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  • Kaski, Timo; Niemi, Jarkko; Pullins, Ellen (2018)
    Acquisition of new customers is critical for any business seeking to achieve growth. This paper investigates the skill of rapport building in establishing new customer relationships and engaging customers for solution co-creation. A qualitative multiple phase study supports a micro-level analysis of rapport building in the context of business-to-business solutions and services selling. The study includes three parts: in-depth qualitative interviews, conversation analysis of video-recorded real-life sales meetings, and follow-up interviews. The results show that salesperson-initiated actions have little influence on rapport building and that strong initial rapport can compensate for potential interaction weaknesses later in the meeting. Our findings point to a set of collaborative actions and related skills needed to build rapport and move a relationship forward. These findings provide theoretical insights into the earliest moments of new customer relationship formation. The results inform businesses seeking to refocus and develop their rapport building skills towards more customer-engaging collaboration.
  • Heinonen, Erkki; Nissen-Lie, Helene A. (2020)
    Objective: Psychotherapists differ notably in the outcomes their patients achieve, and the characteristics that may explain these differences have attracted increasing interest. We systematically review studies on therapist pre-treatment characteristics predicting patient outcomes. Method: Systematic searches on databases for psychotherapy research, clinical psychology, and medical science for the years 2000-2018 identified published research examining therapist characteristics and psychotherapy outcomes. Of 2041 studies, 31 met inclusion criteria. Results: Findings show a few direct effects of therapist intrapersonal variables (e.g., self-relatedness, attachment) and several interaction effects with other constructs (e.g., patient pathology) on outcome. There is little support for the relevance of self-rated social skills. However, more consistent evidence has recently emerged for performance-based measurements of professional interpersonal skills, especially when elicited in challenging situations. Patient outcomes were also predicted by therapists' self-rated professional characteristics, such as their experienced difficulties in practice, coping mechanisms, and attitudes towards therapeutic work, indicating that therapist self-perception also matters, although not always in the direction expected. Conclusions: More effective therapists seem characterized by professionally cultivated interpersonal capacities, which are likely rooted in their personal lives and attachment history. Research guidelines are proposed for moving this field forward (including larger samples, multilevel modeling, and in-depth qualitative work).