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Sales Technique and Personality as Correlates of Insurance Sales Success

Barrows, Thomas N.; Gordon, George C.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Individual Characteristics, Insurance, Personality Assessment, Salesmanship


In the insurance industry it has long been accepted that agents who pursue sales leads with whom they have an entre produce outstanding sales performance. A series of interviews with agents suggested, however, that only a relatively small proportion concentrated on such leads. In order to explore this apparent paradox, the present study examined relationships between agents' actual sales and their supervisors' ratings of both their sales approach ("personal" or "impersonal") and a personality characteristic ("ego strength"). The results suggest that the personality variable is generally related to performance while sales approach is not. Possible reasoning which could have led to the apparently incorrect belief is discussed and some suggestions regarding the findings' import for the industry are noted.

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