Heard the one about the financial salesman who won’t be able to educate his child this month unless you sign up for the credit card he is selling?  Or how about losing his job unless you take out a personal loan because he has not hit his commission target for several weeks?

Some salesmen will tell you any sob story if it means you might take on a new personal finance product. Why? Because they work on commission and for every sale they make, they get a bump up in monthly income. If they hit their commission target they make even more.

So are they stringing you along with their sad tales?  Maybe, or maybe not. While some salesmen might take you for a ride, many more play by the books.

The key for you is to keep your wits about you. You may be contacted by your own bank’s sales team or perhaps, if a bank has access to a corporate database with your number on, another bank’s sales team. They will offer you a great car loan, a fantastic new credit card, an unbeatable rate on a personal loan and so on.

It may sound like a great deal, but before you say yes, ask yourself if it really is. If it’s a credit card with no annual fees, that’s great, but how long are there are no annual fees? A year down the line you could be paying a hefty annual rate.

If it’s a loan, what is the interest or profit rate? It may sound low but is it a reducing or flat rate? There is a difference and one will cost you more than the other.

Also, beware of taking on products you don’t want. Craftier salesmen may tag on an extra product when you are signing paperwork for a new product. Let’s say you take on one credit card with a limit of AED40,000 that offers air miles as a reward. When you sign they may slip in a second, standard card with a limit of AED8000 telling you to use it for online shopping to protect you from fraud.

While it sounds like a good idea – if you don’t use the card you may still have to pay annual fees on it. It’s costing you and making the salesman money because he’s sold you two cards rather than one.

If you do receive a cold call about a product you don’t want, stick to your guns. Say ‘no’ straightaway and don’t feel under pressure. He needs you to sign on the dotted line more than you need a new credit card or loan.

However, if you do want a new financial product and a salesman calls offering the exact product you want, ask him to call back at a later date so that you can compare his offering with others. It’s always better to compare all the options on the market before you sign up to anything.