This study focuses on how a salesperson’s ethical and unethical sales behaviour can build or deplete both customer trust in the salesperson and in Business, which in turn influences customer loyalty towards store profitability. The main findings of this study show that the salesperson’s ethical sales behaviour does play a crucial role in winning customer loyalty through customer trust.
Moreover, there exists a reciprocal relationship between customer trust in the salesperson and customer trust towards store profitability, with the latter having a stronger impact on the former than the other way around. Finally, customer trust in the store exerts more influence on customer loyalty than does customer trust in the salesperson, which has implications for store profitability. Key words: Sales Person, Customer Loyalty, Store Profitability INTRODUCTION THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE SALES FUNCTION
The sales function in profit-oriented organizations provides one of the largest opportunities for employment in the economy. The sales function, thus, is of great significance to both the national economy, and the millions of individuals who depend upon their performance as sales persons to earn their living. Further, effective sales programs are as essential to the success of individual profit-oriented organizations as they are to the economy and the individuals engaged in selling.
The importance of the sales effort to both the general economy and to profit-oriented enterprises is well accepted. Further, it is obvious that the ability to conduct successful selling activities determines, to a great extent, the career success of individuals engaging in sales as a vocation. Nevertheless, a general knowledge of the elements which are essential for a successful sales call is not widely possessed by either sales persons or sales managers. The other characteristic imposes are: 1. They are persistent. Selling or running a usiness for a living requires a tremendous amount of persistence. Obstacles loom in front of us on a regular basis. But it’s what you do when faced with these barriers that will determine your level of success. I believe it was Brian Tracy who once said that a person will face the most challenging obstacle just before they achieve their goal. The most successful people in any industry have learned to face the obstacles that get in their way. They look for new solutions. They are tenacious. They refuse to give up. 2.
Successful sales people are avid goal setters. They know what they want to accomplish and they plan their approach. They make sure their goals are specific, motivational, achievable yet challenging, relevant to their personal situation, and time-framed. They visualize their target, determine how they will achieve their goal, and take action on a daily basis. 3. Great sales people ask quality questions. The best sales people ask their clients and prospect plenty of quality questions to fully determine their situation and buying needs.
They know that the most effective way to present their product or service is to uncover their customer’s goals, objectives, concerns and hesitations. This allows them to effectively discuss the features and benefits of their product and service that most relate to each customer. [pic] Salesperson’s emotional intelligence Despite such contributions of emotional intelligence to an organization, there has been little research relating to the effects of emotional intelligence on service organization.
Service organizations are settings that require interpersonal interaction. For salespersons frequently interacting with customers, in particular, emotional intelligence is an important emotional ability that can affect how to serve customers in a selling situation; however, there is insufficient research relating to this statement. The salespersons’ job is to interact with customers in a selling situation; the core of sales is how a salesperson serves customers. Service employees’ emotional intelligence can affect method of providing service to customers.
Salesperson with high levels of emotional intelligence manages their interactions with customers in a more effective manner. Affective commitment toward other people is a necessary component of social interaction and argued that the showing of positive emotions is associated with a high likelihood of success at work (Nikolaou and Tsaousis, 2002; Rafaeli and Sutton, 1990). Abraham (1999), based on her own earlier observation that optimistic store salesperson would perform better than pessimistic salesperson, proposed that emotional intelligence is directly related to performance.
In the process of interaction with customers, employees should show an interest in customers and grasp their needs. Effective interaction may be expressed as broad interpersonal competencies, for example: adaptive selling, positive displayed emotion. Adaptive selling and expression of positive emotion are service providers’ behavioral response by which intangibility of service is revealed in a tangible form. These are reflected in their observable physical behaviors and displays of initiative motivation, effort, appearance, and so on (Bardzil and Slaski, 2003).
The Integrated ability afforded by high levels of emotional intelligence is interpreted as the antecedent variable of excellent service behaviors, and is thus central to the delivery of positive service at the level of the individual and the development of a climate for services at the level of the organization. After all, for relationship between service providers’ emotional intelligence and behavior, the higher emotional intelligence is more likely to result in effective customization, adaptive behavior, and expression of emotion required by an organization.
So service providers’ emotional intelligence and behavior (adaptive selling behavior and expression of positive emotion) are closely correlated. Customer service quality perceptions Effect of adaptive-selling on customers’ service quality perceptions Since quality is strongly correlated with organizational performance, such as profitability, market share, or productivity, the role of quality is a very important factor in companies’ competitive advantage.
The service quality is also becoming the core of long-term strategies of companies in that it is a source of vitality in building new customers, maintaining existing customers, and sustaining long-term profitability (Gr_nroos, 1984). Therefore, quality is now an important factor directly connected with corporate survival, rather than simply a factor of competitive advantage. Today it is difficult to differentiate products; the quality of service perceived by customers can also be a very important condition for store’s success.
Since service provided by salespersons can be directly connected with companies’ survival, it is more important than ever to draw up a strategic plan to improve service quality. According to Humphrey and Ashforth (1994), salespersons who serve customers in the same way may have customers perceive service quality as low, since they can easily make a mistake and have difficulty in satisfying individual needs of customers. In other words, the more adaptive selling behaviors salespersons can do to meet customers’ needs, the higher the service quality perceived by customers.
Therefore, salespersons’ adaptive selling behaviors can be strongly correlated with customers’ evaluation of service quality Literature Review One of the critical success factor in your post-recession growth plans is your customer base. Your customer base is as valuable an asset to your business, as your people and products are. And your customers can represent the quickest growth opportunity you have. One of the first places to look in evaluating your post-recession growth strategy is your customer base. A key measurement of your customer base is its loyalty to your company and your products.
For some companies, customer loyalty means customer satisfaction. This is not the case, though. Loyalty goes deeper than merely being satisfied. Being ‘satisfied’ is really a point of entry with customers. It is an expectation that must be met in order to be in the game. If your customers are not satisfied they will actively go elsewhere. But to merely be “satisfied” also means to be open to change. Change that the next savvy competitor can leverage to take away your customers. More importantly, your customers’ loyalty levels will dictate just how effective of a role they will play in your growth plans.
There are several companies providing customer loyalty analysis, each offering their own terminology. In general terms, though, the overall customer loyalty spectrum goes from aversion to dislike to satisfaction to like and to champion. The objective is to build your business plans, sales and marketing programs and customer interactions with the focus of keeping you customers in the top end of that spectrum. As you look at loyalty — and just how much attention you want to afford to it — look at the benefits.
Customer loyalty moves beyond simply satisfaction to create: • Recommendations for your product- either formally as in a customer reference or informally within their peer group • Ready-made pipeline for cross-selling other products and services • A profitable well for new and updated solutions • Lower churn rates, ensuring more customers for the long term • Positive positioning of your company in on-line forums, blogs, Tweets and other social media resources utilized or frequented by the key decision makers So what is the best way to move forward and implement a customer loyalty initiative?