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Maria Rouziou

What’s the impact of a salesperson’s ‘grit’?

This research examines the effect of ‘grit’ – perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals –on salesperson performance and job satisfaction. While grit is usually studied in psychology and education, this research highlights its importance in business-related contexts, such as for salespeople, and shows that grit is a key driver of salesperson performance and job satisfaction.

What You Need to Know

From Thomas Edison to Walt Disney, there are numerous historical examples of gritty individuals persevering and ultimately, excelling. In spite of the success of gritty individuals, researchers have recently started looking at the outcomes of grit for employees. This article explores grit in the context of B2B salespeople, a challenging and competitive field typified by frequent buyer rejection and length buying cycles. The study highlights how grit not only positively impacts salespeople’s performance, but also gives them a higher sense of job satisfaction.

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What Did the Researchers Do?

Riley Dugan, Bryan Hochstein, Maria Rouziou and Benjamin Britton ask: grit has shown to be an important factor of success in many different contexts, but why has its role not been studied for salespeople? To answer that, they first explored the literature from across disciplines, academic disciplines –from exercise science to neuropsychology –to help explain the phenomena of grit and how it differs from other similar characteristics. The researchers then conducted a survey with the employees of a large B2B firm and collected objective performance data from the firm. In addition to grit, they also investigated the roles that employees’ self-efficacy (self-confidence), social astuteness and competitiveness play.

What Did the Researchers Find?

Through their analysis, the researchers demonstrate that gritty salespeople perform better and enjoy greater job satisfaction than their less gritty counterparts. Moreover, they also find that self-efficacy, particularly when coupled with social astuteness, and competitiveness can foster grit. Interestingly though, the positive effect of grit on performance can weaken when salespeople also score high on need for power, revealing a potential dark side to grit.

How Can You Use This Research?

This is a valuable piece of research for any firm in general, but for firms employing salespeople in particular. Companies can use these findings to develop and nourish employee grit and other key characteristics discussed in this research. The article makes recommendations that could be very useful in recruitment and hiring, but also in training employees.

Want to Know More?

Contact: Maria Rouziou

Article citation: Dugan, R., Hochstein, B., Rouziou, M., & Britton, B. (2018). Gritting their teeth to close the sale: the positive effect of salesperson grit on job satisfaction and performance. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, https://doi.org/10.1080/08853134.2018.1489726 

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