Sales Hiring Tips: Snobby Salespeople Sell More (Sometimes)

Louis-Vuitton-Store-LineupCounterintuitive to everything you think you know about selling— new research from the Sauder School of Business shows snobby salespeople increase sales. What does this mean for your sales team?

In the study, participants had interactions with sales representatives – rude or not. They then rated their feelings about associated brands and their desire to own them. Participants who expressed an aspiration to be associated with high-end brands also reported an increased desire to own the luxury products after being treated poorly.

With a catchy title and unanticipated findings, it’s no surprise the study is getting a lot of attention. Yet, what is truly interesting about this emerging research is the underlying question it asks— does anyone really know what works in sales?

Marketing Prof. and researcher  goes on to discuss the specific conditions in which the snobby salesperson succeeds, “Our study shows you’ve got to be the right kind of snob in the right kind of store for the effect to work.” This suggests there may not be such a thing as a bad salesperson but rather a salesperson in the wrong role.

So what’s a hiring manager to do? Before you drop your existing team and hire the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, consider adopting a data-backed approach for your sales hiring. What works for Prada may not work for your B2B software company. The only way to know what works at your company is to test, test and then test again. Psychometric assessments have proved to be very useful in understanding what type of selling works at your company. By assessing your current sales superstars you can determine the ideal salesperson profile for your specific organization, in any specific role.

No clue where to start? Check out the 5 Sales Personality Traits You Need to Assess When Hiring. Happy closing!


The study, Should the Devil Sell Prada? Retail Rejection Increases Aspiring Consumers’ Desire for the Brand, will appear in the October 2014 edition of the Journal of Consumer Research. Co-authored by Assistant Prof. Morgan Ward of the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

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Kayla Kozan

Kayla Kozan

Director of Marketing at Ideal
Kayla spent the last few years studying Marketing and Entrepreneurship on 3 different continents. Now covering the latest in predictive analytics, workplace diversity and big data. She has a keen interest in tech and discovering underrated brunch spots.
Kayla Kozan