Developing interpersonal bonds between employees and customers in selling contexts can increase sales and positive perceptions of the employees and the store. Recent studies have found that mimicking the verbal and nonverbal behavior of strangers enhanced their liking for the individual who mimicked them, and influenced helping behavior. An experiment was carried out in a retail setting where four sales clerks were instructed to mimic, or not, some of the verbal expressions and nonverbal behavior of the customers. On their way out, these customers were asked to evaluate the sales clerks and the store. Results showed that mimicry was associated with a higher sales rate, greater compliance to the sales clerk's suggestion during the selling process, and more positive evaluations of both the sales clerks and the store. It was found that these evaluations mediate the relationship between mimicry and customers' behavior. Experiment 2 confirmed the behavioral effect of mimicry when a baseline condition was introduced. These results seem to show that mimicry really helps managers to develop positive relationships between their sellers and their customers.
Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2011
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