The goal of this study is to develop and test a conceptualization of sales call anxiety (SCA) on the basis of current insights from the cognitive approach to social anxiety. Sales call anxiety is an irrepressible fear of being negatively evaluated and rejected by a customer, and it is coupled with a desire to avoid undertaking specific functional actions in selling situations. The authors present and test a model of SCA in two selling situations known to have threatening consequences for salespeople: canvasing and closing. The authors find that SCA consists of four components: negative self-evaluations, negative evaluations from customers, awareness of physiological symptoms (e.g., a queasy stomach, shaky voice, blushing), and protective actions (e.g., avoiding eye contact, fiddling with the hands, shunning self-disclosures). The authors show that these dimensions are functions of negative affectivity and anxiety-provoking contextual cues and that they negatively influenced the performance of 189 mortgage salespeople.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal of Marketing
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Verbeke, W., & Bagozzi, R. (2000). Sales Call Anxiety: Exploring What It Means When Fear Rules a Sales Encounter. Journal of Marketing, 88–101. Retrieved from