Sales Techniques

I’m thinking about selling candles door to door (my mom makes them) for a little extra cash. But I’ve found over the years that I’m a terrible salesman. Does anyone with experience in sales, particularly the door to door variety, have any techniques they use to persuade potential customers to buy their wares?

Honestly? My best advice is don’t. People regard door-to-door salesmen with the same view as telemarketers – they didn’t ask to be sold anything and haven’t invited you to interrupt whatever activities of life they’re busy carrying out. YMMV, natch, and I’m sure some money can be made that way if you’re persistent enough.

I think a better bet would perhaps be putting notices on bulletin boards, leaving catalouges in employee lounges and doctors offices [if allowed], and the like.

I agree on the door-to-door thing. I don’t even open the door to anyone I don’t know, but if I did, and I was met with a salesman, I’d be pretty pissed. There are people trying to sell me stuff on TV, on the radio, at the movies, on the internet, and billboards as I drive down the street. Having what amounts to a telemarketer at my front door might drive me over the edge.

In my town, we have independent bookstores, “occult” shops, swap meets, street fairs, etc., and I’d try those things and things related to them if I were going to sell candles. Maybe you have opportunities like that in your town?

Direct sales-newspaper subscriptions was one of my first jobs. You need a good self image first, because interaction with the general public will tend to reduce it.

After years of direct sales, banging on doors in residential and commercial markets, you’ll either develop thick skin or die. I won’t recommend it for you because I don’t know your constitution. Some people can hear “fuck you” a hundred times a day and not be upset, while others will go home and slit their wrists.

I wish you well, whatever your choice.

In some locales, door-to-door selling is illegal. In others, you need a “peddler’s licence” to do so.

The technique for those few businesses who still think it’s a good idea to do this (magazine sales) is to train their sales people to give some bullshit story (lie) about being a student raising money to win some sort of trip to an exotic local. All the while this story is going on, they are pandering to your ego. If this is not what you are willing to do, expect a lot of doors slammed in your face early in the process. When the customer finds out you’ve been lying to them, expect some physical aggression to be included.

If you want to do sales, get a position with a store. You’ll be much happier.

Think about the percentages. What tiny fraction of the people whom you annoy by knocking on their door are interested in buying candles? Instead, I recommend a booth at a crafts fair, selling to new age stores, selling at flea markets, etc. In other words, try to be where people are already likely to be interested in this product.

Wow…reminds me of my days in the Boy Scouts where I had to lug a fucking giant suitcase of crap door to door for weeks to earn enough “points” to win a flashlight or other some piece of shit I could have stolen out of the sample kit.

My brother’s friend did something similar, selling Cutco knives door to door. We all had a great laugh over our neighbors, drunk at 3 in the afternoon, requiring many stiches after failing to heed the “Careful. They’re sharp” warning.

Then you have the opportunity cost of you selling candles door to door instead of working a full time job with a salary. You might try another marketing channel - internet, even mailbox flyers would be better. You can canvas many more houses than you could physically walking door to door.