The goals of this paper are twofold: (a) to test the multidimensional structure of the listening construct and (b) to identify major consequences of perceived salesperson listening effectiveness. A survey was completed by more than 400 buyer–seller dyads. Following structural equations modelling analyses, results show that customers’ perceptions of listening effectiveness is positively (and strongly) associated with service quality, trust, satisfaction, word-of-mouth propensity, purchase intentions and sales performance. Numerous managerial implications are proposed to entice organisations to emphasise salespeople listening skills as a competitive advantage. Research opportunities are also presented to accrue academic efforts in understanding the truly rich role of listening.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Lapp, C. L. (1985) Are you listening? American Salesman 30 (November): 26–30.
Ingram, T. N., Schwepker Jr, C. H. and Hutson, D. (1992) Why salespeople fail? Industrial Marketing Management 21 (August): 225–230.
Wall Street Journal. (1990) Talk, talk, talk, talk: Try a little listening. 22 March: pp. B1.
Morgan, F. W. and Stoltman, J. J. (1990) Adaptive selling – Insights from social cognition. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 10 (Fall): 43–54.
Comer, L. B. and Drollinger, T. (1999) Active empathetic listening and selling success: A conceptual framework. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 19 (1): 15–29.
Ramsey, R. P. and Sohi, R. S. (1997) Listening to your customers: The impact of perceived salesperson listening behavior on relationship outcomes. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Sciences 25 (Spring): 127–137.
De Ruyter, K. and Wetzels, M. G. M. (2000) The impact of perceived listening behavior on voice-to-voice service encounters. Journal of Service Research 2 (3): 276–283.
Wolvin, A. D. and Coakley, C. G. (1985) Listening. Dubuque, IA: Wm C Brown.
Glenn, E. C. (1989) A content analysis of fifty definitions of listening. International Journal of Listening 3: 21–31.
Cegala, D. J, Savage, G. T., Brunner, C. C. and Conrad, A. B. (1982) An elaboration of the meaning of interaction involvement. Communication Monographs 49 (December): 229–248.
Steil, L. K., Barker, L. L. and Watson, K. W. (1983) Effective Listening: Key to Your Success. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Brownell, J. (1994) Managerial listening and career development in the hospitality industry. International Journal of Listening 8: 31–49.
Anderson, C. M. and Mathew, M. M. (1995) The effects of communication motives, interaction involvement, and communication loneliness on satisfaction. Small Group Research 26 (1): 118–137.
Boorom, M. L., Goolsby, J. R. and Ramsey, R. P. (1998) Relational communication traits and their effect on adaptiveness and sales performance. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 26 (Winter): 16–30.
Castleberry, S. B., Shepherd, C. D. and Ridnour, R. (1999) Effective interpersonal listening in the personal selling environment: Conceptualization, measurement, and nomological validity. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice 7 (1): 30–38.
Hunt, M. (1983) The Universe Within: A New Science Explores the Human Mind. New-York: Simon and Schuster.
Rhodes, S. C., Watson, K. W. and Barker, L. L. (1990) Listening assessment: Trends and influencing factors in the 1980's. International Journal of Listening 4: 62–82.
Brownell, J. (2002) Listening: Attitudes, Principles, and Skills. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Fitch-Hauser, M. and Hughes, M. A. (1992) The conceptualization and measurement of listening. International Journal of Listening 6: 6–22.
Morgan, R. M. and Hunt, S. D. (1994) The commitment-trust theory of relationship marketing. Journal of Marketing 58 (3): 20–38.
Swan, J. E. and Oliver, R. L. (1991) An applied analysis of buyer equity perceptions and satisfaction with automobile salespeople. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 11 (2): 15–26.
Covey, S. R. (1987) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New-York: Simon and Schuster.
Zeithaml, V. A. (1988) Consumer perceptions of price, quality and value: A means-end model and synthesis of evidence. Journal of Marketing 52 (July): 2–22.
Bitner, M. J. and Hubbert, A. R. (1994) Encounter satisfaction versus overall satisfaction versus quality. In: R.T. Rust and R.L. Oliver (eds.) Service Quality: New Directions in Theory and Practice. London: Sage Publications.
Parasuraman, A., Zeithaml, V. A. and Berry, L. L. (1985) A conceptual model of service quality and its implications for future research. Journal of Marketing 49 (Fall): 41–50.
Brownell, J. (1996) Getting quality out on the street – A case of show and tell. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly 37 (1): 28–33.
Bauer, R. A. (1960) Consumer behavior as risk taking. In: R.L. Hancock (ed.) Dynamic Marketing for a Changing World. Chicago, IL: American Marketing Association.
Laroche, M., Bergeron, J. and Goutaland, C. (2003) How intangibility affects perceived risk: The moderating role of knowledge and involvement. Journal of Services Marketing 17 (2): 122–140.
Szymanski, D. M. and Henard, D. H. (2001) Customer satisfaction: A meta-analysis of the empirical evidence. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 29 (1): 16–35.
Behrman, D. N. and Perreault Jr., W. D. (1982) Measuring the performance of industrial salespersons. Journal of Business Research 10 (September): 355–370.
Lau, G. T. and Ng, S. (2001) Individual and situational factors influencing negative word-of-mouth behavior. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences 18 (3): 163–178.
Mowen, J. C. and Minor, M. (1998) Consumer Behavior. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Anderson, E. R., William, T. and Weitz, B. (1998) Commitment and its consequences in the American agency system of selling insurance. Journal of Risk Insurance 65 (4): 637–669.
Sharma, A., Tzokas, N., Saren, M. and Kyziridis, P. (1999) Antecedents and consequences of relationship marketing: Insights from business service salespeople. Industrial Marketing Management 28 (6): 601–611.
Shepherd, C. D., Castleberry, S. B. and Ridnour, R. E. (1997) Linking effective listening with salesperson performance: An exploratory investigation. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing 12 (5): 315–322.
Macintosh, G., Anglin, K. A., Szymanski, D. M. and Gentry, J. W. (1992) Relationship development in selling: A cognitive analysis. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 12 (4): 23–34.
Farh, J. L., Werbel, J. D. and Bedeian, A. G. (1988) An empirical investigation of self-appraisal-based performance evaluation. Personnel Psychology 41 (Spring): 141–156.
Cronin, J. J. (1994) Analysis of the buyer–seller dyad: The social relations model. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 14 (3): 69–77.
Schneider, K. C. and Johnson, J. C. (1995) Stimulating response to market surveys of business professionals. Industrial Marketing Management 24 (4): 265–276.
Dillman, D. A. (1978) Mail and Telephone Surveys: The Total Design Method. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Angur, M. G. and Nataraajan, R. (1995) Do source of mailing and monetary incentives matter in international industrial mail surveys? Industrial Marketing Management 24 (5): 351–357.
Faria, A. J. and Dickinson, J. R. (1996) The effect of reassured anonymity and sponsor on mail survey response rate and speed with a business population. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing 11 (1): 66–76.
Claycomb, C. P., Stephen, S. and Martin, C. L. (2000) Riding the wave: Response rates and the effects of time intervals between successive mail survey follow-up efforts. Journal of Business Research 48 (2): 157–162.
Fornell, C. and Larcker, D. F. (1981) Evaluating structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error. Journal of Marketing Research 18 (February): 39–50.
Richardson, L. D., Swan, J. E. and McInnis-Bowers, C. (1994) Sampling and data collection methods in sales force research: Issues and recommendations for improvement. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 14 (4): 31–39.
Armstrong, S. J. and Overton, T. (1977) Estimating nonresponse bias in mail surveys. Journal of Marketing Research 14 (3): 396–402.
Bentler, P. M. (1992) EQS: Structural Equations Program Manual. Los Angeles, CA: BMDP Statistical Software.
Byrne, B. (1994) Structural Equation Modeling with EQS and EQS/Windows. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Cox, D. and Cox, A. D. (2002) Beyond first impressions: The effects of repeated exposure on consumer liking of visually complex and simple product designs. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 30 (2): 119–130.
Baumgartner, H. and Homburg, C. (1996) Applications of structural equation modeling in marketing and consumer research: A review. International Journal of Research in Marketing 13 (2): 139–161.
Churchill Jr, G. A. (1979) A Paradigm for developing better measures of marketing constructs. Journal of Marketing Research 16 (February): 64–73.
McKelvey, W. W. (1976) An Approach for Developing Shorter and Better Measuring Instruments. Graduate School of Management, UCLA. Working Paper 76-6.
Peterson, R. A. (1994) A meta-analysis of Cronbach's coefficient alpha. Journal of Consumer Research 21 (2): 381–391.
Bagozzi, R. P. and Yi, Y. (1988) On the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 16 (1): 74–79.
Wheaton, R. B., Muthen, B., Alwin, D. F. and Summers, G. F. (1977) Assessing reliability and stability in panel models. In: D.R. Heise (ed.) Sociological Methodology. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass, pp. 84–136.
Anderson, J. C. and Gerbing, D. W. (1988) Structural equation modeling in practice: A review and recommended two step approach. Psychological Bulletin 103 (May): 411–423.
Peter, J. P. (1981) Construct validity: A review of basic issues and marketing practices. Journal of Marketing Research 18 (May): 133–145.
Bagozzi, R. P. and Philips, L. W. (1982) Representing and testing organizational theories. Administrative Science Quarterly 27 (3): 459–489.
Castleberry, S. B. and Shepherd, C. D. (1993) Effective interpersonal listening and personal selling. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 8 (Winter): 35–49.
Rogers, C. R. (1959) A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relationships as developed in the client-centered framework. In: S. Kock (ed.) Psychology: A Study of a Science. New York: McGraw Hill.
Szymanski, D. M. and Churchill Jr, G. A. (1990) Client evaluation cues: A comparison of successful and unsuccessful salespeople. Journal of Marketing Research 27 (2): 163–174.
Churchill Jr, G. A., Ford, N. M., Hartley, S. W. and Walker Jr, O. C. (1985) The determinants of salesperson performance: A meta-analysis. Journal of Marketing Research 22 (May): 103–118.
Ricard, L. and Perrien, J. (1999) Explaining and evaluating the implementation of organizational relationship marketing in the banking industry: Clients’ perception. Journal of Business Research 45 (2): 199–209.
Calder, B. J., Phillips, L. W. and Tybout, A. M. (1981) Designing research for application. Journal of Consumer Research 8 (September): 197–207.
Weilbaker, D. C. (1990) The identification of selling abilities needed for missionary per sales. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 10 (3): 45–58.
Barker, D. R. and Fitch-Hauser, M. (1986) Variables Related to the Processing and Reception of Information as Published in Ten Selected Psychology Journals. Research Talk Force of the International Listening Association, San Diego, CA.
Steil, L. K., Summerfield, J. and de Mare, G. (1983) Listening: It Can Change Your Life. New-York: John Wiley and Sons.
Lefcourt, H. M., Martin, R. A., Fick, C. M. and Saleh, W. E. (1985) Locus of control for affiliation and behavior in social interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 48 (March): 755–759.
Coakley, C. G., Halone, K. K. and Wolvin, A. D. (1996) Perceptions of listening ability across the life-span: Implications for understanding listening competence. International Journal of Listening 10: 21–48.
Boorom, M. L. (1994) Involved listening as a salesperson skill variable and its impact upon adaptive selling and sales performance. Dissertation. University of South Florida.
The authors acknowledge the support of the organisations who participated in this study. The authors are also grateful for the financial support offered by the Financial Services Research Chair of the University of Quebec in Montreal.
About this article
Cite this article
Bergeron, J., Laroche, M. The effects of perceived salesperson listening effectiveness in the financial industry. J Financ Serv Mark 14, 6–25 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1057/fsm.2009.1
- financial institutions