A professional salesperson is someone who not only has sales knowledge and skills, but also knows the principles of business etiquette. Being able to introduce yourself, understanding the principles of precedence, and knowing how to address others, approach clients, and make personal connections - these are the conditions for success. The rules of etiquette are not only a set of conventions, they’re an effective tool for initiating contact and building positive long-term relationships with clients.

Sales is a complicated world where competition determines success, but where success is available not only to those with experience, professional knowledge and sales skills, but to those who are able to establish and maintain relationships. To do that, you need to be familiar with the principles of business etiquette, which won’t only help you gain confidence in dealing with clients, but will also help you better present yourself. So let’s get to know these rules, because etiquette is slightly different in sales than in other areas of life.

The principle of priority in business

The basis for the principle of precedence in business is rank and status, not gender and age (as would be more important in social situations). The client always has absolute priority in sales (and business in general). Beyond that, the hierarchy of importance is usually determined by the company’s organizational structure. Business etiquette doesn’t take gender into account. During meetings, both men and women stand to those entering the room. That’s how we should behave when a client, guest, or supervisor enters the room. The standing rule also applies to goodbyes - you should get up when saying goodbye and when a guest leaves. If a meeting is held your office, meet guests at the reception desk, and show them back out after the meeting.

The principle of rank and status doesn’t apply when waiting for or getting on or off the lift, as that could make it difficult for those with lower positions to use the lift. So:

  • The ‘first come, first served’ principle applies to the lift - those who first approached the lift are the first to get on.
  • On the other hand, those closest to the door are the first to leave. Even if it’s not their floor, those standing near the door should step off at each stop to let others out. They should stand sideways, so as not to block the exit.
  • If you get on the lift and you see that someone else is coming, hold the door so they don’t have to wait.
  • If the lift is full, don’t try to pack yourself in, just wait for the next one.

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