One October afternoon, after the brutal summer temps and high humidity had subsided, a sales rep was canvassing through a neighborhood of middle-class homes. The rep knocked on a door and it was answered by a woman who cut him off right after “hello” and slammed the front door loudly in his face. Instead of walking away he simply went around to the rear of the house and repeated his knock at the back door. That door swung open and the same lady answered very gruffly, “Weren’t you just at my front door?” He simply smiled and said “Yes but the lady there was having a bad day so I thought I’d come around back and see who else was home.” She got a kick out of that as her angst was disarmed, and a few minutes later he made a sale. Now handling that level of grumpiness is pretty smooth, like watching water rolling off a ducks’ back!
It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re selling alarm systems, pest control, HVAC, or satellite TV, there seems to be one common difference between “Starvin’ Marvin” rookies and “Studly” top performers, and that is closing sales. We are all familiar with The ABC’s of selling, “Always Be Closing” as constantly repeated by Alec Baldwin in the 1992 movie, Glengarry Glen Ross. It so happens that must also be the focus when it comes to canvassed sales, and may require a change of perspective. In this type of sale you are working quickly without taking the time to conduct an “interview” or a “diagnosis.” You are “painting the train as it rolls down the tracks.”
Folks who have been successful in making lots of canvassed sales will tell you that most “yes’s” that occur come only after about 5 “no’s” have been heard. In this type of sale, a well-crafted close, designed to be used only once, after a presentation of features and benefits isn’t good enough. Sales reps who wait until the end of their pitch to close will lose the attention of their prospects and find them with that faraway look in their eyes by the time they are finished presenting.
In canvassed sales, reps need to close early and often and turn the objections they receive into opportunities to learn more about the person they are trying to sell to. They will also realize that they have no idea what the customer cares about or what their hot buttons will be. Virtually all door-to-door prospects will by default start saying “No” immediately. Those showing upfront skepticism or just plain lack of interest contain the DNA for your best future customers. What this means is that nobody wants what you’re selling, nor do they even want to talk to you, so welcome to the big leagues!
Don’t ever forget that a close can be any statement or question that nudges a prospect to take a logical next step towards a buying position. One might categorize closes into three types:
- A soft close can be as simple as asking a question like: “Where do you see the most pests in the home?” Or, “What bugs bother you the most, spiders or ants?”
- Medium closes are also often in the form of questions, like: “Will mornings or afternoons better for your regular services?” or “Would you want the Quarterly or Bi-Monthly plan?”
- Hard closes are more like statements that assume the sale: “Let me get your name and address and we’ll get you going tomorrow.” (followed by handing the customer the iPad to start filling out their info.)
Typically, the canvassed sales you make will probably be filled with a combination of all of the above.
————Boise State University? ————
Received an email recently stating, “Doug, I need to order 10 of your books, as I’ve decided to give some of them away as prizes to select students in my Boise State Entrepreneurship class. Thank you, Todd S., Boise, Idaho” Shouldn’t you at least take a FREE look at the book he’s talking about?
Every objection you receive deserves a follow-up question to probe for more information. Your goal is NOT always to get a “Yes” or “No,” often you first need to get a “why” or a “why not?”. This helps you identify quickly what is important to your prospects so that you can tweak your pitch to items of interest. Here are some prospect objections followed by possible responses (questions):
I already have a company for pest control. “What do you like best about them?” “What do you wish they did differently?” “What would it take to get you to switch?”
I take care of bug problems myself. “Why do you do your own pest control?” “How much time do you spend treating your home?” “Have you ever run into a pest problem you couldn’t solve?”
I’m not interested. “Is that because you already have another company or because you’re thinking my plan has a big upfront cost?”
Rather than standing there getting pummeled by rejection, you learn a lot about why somebody will or won’t buy and can easily use this information in the form of talking points to show the value of your service. It also eliminates a one-sided lecture and creates a conversation. A key learning here is to always ask people for more information while continually smiling, in order to help prospects feel respected and cared about.
Typical canvassed sales follow the same sales cycle pattern:
-Give a little pitch with basic information
-Make a closing attempt
-Listen respectfully for their objection while smiling
-Ask a follow-up question
-Provide more information, and then close again, etc…
It won’t take long to begin to see patterns in customers that will allow you to move quickly toward their hot buttons. It’s not unusual for this cycle to occur 4-5 times before a sale happens, so get comfortable moving through this as quickly as you can!
If you want to really succeed at door-to-door sales then close early and often. Doing so will teach you more about customers and identify hot buttons and concerns. Sales reps who are able to confidently work through objections show customers they are confident and worthy of respect. This is also the best way to ultimately earning their business, so be fruitful and multiply!
©2016 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC