The (quiet) ego and sales: Transcending self-interest and its relationship with adaptive selling

Jonathan Ross Gilbert, Michael T. Krush, Kevin J. Trainor, Heidi A. Wayment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


There is consistent empirical support for the benefits of using adaptive selling behaviors with customers. However, the identification of trainable salesperson antecedents remains elusive in practice with respect to what enables salespeople to adapt their behaviors. We suggest that the salesperson's personal resources provide unique, unexplored opportunities in the sales and marketing literature. Specifically, we examine quiet ego, a positive psychological construct, and assert its potential as an explanatory variable for adaptive selling behaviors. Using a job demands-resources framework, we develop a conceptual model to better understand the effects of quiet ego on selling behaviors and salesperson performance. Further, we examine its effects when moderated by a common demand in sales, role conflict. A cross-sectional study that includes data from business-to-business sales professionals is used to test the proposed arguments in the model. Our findings suggest that quiet ego promotes adaptive selling behaviors in customer interactions and indirectly increases sales performance. However, its effects may be limited based on the level of role conflict experienced by the salesperson. A quiet ego may also provide a cost-effective means to assist salespeople in their selling behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-338
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Research
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Adaptive selling behavior
  • Business-to-business (B2B) sales
  • Job demands-resources framework (JD-R)
  • Positive psychology
  • Quiet ego
  • Role conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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