Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 512–526 | Cite as

How first impressions of a customer impact effectiveness in an initial sales encounter

  • Kenneth R. Evans
  • Robert E. Kleine
  • Timothy D. Landry
  • Lawrence A. Crosby


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).


Knowledge Structure Relationship Building Personal Selling Customer Type Category Assignment 
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Copyright information

© Academy of Marketing Science 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth R. Evans
    • 1
  • Robert E. Kleine
  • Timothy D. Landry
    • 1
  • Lawrence A. Crosby
  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbia

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