Decision making in personal selling: Testing the "K.I.S.S. principle"

Gerrard Macintosh, James W. Gentry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid) is often cited as an effective strategy in selling. The premise is that salespeople are more effective when they stick to basics and do not unnecessarily complicate that which is not necessarily complicated. This study tests the KISS principle in the context of salesperson decision making in the prospecting stage of the selling process. Two general research questions are addressed (1) does a simple versus more complex process affect outcomes of decisions made by salespeople, and (2) if so, whom does it affect? The results suggest that process does influence outcome and that lower-performing salespeople's decisions are most likely to be affected by the decision process used. Higher performers seem to be able to focus on key characteristics of sales prospects regardless of the complexity of the decision task, suggesting that higher performers, at least implicitly, know when to keep it simple.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-408
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing


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