Emotional Calibration and Salesperson Performance

Blair Kidwell, Jonathan Hasford, Broderick Turner, David M. Hardesty, Alex Ricardo Zablah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The authors propose that the emotional intelligence–sales performance link can be better understood by considering a salesperson’s confidence in how they use emotions, known as emotional self-efficacy (ESE). Four multisource studies across diverse sales industries offer evidence of the interactive effect of a salesperson’s emotional intelligence and ESE—which the authors term “emotional calibration”—on salesperson performance. They find that sales performance suffers when salespeople are either overconfident or underconfident in their emotional skills and that salespeople perform best when they are calibrated. Further, the authors demonstrate that the performance gains associated with emotional calibration (1) are attenuated when salespeople are under stress and (2) occur because emotional calibration encourages positive avoidance emotions (calmness and relaxation) among salespeople that result in improved customer rapport, but only among salespeople with relatively longer job tenures. Overall, the research highlights the critical role of ESE as an essential but neglected aspect of a salesperson’s emotional competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-161
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Marketing Association 2021.


  • customer rapport
  • emotional intelligence
  • emotional self-efficacy
  • positive avoidance
  • salesperson performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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