Get into more doors with better door-to-door opening lines

Most of us have been taught a door-to-door sales opening that is guaranteed to fail. I don’t know who came up with this method, but it doesn’t work and closes a lot of doors that might be hot and open.

The classic opening to avoid goes something like this: “Good morning. I’m Carl Davidson of Acme Inc., the world’s largest distributor of fountain pens. I’d like to show you some of our products. May I come in?”

This common opening contains several major bugs. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

Mistake #1 It’s all about you and not the customer. I agree that we must identify ourselves, but it should only be our name and the name of the company. Then immediately switch to what is there for the client. In our example, the customer probably doesn’t care that we are the world’s largest distributor of anything and the customer probably wasn’t inside the house waiting for a fountain pen salesman to come by. They have no interest, and when they have no interest, the door closes.

Mistake #2 is continuing to focus on ourselves with the next sentence, “I’d like to show you some of our products.” It is about us and not about the client. I feel like the door is closing right now with this approach.

Mistake #3 Asking a question, “Can I come in?” This is a giant bug because there is no way to recover when the client says “no”. Never ask a question they can say “No” to.

Now, let’s look at alternative ways to restructure your opening to focus on the customer and create enough interest to get them in the door.

If you are selling something that can be seen from the outside of the house, try to find something that you can point to to create interest and happiness about what happened. For example, “Hello, this is Carl from Acme Roofing. I’m sorry to bother you, but I was driving and noticed one of his chimney flashings is loose and may cause a leak. Go outside and take a look at it.”

I think you will agree that this opening generates interest. Once they come out with you to see the problem, they are glad you came and have their attention. Note that this is a statement and not a question and that it is not trying to sell anything directly.

For those selling something that cannot be seen 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 will generate interest without trying to sell. If you are selling advance burial services, you might ask something like, “If death affected your family today, how many of the 48 decisions you would have to make right away would you be willing to make?” If you’re selling a freezer plan, you might ask something like, “If our company gave you 50 pounds of steak each year for free, would it help you with your food budget?” This is one way of explaining how much they will save, but keep in mind that there is no direct sale yet. You always walk in the door with interest and then start selling.

The neighbor

Another way to generate interest is to explain that you’ve just been to a neighbor’s house and that you have a few minutes before your next appointment to try out their equipment for free.

This not only gets you in the door, but while you’re inspecting, you can usually sell add-ons, upgrades, or new gear. If they say they don’t have equipment, this is a good time to explain that most of your neighbors do and why.

the unusual

Don’t be afraid to try unusual things and see if they work. One of our clients was assigned a visit to dissatisfied customers who had left the cable company due to poor service.

The opening we settled on was, “I’m Carl from Acme Cable. The company sent me to offer you a bribe.” Pause while they try to figure out what he means. Then explain to them that they left your company and that you have been sent to snatch them back. It’s just a different way of saying you’ve got a special offer.

I hope you’ll try some of these approaches. Don’t stick to the classic ego-focused methods taught by most companies. Try new approaches. Keep what works and discard what doesn’t.

The change will also keep your interest.

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