What Drives Sales Success? A Closer Look into Salespeople’s Genetic Make-up and Personality

Christian Winter, Nicolas Zacharias, Ad de Jong, Johannes Habel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Canvassing and closing – the beginning and the end of the sales cycle – are moments of potential rejection and involve significant amounts of stress for salespeople. Some salespeople react with procrastination and absenteeism, while others do not. Drawing on differential susceptibility theory and stress research, this study investigates which combinations of carrying the Serotonin Transporter Gene S allele (SERT S) and the psychological traits of sensation seeking and neuroticism are beneficial in sales contexts. Based on a rich sample of genetic information and survey data from 594 salespeople, the empirical results confirm the hypotheses that carrying SERT S only yields positive effects on canvassing and closing if sensation seeking is high. If neuroticism is high, the effect of carrying SERT S is negative. Thereby, the study contributes to psychological stress research and provides actionable implications for sales managers and HR professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the European Marketing Academy (EMAC) Conference 2021 : Marketing for Growth
EditorsAbel Monfort
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBrussels
PublisherEuropean Marketing Academy. EMAC
Publication date2021
Article number93457
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventThe 50th EMAC Annual Conference 2021 - ESIC Business & Marketing School, Madrid, Spain
Duration: 25 May 202128 May 2021
Conference number: 50


ConferenceThe 50th EMAC Annual Conference 2021
LocationESIC Business & Marketing School
Internet address


  • Serotonin transporter gene (SERT)
  • Personality
  • Eustress

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