Door-to-door sales can be a brutal business. Most salespeople make only one or two sales for every 50 to 100 houses visited, The New York Times reports. But you can increase your odds of success by following the proper etiquette.
Know your market. You probably won’t have much luck selling children’s toys in a neighborhood that’s mostly occupied by retirees. Before launching a door-to-door sales effort, research your city’s demographics and target the neighborhoods that most closely fit your ideal customer base.
Consider the hour. Start knocking on doors at 6 a.m., and most of them will get slammed in your face (if they even get opened). Likewise, your visit won’t be appreciated if you show up after bedtime. Make house calls at times when people are most receptive to visitors: no earlier than 9 a.m. and no later than dusk. Although you may be able to reach the most people after 5 p.m., they’re likely to be unwinding after a busy day and focusing on dinner; you may want to limit your sales calls to traditional working hours.
Be confident but not aggressive. Many people are wary of strangers showing up on their doorsteps. Dress professionally to set their minds at ease. When you greet prospective customers, stand back from the door and at an angle. Make eye contact with a smile, but don’t stare. Hand your prospects a brochure or business card as you politely introduce yourself, so they immediately understand who you are and what you’re representing. If people tell you that they aren’t interested, stop pitching and thank them for their time.
Offer something of value for free. Start a discussion with prospective customers by offering your expertise free of charge. For instance, if you’re a landscaper, offer to provide a free appraisal for planting new garden beds. Or, if you sell a product that’s available in small quantities, such as chocolates or beauty products, bring a free sample.
Don’t push for an immediate sale. People generally find it off-putting when you ask them to make immediate purchases. Ask your potential buyer if you can do a demonstration or provide more information about the product or service first. If now is a bad time, offer to schedule an appointment later in the week, or ask for a phone number or email address, so that you can follow up directly.