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Course: MBA

Subject: Customer Relationship Management

Assignment: Adaptive selling
Submitted By: Farhan Abid
Submitted To: Sir Amjad

Adaptive Selling
This is an excerpt from the paper...

Adaptive selling, the manner in which the salesperson

engaged in personal selling tailors the sales presentation
to the customer, appears deceptively simple, so much so
that it became an area for intensive sales research
relatively recently. A look at some studies reveals
complexities that both demonstrate its essential role in
sales effectiveness and demand further research.

Perhaps because the one-on-one interaction of

salesperson with customer dates back centuries to the
earliest bazaars and markets of antiquity, this crucial
connection was long taken for granted. When examined
apart from often-studied areas of research such as role
perception and motivation, sales ability has been treated
as if it were an inborn and innate talent.

In their influential mid-1980s study (Weitz et al., 1986,

pp. 174-191), three Journal of Marketing authors not
only examine sales ability: through a careful analysis of
the ways sales people learn to adapt their behaviors
effectively in the personal selling situation, they find
guidelines for developing useful strategies for training
and managing sales people and improving sales
As the authors state, personal selling is "the only
communication vehicle in which the marketing message
can be adapted to the specific customer's needs and
beliefs. Sales people have the opportunity to do 'market
research' on each customer and implement a sales
presentation that is maximally effective for that
customer" (Weitz et al., 1986, p. 174)

tentatively applied mid-1980s theories about
organizational culture to management of the adaptive
sales situation, concluding that organizations that
encouraged employee independence and
experimentation and encouraged long-term employment
would also provide the most supportive environments
for adaptive selling. Building on this framework, later
analysts attempted to develop tools for measuring both
adaptive selling and the varying adaptive selling abilities
of individual salespeople. Some researchers have begun
to examine adaptive selling ability in the light of
demographic factors such as gender, age, sales
experience and education. A later paper by Barton A.
Weitz, writing with another colleague, Rosann L. Spiro,
attempted to build on his earlier research by developing
a 16-item scale that would measure the degree to which
salespeople practice adaptive selling. Initial hypotheses
in this research identified several important factors that
affected salespeople's adaptive selling ability: empathic
ability, self-monitoring, social confidence and the
salespersons' beliefs that their actions can have positive
effects on the rewards they receive, or what Weitz and
Spiro called "the locus of control" (Spiro & Weitz, 1990,
pp. 62-64).