Buyer versus salesperson expectations for an initial B2B sales meeting

Timo Arvid Kaski (Department of Research and Development, Haaga-Helia Ammattikorkeakoulu, Helsinki, Finland)
Pia Hautamaki (Department of Business & Services, Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulu, Tampere, Finland)
Ellen Bolman Pullins (University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, USA)
Heidi Kock (Haaga-Helia Ammattikorkeakoulu, Helsinki, Finland)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Publication date: 6 February 2017



The purpose of this paper to explore the value creation expectations of salespeople and buyers for initial sales meetings and to investigate how such expectations align.


The authors applied expectancy disconfirmation theory and conducted a qualitative study among 12 B2B service salespeople and 12 buyers. The data includes 46 in-depth interviews collected during 2 separate interview rounds.


The authors discovered that buyers’ and sellers’ expectations differ and that buyers’ expectations are not reasonably satisfied. Buyers expect more business acumen, innovativeness, future orientation, long-term relationships and responsiveness to their specific situation from sellers. As salespeople´s salespeople´s expectations to create value for customers primarily stem from the solutions they sell as well as from their personal skills and behavior, there is need for sellers to focus on the gaps indicated in this study.

Research limitations/implications

The paper introduces expectancy disconfirmation theory to the B2B buyer-seller literature.

Practical implications

Identifying where expectations are being met and where they are being negatively disconfirmed can assist in hiring and training salespeople who are better able to meet, or exceed, buyer expectations.


The authors believe that these findings can benefit sales organizations in how they create value with new customers and how salespeople can align their actions with customers more effectively.



Kaski, T., Hautamaki, P., Pullins, E. and Kock, H. (2017), "Buyer versus salesperson expectations for an initial B2B sales meeting", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 46-56.

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