If Looks Could Sell: Moderation and Mediation of the Attractiveness Effect on Salesperson Performance

International Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 269-284, 1999

16 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2010

See all articles by Michael Ahearne

Michael Ahearne

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business

Thomas Gruen

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

Cheryl Jarvis

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale - College of Business

Date Written: 1999

Abstract

This study empirically investigates the effect of perceived salesperson attractiveness on actual salesperson performance, focusing first on the moderating effect of length of the buyer - salesperson relationship and then on the mediating effects of perceived communication ability, likeability, expertise, and trustworthiness on the attractiveness effect. A sample of 339 physicians was surveyed to obtain their evaluations of pharmaceutical company sales representatives’ attractiveness as well as their perceptions of the mediators. Actual brand-by-brand market share data of the subject physicians’ prescriptions was collected as the dependent variable. The results showed that perceived salesperson attractiveness had a significant positive effect on salesperson performance, but the effect was found to diminish as the length of the salesperson-customer relationship increased. Three of the four proposed mediators were found to partially mediate the effect of attractiveness on sales performance.

Keywords: Relationship length; Attractiveness; Performance; Source effects

JEL Classification: M30

Suggested Citation

Ahearne, Michael and Gruen, Thomas W. and Jarvis, Cheryl, If Looks Could Sell: Moderation and Mediation of the Attractiveness Effect on Salesperson Performance (1999). International Journal of Research in Marketing, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 269-284, 1999, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1584809

Michael Ahearne (Contact Author)

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business ( email )

334 Melcher Hall
Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States
713-743-4155 (Phone)
713-743-4572 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bauer.uh.edu/Directory/profile.asp?firstname=Michael&lastname=Ahearne

Thomas W. Gruen

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs ( email )

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7150
United States
719-255-3335 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uccs.edu/tgruen

Cheryl Jarvis

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale - College of Business ( email )

Carbondale, IL 62901-4515
United States

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