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Examining gratitude in buyer-seller relationships

September 24, 2018

BATON ROUGE - Research demonstrates that customer gratitude is linked to increases in share of wallet, sales revenue, sales growth and customer commitment. What about the role of salesperson gratitude in buyer-seller relationships? Does salesperson gratitude motivate behavior that is beneficial to firms? These questions are at the center of a study conducted by Professor Judith Anne Garretson Folse, LSU Department of Marketing, and co-authors Stephanie M. Mangus, assistant professor, Baylor University; Dora E. Bock, assistant professor, Auburn University; and Eli Jones, dean and professor, Texas A&M University.

Their research indicates that salesperson gratitude impacts customer gratitude and customer commitment through the prosocial behaviors -- information sharing and extra-role behaviors -- that occur as a result of the salesperson's gratitude toward the customer. They also found a significant interaction between the length of the buyer-seller relationship and salesperson extra-role behaviors concerning customer gratitude. This indicates that salesperson extra-role behaviors serve as a catalyst for propelling customer relationships forward and that salesperson information sharing serves as a tool to maintain the relationship over time.

Based on these findings, the researchers recommend that salespeople become more aware of and adept at expressing gratitude by taking advantage of opportunities to foster relationships with buyers that are enhanced by expressions of gratitude. Additionally, something as simple as mindfully controlling negative facial expressions can be useful in managing the contagious effects of emotions. Lastly, salespeople are encouraged to engage in extra-role behaviors with buyers to save time and resources by accelerating relationship-building.
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Study details and full findings are documented in the paper "Gratitude in Buyer-Seller Relationships," which appears in the September issue of Keller Center Research Report. The full text is available online.

About the Department of Marketing

The Department of Marketing at LSU's E. J. Ourso College of Business prepares its students for careers in management, advertising, buying, product development, retailing and sales. For more information, visit http://lsu.edu/business/marketing or 225-578-8684.

Louisiana State University

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