1887

Decision-making in salesperson–customer interaction

Establishing a common ground for obtaining commitment

image of Decision-making in salesperson–customer interaction

Decisions are often made in a two-part sequence, consisting of a proposal by one party and an aligning response from others. While this sequence is well established, less is known about the preparatory work that may precede it. This chapter studies decision-making in the context of complex service selling. It demonstrates that and how salespeople and a prospective customer collaboratively and incrementally establish a decision over a multi-sequence course of action, in which a sequence implements a stage and the next sequence implements a next step or outcome of the prior stage. Thus, the chapter sheds light on how the groundwork for a proposal is laid. The conversation analytic study is based on 17 video-recorded business-to-business sales meetings in Finland.

  • Affiliations: 1: Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences; 2: University of Toledo

References

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    1996 “Do Closing Techniques Diminish Prospect Trust?”Industrial Marketing Management25 (5): 349–360. 10.1016/0019‑8501(96)00037‑5
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    2018 “Rapport Building in Authentic B2B Sales Interaction.” Industrial Marketing Management69: 235–252. 10.1016/j.indmarman.2017.08.019
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2017.08.019 [Google Scholar]
  19. Lerner, Gene
    1996 “On the ‘Semi-Permeable’Character of Grammatical Units in Conversation: Conditional Entry into the Turn Space of Another Speaker.” InInteraction and Grammar, ed. by Elinor Ochs , Emanuel A. Schegloff , and Sandra A. Thompson , 238–276. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511620874.005
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    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2013.10.008 [Google Scholar]
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    2019 “Money Talks: Customer-Initiated Price Negotiation in Business-to-Business Sales Interaction.” Discourse & Communication13 (1): 95–118. 10.1177/1750481318801629
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1750481318801629 [Google Scholar]
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    [Google Scholar]
  28. Schegloff, Emanuel A. , and Harvey Sacks
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References

  1. Barnes, Rebecca
    2007 “Formulations and the Facilitation of Common Agreement in Meetings Talk.” Text & Talk27 (3): 273–296. 10.1515/TEXT.2007.011
    https://doi.org/10.1515/TEXT.2007.011 [Google Scholar]
  2. Clark, Colin , Paul Drew , and Trevor Pinch
    2003 “Managing Prospect Affiliation and Rapport in Real-Life Sales Encounters.” Discourse Studies5: 5–31. 10.1177/14614456030050010101
    https://doi.org/10.1177/14614456030050010101 [Google Scholar]
  3. Clifton, Jonathan
    2009 “Beyond Taxonomies of Influence. ‘Doing’ Influence and Making Decisions in Management Team Meetings.” Journal of Business Communication46 (1): 57–59. 10.1177/0021943608325749
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0021943608325749 [Google Scholar]
  4. Dixon, Andrea L. , and John F. Tanner , Jr
    2012 “Transforming Selling: Why It Is Time to Think Differently about Sales Research.” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management32 (1): 9–13. 10.2753/PSS0885‑3134320102
    https://doi.org/10.2753/PSS0885-3134320102 [Google Scholar]
  5. Dixon, Matthew , and Brent Adamson
    2011The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation. New York, NY: Penguin.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Drake, Veronika
    2015 “Indexing Uncertainty: The Case of Turn-Final or .” Research on Language and Social Interaction48 (3): 301–318. 10.1080/08351813.2015.1058606
    https://doi.org/10.1080/08351813.2015.1058606 [Google Scholar]
  7. Drew, Paul , and John Heritage
    1992 “Analyzing Talk at Work: an Introduction.” InTalk at Work. Interaction in Institutional Settings, ed. by Paul Drew , and John Heritage , 3–65. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Dubinsky, Alan J.
    1981 “A Factor Analytic Study of the Personal Selling Process.” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management1 (1): 26–33.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Hawes, Jon M. , James T. Strong , and Bernard S. Winick
    1996 “Do Closing Techniques Diminish Prospect Trust?”Industrial Marketing Management25 (5): 349–360. 10.1016/0019‑8501(96)00037‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0019-8501(96)00037-5 [Google Scholar]
  10. Helasvuo, Marja-Liisa
    2004 “Shared Syntax: The Grammar of Co-Constructions.” Journal of Pragmatics36 (8): 1315–1336. 10.1016/j.pragma.2004.05.007
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2004.05.007 [Google Scholar]
  11. Heritage, John , Jeffrey D. Robinson , Marc N. Elliott , Megan Beckett , and Michael Wilkes
    2007 “Reducing Patients’ Unmet Concerns: The Difference One Word Can Make.” Journal of General Internal Medicine22: 1429–1433. 10.1007/s11606‑007‑0279‑0
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-007-0279-0 [Google Scholar]
  12. Heritage, John , and Steven Clayman
    2010Talk in Action: Interactions, Identities, and Institutions. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. 10.1002/9781444318135
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444318135 [Google Scholar]
  13. Heritage, John , and Geoffrey Raymond
    2012 “Navigating Epistemic Landscapes: Acquiescence, Agency and Resistance in Responses to Polar Questions.” InQuestions, ed. by Jan P. de Ruiter , 179–192. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139045414.013
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139045414.013 [Google Scholar]
  14. Heritage, John , and Marja-Leena Sorjonen
    1994 “Constituting and Maintaining Activities Across Sequences: And-Prefacing as a Feature of Question Design.” Language in Society23 (1): 1–29. 10.1017/S0047404500017656
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404500017656 [Google Scholar]
  15. Heritage, John , and D. Rodney Watson
    1979 “Formulations as Conversational Objects.” InEveryday Language: Studies in Ethnomethodology, ed. by G. Psathas , 123–162. New York, NY: Irvington.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Huisman, Marjan
    2001 “Decision-Making in Meetings as Talk-in-Interaction.” International Studies of Management & Organization31 (3): 69–90. 10.1080/00208825.2001.11656821
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00208825.2001.11656821 [Google Scholar]
  17. Huma, Bogdana , Elizabeth Stokoe , and Rein Ove Sikveland
    2018 “Persuasive Conduct: Alignment and Resistance in Prospecting ‘Cold’ Calls.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology38 (1): 33–60. 10.1177/0261927X18783474
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0261927X18783474 [Google Scholar]
  18. Kaski, Timo , Jarkko Niemi , and Ellen Pullins
    2018 “Rapport Building in Authentic B2B Sales Interaction.” Industrial Marketing Management69: 235–252. 10.1016/j.indmarman.2017.08.019
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.indmarman.2017.08.019 [Google Scholar]
  19. Lerner, Gene
    1996 “On the ‘Semi-Permeable’Character of Grammatical Units in Conversation: Conditional Entry into the Turn Space of Another Speaker.” InInteraction and Grammar, ed. by Elinor Ochs , Emanuel A. Schegloff , and Sandra A. Thompson , 238–276. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511620874.005
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620874.005 [Google Scholar]
  20. 2004 “Collaborative Turn Sequences.” InConversation Analysis: Studies from the First Generation, ed. by Gene H. Lerner , 225–256. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.125.12ler
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.125.12ler [Google Scholar]
  21. Linell, Per , and Jan Lindström
    2016 “Partial Intersubjectivity and Sufficient Understandings for Current Practical Purposes: On a Specialized Practice in Swedish Conversation.” Nordic Journal of Linguistics39 (2): 113–133. 10.1017/S0332586516000081
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0332586516000081 [Google Scholar]
  22. Llewellyn, Nick
    2015 “Microstructures of Economic Action: Talk, Interaction, and the Bottom Line.” The British Journal of Sociology66: 486–511. 10.1111/1468‑4446.12143
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12143 [Google Scholar]
  23. Maynard, Douglas W.
    1984Inside Plea Bargaining. The Language of Negotiation. New York, NY: Plenum Press. 10.1007/978‑1‑4899‑0372‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-0372-3 [Google Scholar]
  24. Mulkay, Michael , Colin Clark , and Trevor Pinch
    1993 “Laughter and the Profit Motive: the Use of Humor in a Photographic Shop.” Humor: International Journal of Humor Research6: 163–193. 10.1515/humr.1993.6.2.163
    https://doi.org/10.1515/humr.1993.6.2.163 [Google Scholar]
  25. Niemi, Jarkko
    2014 “Two ‘yeah but’ Formats in Finnish. The Prior Action Engaging nii mut and the Disengaging joo mut Utterances.” Journal of Pragmatics60: 54–74. 10.1016/j.pragma.2013.10.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2013.10.008 [Google Scholar]
  26. Niemi, Jarkko , and Linda Hirvonen
    2019 “Money Talks: Customer-Initiated Price Negotiation in Business-to-Business Sales Interaction.” Discourse & Communication13 (1): 95–118. 10.1177/1750481318801629
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1750481318801629 [Google Scholar]
  27. Pettijohn, Charles E. , Linda S. Pettijohn , Bruce D. Keillor , and A. J. Taylor
    2000 “Adaptive Selling and Sales Performance: an Empirical Examination.” Journal of Applied Business Research16 (1): 91–112.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Schegloff, Emanuel A. , and Harvey Sacks
    1973 “Opening up Closings.” Semiotica8 (4): 289–327. 10.1515/semi.1973.8.4.289
    https://doi.org/10.1515/semi.1973.8.4.289 [Google Scholar]
  29. Schutz, Alfred
    1962 “Common-Sense and Scientific Interpretations of Human Action.” InAlfred Schutz, Collected papers, vol.1, 3–47. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff. 10.1007/978‑94‑010‑2851‑6_1
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-010-2851-6_1 [Google Scholar]
  30. Sorjonen, Marja-Leena
    2001Responding in Conversation. A Study of Response Particles in Finnish. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.70
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.70 [Google Scholar]
  31. Sorjonen, Marja-Leena , and Heidi Vepsäläinen
    2016 “The Finnish Particle no .” InNU/NÅ. A Family of Discourse Markers across the Languages of Europe and Beyond, ed. by Peter Auer , and Yael Maschler , 243–280. Berlin: de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110348989‑008
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110348989-008 [Google Scholar]
  32. Stevanovic, Melisa
    2012 “Establishing Joint Decisions in a Dyad.” Discourse Studies14 (6): 779–803. 10.1177/1461445612456654
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461445612456654 [Google Scholar]
  33. VISK = Hakulinen, Auli , Maria Vilkuna , Riitta Korhonen , Vesa Koivisto , Tarja Riitta Heinonen , Tarja Riitta , and Irja Alho
    2004Iso suomen kielioppi [Comprehensive grammar of Finnish]. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Wasson, Christina
    2000 “Caution and Consensus in American Business Meetings.” Pragmatics10 (4): 457–481. 10.1075/prag.10.4.03was
    https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.10.4.03was [Google Scholar]
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