Commission Sales Etiquette

Car salesman greeting customers
Salespeople should offer a friendly greeting and listen to the customer. Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty Images

Have you considered going into commission sales? It can be a difficult way to make a living if you aren't disciplined, but it can be quite lucrative if you're good with people and willing to work hard. Proper sales etiquette should be incorporated into every aspect of the process, from first meeting the prospect to closing the deal.

If you earn your income by making sales, you know that a bad misstep or faux pas can ruin a chance for bringing home the check.

However, you have to be aggressive to some degree, or you'll miss out on opportunities to make sales. This can be a difficult etiquette scale to balance.

Here are some tips on how to maintain good manners while making a living as a salesperson:

Care About Your Image

Dress appropriately for the industry you are in and the products you sell. If you're selling insurance or any other financial product, a suit is probably your best bet because that gives your client confidence that you are a professional. However, if you work in a high-fashion retail business, you'll want to mirror what is in style.

Regardless of how you dress, make sure you are clean and well groomed. Before you walk out the door to go to work, look in the mirror and determine whether or not you look like someone you'd want to do business with.

Listen and Address Your Customers' Needs

It's annoying to most prospects when salespeople try to sell something they don't need or will never be in the market for.

Don't assume you know what the person is looking for or interrupt as they try to explain their needs. Needs based salespeople give prospects and clients the feeling that they care, and it's their job to help them become customers based on need.

Don't Profile Your Customers

Salespeople who treat women different from men or when they act like someone over a certain age doesn't know a thing about computers can lose sales with assumptions.

You might be surprised to discover that the person who walked into your place of business wearing jeans and a T-shirt is a successful businessman in his own right.

Get to Know Your Customer or Prospect

Have a conversation with the prospects to find out more about them. This is common courtesy that shows empathy and a caring nature.

Don't Try to Be Your Customer's Best Friend

While you need to get to know the customer, also know where to draw the line. Most customers will be annoyed by salesman who pretend you're suddenly his best friend or someone who knows what he wants before he tells you.

Don't assign cutesy nicknames to your prospects, tell them supposed secrets, repeat jokes that make them blush, and say more than they want to know about your personal life. Too much personal information can make the customer uncomfortable., so please keep the relationship professional.

Be Truthful

Never misrepresent anything you are trying to sell. Lying about your product will only come back to haunt you later. As soon as your customer finds out you're lying, he's likely to leave and never come back.

Don't Make Unrealistic Promises

If you can't deliver something on a certain date, don't pretend that you can.

Let the customer know when you can have the product and offer to find a solution if that is a problem. Making unrealistic promises will break down all trust that you need to build a strong customer base.

Speak Respectfully to the Person Who Asks the Question

Never talk down to someone when asked a question. A well-answered question is one step closer to a sale. 

Be Flexible

If you can see that you're going in a direction with your sales explanation that the customer doesn't understand, try a different approach. Or if your customer seems uncomfortable with your sales tactics, be ready to change your strategy. Remember that someone who needs transportation to commute to the office will have different car buying needs from someone who carpools to their children's school with other parents.

Learn from Your Mistakes

Any time you deal with the public, you put yourself in a position of vulnerability to your own words and actions.

You may occasionally say the wrong thing or act in a way you later regret. If possible, offer a sincere apology to the customer and don't ever make that mistake again.

Don't Pressure Your Friends

Your pals may want to buy from you, but never apply pressure. That's a sure way to have them running the other way when they see you coming. Make sure your friends know that you don't expect anything from them other than friendship.