It doesn’t matter what industry someone is in or what the specific product is. There are just some things that a salesman should never get into or do. There are rules of “etiquette” that need to be followed, even if most customers don’t realize these actually exist. These should be part of the training of any sales personnel, though there are times when it can be glossed over in favor of more in-depth product information or details about the promotions the company is running.
One thing to remember is to never disparage the competition. It makes people feel like the business is unprofessional. It doesn’t matter if the company specializes in payday loans or if it sells electronics at cut-rate prices; what matters is that they retain a high degree of professionalism. They cannot allow themselves to get dragged into a mudslinging match by another company.
However, while it isn’t considered good salesmanship to talk badly about another company, it is a much worse idea to speak of them positively. At this point, it seems like the salesman has more faith in the rival’s ability to meet a customer’s needs. While it may be unintentional, such praise speaks volumes against the company.
Most salesmen eventually learn – or are outright told – that the easiest way to avoid running into either problem is to be diplomatic and vague about it. Phrases like “I’m not sure about the other company, but in our case…” and variations thereof are common.
Obviously, the salesman must never be discourteous or condescending towards the customer. That just brings about disaster for any sales call. No matter how frustrating the customer is or how often they rant about needing a loan just to afford what they’re being asked to purchase, the salesman should always speak with proper respect and a mildly deferential tone.
Depending on the company, it might be considered bad form to engage in hard selling. More and more companies are finding that it pushes customers away when they attempt to hard sell, which means that even if they get immediate profits from a forced sale, they’re losing out on long-term business. Other companies have decidedly less negative ideas about hard selling, but even those businesses tend to advise using it only as a last resort.