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Abstract

The rapport and impression formation stages of buyer-seller interactions are critical in determining sales call outcomes. Yet few studies have examined approaches for building favorable salesperson impressions. Moreover, it is likely that sales personnel face negative salesperson stereotypes in a variety of consumer markets. Hence, prophylactic methods for counteracting negative stereotypes may be needed. We examine the assimilatio/contrast literature to identify the likely effect of activating salesperson stereotypes in initial call contexts. In an exploratory study, we examine the assimilation effects of implicit salesperson stereotype activitation on judgments of an unknown salesperson and the contrast effects of explicit mention of category-consistent trait information on consumer attitudes and purchase intentions. We report evidence of assimilation and contrast effects and conclude with research direction and practical implications. © 1995 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.