n International Retail and Marketing Review - Customer-orientation behaviour : effects on annual income, sales target achievement and subjective evaluation of performance in the Malaysian life insurance industry




Customer-orientation behaviour, which refers to the degree to which salespeople practise the marketing concept by trying to help their customers make purchase decisions that will satisfy their needs, has been acknowledged as an important characteristic of high-performers. Although the utilisation of customer-orientation behaviour has been aggressively promoted by many organisations, a complete understanding of the process is presently lacking. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of customer-orientation behaviour on the performance of life insurance agents in Malaysia. By better understanding the link between this behaviour and sales performance, sales managers should be in a better position to encourage their sales agents to implement customer-orientation effectively in their selling activities. Hypothesised relationships were tested using survey responses from a sample of 445 life insurance agents in Malaysia. Sales agents' performances were measured using objective measures (namely, annual income and sales target achievement) and subjective evaluations of performance. Correlation and multiple regression analysis were used to analyse the data. Results revealed that a positive relationship exists between customerorientation behaviour and sales agents' annual income, as well as subjective evaluations of their performance. Despite the positive relationship, the variance explained was very small. On the other hand, customer-orientation behaviour was found to be unrelated to sales target achievement. Results are compared with earlier findings and implications for future research discussed.


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