Do You Talk Up or Down?
I was standing in front of a room of very well-educated, intelligent people—they're not idiots. To talk down to them puts them in a lower status position and that only serves to create an adversarial relationship. Instead, I chose to speak informally and encouraged people to ask questions during my talk and even allowed a few people to express what they knew. If they were right, I agreed, if not, I corrected them gently. This isn't coddling anyone. This is just acknowledging that people aren't idiots. It's the difference between talking at someone and talking with someone.
It's this fine nuance between telling and sharing information that makes today's customer comfortable with a sales person or not. There are too many alternatives out there, online or otherwise, to which customer can turn. If you make them feel uncomfortable for even a moment, they'll leave you in a second, and never return.