Title

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

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 1998

Abstract

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, theoretical foundations are provided for: 1. investigating salesperson preferences for selling to similar; and 2. exploring the dynamic nature of these preferences as they relate to sales performance. The results of an insurance sales sample 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 is the sales dyad was found to actually enhance performance.