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Does the Medium Matter? An Experiment on the Impact of Collaboration on Visual Sales Sessions

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1 Author(s)

In this paper we report on the results of an experiment simulating financial sales meetings between prospective customers and a banking advisor. The study involves 112 subjects and examines effects of interactive visual sales communication on the quality of a sales encounter. We have simulated informative sales meetings where a financial sales expert explains the functioning of a mutual fund to a potential client. We have used a 2 by 2 experiment design varying the degree of interaction (with our without customer involvement) and the medium (paper versus computer) used in the meeting. The results show that the use of customer involvement elements, that is to say joint drawing, has a significant positive effect on perceived client orientation and loyalty towards the salesperson, but not on the salesperson's (perceived) expertise and trust. It also has a positive effect on perceived empathy of the sales advisor. We also found that the use of paper sketching leads to significant increased loyalty towards the salesperson when it comes to questions as "would you recommend this consultant?" Computer presentations in lieu of paper sketching do not lead to significant differences in terms of the salesperson's impact on a prospect -- except if the subject has a preference for affective information processing; in this case sketching outperforms visualization software. This article has relevance for visualization scholars and practitioners, as it provides evidence that the visualization medium and its involvement level affect communication effectiveness depending on the cognitive style of the participants.

Published in:

Information Visualisation (IV), 2012 16th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

11-13 July 2012