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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference

Do you see what I am saying? Facial expressiveness and personal selling implications

Published: May 27, 2020


Sandra Pauser, Post-doctoral researcher/University of Vienna/Chair of Marketing; Udo Wagner, University of Vienna


facial recognition; real-time-response measurement; personal selling


Sales research provides considerable support for the effectiveness of nonverbal communication in personal selling. Despite its importance, the difficulty of measuring and encoding nonverbal cues persists in the literature. This study introduces an objective approach for measuring nonverbal behaviors in a sales context by making use of a facial recognition software. We contribute to the sales literature by relating facial expressiveness to customer responses. Customers impressions are measured in real-time by means of a program analyzer, which allows evaluative measures simultaneously while being exposed to sales presentations. Results of a large sample experimental study indicate differences in customers’ reactions according to the facial expressiveness of the salesperson. Moreover, this study provides various implications for sales executives and offers guidance on how to improve their appearance and sales performance.