Email B2B sales negotiation: dynamic use of textual cues as influence tactics
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] In this dissertation, I develop measures for sales influence tactics based on verbal cues and examine their joint effectiveness on sales outcomes - buyer attention and contract award - during email B2B sales negotiations. To test the proposed conceptual framework, I use a field and a controlled setting. In the field study, I collect email data for 43 B2B sales contract negotiations conducted over the course of 2.5 years based on a retrospective, 360-degree capture of emails centered on the lead salespersons and buyers. The email data are augmented with in-depth interviews of sales managers and a survey to collect salespersons’ perceptual, demographic and performance information. Results demonstrate that combinations of motivationally synergistic tactics such as promise and assertiveness as well as recommendation and information sharing not only draw buyer’s attention but also allow salespersons to win contracts. On the contrary, motivationally distinct tactics, such as promise and information sharing, can have unintended consequences. The study also finds support for buyer’s attention role as a mediator between sales influence tactics and contract award. In the controlled setting (100 B2B Buyers/Procurement specialists as respondents), I test the underlying mechanisms (compliance, internalization) for two key influence tactics (promise and recommendation). Results offer support for the promise tactic working through a compliance mechanism. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
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