How to deal with Pushy Salespeople

by cherylone

Trained Salespeople selling large ticket tiems want only one thing from you: your money. But with this article, you can beat them at their own game.

Trained Salespeople will try to trick you, taunt you, offer you the world and bug you until you want to hide in the rafters just to stop the harassment. How do you deal with these types of people? People who care nothing about you or your situation? People who won't listen and keep trying to push something you can't afford and really don't want? Is all lost? NO! There is hope. You can beat them at their own game with just a few easy tricks.

Have you ever dealt with a pushy salesperson?

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They are everywhere, you need to be very familiar with your subject when dealing with them.

Before you can be savvy about dealing with pushy Salespeople, you need to know the kind of people you need to watch out for--

Image by lipetkdThe majority of us have faced the general Salespeople in stores of all types.  They usually won’t push for something because they have a job to do (which isn’t selling to you) and they don’t get paid by the items sold.  They will offer help and race to the back room as soon as you tell them you can handle it.  They are relatively harmless. 

The ones you need to worry about are the ones who go door to door, or sell large items like homes, appliances and vehicles.  Even those in different stores who have been hired to demonstrate an item and try to convince you to buy it can be (and usually are) pushy.  Electronic Salespeople are pushy too, especially when they are in a big store that specializes in electronic items, because they get a percentage of what they sell.  Carnival Salespeople need to sell their items in order to make a profit after the booth fees and food is paid, so they will do anything for a sale.  And, keep your eye on the people who smile demurely and quietly and politely offer you something.  Before you are done dealing with them, you will probably have paid off their mortgage for them.

Now that you know who to be wary of, let’s cover how to prepare--

Use a computer and the internet or go to a library and use their's if you don't have one.

© Cheryl SimondsMost of you will do a bit of research before you make a big purchase; however the research is usually nothing more than features and abilities.  You might check a price or two, to get an idea, but you don’t usually research the item fully.  That is very bad.  When you are planning a large purchase, do your homework!  Check on local prices and prices in neighboring cities to see which is cheaper (would it pay to use the gas to go get the item, or can it be delivered).  Check for features and find out what items are considered standard (in all items) and what are considered extras (cost more to have).  For instance:  Many Vehicle Salespeople will fail to tell you that the items you are paying hundreds of dollars for are actually standard in all their vehicles, but if you don’t argue, you will pay for them. 

Check with Consumer Reports to see what the rating for the item is and check to see if the item comes in different sizes, shapes, applications, etc. and what the difference in the cost might be.  An important item to check is repair costs and breakdown records.  Don’t be afraid to write down what you find and where you find it.  Don’t be afraid to discuss your findings with the Salesperson.  Don’t be afraid to point out things they are doing differently than what you found in your research.  And be sure to write down all offers, changes, prices, add-ons, etc. so that you know what they were offering for what items.  Don’t let them squeeze in extra charges and double talk to you about it either.

When a Salesperson approaches you, what should you do?

You have done your homework, and know your stuff, now what?

Tell them exactly what you are looking for and what you would like to get with it.  For Instance:  “I’m looking for the new flat screen TV with HD and Wi-Fi options.  What do you have in stock that you could show me?”  Don’t be afraid to be the pushy one.  You are the one paying for this item, so you should get what you want, not what they want to sell you.  Also, be sure to ask lots of questions about the item.  If the Salesperson tells you something that doesn’t jive with your research, you should tell them you might be back after you have done some more research--the chances are they will correct their “error” right there and continue to try to sell to you. 

Listen to their approach and offers, then tell them you will think about it-and then leave!  First, because you should check the item and price at more than one store or location and second because you never allow them to sell you the item the first time you are there.  This goes for homes, cars, and any large ticket items you might purchase.  Never buy the day you look because they will give you double talk and try to con you into believing that this is the best offer.  There is one exception that is described below. 

Exception to not buying the same day:

When you go to a Carnival or a flea market for items, you might see things you like and are interested in, but you are not sure of the price, etc.  One of the factors that the Salespeople are counting on is the knowledge that if you don’t buy it then, it might not be there when you come back.  How can you protect yourself from these types of Salespeople?  Use your ‘gut feelings’.  Those Salespeople want to sell that item and make money.  They don’t want you to walk away because you might be the only bite they have had all day.  How do you ensure you are getting a good deal? 

Listen to your gut!

Unless you have already researched the item before you found it, you can’t be certain about it; however you can be sure the price they are charging can be reduced.  So, your gut feeling might tell you that the item is probably overpriced and that you could probably get a brand new one for the same price--pass it on to the Seller.  Your gut felling might tell you that the item will cost a great deal to repair, more than it is worth.  Tell the Seller that.  Your gut feeling says the item isn’t what you want and is more than you can afford.  Tell the Seller that and walk away!  Don’t let them continue to try to convince you to purchase.  If it seems too good to be true and/or you don’t really need it, then don’t get it.  It is that simple.  Another tactic is to walk away from it and check out other Sellers.  Think about the purchase.  If you really want it you can go back later and see if it is still there.  If you go back later and the item is still there, the Seller is probably more than willing to lower the price to make the sale.

What is your next step once you have checked with the salesperson and have ideas on different costs and offers?

After you have checked out the item at different locations (or looked at different homes, etc.), go home and compare your notes from each encounter.  What is the best deal?  What item has the majority of features you were looking for?  What item can you afford?  Look up the items again and compare the Salesperson’s offers and promises to those you have researched.  Check with every source you can (I have listed some below to help you out) to compare what they said to what the sources say.  Chose a couple of the offers that seem to be the top offers and go back and discuss the options once more with the Salesperson.  Can they make a better offer?  Can they offer more items for free?  Are the items the same as what you researched?  Are they trying to sell you something that is ‘just as good’ or ‘comparable’ to the item you wanted?  Don’t let them trick or fool you. Get what you want or walk away.  They may be willing to compromise at that point; and, if they aren't, well, you didn't need their offer in the first place.

Remember, by walking away, you are costing them a loss in sales. 

Time for a duel of opinions--Okay, you have done your homework and talked to several salespeople, but none of them are willing to give you the deal you want?

Do you walk away or let them bully you into something you don't want or need?
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I walk away and seek elsewhere for the item I want at the price I want.
EnelleLamb on 08/10/2012

Some really good points! Wish I had read this 5 years ago! LOL

Tiggered on 08/08/2012

I don't tolerate sales people. Usually they are smart enough to realise it and b#$%#r off. If they persist, they do it at their own peril.

katiem2 on 08/06/2012

I have little patience for pushy sales persons. I don't engage in conversation with them, just keep walking. You can spot them!

Now that you have made your choice and decided to buy, you are home free, right?

Not quite.  You still have to fill out the contract, sign the contract, discuss options and extras, and actually pay for the item.  Be careful with this step.  Read everything and make sure the amounts and offers are all correct.  Don’t sign until you have read all of the sales contract including the fine print.  If you feel you can’t understand the contract, ask to take a copy home so you can consult a lawyer or someone who is adept in such things.  Usually, they will let you; however, there are some that won’t.  If that is the case, ask to come back with someone who can understand the contract. 

If they try to coerce you into signing with something like “it’s up to you, but the offer may not be here when you return”, then you should run, not walk, to the nearest exit and don’t ever look back.  If they won’t let you get someone who understands the contract, then there is something in there they don’t want you to know about until after you have signed.  And never sign anything with blank spaces!  If the information doesn’t pertain to you, write N/A in the blank.

The following are things you should check out for specific items you are thinking of purchasing.

When buying a house, you should check on:

House by PublicDomainPicturesThe taxes, local fees, schools if you need them, surrounding homes and how they look, what the police and fire department are like, how old the appliances are and how old the house-roof-furnace-and hot water heater are.  Older homes and/or appliances may break down early; and, because of a large mortgage payment, you may not be able to repair them.  Also, is the area family friendly?  Where do you park your car?  Is there a land dispute?  Is the title clear?  You need to know if you are getting a good deal or a list of problems when you sign on the dotted line and take on 30 years of payments.  The National Association of Realtors can help you ensure the Realtor you are using is a good one.

When buying a truck or car, you should check out:

By werner22brigitteLook at things like upholstery, carpets, are items all working well, is the radio 'pin locked' (you will have to look in the manual for that), is there a spare tire, is there a jack, what do the tires look like, what does the interior smell like, and ask for a repair history of the vehicle, especially if it is used.  Ask to have a mechanic look at it.  Check to see if all safety items are working (lights-turn signals-brakes-seat belts-etc.).  And check to see if there are any warning lights on the dash when the car is running.  Also, does it make funny noises when you drive it?  You don’t want it to break down as you drive off the lot because the dealer won’t fix it for free once you have signed on the dotted line.  Most dealers will provide you with a free repair report on a used vehicle, but if you aren't buying from a dealer try Car Fax, it costs a bit, but it will give you the information you need.  All you need is the VIN number of the vehicle in question.

When buying appliances, you should be aware of:

By PublicDomainPicturesSalespeople who boast about the better appliances (and thus expensive ones) rather than spend too much time talking about the lesser ones; however, most of the expensive ones have features that you simply will never use.  Ask questions about the features and what they do before you choose the one you want.  Also, a basic appliance, with things you need, is much cheaper than the ones with fancy buttons, knobs, and extras.  Don’t be fooled into believing that the extras will save you money in the long run, because they won’t.  In fact, the chances are they will cost you more to run because there is more on it.  Remember that you are probably also paying for the brand name, so check out the secondary brands-their products are generally just as good and much cheaper.  You can check the Better Business Bureau to ensure the company is legitimate.

When buying electronic equipment such as Stereos, you should be aware of:

By PublicDomainPicturesThe Salesperson will try to get you to buy the absolute most expensive piece in the store because they will get a mucho bonus.  Again, check features, check extras, and check to see if you need, or just want, the extras.  Yes, it would be incredible to have a surround sound system that you can control from a single remote anywhere in the house, but how much will all that cost?  Will it be worth the money you will pay?  Will it be worth the electric energy you will use?  Will it ever be used (except to show off to friends who will grow tired of your boasting soon enough)?  The incredible set ups don’t pay for your meals, they only fill your ears (and perhaps eyes) with sound and motion.  Don’t be fooled by the excitement of the moment.  If you’ve done your homework, you already know what you want and how much you can afford.  Stick to that and you will be much happier.

When buying insurance, you should be aware of:

©Cheryl SimondsInsurance people are extremely fast talkers and will try to convince you that you can afford what they are offering because you will be saving on other things that the insurance will do for you, etc.  Don’t believe it.  They are simply trying to sell you everything possible because that is how they get paid.  Yes, you might need insurance of some type, but did you really need to insure the cemetery stone sitting on your dog’s old grave site; or the boat in the back yard that doesn’t run because there is no motor?  Okay, so I was exaggerating a bit, but they are that good.  While they are making their speech to you about all that you will save and how much peace of mind you will get, take notes.  And then, once they are gone, think about the things they said and the amount it will cost.

Never count money that you supposedly will save until you are actually saving it--life is never that easy.  So, with what you are paying right now out of pocket, can you afford the insurance he is offering?  Be honest with yourself.  If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t do it.  And, if you decide to go with a cheaper insurance and the Salesperson gives you a hard time about it, tell them you have changed your mind and no longer wish to deal with them.  Also, once an insurance salesperson gets your signature on something, they have you.  Don’t sign anything unless you have read it, understand it, and agree with it.  Oh yes, and don’t accept their explanation of what the paper says, because it probably doesn’t really say that.  And especially don’t sign anything with blank spaces!


  1. Do your homework
  2. Discuss what you found with the salespeople
  3. Know what you want before you begin
  4. Don't be afraid to be the pushy one, it is, after all, your money
  5. Don't let them bully you or fast-talk you into something you don't want and/or can't afford
  6. Walk away if they won't work with you
  7. Be sure the contract is accurate, completely filled out with no blank spots, and totally understandable to you before you sign
  8. Don't take their word for anything
  9. Don't be afraid to call their bluff with an expert of your own
  10. Don't accept 'comparable' or 'just as good' items
  11. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true
  12. If a salesperson is coming to your home, check with the company to make sure they actually do work for them.

Here is a list of links that might come in handy when doing research for your large ticket items:

Or you can check local DMVs, specific company websites, and word of mouth from friends and family, also your librarian can be of enormous assistance.
Updated: 09/25/2021, cherylone
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cherylone on 03/24/2015

That would do it. I am just a poor retail worker; but I try.

frankbeswick on 03/23/2015

Thinking about the meaning of words was part of my job, as I used to teach philosophy [among other subjects.]

cherylone on 03/23/2015

Frankbeswick, I love it! Who knew to think about such things as different meanings. No wonder they are so good.

frankbeswick on 03/22/2015

Suppose that you accuse someone of pushing you into a purchase. He makes a secret mental definition of pushing as meaning physical contact, and then self-righteously denies doing so, but you and he are working on different definitions. He takes your word literally, while you are using it in a broader, metaphorical sense. Hence he can lie with a straight face. This technique is common in business and politics, and is a key part of management-speak. It is essentially dishonest.

Pushy salesmen must hate me. When they phone I say no thank you and simply put the phone down as they are speaking. Otherwise they use the practised spiel to keep you on the line.

cherylone on 03/21/2015

frankbeswick, nice on that one. I bet they walk away shaking their heads and spend the rest of the day trying to figure it out!

frankbeswick on 03/21/2015

I cannot tolerate people who say that they are not trying to sell me something. When this is said I ask "Why then are you speaking to me?" The dishonesty behind this is that they are working with a very precise definition of selling, which is what the closers of deals do, so they can legally say that they are not selling, but they are part of the selling process. I become just as annoyed when people say that they aren't trying to convert me, to which I reply, "But I'm trying to convert you." This usually shocks them.

cherylone on 03/21/2015

frankbeswick, your mother was a smart lady. One should always trust their gut when it comes to sales people. Of course, not all of them are false, but you need to be careful with all of them just in case. Thanks for writing.

frankbeswick on 01/20/2015

My mother once asked me to sit with her when a salesman was calling. I sat quietly until I spotted deceptive figures about the rate of decay of nutrients in food. I interjected, "Are you talking about a geometric or arithmetic rate of decay?" He spluttered, couldn't answer and didn't get his sale. I got a dirty look when he left. There is nothing wrong in selling, but play straight, especially with my mother.

Water Distiller Reviews on 01/20/2015

Great content and very useful for me. Thanks for sharing.

cherylone on 09/27/2012

2uesday and SierraJacobs, great advice. I'm glad you stopped by to add those ideas to my article. Thank you!

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