Door-to-door sales isn’t what it used to be… or is it?
In the past 25 years, technology has changed (to say the least). We have the internet. We communicate via Facebook, LinkedIn, email, and web forms. But before all this, we relied on good ol’ conversation. Back in the day, you didn’t get the best deal out of the phone book, so you needed relationships.
Now that we have more virtual storefronts and fewer brick-and-mortar stores, is door-to-door sales still a viable strategy?
Absolutely! But you’ll need to look at your industry to determine how prevalent its role should be in your marketing approach.
Selling Products Vs. Services
What you sell determines how effective the door-to-door strategy can be for you. Door-to-door marketing has value for everyone — but how much value depends on your industry.
Actual products tend to sell better door-to-door than services. Here’s why. The people you meet when you stop by — the receptionist or the office manager — make decisions about commodities. If you’re selling a commodity, you’ll likely meet the decision-maker if you drop by. They can look at the price you offer compared to what they’re paying and make the choice.
However, if you’re dealing with a principle-led sale, you need to talk to the CFO — who usually isn’t available without an appointment. When you drop by unannounced, you won’t get far with the office manager on these decisions. They just don’t have the authority to make the purchase.
Top Industries for Door-to-Door Sales
Door-to-door sales also works well in places that haven’t changed much with the times. It’s not that they’re resistant to change; it’s that the industry relies on traditional customer relationships. They’re used to face-to-face communication and place great value in it.
Purchases in a doctor’s office rely on consistent interaction. Doctors are used to lunch-and-learns. Vendors bring in lunch and teach them about new products, treatments, or pharmaceuticals. Doctors and their staff are used to talking to people in person about potential purchases.
Plus, most doctor’s offices don’t rely on email the same way other industries do. Why? Because spam filters filter out lots of clinical content. There are also liabilities involved in sending medical information electronically. So, if you’re trying to sell medical equipment, they still expect you to show up in person.
Are you a pharmacy rep? Check out “Why Pharmacy Reps Should Use a Sales Tracking App” for more ways to use door-to-door sales in your industry.
All business at a car dealership is client-facing. A car salesperson’s schedule is built for interruptions. If you handle auto financing, auto restyling, or another service for dealerships, stop by so you can talk to them in person. They’re used to it, and it works with their daily structure.
Grocery stores are another great market for the door-to-door approach. Click here for more info on selling food products to grocery stores (without competing on price).
Practical Tips for Marketing Door-to-Door
Whether you’re in an industry that thrives on door-to-door sales or you just use it occasionally, these five tips will help you make the most of your time.
1. Decide if it’s worth the effort
Think about what you’re selling. Will you see the decision-maker if you drop by? If you’re selling to the receptionist or the office manager, go for it! You’ll see them every time you stop in — that’s a 100% contact rate. But, if you need to speak to the CEO, you’re likely wasting your time.
2. Set a goal for each prospect
Each drop-in should help you reach a goal. This isn’t busy work.
- Is your goal to get a name? If so, could you get that more quickly online or by phone?
- Do you need to find out more about the gatekeeper? That may require a visit. Is there someone there you can speak with?
Have a clear objective before you walk in.
3. Work the numbers
How many people do you need to see for door-to-door marketing to be worth your time? Make sure the numbers add up before you make a visit.
4. Capitalize on proximity
How can you see multiple people in the shortest amount of time? Use your location to your advantage. You need a solution that shows you what’s near you so you can maximize your time. If you have an appointment on the West side of town, you need an app like CallProof to sort customers and prospects geographically. Then you can search for who’s nearby and drop by while you’re out.
5. Follow up
No drop-in is worthwhile if you don’t follow up. If you get a business card and enter it into your database, but don’t do anything else with it, you’ve wasted your time. You MUST follow up — and don’t let anything stop you from it. You have to close the loop for new contacts. Otherwise, it’s useless.
Door-to-door sales may still be around, but the days of going back to the office to update your CRM form with your notes are gone. With CallProof, you can speak your notes into your app as soon as you leave a business. Then you can click on a follow-up reminder so that you’ll actually do something with that information. This keeps your notes more accurate and your follow-up timely.
Sure, door-to-door sales is old-school, but when you use it well, it still works!