HARDISON’S TIPS – DECEMBER 22, 2020 – Invaluable Sales Tips From a Former Door-to-Door Salesman
When I tell people that I was a door-to-door salesman — yes, in this century — some are shocked. They didn’t even know that kind of work still exists.
Granted, it’s rare. But it’s the best sales education I could have received. Knocking on doors to sell books taught me invaluable lessons that apply to every form of sales. There’s no question these lessons helped me co-found a successful tech startup, Pipedrive.
Here are five tips I learned the hard way.
1. Get to “no” faster.
You will be rejected. Often. There’s no way around that. No one has a 100% close ratio. When I was knocking on doors, one person called the police on me. Others told me to “get the [expletive] out.” A colleague once had a guy come to the door with a gun.
But most people are too polite. They let you make your pitch even if they have no interest in buying. And that’s a problem of its own. Time is your most important resource. But at first, you tend to waste it by staying too long with people who aren’t going to buy. I made this mistake.
Then I learned to set a rule for myself: No more than 20 minutes at any house.
A crucial way to make this happen is to help people feel comfortable saying no. I’d chat with the prospect first. Then, before offering a demonstration of the books I was selling, I’d say, “I think I understand what your problems are, and how this can help. I’ll show you what I have here, and you just let me know whether it’s something that might help you, or something that doesn’t.”
That way, customers are less likely to hold off on saying “no” out of politeness. But there’s also another benefit: They’re more willing to take a serious look at the product once you’ve made them feel comfortable saying no.
2. Get out of your head so you can read the signs.
To get a sense of whether someone is a serious prospective buyer, you need to learn the subtle cues they’re giving you. To do that, you have to first get out of your head. I couldn’t read the signs when I was anxious. At first, I was so focused on what to say next that I missed what was right in front of me. When I let go of that anxiety, everything changed.
The key is to know your craft and your pitch so well that you don’t have to think about it. It’s almost like pressing “play” on a tape player in your mind. While offering your spiel, you’re studying the prospect. You see their facial expressions. Are they looking at you? Do they seem comfortable? You read their body language. Are they looking for a chance to close the door politely? Are they nodding along to what you’re saying but not really focused on it?
All of this applies just as much to detecting people’s vocal nuances over the phone. After a while, you learn to hear the truth in people’s voices just as you can learn to see it in their eyes.
Make It A Champion Day!