Using two different samples of salespeople, the authors investigate how a combination of general mental ability (GMA) and specific skills and capabilities (social competence and thinking styles) allows salespeople to reach their sales goals. The study finds evidence for an interaction between GMA and social competence. If combined with high social competence, high GMA leads to highest sales performance; if combined with low social competence, high GMA leads to lowest sales performance. In addition, interaction effects between GMA and a judicial thinking style were found. Salespeople high on GMA have the most potential for attaining high levels of sales performance when combined with specific skills; when lacking these skills they may become the firm’s worst performers.

Additional Metadata
Keywords general mental ability, knowledge, knowledge based marketing, sales, thinking styles
JEL Statistical Decision Theory; Operations Research (jel C44), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Marketing (jel M31)
Publisher Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)
Persistent URL
Verbeke, W.J.M.I, Belschak, F.D, Bakker, A.B, & Dietz, H.M.S. (2008). When Intelligence is (Dys)Functional for Achieving Sales Performance (No. ERS-2008-034-MKT). ERIM report series research in management Erasmus Research Institute of Management. Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM). Retrieved from