, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 418-435
Date: 26 Oct 2012

Selling financial services: the effect of consumer product knowledge and salesperson commission on consumer suspicion and intentions

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This research examines how consumers’ subjective product knowledge affects the way they interpret salesperson compensation within the financial services industry. Data from a nationwide panel of consumers show that higher product knowledge consumers become highly suspicious and lower purchase intentions when salesperson commission rates fall outside of the latitude of acceptance (Study 1). Study 2 results, however, demonstrate a reversal of these effects by showing that compensation–recommendation consistency is an important moderator in financial salesperson interactions. In addition, the study describes boundaries of the suspicious mindset that underlies consumer responses to sales information. Theoretical and practical implications of the finding are discussed, as are future research directions.