Marketing Faculty Publications and Presentations

Building customer relationships while achieving sales performance results: Is listening the holy grail of sales?

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Despite its importance in sales, listening is an overlooked concept in research with limited empirical studies examining the construct since the work conducted by Castleberry and Shepherd (1993) and Ramsey and Sohi (1997). Knowledge of the role listening plays in sales and the processes involved in explaining listening in relationship performance is limited with many discrepancies identified between studies. Using meta-analytical techniques, this study summarizes approximately 20 years of research on salesperson listening. The study developed a meta-analytical model based on the marketing and psychology literature to build an underlying framework for listening theory, advance research in listening, and provide theoretical and managerial implications. The obtained results show that customer-oriented salespeople express their care toward customers through listening, which helps them adapt their selling behaviors to fit customers' demands. Salesperson relational and sales outcomes are driven by listening through direct and mediated mechanisms.


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Journal of Business Research