To Sell Successfully, It's Better
to Think Alike Than Look Alike

To Sell Successfully, It’s Better to Think Alike Than Look Alike

by: Rob Reed

A study was conducted where researchers reviewed past findings on the impact of buyer and seller characteristics on selling effectiveness. They studied the similarity of the buyer and seller in terms of observable characteristics (physical appearance) and internal characteristics (perceptions, attitudes, and values). Their findings suggest that the buyer’s perceived similarity of seller attitudes and values can increase a buyer’s willingness to trust a seller.

On the other hand, “under most circumstances, observable similarity exerts a negligible influence on a business buyer’s perceptions or [seller] effectiveness.”

For sellers to be more successful at increasing their trust factor, then, it is more important that they link similarly in values and attitudes to their buyers rather than match with them demographically.

Significant implications can be taken from this study:

  1. Sellers should develop and use sales questions that can help them understand buyer values and attitudes.
  2. Sellers may want to highlight or make obvious their own values and attitudes that are similar to their buyers.
  3. Sales organizations should identify the common values and attitudes of their buyers and use this information to hire sellers that possess similar values and attitudes.
  4. Sales managers will not derive substantial benefit from simply matching sellers to buyers’ age, gender, etc.