Most of us were taught an opening for door to door sales that guarantees failure. I don’t know who came up with this method but it doesn’t work and gets a lot of door closed that could be warm and open.
The classic opening to avoid goes something like this: “Good morning. I’m Carl Davidson from Acme Inc, the world’s largest distributor of fountain pens. I would like to show you some of our products. Can I come in?”
This common opening contains several major errors. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
Error #1 It’s all about you and not about the customer. I agree that we need to identify ourselves but it should just be our first name and company name. Then, immediately switch to what’s in it for the customer. In our example, the customer probably does not care that we are the world’s largest distributor of anything and probably the customer was not inside the home hoping a fountain pen salesperson would come by. They have no interest and when they have no interest, the door closes.
Error #2 is to continue focused on ourselves with the next sentence, “I would like to show you some of our products.” It’s all about us and not the customer. I feel the door closing right now with this approach.
Error #3 Asking a question, “Can I come in?”. This is a giant error because there is no way to recover when the customer says, “no”. Never ask a question they can say, “No” to.
Now, let’s look at alternate ways to restructure your opening to focus in the customer to create enough interest to be allowed in the door.
If you sell something that can be seen from outside the home, try to find something you can point out to create interest and happiness that you stopped by. For example, “Good morning, I am Carl with Acme Roofing. Sorry to disturb you but I was driving by and I noticed that one of your chimney flashings is loose and may cause leaking. Come on out and take a look at it.”
I think you will agree that this opening gets interest. Once they come out with you to see the problem, they are glad you stopped by and you have their attention. Notice it is a statement and not a question and that it does not try to directly sell anything.
For those who sell something you can’t see from the street, there are several other openings that are effective. Let’s take a look at a few:
The Intriguing Question
Try to create an intriguing question that raises interest without trying to sell. If you sell pre-need burial, you might ask something like, “If death were to touch your family today, how many of the 48 decisions you’d have to make immediately are you prepared to make?” If you are selling a freezer plan, you might ask something like, “If our company gave you 50 pounds of steak every year at no charge, would that help you with your food budget?” This is a way of explaining how much they will save but notice there is no direct selling yet. You always get in the door using interest and then start selling.
Another way to generate interest is to explain that you were just at a neighbor’s home and you have a few minutes before your next appointment to test their equipment at no charge.
This not only gets you in the door, but as you inspect, you can usually sell add-ons or upgrades or new equipment. If they say they have no equipment, it is a great time to explain that most of their neighbors do and why.
Don’t be afraid to try unusual thing sand see if they work. One of our customers was assigned calling on unhappy customers who had left the cable company because of poor service.
The opening we worked out was, “I am Carl from Acme Cable. The company sent me to offer you a bribe”. Pause while they try to figure out what you mean. Then explain that they left your company and you have been sent to bribe them into returning. It’s just a different way of saying you have a special offer.
I hope you will try some of these approaches. Don’t stick to the classic ego centric methods most companies teach. Try new approaches. keep what works and discard what doesn’t.
The change will hold your interest too.