Ice cream for Eskimos: The role of competent sales delivery in marketer success

William Cole Franklin

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine what role effective or competent delivery skills play in successful marketing. The study seeks to determine if speaking delivery factors are necessary for a seller to be successful and if so, which delivery skills are the most important for that success. The researcher asked professional marketers if they believe language adaptation is necessary in sales presentations in order for a marketer to be successful. The study sought to apply Speech Accommodation Theory and Constructivism, examining the roles of convergence and person-centered language in sales success. The study surveyed a sample of individuals from the American Marketing Association in order to obtain practitioners' perceptions of key competent delivery skills. The study investigated the realm of communication competence in general followed by an examination of delivery skills both from the perspective of communication literature as well as marketing literature. Results indicated that respondents believed articulation, enunciation, and pronunciation; enthusiasm; eye contact, facial expressions; and fluency were the most important delivery skills. Additionally, respondents indicated that delivery skills and relationships were nearly equal in terms of importance for successful sales. Enthusiasm; eye contact, facial expressions; gestures, movement, posture; and volume were some of the characteristics most important for a sales professional to adapt to a customer during a sales presentation, aptly illustrating applications of Speech Accommodation Theory and Constructivism for communication competence in the sales profession.