Reducing pre and post decision anxiety or reducing dissonance is an important function of the salesperson. Recognizing that the buyer’s dissonance varies both according to whether the product is an established or a new one, and whether the salesperson client relation is ongoing or new, these are four types of cases involving the salesperson’s role.
1. An established product – an ongoing salesperson – client relationship. Unless the market is unstable, the buyer tends toward automatic response behavior, in which no learning is involved and thus experiences little, if any, dissonance; but insofar as it does occur, the salesperson is effective because the salesperson is trusted by the buyer.
2. An established product – a new salesperson – client relationship. The salesperson, being new, is less effective in reducing dissonance.
3. A new product and ongoing salesperson-client relationship. Unless the buyer generalizes from personal experience with an established similar product, the buyer experiences dissonance, especially if it is an important product. Because of the established relationship with the buyer, the salesperson can reduce dissonance.
4. A new product-a new salesperson-client relationship. The buyer needs dissonance reduction, and the salesperson is less capable of providing it.
How can a salesperson facilitate the buyer’s dissonance reduction? Two ways are
(1) to emphasize the advantages of the product purchased, while stressing the disadvantages of the forgone alternatives, and
(2) to show that many characteristics of the chosen item are similar to products the buyer has forgone, but which are approved by the reference groups.
In other words, the buyer experiencing cognitive dissonance needs reassuring that the decision is or was a wise one; the salesperson provides information that permits the buyer to rationalize the decision