Nonverbal Cues-Based First Impressions: What Can Static Images of Salespeople Tell Us About Their Success At Selling?

Rebecca E. Walker, The University of Texas at Austin
Rajagopal Raghunathan, The University of Texas at Austin
EXTENDED ABSTRACT - On average, people rely more on nonverbal cues than on verbal cues in interpersonal exchanges (Burgoon, Buller, and Woodall 1996). The impact of nonverbal cues appears particularly potent in the context of first impressions (Ambady and Rosenthal 1993; Riggio and Friedman 1986). Given the widely accepted belief that first impressions created by a salesperson lay the foundation for all subsequent interactions with a customer (e.g., Jacobs et al. 2001; Macintosh et al. 1992), it is important to assess the generality of this phenomenon in the context of customer-salesperson interactions, that is, whether and to what extent, nonverbal cues influence customers’ first impressions of salespeople. We address three questions pertaining to nonverbal influences on judgments of salespeople: (1) are nonverbal cues-based impressions formed only after lengthy and meaningful interactions with salespeople or can they be formed on the basis of brief or even fleeting interactions (e.g., through exposure to photographs of the salespeople)?, (2) is the impact of nonverbal cues on first impressions independent of the physical attractiveness of the salesperson?, and, finally, (3) do salespeople who create good (vs. bad) first impressions (on the basis of their nonverbal behavior) turn out to be more successful at selling?
[ to cite ]:
Rebecca E. Walker and Rajagopal Raghunathan (2004) ,"Nonverbal Cues-Based First Impressions: What Can Static Images of Salespeople Tell Us About Their Success At Selling?", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 31, eds. Barbara E. Kahn and Mary Frances Luce, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 198-199.