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The Sales Aptitude Test is an 86 item test which measures an individual’s sales aptitude. It consists of 68 multiple choice self report items and 18 adjective descriptive items.
The content of the Sales Aptitude Test was developed to assess behavioral and personality characteristics which have been shown to be important to success in sales occupations. A review of the literature and a thorough job analysis identified seven personal attributes which are relevant to sales effectiveness:
• Achievement Motivation
• Ego Strength
• Self Confidence
These attributes served as the basis for item writing.
The Sales Aptitude Test can be used for purposes of personnel selection and placement for sales and sales management positions. It should be used by qualified personnel who objectively administer and interpret it.
EEO guidelines should be followed when using the Sales Aptitude test for selection. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act (EEO) of 1972 is the principal federal legislation in the area of fair employment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the regulatory agency.
A job analysis was conducted in three sales organizations representative of the electronics, appliance and medical supplies industries. The job analysis included:
1) reviews of job descriptions;
2) job analysis interviews with incumbent sales representatives and sales managers;
3) administration of a job analysis questionnaire.
The questionnaire documented the relative importance of various traits and characteristics in the performance of sales responsibilities. On this basis, seven behavioral and personality traits were documented as important requirements for effective job performance
Achievement Motivation – the internalization of high standards for performance and the preference for working on challenging or difficult tasks. Individuals who are highly motivated to achieve are ambitious and strive to accomplish something important. They are often highly competitive, and they place a priority on winning.
Ego Strength – resilience to criticism, rejection or failure. Individuals with high ego strength have a strong sense of self-worth and like themselves for who they are. Consequently they are able to maintain a positive attitude in the face of failure or rejection.
Energy – behaviors which are characterized by vigor, intensity and endurance. People with high energy level are able to sustain high activity levels for long periods of time. They are not easily fatigued, and they are happiest when they are “on the go.”
Enterprise – the preference for adventurous activities and willingness to take risks that will pay off in a materialistic sense. Enterprising people enjoy working in a competitive business environment where success results in the attainment of power, status and wealth.
Persuasiveness – the need to verbally express oneself with the intent of influencing the behaviors or decisions of others. Highly persuasive individuals gain personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment from influencing, controlling or dominating others.
Self Confidence – the willingness to take action based on the belief that effort will produce desired outcomes. Individuals with a high level of self confidence approach tasks with the belief that their abilities and drive are well matched to the task.
Sociability – the preference for interacting with people during work and recreation. Highly sociable people gain satisfaction from relationships; they are friendly, outgoing, articulate and socially at ease.
Research has shown that the seven characteristics are highly inter-correlated. Analysis with the current instrument shows the items demonstrated a high level of internal consistency. They were judged to cluster around a single factor: sales aptitude. On this basis, the Sales Aptitude Test produces a single score which has been shown to predict successful sales performance in a variety of industries.
Based on the above traits, sales aptitude is characterized by a tough-minded social confidence, a competitive ambition, a need to persuade and influence others and a high level of energy and industry.
Between 1989 and 1993, over 1000 incumbent sales representatives and retail sales managers were tested with the experimental version of the test. Finally, a sample of college students was utilized for conducting item bias analysis and a construct validity study. For a base of 100 items which remained from previous item analyses, a study of item bias was conducted. A combined sample of college students and experienced sales personnel was used. The item bias analysis for gender included 265 males and 265 females. The item bias for race was based on 135 Caucasians and 135 African Americans.
The Mantel-Haenszel technique for assessing differential item performance was utilized for the item bias analysis. A Chi-Square test of statistical significance was conducted with a .01 level of significance used. The results of the analyses for gender and race identified 14 biased items. These items were eliminated from the test. The final form of the Sales Aptitude Test consists of 86 items.
As with any selection tool, however, the SAT should only be used as a tool to assist you in your decision making and not be the number one, determining factor used for hiring or promotion.
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