Since the inception of the concept, researchers have hypothesized that customer orientation plays a fundamental role in explaining sales performance. However, Franke and Park’s (2006) meta-analysis challenged this notion with findings of a nonsignificant effect of customer orientation on objective sales performance. This counterintuitive result was explained by noting that the impact of customer orientation on objective sales measures may be present in the long run. In this research note, we evaluate that notion by testing a model in which customer orientation is used to predict individual rates-of-change in sales performance over time. Longitudinal salesperson performance in dollars, from the database of a direct selling organization, is merged with survey responses and modeled using an emerging method called latent growth modeling (LGM). Results confirm Franke and Park’s findings that customer orientation has a nonsignificant direct effect on the static initiallevel aspect of objective sales performance. However, as postulated, customer orientation does show a significant direct effect on longitudinal sales performance trajectories. Our findings also suggest that customer-oriented selling’s nonsignificant direct effect on cross-sectional performance may be due to a fully mediated indirect effect through adaptive selling.

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