Case Western Reserve University

Project Description


Project Abstract

Relationship selling was the primary method of selling in the pre-industrial era. During the industrial era: transactional, persuasion based selling became the norm until relationship selling was �rediscovered� and became the cornerstone of modern B2B selling, especially with complex systems and services. Behavioural science refers to persuasion as the way interactions lead people to concede, comply, or change�and it may be conceptualized along six dimensions: liking, reciprocity, social proof, consistency, authority and scarcity(Cialdini 2001). While there is widespread agreement that persuasion can be learned, no previous work has developed or tested these dimensions of persuasion�or considered their importance to B2B exchanges between buyers and sellers. The techniques of persuasion can be very powerful if used in the right way but what is the �right way�? Are the techniques of persuasion important and useful in relationship selling? This paper contributes to the existing understanding of relationship marketing in four ways. First, it proposes a new model relating the contribution of persuasion to the development of trust (persuasion-trust model). Second, it proposes implications of the persuasion-trust model for B2B sales teams. Third, this paper outlines hypotheses for an ensuing study to empirically test the proposed relationships using sales teams from a multinational corporation engaged in B2B selling. Finally, this paper discusses implications for academic research and marketing practice.

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