Is there an English term for the type of street seller who aggressively sells his products? The type who yell after you and may follow you as you walk down the street?
We refer to that salesman as a hawker:
A person who travels about selling goods, typically advertising them by shouting:
I have always carried the word picture of a hawker swooping down to seize his customer with that shrill falcon scream, but the two hawks are homophones from different semantic roots:
(n.) c.1300, hauk, earlier havek (c.1200),
from Old English hafoc (W. Saxon), heafuc (Mercian), heafoc, from Proto-Germanic * habukaz
(cognates: Old Norse haukr, Old Saxon habuc, Middle Dutch havik, Old High German habuh, German Habicht "hawk"),
from a root meaning "to seize," from PIE *kap- "to grasp" (cognates: Russian kobec "a kind of falcon;" see capable).
(v.1) "to sell in the open, peddle," late 15c.,
back-formation from hawker "itinerant vendor" (c.1400),
from Middle Low German höken "to peddle, carry on the back, squat,"
from Proto-Germanic * huk-.
Related: Hawked; hawking. Despite the etymological connection with stooping under a burden on one's back, a hawker is technically distinguished from a peddler by use of a horse and cart or a van.
From the same peddling roots, huckster implies more aggressive than a hawker, and even a bit devious:
A person who sells in an aggressive or ruthless way.
Many tourist guidebooks will warn you against the tout [all dictionary definitions below are from AHD]:
tout, n. 1. One who solicits customers brazenly or persistently:
"The administration of the nation's literary affairs falls naturally into the hands of touts and thieves" (Lewis H. Lapham).
A British tourist who was murdered … was seen with a travel tout shortly before he “disappeared”. — The Independent
But travelers have been complaining for nearly a millennium about Cairo's touts and scams and souvenir hawkers. — The New York Times
Tout has a number of uses, however— in Northern Ireland and Scotland it refers to an informer, in Britain in general it apparently refers to what Americans would term a scalper (someone who buys up event tickets and resells them for profit), and in North America it can refer to someone offering racing tips to gamblers. Context is therefore important.
Another option is hawker, and evidently crier:
hawker, n. One who sells goods aggressively, especially by calling out. Also called crier.
A pusher, as might be guessed, is also in the business of thrusting a product or service upon you. The word is more pejorative than tout or hawker. I would couple this with the type of wares— insurance pusher, Microsoft pusher, Jesus pusher— as the word by itself is closely associated with a particular street trade:
pusher, n. 2. Slang One who sells drugs illegally.
If the salesman is himself suspect, beyond the ethicality of the product, you might say he is a huckster— a seller who is dishonest as well as aggressive:
huckster, n. 1. One who sells wares or provisions in the street; a peddler or hawker. 2. One who uses aggressive, showy, and sometimes devious methods to promote or sell a product.
For audiences who dislike being approached by strangers for a sale, even relatively neutral terms like peddler, costermonger, or even street vendor can do the trick. He's a fruit peddler is descriptive, but He's such a fruit peddler! is uncomplimentary.
hus·tle (hŭs′əl) v. hus·tled, hus·tling, hus·tles v.intr. 1. To move or act energetically and rapidly: We hustled to get dinner ready on time. 2. To push or force one's way. 3. To act aggressively, especially in business dealings.
It obviously has additional meanings, but it fits and its more colloquial than other suggestions I saw here so far. If I had to use something that people would know what I'm talking about, I'd go with this.
- One who uses aggressive, showy, and sometimes devious methods to promote or sell a product.
My personal favorite is mountebank. Others: Hustler. Panhandler. Hawker.