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Propensity to trust salespeople: A contingent multilevel-multisource examination

Scott B. Friend, Jeff S. Johnson and Ravipreet S. Sohi

Journal of Business Research, 2018, vol. 83, issue C, 1-9

Abstract: As sales strategies continue to shift toward long-term partnerships, the influence of trust between buyers and sellers as a building block that facilitates relationship development is increasingly important. While considerable work has been done on the formation of trust, scant research exists on how characteristics of the salesperson and customer jointly influence customer trust in the salesperson. In this paper, the authors investigate the role of customers' existing propensity to trust salespeople in determining their trust of salespeople in newly-formed business-to-business (B2B) relationships. The authors also examine the interactive effects of salesperson characteristics – relational customer orientation and adaptive selling – which moderate this relationship. Multilevel-multisource data from 131 newly-acquired customer key informants and 47 B2B salespeople are utilized to assess the model. Findings show a mixture of salesperson characteristics that accentuate and attenuate the association between customers' preexisting tendencies to trust salespeople and their actual trust in the salesperson.

Keywords: Buyer-seller relationships; Trust; Relational customer orientation; Adaptive selling; Multilevel modeling (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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