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What A Coincidence! Personal Connections Improve Sales

Date:
July 22, 2009
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
If a salesperson shares a birthday or a birthplace with you, you're more likely to make a purchase, and feel good about it, according to a new study.

If a salesperson shares a birthday or a birthplace with you, you're more likely to make a purchase and feel good about it, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"This research examines how the fundamental human need to connect with others plays a role in sales encounters," write authors Lan Jiang, JoAndrea Hoegg, Darren W. Dahl (all University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC), and Amitava Chattopadhyay (INSEAD, Singapore).

In one of the studies, a personal trainer introduced participants to a fitness program. People who discovered that they shared the same birthday with the trainer reported that they liked the program better and were more interested in purchasing a membership.

In another study, patients who learned that they were born in the same place as a dentist reported a more favorable attitude toward the dental care they received and showed a higher willingness to book their next appointment with that same clinic.

"Across individuals, we found that naturally social people are more responsive to such coincidences," write the authors. "On the other hand, people who tend to isolate themselves from the outside world are less sensitive."

The researchers concluded that revealing personal information helps service providers create connections and initiate conversations with customers. When information is provided on nametags (as Disney does with employees' hometowns) or on websites (as many health organizations and fitness centers do), most consumers react positively. However, when service providers exhibit negative behavior, like rudeness, the shared similarity loses its positive influence.

Finally, faking a connection is not an effective sales tactic. "Creating misleading or fake similarities with a customer as a persuasion technique could lead to negative outcomes if the similarities are found to be disingenuous," write the authors. "To mitigate the chances of this outcome, salespeople must be careful not to falsely claim similarities."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lan Jiang, JoAndrea Hoegg, Darren W. Dahl, and Amitava Chattopadhyay. The Persuasive Role of Incidental Similarity on Attitudes and Purchase Intentions in a Sales Context. Journal of Consumer Research, 2009; 090709022011075 DOI: 10.1086/605364

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "What A Coincidence! Personal Connections Improve Sales." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720163749.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2009, July 22). What A Coincidence! Personal Connections Improve Sales. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720163749.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "What A Coincidence! Personal Connections Improve Sales." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720163749.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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