The salesperson who is engaged in an adaptive selling effort often finds him/herself in a complex circumstance wrought with uncertainty. To negotiate the sales encounter successfully, the individual must call upon perceptual and cognitive skills in order to respond effectively to cues of possible events. The dynamics of this elaborate process are aptly detailed in a framework from psychophysics called “Signal Detection Theory” (SDT). The following article explores the potential contribution that SDT offers for adaptive selling and sales management. Explanations of why SDT is a reasonable addition to the adaptive selling literature are presented, propositions concerning SDT’s role in effective selling are posited, and SDT-related sales management issues and implications are examined.
Knowles, P. A., Grove, S. J., &Keck, K. (1994). Signal detection theory and sales effectiveness. Journal of Personal Selling &Sales Management, 14(2), 1-14.