Asking Questions: Some Characteristics of Successful Sales Encounters

Schuster, Camille P.; Danes, Jeffrey E.
May 1986
Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management;May86, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p17
Academic Journal
Trainers and researchers continually identify communication skills as one determinant of success in sales situations. While some studies have examined the impact of communication variables such as similarity between salespeople and customers, expertise of salesperson, or type of presentation, only a few studies focused on the communication process. A research suggests that, to be successful, salespeople must spend time on both task comments and on socio-emotional comments. The selling situation used in this study was that of sales agents in a travel agency in a small university town in a mid-Atlantic state. The test indicates that at least one variable successfully discriminates between sale and no sale. In an attempt to determine the "best" subset or reduced model, a forward stepwise analysis was performed. In a highly competitive environment with two other travel agencies and tower airline ticket prices, the agency in this study was able to increase its revenue when the agents changed their conversational style to include more, "Solidarity" comments, more "Closed Question" comments, and fewer "Giving Opinion" comments. These results do replicate the earlier research findings that both task and so-do-emotional comments are important characteristics of successful sales conversations.


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