April 16, 2012
Rose-Colored Glasses: Are Optimistic Consumers More Likely To Trust Salespeople?
People who believe the world is a just place trust salespeople more than consumers who don't–but only after they've made a purchase, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
"As consumers, we make many decisions each day that may or may not turn out the way we hope. Since we know salespeople may have their own reasons for the advice and recommendations they give, trusting a salesperson may put us at further risk of making a bad decision," write authors Andrew E. Wilson (Saint Mary's College of California) and Peter R. Darke (York University).
In another study, the authors manipulated worldviews and found that optimism also led to increased trust in salespeople after purchase decisions, but only when participants did not detect an ulterior motive in the salesperson.
Finally, in a third study, the authors discovered that the coping mechanism they studied only occurred when consumers were considering their own purchases, not others'. They also found that consumers who showed "optimistic trust" ended up more satisfied with their purchase decisions.
"Consumers who believe they live in a just world use this belief as a resource in coping with the difficulty of making consumer decisions, and this has the somewhat surprising effect that they end up trusting salespeople more following a choice," the authors conclude.
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