Lan Jiang, Joandrea Hoegg, Darren W. Dahl, Amitava Chattopadhyay; The Persuasive Role of Incidental Similarity on Attitudes and Purchase Intentions in a Sales Context. J Consum Res 2010; 36 (5): 778-791. doi: 10.1086/605364
This study examines the effects of incidental similarity shared between a salesperson and a potential customer. We show that an incidental similarity, such as a shared birthday or birthplace, can result in a more favorable attitude and a higher intention to purchase. We argue and find that the need for connectedness underlies its persuasive effects in an interpersonal context. In addition, we show that the valence of the salesperson's behavior and the possibility of an extended service relationship moderate the process. When the need for connectedness is mitigated, the positive effects of incidental similarity can be lost or even reversed.