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Salesperson attributes that influence consumer perceptions of sales interactions

J. Ricky Fergurson (Department of Marketing and Operations, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana, USA)
John T. Gironda (Department of Marketing, Cameron School of Business, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA)
Maria Petrescu (Department of Business Administratioin, College of Business, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida, USA)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 24 August 2021

Issue publication date: 22 September 2021




This paper aims to examine how modern, digital era customers in a business-to-consumer (B2C) setting prioritize salesperson-customer orientation attributes when evaluating their expectations regarding interactions with salespeople, as well as their impact on positive and negative word-of-mouth. In addition, the research further investigates which negative salesperson attributes have an impact on overall customer experience and satisfaction.


Role theory and expectancy-disconfirmation theory form the theoretical foundation for two mixed-method studies. Study 1 is an exploratory content analysis of online consumer reviews and social media word-of-mouth related to consumer experiences with salespeople. Study 2 is a three-round Delphi study investigating which salesperson orientation attributes are most important to the customer in B2C interactions.


The results uncover which salesperson customer orientation attributes are essential for modern consumers and how they differ as a function of context (retail, direct-selling and follow-up) and how they contribute to the generation of digital word-of-mouth.


This paper expands B2C sales interaction literature by exploring the need for differing sales attributes based on the differential function of the shopping environment.



Fergurson, J.R., Gironda, J.T. and Petrescu, M. (2021), "Salesperson attributes that influence consumer perceptions of sales interactions", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 652-663.



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