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Study: Buyers Don't Want A "Relationship" With Salespeople

Attention, sales account executives: Your clients just aren't that into you.

Researchers from Baylor University, Texas Christian University and
the University of Tennessee tested the sales concept of "relationship marketing," which theorizes that salespeople can create strong bonds with buyers akin to family bonds. When the researchers interviewed 38 corporate buyers, however, they learned that these buyers tended to view sales relationships as a "polite fiction" they must endure to get what they need:
The authors found that buyers prefer to connect (and disconnect) with suppliers as needs arise and hold low expectations for future interactions with salespeople outside of their business dealings. "This study suggests that business buyers are not actually seeking authentic relationships, and sellers' efforts to develop them may even create negative tension for buyers."

Ouch. So much for all that relationship marketing stuff, huh? You think you have a good thing going with buyers, but they don't see themselves as "being in a relationship" with you. But we're so good together baby, why can't you see it? What sales executives can't see, apparently, is that the "relationship" was never all that serious from the start. This study is like (500) Days Of Summer, only for salespeople. No wonder the buyer always runs late, never picks up the check and then one day suddenly dumps your ass via email. You can still be friends, though. Why not?

Click here to read more about "Real Relationships between Business Buyers and Salespeople: Reality or Polite Fiction?" in the online edition of the Journal of Consumer Research.

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