Many dealers in our industry today are selling water equipment the old way: door to door. Some have abandoned the technique as too hard but in the end, if your advertising budget does not allow for lead generation, door-to-door sales still work well.
Door-to-door sales require special daily preparation to be successful, allow less time for a good impression and require ways to dull the pain of rejection.
The hardest thing about door-to-door sales is getting started. They say the first door is the car door, meaning it is tough to get out and start knocking. You need to convince yourself every day that you are helping people by telling them about your product or service. This is critical to give you the courage to sell door to door.
Dress for Success
People are more concerned about opening their door today than ever before. What impression do you give? You have only a few seconds to make an impression that will allow you to make contact.
First, you must be clean and well groomed. Dress like a person someone would want to talk to. Men should beware of beards because they can make door-to-door sales more difficult. Leather jackets, cut-away T-shirts and tattoos also can be handicaps in door-to-door sales.
Be sure to have identification visible—people expect it. Wear your ID openly and turned so the prospect can see it before they open the door, and a picture ID is best. If possible, have signs and graphics on your vehicle that identify you and your company.
Be sure to back away from the door after knocking so they know you will not rush the door to push in if they open it. If there is a porch, you might consider walking down the steps and waiting off the porch. This also means the prospect has to open the door to ask who you are. Do not look in the windows after you knock, and do not touch their stuff. Do not pick up their paper or mail, even just to hand it to them.
Opening Lines that Work
With door-to-door sales, you have only a few seconds to make an impression. You need to have your opening prepared. You need to practice, keep track of results and keep improving your opening line. Do not start by telling them about your product. If they wanted it, they would have called you.
If you see something on the outside of the home, try talking about that. For example, if you are selling equipment in an area with high iron and you see staining on the foundation, you might say, “Good morning, I am Carl from Acme Water. I stopped by because as I drove past I noticed the iron staining on your foundation and driveway. Has it started to cause trouble inside your home yet? I stopped to tell you a few things you could do to fix that problem before it becomes costly.”
Notice that this approach is all about the customer. It starts a conversation customers will want to join. Work on a similar idea for your product or service. Do not start with “I am from Acme Roofing. Are you interested in a new roof?” That is not going to work in today’s market.
Notice that the opener offered a solution for free. Later you can convince them that it is better to hire you for help but starting a conversation for free assistance is a lot easier than selling to a stranger.
Setting Contact Goals
Many door-to-door salespeople are out there with no idea what to expect in terms of numbers. You need to have a reasonable expectation of contacts and sales. From my experience in the water equipment industry, here are some rough ideas to start with:
If you sell door to door for four hours per day, set a goal to start with 10 contacts per hour or 40 for the day. This is an average of six minutes per door. Set this goal and stick to it—rain or shine. Try different hours, different attire and different openings to see what works best for you.
Don’t worry about selling at first, just work on your mind and confidence until you know you can have a good conversation with 40 people per day. Because your goal is based on four hours of selling, if you miss your goal, add on an hour of selling until you reach it.
The next goal you need to set is to make meaningful contacts. What percentage of the doors you knock on will result in a meaningful conversation? I will suggest you start with a goal of just 10%. This means if you contact 40 people per day, you will make a meaningful presentation to four of them.
Content, presentation, numbers and goals are all very important to success, and there is no rejection involved. So far, your success is based on hours worked and doors knocked.
Setting & Achieving Reasonable Sales Goals
You need to set a reasonable goal for sales so you can celebrate victories every day. I suggest you start with a goal of one sale in four presentations, or a closing rate of 25%. Based on our goal for 40 contacts and four presentations, that would give you a goal of one sale per day.
If you do not meet this goal, look into training or trying new ways to close. Analyze why potential customers said “no” and try to solve the problem. Having a goal and meeting it gives you a much better feeling each day than just hoping and not keeping track.