Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore the linkages among emotional intelligence, relational selling behavior and salesperson performance. Although existing research acknowledges the importance of emotional facets in business relationships, the role of emotional intelligence is poorly understood in the literature on salesperson performance. Design/methodology/approach: Two data sets from business-to-business salespeople in various industrial and service sectors were analyzed with structural equation modeling. Mediation hypotheses were cross validated through a bootstrapping approach with bias-corrected confidence estimates. Findings: The results suggest that two focal types of selling behaviors – namely, adaptive selling and customer-oriented selling – fully mediate the positive relationship between emotional intelligence and salesperson performance. Practical implications: The study offers new insights to sales and marketing managers on how individual capabilities (such as emotional intelligence) can be transformed into high sales performance. Originality/value: Drawing on the ability view of emotional intelligence and highlighting its conative facet, the current research posits that emotional intelligence affects salesperson performance through relational selling behaviors.
- Adaptive selling behavior
- Customer-oriented selling behavior
- Emotional intelligence
- Salesperson performance