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Determining relationship skills of prospective salespeople

Michael K. Rich (Professor, School of Management, Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta, Georgia, USA)
Daniel C. Smith (Associate Professor and the Clare W. Barker Eminent Scholar in Marketing, School of Business, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 1 July 2000



With the increased emphasis on establishing long‐term customer relationships in the selling process, greater emphasis needs to be placed on hiring salespeople that possess skills in identifying communication characteristics in prospects. This identification process is an essential first step in the salesperson being able to adapt his or her behavior to permit a greater comfort level to be experienced by the prospect with subsequent trust being established over an extended period of time. Additionally, those sales situations where the activity is more transaction oriented, the identification skill of the salesperson is critical since the time duration of the dyadic relationship is limited and trust must be established quickly in order to consummate the sale. This research indicates that individuals with higher levels of responsiveness tend to exhibit greater identification skills than those with lower levels. These findings should prove useful to sales managers desiring to hire salespeople with strong “people skills”, to facilitate developing meaningful long‐term relationships with prospects.



Rich, M.K. and Smith, D.C. (2000), "Determining relationship skills of prospective salespeople", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 242-259.




Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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