An Exploratory Study of Gender and Age Matching in the Salesperson-Prospective Customer Dyad: Testing Similarity-Performance Predictions

Dwyer, Sean; Richard, Orlando; Shepherd, C. David
September 1998
Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management;Fall98, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p55
Academic Journal
The increasingly diversified composition of the sales force poses one of the most challenging organizational issues of our time. Employing similarity-attraction theory and social identity theory, this study provides theoretical foundations for: (1) investigating salesperson preferences for selling to similar others; and (2) exploring the dynamic nature of these preferences as they relate to sales performance. The results of an empirical study using a sample drawn from insurance sales indicated that salespeople are primarily attracted to prospects who are similar to themselves in terms of age and gender. However, contrary to predictions, buyer/seller age similarity was found to have no impact on sales performance, while gender mismatch in the sales dyad was found to actually enhance performance.


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