Is salesmanship becoming a lost art? Some contend the real skill of directly selling a product has already been lost in an age obsessed with video and pay-per-click ads. But anyone who understands the business value of a handshake and a conversation knows better.
With both parents working, there are rarely adults home during the day, so reaching an adequate number of people during business hours can be a challenge. Nevertheless, door-to-door selling, or "canvassing" as it is sometimes called, can still produce leads and conversions, especially if your company is selling something potentially popular with homeowners. So, how can you maximize your selling strategy's effectiveness in the average neighborhood?
With neighborhood watch enthusiasts often preferring to call the police first and ask questions later, it is very important you lay the necessary groundwork before you knock on your first door. Visit the local city government and pull the relevant ordinances on neighborhood businesses. Obtain a seller's permit. If there is a county or city business license program, get one. Make sure you are in compliance with all relevant regulations. Register with the local Chamber of Commerce if you are able. If door-to-door selling is prohibited, move on.
Visit either the police department if you're in a city, or the sheriff if you are in an unincorporated area. Leave your contact information and the names and vehicle descriptions of your salespeople and a general schedule of when you'll be active.
This way, if someone calls the police, you won't have to waste valuable daylight negotiating with the responding officers.
Look the Part
Suit and tie. Yes, everyone knows wandering around during daylight hours in a suit is a pain, but nobody ever said selling was easy. Your sales staff should look presentable and portray an image of success and power. Unless you are selling a product with a price tag under five dollars, you should look as if you can be trusted with a credit card number. This means you should wear business attire.
If at all possible, your sales teams should operate in pairs. It's often a good idea if the team is opposite genders as well. While it is possible two people wearing suits might be mistaken for police officers themselves even before the neighborhood watch gets involved, having a wing often makes the primary salesperson seem more professional and puts the customer at ease.
If your salespersons must look conservative, your sales brochures and business cards should be anything but. The key to getting attention, especially in person, is knowing how to put the product in the customer's hands. Before that moment, however, you need to make absolutely certain the product is as attention-getting as your pitch.
High contrast vibrant color combined with a refined and polished presentation have been the bedrock of in-person sales since the invention of the color separation process. They sell real estate, investments, cars and appliances. There's absolutely no reason they can't sell your product. Even a low-code mobile app will find a brochure that pops combined with a nice suit and tie a worthy challenge in the neighborhood marketplace.
Once you've covered all the preparatory steps, your sales numbers afterwards are a matter of hustle. Make eye contact. Have the second salesperson hand over the brochure while you hand over the business card. Try to either gently push a call to action, schedule a follow-up or get contact information so your salespeople return to the sidewalk with something concrete.
Your salespeople should learn to smile and should learn how to use body language to put whomever answers the door at ease. They shouldn't wear sunglasses, jewelry or piercings. In fact, they should look as ordinary as possible, while looking presentable of course, so as to avoid distracting the customer from the product.
Effective selling is one of the hardest things to do well. But, with a little practice and a little preparation, the results of a well-designed door-to-door campaign can be competitive with nearly any other sales channel.