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TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics PhD Student Sini Jokiniemi and DSc, Professor Aino Halinen ”Interpersonal interaction in sales meetings”

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Presentation on theme: "TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics PhD Student Sini Jokiniemi and DSc, Professor Aino Halinen ”Interpersonal interaction in sales meetings”"— Presentation transcript:

1 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics PhD Student Sini Jokiniemi and DSc, Professor Aino Halinen ”Interpersonal interaction in sales meetings” Global Sales Science Institute’s (GSSI) 5 th Annual Conference in Milan, Italy, 2011

2 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics Aim of the paper ”What is known of interpersonal interaction in individual sales meetings, and in particular of their outcomes in the context of industrial buyer-seller dyads” A number of sales meetings make up the selling process  what kind of outcomes are born during the process (based on the meetings), which help in achieving the final outcome of a selling process? which might be beneficial regardless of the final outcome of the whole sales process? Bhagat (2009) has found that e.g. trust and commitment (outcomes which are generated already during the sales process) may develop fast and influence the outcomes of later negotiations

3 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics The accumulation of outcomes Sales meeting I Sales meeting II Sales meeting III Sales meeting IV Sales meeting V ! Sales process

4 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics Bridging the gap between theory and practice Could a company outperform its competitors by understanding the outcomes of all kinds of sales meetings in full, offering its customers superior interactions with guaranteed outcomes already during the sales process, focusing as well on the outcomes that are of benefit to the salespersons, and being alert to outcomes that are of benefit to the company itself?  Considering sales meetings as such as the part of the company’s competitive advantage, standing out of the competition with brilliant meetings? However, the outcomes that are appreciated by the customers and which can be of use to the salesperson and to the selling company need to be understood first

5 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics The focus Interpersonal interaction between individuals (a salesperson and a customer) at the action level which is the most detailed type and smallest unit of interaction (Holmlund 1997) A sales meeting as a business-related interaction between buyer and seller representatives in the course of a sales process. The participants of the sales meeting are boundary spanners between two organizations (cf Campbell 1997) Each sales meeting has a specific content and produces certain outcomes which will affect future interactions (Bhagat 2009; Wren and Simpson 1996) Especially in the context of professional services, the person-to- person interaction as such grows in importance as there is no physical, tangible product to evaluate in the sales meetings (cf Crosby et al. 1990)

6 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics THE METHOD Systematic literature review (Fink 2005) ABI/Proquest Business Source EBSCO Search word combinations (abstract) Electronic databases No. of results include or exclusively focus on interpersonal interaction include of exclusively focus on interaction at the action level; and carry the context of industrial markets Eligibility criteria No. of included articles = 17 ”Interaction and buyer and seller and (dyad* or interpersonal) not consumer” ”Relation* and buyer and seller and (dyad* or interpersonal) not consumer”

7 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics GENERAL FINDINGS Included articles (17): Five of the articles were literature reviews Twelve of the articles included an empirical study (11 quant. with laboratory simulations and business students, 1 qual. with real business people) Excluded articles (65) Dealt with interaction and the participants of the interaction in a cumulative/aggregate manner (relationship vs. a single sales meeting / firm-to-firm vs. individual-to-individual) Related to all articles (82) Difficult to distinguish: Buyer and seller = buying company and selling company or buying individual and selling individual? Interaction = interaction within a particular meeting or interaction as an ongoing process consisting of several interactions via various channels?

8 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics Specific findings Microprocesses and micro-outcomes (during) Type of response (cooperative, non-cooperative) Mutuality, cooperativeness Honesty and benevolence trust formation Sales meeting between Salesperson Smith and Customer Anderson on Monday, 20th June, 10 – 11 a.m. Sales process; Interpersonal relationship; Company-level relationship development 10 a.m.11 a.m. Outcomes (as a result/after) Interpersonal outcomes (friendship, trust, cooperation, perception of bargaining toughness and loyalty, satisfaction, commitment, behavioral intention) Business outcomes (sales effectiveness, level of agreement, profits, closure) Outcomes related to company-level relationship (degree of relationship building, relationship strength, investments) (time)

9 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics discussion Heavy concentration on studying the negotiation phase of the sales process – how about the other phases prior to and after the negotiation? A wider range of methodological approaches recommended as well as the perceptions of both/all participants of a meeting Based on the literature review, three types of outcomes can be distinguished: interpersonal, business related, and company level outcomes

10 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics MANAGERIAL suggestions What is the ROI of a single sales meeting? In which ways could both the selling and the buying companies benefit (learn) from individual meetings? What is the hit ratio/success level of a salesperson and a customer in regard to reaching interpersonal, business related and company level outcomes in sales meetings? What is the quality of the output of a company’s salesforce (Anderson and Oliver 1987) in terms of positive outcomes? How is a company’s salesforce doing with co-creating valuable outcomes with customers? (cf Avlonitis and Panagopoulos 2010)

11 TURUN KAUPPAKORKEAKOULU Turku School of Economics References Anderson, E., and Oliver R., (1987) Perspectives on behavior-based versus outcome-based salesforce control systems. Journal of Marketing, 51, Avlonitis, George J. and Panagopoulos, Nikolaos G. (2010) Selling and sales management: an introduction to the special section and recommendations on advancing the sales research agenda. Industrial Marketing Management, Vol. 39, No. 7, Bhagat, Parimal (2009) Relationship development: tracking the formation of relationship commitment in a controlled setting. Journal of Relationship Marketing, Vol. 8, No. 3, 267–278. Campbell, Alexandra (1997) Buyer-supplier partnerships: flip sides of the same coin? The Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 12, No. 6, Crosby, L., Evans, K., and Cowles, D., (1990) Relationship quality in services selling: an interpersonal influence perspective. Journal of Marketing, 54, Fink, Arlene (2005) Conducting research literature reviews. 2 nd ed. SAGE Publications, London. Holmlund, Maria (1997) Perceived quality in business relationships. Doctoral dissertation. Publications of the Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration, Nr 66, Helsingfors. Wren, Brent M. and Simpson, James T. (1996) A dyadic model of relationships in organizational buying: a synthesis of research results. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing, Vol. 11, No. 3/4,


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