In this two-part empirical study, a measure of athletic coachability is adapted and applied to salespeople in a business-to-business sales context. Relationships among salesperson coachability, salesperson trait competitiveness, sales manager leadership style, and sales performance are conceptualized and tested. Results suggest that sales performance is highest when salespeople are highly coachable, highly competitive, and under transformational leadership. Results also suggest that salesperson coachability fully mediates the relationship between transformational leadership and sales performance and partially mediates the relationship between salesperson trait competitiveness and sales performance.
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This article is based on the first author’s original doctoral dissertation and was partially funded by the American Marketing Association Direct Selling Educational Foundation (DSEF) since the author was selected as a winner of the Foundation’s 2007 dissertation proposal competition.
Salesperson coachability scale items
The statements that follow are typical ways that salespeople describe some of their work experiences with their managers and fellow sales team members. Please read each statement and decide how strongly you currently agree or disagree with each statement:
I frequently read books or magazines about selling.
During a sales educational seminar, I am willing to try anything to improve my skills.
I frequently let my manager know how I am doing in terms of improving my sales skills.
I often get advice from my sales team about my selling skills.
I frequently read books about famous sales experts.
When my manager criticizes me, I don’t usually get frustrated or mad.
I frequently seek out new and different sources of information on selling.
The sales representatives I work or train with frequently give me sales advice.
Overall, I have a very good working relationship with my manager.
After the manager gives me sales advice, I work really hard on what he or she told me to do.
I frequently think of ways to improve at selling.
When my manager tells me to correct a mistake I’ve made, I do not take it personally or feel angry and upset.
It is very important for my manager to think of me as a sales rep who is willing to do what it takes to get better.
I learn a lot about selling from the other sales reps.
If my manager criticizes or yells at me, I always correct my mistake without getting frustrated or mad.
I always listen closely to my manager’s instructions during sales meetings.
I trust, without reservation, the training methods of my manager.
I feel totally comfortable sharing my opinions with the manager.
I view the relationship I have with my manager as a partnership.
When my manager criticizes me, I become motivated to work harder.
Watching myself perform on videotape during role-playing is very helpful and productive for me.
I enjoy talking to my sales team members about how to improve my sales skills.
There is always something new to learn in selling.
I am always willing to try new drills or techniques to help improve my sales skills.
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Shannahan, K.L.J., Bush, A.J. & Shannahan, R.J. Are your salespeople coachable? How salesperson coachability, trait competitiveness, and transformational leadership enhance sales performance. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 41, 40–54 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-012-0302-9
- Salesperson coachability
- Sales performance
- Sales coaching
- Personal selling