Rapport building in authentic B2B sales interaction

Timo Kaski, Jarkko Niemi, Ellen Pullins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Acquisition of new customers is critical for any business seeking to achieve growth. This paper investigates the skill of rapport building in establishing new customer relationships and engaging customers for solution co-creation. A qualitative multiple phase study supports a micro-level analysis of rapport building in the context of business-to-business solutions and services selling. The study includes three parts: in-depth qualitative interviews, conversation analysis of video-recorded real-life sales meetings, and follow-up interviews. The results show that salesperson-initiated actions have little influence on rapport building and that strong initial rapport can compensate for potential interaction weaknesses later in the meeting. Our findings point to a set of collaborative actions and related skills needed to build rapport and move a relationship forward. These findings provide theoretical insights into the earliest moments of new customer relationship formation. The results inform businesses seeking to refocus and develop their rapport building skills towards more customer-engaging collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Volume69
Pages (from-to)235-252
Number of pages18
ISSN0019-8501
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • Rapport building
  • Business-to-business
  • Buyer-seller interactions
  • Sales interaction
  • Sales skills
  • Relationship marketing
  • VALUE CO-CREATION
  • BUYER-SELLER RELATIONSHIPS
  • EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
  • BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS
  • GROUNDED THEORY
  • SALESPERSON
  • PERSPECTIVE
  • ORGANIZATION
  • TALK
  • CONVERSATION
  • 518 Media and communications
  • 6121 Languages
  • CoE Scientific Advisory Board meeting

    Jarkko Niemi (Speaker: Presenter)

    28 Sept 201729 Sept 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

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