The Effect of Nonverbal Signals on Student Role-Play Evaluations

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Journal of Marketing Education


Although salespeople have long been urged to recognize and adapt to customer needs and wants by observing communications style and other cues or signals by the buyer, nonverbal communications by the salesperson have received much less empirical scrutiny. However, nonverbal communications may be important in this context; research in several disciplines intimates that nonverbal signals are equally, perhaps more, important than verbal signals in persuasive communications. In a first study, the authors examined the National Collegiate Sales Contest (NCSC) scoring system in a classroom setting, and on finding a distinct nonverbal contribution to total sales presentation variance, they concluded that appropriate nonverbal signals should receive more weighting in the NCSC scoring system. The authors then reviewed the extant literature for a multi-item measure of nonverbal sales behaviors; finding none, they developed a measure of nonverbal sales behavior in role-play presentations in a second study. The article empirically demonstrates the importance of nonverbal signals in student sales presentations for personal selling instructors and practitioners and describes how specific nonverbal signals may apply differentially to aspects of sales presentations.


© The Author(s) 2011 Reprints and permission: DOI: 10.1177/0273475310389153