How first impressions of a customer impact effectiveness in an initial sales encounter
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First impressions of others affect both the content and outcomes of a variety of interpersonal encounters. In sales encounters, a salesperson’s first impressions of a customer provide a starting point for probing customer needs and for adapting to those needs. This implies that salesperson effectiveness in an initial sales encounter is associated— at least in part—with a salesperson’s first impression of the customer. The reported quasi-experiment is the first study to explore empirically the connection between salespeople’s first impressions, their cognitive structures, and sales effectiveness in a single, initial sales encounter. The results provide an intriguing glimpse into the dilemma salespeople face in trying to establish the basis of a relationship while achieving short-term sales outcomes (e.g., closing a sale, satisfaction).
KeywordsKnowledge Structure Relationship Building Personal Selling Customer Type Category Assignment
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