Selling Behaviors and Sales Performance: The Moderating and Mediating Effects of Interpersonal Mentalizing

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Chakrabarty, Subhra
Widing II, Robert
Brown, Gene
Journal Article
A random sample of independent insurance agents was surveyed to explore the relationships among learned behaviours, such as, adaptive selling and customer orientation and personal dispositions, such as, interpersonal mentalizing in predicting sales performance. The primary focus of this research was to reexamine salespeople's theory of mind in a broader theoretical base of human abilities. The results confirmed that the dimensions of interpersonal mentalizing, such as, taking a bird's-eye view, shaping the interaction by creating a positive ambience, detecting nonverbal cues and rapport building have different roles for the effectiveness of selling behaviours. While taking a bird's-eye view was a moderator, creating a positive ambience was a mediator of the relationship between selling behaviours and performance. Furthermore, salespeople's ability to build rapport improved sales performance only when they were able to detect nonverbal cues from customers. Taken together, these findings shed light on the complementary role of autonomous abilities of salespeople in improving the productivity of their learned selling behaviours. Several managerial implications were derived from the findings.