Doorstep Selling

If you don't want to talk to a salesperson who appears on your doorstep, you should politely but firmly say just that and then close the door. But if you're at least interested to hear what they have to say then it will help if you understand something of the techniques they are using and the rights that you have. The points below will guide you through a visit from a salesperson arriving on the doorstep to sell you investments.

Identifying the salesperson At the start of a visit, the salesperson must reveal their name to you and the name of the company they're working for - they should give you their business card. They must also make clear whether they're selling the products of just one company, or whether they're an independent adviser who'll cover the whole market for each type of product that they sell. (There's no halfway house - an investment salesperson can't be representing two or three companies, say.) Most doorstep salespeople fall into the first category and are representing, or are exclusively associated with, one company only.

WARNING Watch out for the 'disguised' salesperson who

tells you that they are doing market research into the investment habits of the neighbourhood, or completing a survey for a financial magazine. This practice is called sugging' - selling under the guise of market research. It's illegal for an investment salesperson to use this technique, and if you come across it, you should report the salesperson to their company and to the relevant regulating organisation.

The salesperson must at the outset state the reason for their visit and find out whether or not you want them to carry on. If you do, they must then describe the products they have to sell.

The sales pitch An investment salesperson is legally required to give you the best advice they can (for more about this, seep. ). They must not make any statements which are untrue or exaggerated, nor must they make light of any drawbacks concerning their wares. If the products they have to offer are really unsuitable for you, the salesperson should admit this. And they must respect your right to end the visit at any time. But there's little point in ignoring the fact that they are there in the hope of making a sale. And the salesperson has a whole armoury of ploys to help them gain your trust - and business. These are some of the techniques you may encounter. The salesperson's position at the door will have been worked out in advance. Too close and too eager to come in might appear threatening. Wiping the feet on your doormat is designed to trigger you to invite them in. Once inside, a man may take off his coat but not his jacket - that should seem neither too formal nor too casual. They'll probably ask where to sit rather than risk taking your favourite chair.


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Salespeople

You might prefer to sort out your financial business in your own home, especially if you have the assistance of a salesperson whom you know and have done business with before. But a selling technique which you'll probably come up against from time to time is 'cold calling' - the uninvited visit or phone call from someone you don't know. For many people, having an uninvited salesperson in the living room is an unwelcome and even intimidating experience. Even an uninvited and unwanted phone call can be difficult to handle if you're not prepared in the last resort to be rude.

In general, financial... see: Salespeople


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