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Do sales people trust new customers because of who they are?

Do sales people trust new customers because of who they are? The purpose of this paper is to identify the interplay between the characteristics of trustee and trustor in trust formation at the initial stage of a relationship in the B2B context.Design/methodology/approachThe study was experimental. A situation was simulated in which sales managers choose prospective customers on whom his or her company should concentrate after entering the new market. A total of 108 managers participated in the study.FindingsThe results indicate that during the pre-relationship stage salespeople declared trust toward a prospective customer despite having no previous interactions with the other party. Salespeople start the trust-development process by gathering clues about the trustworthiness of the potential partner organization. The cognitive information provided to salespeople impacts interpersonal trust to a greater extent than effective communication. This influence is moderated by trustor trust propensity. There is no difference in the type of information about a trustor when it comes to organizational reliance.Originality/valueThis paper provides a new insight into research on trust in interorganizational relationships as the authors adopted the perspective of the supplier who is most frequently perceived as a trustee, rather than a trustor. It directs attention to the pre-relationship stage, which precedes the interaction that may lead to a relationship developing but also links the object of trust (trustee) with the subject of trust (trustor) and integrates two separate approaches to the ascendance of trust with its multi-dimensional and multi-level nature. Moreover, an experimental design that is rare in research on business relationships was implemented. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png IMP Journal Emerald Publishing

Do sales people trust new customers because of who they are?

IMP Journal , Volume 12 (3): 21 – Nov 22, 2018

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2059-1403
DOI
10.1108/imp-01-2018-0008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to identify the interplay between the characteristics of trustee and trustor in trust formation at the initial stage of a relationship in the B2B context.Design/methodology/approachThe study was experimental. A situation was simulated in which sales managers choose prospective customers on whom his or her company should concentrate after entering the new market. A total of 108 managers participated in the study.FindingsThe results indicate that during the pre-relationship stage salespeople declared trust toward a prospective customer despite having no previous interactions with the other party. Salespeople start the trust-development process by gathering clues about the trustworthiness of the potential partner organization. The cognitive information provided to salespeople impacts interpersonal trust to a greater extent than effective communication. This influence is moderated by trustor trust propensity. There is no difference in the type of information about a trustor when it comes to organizational reliance.Originality/valueThis paper provides a new insight into research on trust in interorganizational relationships as the authors adopted the perspective of the supplier who is most frequently perceived as a trustee, rather than a trustor. It directs attention to the pre-relationship stage, which precedes the interaction that may lead to a relationship developing but also links the object of trust (trustee) with the subject of trust (trustor) and integrates two separate approaches to the ascendance of trust with its multi-dimensional and multi-level nature. Moreover, an experimental design that is rare in research on business relationships was implemented.

Journal

IMP JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 22, 2018

Keywords: Business-to-business interactions; Initial trust; Trustee characteristics; Trustor propensity to trust

References