferences. Conceptualizing and empirically verifying the antecedent roles of important emotional constructs such as EI and EL in salesperson``s effective selling behavior (ASB) and sales performance is a major theoretical contribution in the sales literature. Managerially, this research provides a deeper understanding on the nature of tasks performed by salespersons in service industries and a few guidelines for managing the sales force. First, sales organizations had better consciously assess EI capacity in the selection and nurturing processes of salespersons, given that EI can efficiently drive EL and the resulting effective selling behavior and performance. Further, the concept of EL could provide a framework to understand the salespersons`` emotional experiences in depth. Especially, sales organizations may well think over how to develop deep acting capabilities of their sales representatives. In this direction, the training on deep acting strategies would be an essential task for improving effective selling behavior and performance of salespersons. This kind of training had better incorporate the perspectives of customers such that many customers can actually discern whether salespersons are doing either surface acting or deep acting. Finally, based on the synergistic effects of deep acting and CO culture, how to build and sustain CO is always an ever-important task in sales organizations. While the prior sales literature has emphasized the process and structure of highly customer-oriented sales organization, our research not only corroborates the important aspects of customer-oriented sales organization, but also adds the important dimension of competent sales representatives who can resonate with customers by deep acting for sales excellence.

Included in

Marketing Commons

Share

COinS