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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Richard A. Rocco and Alan J. Bush

This paper aims to understand an emerging paradigm for business-to-business selling, Sales 2.0, which connects various enabling technologies within leading sales processes…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to understand an emerging paradigm for business-to-business selling, Sales 2.0, which connects various enabling technologies within leading sales processes to drive improved business and relational outcomes. In the context of Sales 2.0, this paper addresses the need for buyer–seller dyadic sales research in the literature and highlights the importance of understanding buyer and seller perspectives regarding technology expectations and relationship-building performance.

Design/methodology/approach

This research utilizes a dyadic (salesperson–customer) data collection methodology, involving 74 matched salesperson and customer responses (37 dyads) to an online survey. Existing salesperson (self-report) measures of customer technology expectations and relationship-building performance with customers were utilized and adapted to provide dyadic measures to test for buyer–seller perceptual differences.

Findings

The dyadic data analysis supports the presence of significant perceptual differences between the salesperson and their customer, respective of customer technology expectations and relationship-building performance measures. In particular, the analysis reveals bidirectional perceptual differences for the two measures, whereas the salesperson underestimates the importance of their customer’s technology expectations, but overestimates their relational performance relative to their customers.

Originality/value

As technology continues to transform salesperson interactions with customers, the value of capturing a deeper understanding about those interactions increases. This study uses matched salesperson–customer dyads from a health-care sales organization to provide researchers and practitioners with insightful findings with respect to buyer–seller interactions and perceptual differences. Further, the research uniquely advances dyadic measures of customer technology expectations and relationship-building performance with customers to advance sales research in the context of Sales 2.0.

Details

Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7122

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1998

Claire Gillis, Leyland Pitt, Matthew J. Robson and Pierre Berthon

The “Sales Orientation‐Customer Orientation (SOCO)” scale, is a popular and insightful measure used for determining the degree to which salespeople have a…

Abstract

The “Sales Orientation‐Customer Orientation (SOCO)” scale, is a popular and insightful measure used for determining the degree to which salespeople have a long‐term‐oriented, customer‐focused selling approach. Endeavours to investigate applicability of the SOCO scale in the context of the pharmaceutical industry’s salesperson‐general practitioner relationship. Found that the SOCO scale possesses reliability. Furthermore, discovers a significant rift between a salesperson’s perception of his/her orientation and their customer’s perception of his/her particular orientation.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2021

Michel Klein

The concept of emotional labor refers to the management of emotions in interaction with customers. This study aims to suggest an integrative definition of emotional labor…

Abstract

Purpose

The concept of emotional labor refers to the management of emotions in interaction with customers. This study aims to suggest an integrative definition of emotional labor. It develops a conceptual framework that helps organize and synthesize key insights from the literature, in an interactional and multi-level perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

This integrated framework consists in a mapping of key research themes resulting from a systematic literature review, which includes research in sales and marketing. As critical affective processes in sales have not been studied sufficiently, both in business-to-business and business-to-customer selling, this review also incorporates works in other research fields.

Findings

Sales representatives’ emotional labor must be considered as a bi-directional interaction with the customer in a multi-level perspective. Moreover, emotional labor has rather negative consequences for the salesperson (e.g. burnout and job stress), but may have positive sales and customer outcomes. Findings suggest that the expression of genuine emotions should be used during sales interactions. In addition, organizations should prevent customers’ negative behaviors (e.g. mistreatment).

Practical implications

Emotional labor key practical implications with regard to several management functions such as the recruitment, performance management and training (Ashkanasy and Daus, 2002) of the sales representatives.

Originality/value

Research on emotional labor in a sales ecosystem is scarce. It has largely covered service industry employees in contact with customers, but has not paid enough attention to sales representatives (Mikeska et al., 2015). The proposed integrated framework concerning emotional labor focuses on the bi-directional interaction between the sales representatives and their customers.

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Duleep Delpechitre and Lisa Beeler

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how salesperson’s emotional intelligence (EI) influences salesperson behaviors (i.e. emotional labor strategies) and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how salesperson’s emotional intelligence (EI) influences salesperson behaviors (i.e. emotional labor strategies) and the influence these behavioral strategies have on customer’s outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The study develops a conceptual model using past literature and tests hypotheses using a salesperson-prospective customer dyadic sample. To participate in the study, 224 salespeople and their potential customers were recruited from three different companies.

Findings

Results reveal the importance of conceptualizing the dimensionality of a salesperson’s EI ability, as different dimensions impact customer outcomes differently. Additionally, the importance of salesperson’s authentic emotional labor strategies is highlighted.

Practical implications

EI is a foundation for successful selling in a business-to-business environment, but it is not a silver bullet. Sales managers and recruiters should use assessment tools to evaluate sales recruit’s EI, but it is also critical to train salespeople to engage in deep acting, creating authentic emotions in the buyer-seller relationship.

Originality/value

Using a dyadic sample, this study suggests that the dimensions of EI and emotional labor strategies influence customer’s perception of salesperson’s trustworthiness and propensity to continue the relationship with the salesperson differently. Specifically, not all dimensions of salesperson’s EI is found to be positive, and only salesperson’s authentic (deep) emotional strategies are found to influence customer outcomes positively.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2019

Magnus Hultman, Abena Animwaa Yeboah-Banin and Nathaniel Boso

Contemporary sales scholarship suggests that salespersons pursuing customer satisfaction should improvise (think and act on their feet) to find solutions to customers…

Abstract

Purpose

Contemporary sales scholarship suggests that salespersons pursuing customer satisfaction should improvise (think and act on their feet) to find solutions to customers’ emergent problems. A missing link in this literature, however, is the relational context within which improvisation takes place and becomes effective. This study aims to examine how the tone of the salesperson–customer relationship (whether cordial or coercive) drives and conditions salesperson improvisation and its implications for customer satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

The study tests the proposed model using dyadic salesperson–customer data from business-to-business (B2B) markets in Ghana. The relationships are tested using structural equation modeling technique.

Findings

The study finds that salesperson improvisation is associated with customer satisfaction. It also finds the extent of cordiality between salespersons and their customers predicts but does not enhance the value of improvisation for customer satisfaction. The reverse is true for customer exercised coercive power which is not a significant driver of improvisation but can substantially alter its benefits for the worse.

Practical implications

By implication, salespersons should improvise more to be able to satisfy customers. However, such improvisation must be tempered with a consciousness of the relationship shared with customers and the level of power they exercise in the relationship.

Originality/value

Because improvised behavior deviates from routines and may be unsettling for customers, improvising salespersons must first understand whether their customers would be willing to accommodate such deviations. Yet, the literature is silent on this relational context surrounding improvisation. This study, by exploring facilitating and inhibitory relational variables implicated in improvisation, addresses this gap.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 34 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2020

Megan C. Good and Michael R. Hyman

The purpose of this paper is to apply protection motivation theory (PMT) to brick-and-mortar salespeople's responses to customers' fear appeals.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to apply protection motivation theory (PMT) to brick-and-mortar salespeople's responses to customers' fear appeals.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is to develop a conceptual model for the effect of customers' fear appeals on brick-and-mortar salespeople.

Findings

PMT relates to the influence of customers' fear appeals on brick-and-mortar salespeople's behaviours. The salesperson's decision whether to follow a retail manager's suggestion about ways to mitigate a customer's fear appeal depends on believed threat severity, believed threat susceptibility, response efficacy, self-efficacy and response costs.

Research limitations/implications

PMT is applied to a new domain: brick-and-mortar salespeople. Although a powerful yet universal emotion, only limited research has examined fear within this group.

Practical implications

Understanding salespeople's fears will help retail managers identify strategies for encouraging adaptive behaviours and deterring maladaptive behaviours by salespeople.

Originality/value

A model relating customers' fear appeals to salespeople's behaviours is introduced.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 48 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2020

Jarkko Niemi and Ellen Bolman Pullins

This paper aims to explore salesperson–customer interactions to identify actual behaviors that result in enhanced customer disclosure and classify them as disclosure…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore salesperson–customer interactions to identify actual behaviors that result in enhanced customer disclosure and classify them as disclosure tactics, and to explore whether certain tactics are more likely to lead to salesperson–customer relationship advancement.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative research uses conversation analysis to identify salesperson disclosure tactics that result in customer disclosure, using 12 video-recordings of authentic business-to-business initial sales meetings between a salesperson and customer.

Findings

Findings showed four disclosure tactics that salespeople use to get customers to disclose information: embedded expertise claims, tailored references, demonstrations of preparation and customer orientation and benevolence. These tactics appear more often and are executed differently in sales meetings that successfully advance.

Originality/value

The research addresses an unexplored area of specific salesperson behaviors and their connection to customer disclosure and relationship advancement in the exploration phase. Additionally, this fills a gap that cannot be addressed with traditional survey or interview data and brings conversation analysis to this particular area.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 6 April 2010

Charles E. Pettijohn, Elizabeth J. Rozell and Andrew Newman

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships between salesperson emotional intelligence, dispositional affectivity, and customer‐orientation levels in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships between salesperson emotional intelligence, dispositional affectivity, and customer‐orientation levels in pharmaceutical marketing.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 71 pharmaceutical salespeople working in the UK provided responses to scales designed to assess emotional intelligence, dispositional affectivity (positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA) and customer orientation). The emotional intelligence and dispositional affectivity scores provided by the salespeople were then analyzed to determine the degree to which they related to customer‐orientation levels.

Findings

The findings indicate that salesperson emotional intelligence levels are positively correlated with their customer‐orientation scores. Positive dispositional affectivity levels are also significantly correlated with salesperson customer‐orientation levels. This result suggests that UK pharmaceutical salespeople who possessed more PA tended to also be more positively oriented to the customer. However, NA levels are not significantly correlated with salesperson customer‐orientation levels.

Research limitations/implications

From a theoretical perspective, these findings provide a venue for future research in professional sales which could focus on the relationships existing between salesperson behaviors/characteristics that relate to salesperson customer‐orientation, skills, social desirability, and performance.

Practical implications

From a practical basis, the findings suggest that pharmaceutical firms in the UK who are focused on increasing the customer‐orientation levels of their sales force would be well advised to assess the emotional intelligence and dispositional affectivity levels of both their potential and current salespeople and use this information in their selection and training activities.

Originality/value

The research reported provides an initial assessment of the relationship between these variables in a pharmaceutical sales situation in the UK.

Details

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6123

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2015

Ainsworth Anthony Bailey

Even though there has been anecdotal evidence regarding the use of ingratiation techniques in retail salesperson-shopper interactions, surprisingly, there has been limited…

Abstract

Purpose

Even though there has been anecdotal evidence regarding the use of ingratiation techniques in retail salesperson-shopper interactions, surprisingly, there has been limited research on the nature of these ingratiatory techniques and their impact on consumers’ perceptions and attitudes. The research reported here was conducted to determine the extent to which different ingratiation techniques that have been identified as techniques used in non-retailing domains are also used by retail salespersons in salesperson-shopper interactions. In addition, it sought to assess whether there are additional ingratiation techniques used by retail salespersons in salesperson-shopper interactions that have not been identified in existing ingratiation literature. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Two studies, drawing on research on ingratiation in other domains, were conducted in pursuit of realising the purpose. Study 1 was a survey involving a sample of 282 participants, which yielded 267 useable critical incident reports and 283 discrete examples of ingratiatory behaviours. Participants responded to various questions including a critical incident question. Cross-tabulations were, for the main part, used in assessing responses. A second survey involving 158 participants was undertaken as a verification study. This Study 2 yielded 144 useable responses.

Findings

Based on a critical incident technique (CIT), other enhancement: compliment and praise was the ingratiation technique most frequently cited by participants in the first sample, with product-customer enhancement being second and favour-rendering third. The Study 2 confirmed other enhancement: compliment and praise and product-customer enhancement as the top two techniques. Four new categories of ingratiatory behaviours emerged in retail salesperson-shopper interactions, and many of the ingratiatory behaviours previously identified in non-retailing contexts also exist in this retailing context.

Research limitations/implications

Both samples are US samples, and the method used was the CIT. Though the US samples are appropriate for this study, the study could be extended to other groups and across cultures, to see whether cultural differences in the use of, and consumer responses to, ingratiation techniques exist. The study also did not look at the retail salespeople’s perspectives regarding the use of these techniques. Hence further research should address dyadic interpretations of a single ingratiatory encounter; and efforts should also be made to assess how consumers respond to ingratiation in retailing.

Practical implications

The studies result in a classification of the influence techniques used most often in retail settings in the USA. Retailers should be aware that customers may, therefore, expect certain kinds of influence tactics and may not respond in the same way when there is a departure from a “customary” influence tactic.

Originality/value

Not much research has explored the different kinds of ingratiation techniques used in retail contexts; nor has the stream of research sought to categorise them.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 43 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

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Book part
Publication date: 4 September 2003

Michael W Preis, Salvatore F Divita and Amy K Smith

Missing in most of the research on selling has been an examination of the process from the point of view of the customer. When satisfaction in selling has been considered…

Abstract

Missing in most of the research on selling has been an examination of the process from the point of view of the customer. When satisfaction in selling has been considered, researchers have focused on the satisfaction of the salesperson with his job and/or the impact of this job satisfaction on performance (e.g. Bluen, Barling & Burns, 1990; Churchill, Ford & Walker, 1979; Pruden & Peterson, 1971). To concentrate on salesperson performance while neglecting customers is to ignore the most important half of the relationship between buyers and sellers and entirely disregards the marketing concept and the streams of research in customer satisfaction. This research takes a different approach and examines customers’ satisfaction with salespeople.

Details

Evaluating Marketing Actions and Outcomes
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-046-3

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