Based on knowledge-based view of the firm, and salesperson attributions, the purpose of this paper is to develop and test a contingency-based framework featuring how salespeople’s product knowledge: product and brand knowledge (PBK) and competitors’ product and brand knowledge (CPBK) and optimism impact salesperson performance.
Hypotheses are tested on survey data from 185 car salespeople in Southeast USA.
Results document support for the main effects of PBK, CPBK, and their joint effects. Furthermore, under high optimism, the positive impact of CPBK on salesperson performance is attenuated. However, optimism × PBK interaction was not supported.
Extant literature lacks insights into the impact of salespeople’s product knowledge. By examining salespeople’s product knowledge in a disaggregated fashion, and the interaction of product knowledge × optimism, this research highlights the multi-dimensional nature of product knowledge, whose complex ramifications cannot otherwise be uncovered by a globally conceptualized construct.
This study isolates salespeople’s domain-specific knowledge of products from the more global construct of salespeople’s knowledge. The focus on how PBK and CPBK exert a joint positive influence on performance is novel. In addition, by examining how optimism weakens the relationship between CPBK and performance, this research provides a notable contrast to extant findings and broadens the learned optimism paradigm.
Sangtani, V. and Murshed, F. (2017), "Product knowledge and salesperson performance: rethinking the role of optimism", Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 724-739. https://doi.org/10.1108/MIP-11-2016-0199Download as .RIS
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