People who work in sales, know about marketing. Whether you’re a blogger, business owner or at-home parent, you’ve probably been visited at least once or twice by a door to door salesman or saleswoman. If you’re anything like me, chances are you find this simultaneously annoying and fascinating, and here’s why:
It’s almost impossible to say no to these people!
My logical brain is telling me, “Shut the door! You don’t need to spend $100 on glass cleaner!” but my emotions have got me reaching for my wallet. Why?
Door to door salesmen are marketing geniuses. We would be wise to learn from their (sometimes obnoxious) example.
Today I was visited by a lovely tattoo-covered kid who called himself “Dustin from Ohio.” He was selling children’s books. I have no need for children’s books currently, let alone ridiculously overpriced children’s books. And yet… I felt compelled to buy what Dustin was selling. Why? Here are the things he did that marketers might want to try…
He was upbeat and friendly.
First and foremost, I liked Dustin. He had a genuine smile and while his entire pitch reeked of the hard-sell, I didn’t mind because he seemed like a nice guy.
He asked questions to keep the conversation going.
Door to door salesmen know that at any given moment, they’re in danger of getting the door slammed in their faces. That’s probably why they talk so much– if you don’t have a chance to get a word in edgewise, you don’t have a chance to explain why you’re not interested… and by the time you get around to it, you might have changed your mind!
But it’s more than that. People love talking about themselves. It’s a great way to make a connection with your customer.
Dustin didn’t just ask me questions related to his product, either. He asked me about my kids and about what I do for a living. He wanted to get to know me because (most likely) he knew that I would be more likely to buy what he was selling if I send like we were friends.
And he was absolutely right.
Key Takeaway: The more you can involve your customer in a conversation, the greater your chances of making the sale.
My marketing hero Seth Godin often says we live in an “Attention Economy,” meaning that attention is highly valuable to marketers and precious to consumers– the more attention we are able to capture, the greater our chances for success. That’s why engaging your customer with questions is so important.
He made me root for his success.
Like others I’ve met, this salesman was pitching products to me as part of a competition with other salespeople. He said he was winning. Whether or not he was telling the truth, who knows, but I don’t doubt it– this kid was good!
Key Takeaway: Everybody wants to bet on the winning team. If you’re confident, your customer will have confidence in you.
The competition factor gave me what marketers like to call “social proof.” If I know other people are buying what he’s selling, I assume that both the product and the salesman are worth my time.
He told me a story that endeared me to him.
He told me about how he was recently able to send some of the children’s books he was selling to a pediatric intensive care unit. He told me how it felt to be able to give the kids those books and reminded me that I could do the same if I didn’t have any immediate need for them in my house.
People love to feel generous. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door, so to speak.
He was clear about the process.
Customers feel more comfortable when you baby-step them through what a purchase might look like. He showed me the little slip I’d need to fill out as well as how he could run my credit card. He explained how long it would take his company to process a check.
This is a helpful marketing tactic because sometimes people shy away from the unknown. By showing me what to expect, I also knew what was expected of me. People are much more likely to complete a process if they’re asked to do one specific task at a time.
He didn’t talk pricing until the very end.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this technique. I get why marketers leave that part out– it gives them time to convince you that you want their product before you have a chance to shoot it down over the price.
On the other hand, if you are clearly avoiding the subject of price, you can come across as untrustworthy, so you have to be careful about if/how you use it.
There’s a lot you can learn from the kids who come knocking. Whether you like their visits or not, you’ve got to admit that they know what they’re doing. So next time you hear that familiar knock on the door, don’t pretend you’re not home– open up and see what great new tricks they can teach you!
Before you leave be sure to give us some love and share on Twitter! We even made it easy for you 😉
[bctt tweet=”6 Genius Marketing Strategies Used By Door to Door Salesmen”]