Title: The use of personal appearance cues to infer sales rep character

Authors: Lawrence L. Garber Jr.; Earl D. Honeycutt Jr.; Michael J. Dotson

Addresses: Department of Marketing, Elon University, 2075 campus Box, Elon, NC 27244, USA ' Department of Marketing, Elon University, 2075 campus Box, Elon, NC 27244, USA ' Department of Marketing, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, USA

Abstract: One hundred sixty-five respondents with prior home-buying experience evaluated female and male realtor photos on 20 sales representative attributes. Correspondence maps were generated and realtors were located as points in attribute space. Those attributes that most differentiated were 'enthusiastic', 'creative', 'trustworthy', and 'strong', indicating that the perceptual spaces generated for male and female realtors and female and male home buyers were homogeneous. Preference vectors overlaid the perceptual spaces, indicating that youthful appearance and the fashionable dress of female realtors favourably connote enthusiasm, optimism and creativity; that older appearance and the traditional dress of male realtors favourably connote enthusiasm and trustworthiness to male home buyers; and that a more youthful appearance and traditional dress of male realtors favourably connote enthusiasm to female home buyers. Theoretical and managerial implications are provided, and future research directions are discussed.

Keywords: personal appearance; attractiveness; grooming; adornment; personal selling; sales representative effectiveness; correspondence analysis; prefmap; visual perception; visual information processing; character inference; sales reps; gender; personal characteristics; home buying; house purchasing; enthusiastic; trustworthy; strong; youthful appearance; fashionable dress; enthusiasm; optimism; creativity; older appearance; traditional dress.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMP.2015.068319

International Journal of Management Practice, 2015 Vol.8 No.1, pp.1 - 20

Available online: 25 Mar 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article