Whether you are starting out in direct sales, have moved to a new area or are simply needing to recharge your business, finding customers door-to-door can be a great way to gain sales. Many people participate in tossing – dispersing brochures to a neighborhood or area, but find that there is not a great rate or return in customers. The key, as your company will tell you, is in the follow-up. For every brochure that you distribute, you want to have a name and a phone number so that you can follow-up and gain the sale. But how is this possible in door-to-door sales?
Preparing for Door-to-Door Customer Prospecting
The first step that I recommend anyone completes prior to beginning a door-to-door sales route is to arm yourself with knowledge. Check the Sex Offender Registry for your state, or Nationally at http://www.familywatchdog.us, enter an address in the area where you are planning to go door-to-door, and search for sex offenders. It’s sad to say, but these days it is important not to take chances. I do not go to these houses, regardless of the offense. It’s my choice to not serve these folks. You can make your own choices and decisions, that’s just what I personally do.
Tools to Bring Door-to-Door
Now that you know your area, you can pack your tools and get ready to prospect! I recommend that you carry at least: brochures pre-marked with your contact information (I bring only a few in-hand and carry the rest in a bag or basket so my hands are relatively free for writing), a notebook for writing down customer information, and a pen. If you have a business name tag, I’d wear that too (high on your right hand shoulder). Business cards, samples, mini-flyers, free gifts and the like are completely optional. These are items you may find help you a lot or weigh you down, but you can customize your toolbox to your needs.
How to Prospect for Customers Door-to-Door
The first step when prospecting for customers is to take a look in the mirror. Is your hair fixed and your makeup done? Is your outfit free of stains (I have a toddler, I know how quickly clean can move to stained!), wrinkles, comfortable for walking and suitable for the temperature outdoors? If you pass that step, you’re ready to begin!
Now that you are ready to go door-to-door, get started! Assuming you are already in the neighborhood where you would like to begin, now you approach your first door. Follow these steps at the door (I’m an Avon rep, so I’m using it as an example, but you can customize for your own company!):
- Knock on the door.
- If a man or child answers, ask if the lady of the house or their mother is available. If they say no, ask if you could leave an Avon book for her. If they say yes, look down at your notebook and ask for her name and phone number so you can give her a call and see if she likes the book and would like free samples brought to her. If they say yes, write down her information. If they say no, give the book anyway and tell them that your contact information is on the back and ask them to have her call if she’d like those free samples.
- Make a special mark next to these names so you remember that the spouse or child gave her contact information.
There are a few ways to do this if the lady of the house opens the door. You will want to tailor these to your company, your products and your own words. Here are some examples:
- Introduce yourself as a local Avon Lady and ask her if she currently has an Avon Rep. If she says no, ask her if she would like an Avon book. If she says yes, look down at your notebook and say, “Let me get your name and phone number so I can bring you some free samples (or future books)”. If she gives you her information, great! If not, it’s your choice whether you’d like to leave the book with her or not. I would, but if you’re low on books, you might choose not to leave one.
- Introduce yourself as an Avon Rep and ask her if she would like to have a book. Same as above, try to get her information so you can call her back.
- Introduce yourself as an Avon Rep and tell her about a current special – for instance, the Eye Makeup Remover Lotion for 99 cents or the Glazewear for $1.99 with an entry in a giveaway. Ask her if she would like to have a book, try to get her information, etc.
- If anyone seems like she really wants you to call, she will have an order soon, make a special mark next to her name so you’ll remember.
What to Do When It Goes Badly
Not everyone has a great day all the time, and unfortunately people find it easy to be rude or mean to a door-to-door sales person. When this happens, you need to remember that it is not your fault – they are just having a bad day, week, year or whatever.
If someone is rude to you because she is an Avon rep herself, remind yourself that not everyone remembers you are sisters. She is probably just mad because she didn’t have very good sales that week. You can choose to leave the neighborhood, or if you have had several new customers from the area, she probably just isn’t going door-to-door and you could keep going. There are no assigned territories in Avon anymore!
If someone tells you she already has an Avon Lady, tell her that’s great and thank her for being an Avon customer – remember, we are all sisters!
Follow-up With Your Prospects
Now comes the most important step. You are at home, you have rested and you are ready to attack your list of customers. It may be the next day or two days later, but you don’t want to wait too long before calling. Now all you have to do is pick up the phone!
First call the ladies who acted like they really wanted you to call – the ones you marked on your list. Call and just tell her you are the Avon lady who stopped by her house recently and asked if she is interested in any of the items in the catalog. You can share with her current specials or offer her some free samples if she has a question about a product. If she does not want to place an order now, ask her if she’d like you to bring by a new catalog when the next one comes out.
Next you want to call the ladies who gave you their information when you were out. Ask the same questions, and hopefully you will gain an order! Finally, you want to call the ladies whose family members gave you their contact information. Make sure you let them know how you came across their name and phone number, so they know you were the one who dropped off the brochure. Ask if they have had a chance to look at it and if they would like to order anything.
Now you have more customers! Make a list of the ones who would like future brochures and deliver a brochure to them in the next campaign, making sure to follow up every other campaign with a phone call. Keep up the great work!