Hiring individuals with the traits to succeed as professional salespeople is critical for the success of selling organizations. Better understanding the roles of individual traits (e.g., conscientiousness, extroversion, and self-efficacy) in explaining sales performance can lead to better hiring decisions. Based on the distal-proximal theoretical framework of motivation, we predict that conscientiousness and extroversion, as distal traits, have a mediated effect on sales performance through the proximal motivational factor of self-efficacy. Using data consisting of 980 responses from salespeople working for one of the largest insurance companies in South Korea, we find strong support for our hypotheses, and our results lend support for the distal-proximal theory. Conclusions, implications for managers and researchers, and directions for future research are discussed. Link to the article
KIM, Y., YANG, B. and MCFARLAND, R. (2011). Individual Differences and Sales Performance: A Distal-proximal Mediation Model of Self-efficacy, Conscientiousness, and Extraversion. Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 31(4), pp. 371-381.