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Effective open? you decide!

Tell me what you think:

This is meant to be told with a strong energy, a lot of power and almost "you need this" tone of voice

The product: Alarm system
Delivery: Door-to-door

Me: Hey, how's your day sofar?

Them: Good, you?

Me: Good here too but I might ruin it a bit hehe.
I'm not normally a door-to-door guy, but I'm here because I was broken into two times already and I did my research and decided I would go with this company to get my alarm system because to me they had the best program.
I just noticed that you dont own one yet and I believe EVERYONE in *this city* should own one, whether they feel they want one or not because seriously, it's happened to me twice, and I don't want it to happen to anybody, ever. - by DrPattyCakes
Tell me what you think:

This is meant to be told with a strong energy, a lot of power and almost "you need this" tone of voice

The product: Alarm system
Delivery: Door-to-door

Me: Hey, how's your day sofar?

Them: Good, you?

Me: Good here too but I might ruin it a bit hehe.
I'm not normally a door-to-door guy, but I'm here because I was broken into two times already and I did my research and decided I would go with this company to get my alarm system because to me they had the best program.
I just noticed that you dont own one yet and I believe EVERYONE in *this city* should own one, whether they feel they want one or not because seriously, it's happened to me twice, and I don't want it to happen to anybody, ever.

Dr Pattty

It's not bad at all. I actually have been in door-to-door sales for a little over 15 years. Selling, working for a corporate giant and now run my own marketing company, still doing door-to-door sales.

With your opening, it depends on "how" you say it. By telling someone you are about to ruin their day, it's not the best news that one can receive. However, by putting a quick twist like you mentioned, as to why you are there makes sense. Remember, you have about a 30 second window to make an impression in door-to-door. That time frame is even more critical with a product such as alarm systems.

Another approach that works with selling alarm systems, is telling the new potential customer that you have signed a few neighbors up, if of course you truly have. The reason is because people feel safer to buy, if they know someone that already did so, especially alarm systems. - by Jumpman
I'm going to be rather critical, so I do apologise if you hate me afterwards.

Me: Hey, how's your day sofar?

Them: Good, you?

Me: Good here too but I might ruin it a bit hehe.
I dislike/hate this.

I'm a firm believer that you do not have the right to ask a customer in the opening 30 seconds how their day is. When a prospect hears a knock on the door, they want to know three things: Who are you, Where are you from and Why are you here.

"Hi, My name is _________ and I'm from _________"
(wait for a customer response)
"The reason I'm here is because we have noticed that there is a spike in home invasions and thefts and are helping people in this neighbourhood get affordable and quality protection

Can I ask, is there a particular reason why you haven't chosen security doors?"

From there going into a Discovery process


In my opinion, your sales process is more about yourself then it is the customer. If I was your customer and I heard that pitch, I would probably be thinking in the back of my mind "Well that's unfortunate that you've been broken into twice but I'm not that stupid. It won't happen to me".

You need to uncover WHY the prospect is yet to have their home properly fitted.

Is it cost?

Is it a concern about potential damage?

Are they yet to find a reputable company?

Perhaps they haven't had the time to investigate?

They may have a misconception about the product, service or installation process.


My big lesson: Ask more questions, get the prospect more involved and understand what is important to your prospect. - by MrCharisma
I'm going to be rather critical, so I do apologise if you hate me afterwards.



I dislike/hate this.

I'm a firm believer that you do not have the right to ask a customer in the opening 30 seconds how their day is. When a prospect hears a knock on the door, they want to know three things: Who are you, Where are you from and Why are you here.

"Hi, My name is _________ and I'm from _________"
(wait for a customer response)
"The reason I'm here is because we have noticed that there is a spike in home invasions and thefts and are helping people in this neighbourhood get affordable and quality protection

Can I ask, is there a particular reason why you haven't chosen security doors?"

From there going into a Discovery process


In my opinion, your sales process is more about yourself then it is the customer. If I was your customer and I heard that pitch, I would probably be thinking in the back of my mind "Well that's unfortunate that you've been broken into twice but I'm not that stupid. It won't happen to me".

You need to uncover WHY the prospect is yet to have their home properly fitted.

Is it cost?

Is it a concern about potential damage?

Are they yet to find a reputable company?

Perhaps they haven't had the time to investigate?

They may have a misconception about the product, service or installation process.


My big lesson: Ask more questions, get the prospect more involved and understand what is important to your prospect.

I agree with asking more questions. I will add to that as well. In addition to asking questions, get out a note pad or something to write on. Once you start asking questions and the customer gives you answers, start writing their answers down.

Once a customer sees you writing that down, they will see that you are taking the time to "listen," to what they are saying. Customers see an instant value in someone taking the time to actually "care" with what they have to say.

However, asking someone how they are, is not bad at all. I have reps that I have trained throughout the last 15 years that still use that to this day. You might very well that person that will tell you how they feel. Once they tell you the emotions that they are feeling, you ca then relate to them and talk to them like a friend, therefore building superb rapport.

Don't forget that every customer is different, so you will have to adapt to each prospect differently. Once you are out in the field enough, you will start to see many similarities in the different customers and classify them in different groups. Once you can do that, you will know how to handle each objection that they throw at you, rather easily. - by Jumpman
However, asking someone how they are, is not bad at all. I have reps that I have trained throughout the last 15 years that still use that to this day. You might very well that person that will tell you how they feel. Once they tell you the emotions that they are feeling, you ca then relate to them and talk to them like a friend, therefore building superb rapport.
I'm not saying not to ask the prospect how their day is. I'm saying not to ask it in your initial rapport.

To be honest, you don't really care how their day is. No one is going to thank you for knocking on their door and taking the time to ask how their day is.

After you've established the reason why you have disturbed them, then I will ask them about their day.

Great point on the notepad thmbp2; - by MrCharisma
I agree with asking more questions. I will add to that as well. In addition to asking questions, get out a note pad or something to write on. Once you start asking questions and the customer gives you answers, start writing their answers down.

Once a customer sees you writing that down, they will see that you are taking the time to "listen," to what they are saying. Customers see an instant value in someone taking the time to actually "care" with what they have to say.

However, asking someone how they are, is not bad at all. I have reps that I have trained throughout the last 15 years that still use that to this day. You might very well that person that will tell you how they feel. Once they tell you the emotions that they are feeling, you can then relate to them and talk to them like a friend, therefore building superb rapport.
  • The challenge of door to door selling is the engagement with the person that answers the door, presumably the suspect/prospect.
  • Getting out a notepad in a door to door sales call might be innovative, but it can intimidate and just plain annoy the person--end of story. It can actually come across as invasive and hardly would show that you "care".
  • Asking the person, who you interrupt in a door to door sales call , how his/her day is going will rarely get them to tell you the "emotions they are feeling." Nor does it create a scenario of talking like friends.
- by Gary A Boye
  • The challenge of door to door selling is the engagement with the person that answers the door, presumably the suspect/prospect.
  • Getting out a notepad in a door to door sales call might be innovative, but it can intimidate and just plain annoy the person--end of story. It can actually come across as invasive and hardly would show that you "care".
  • Asking the person, who you interrupt in a door to door sales call , how his/her day is going will rarely get them to tell you the "emotions they are feeling." Nor does it create a scenario of talking like friends.
First of all, I am saying that writing notes down on a pad and asking how their day is a techniques. Now, there are many other great techniques to choose from. While doing that, each sales person will find their niche and what's most comfortable for them.

If you feel that there is a possibility that tit might annoy, than you do not do it. Let me give you an example. If you are selling in an up scale neighborhood compared to a lower income level neighborhood, you will try different methods. You have to know your surroundings before you try a certain method that is designed and has PROVEN to work in certain areas.

Your job, as the sales rep, is to KNOW if you should pull out that pen and pad and take notes, or keep it away and go for the gusto. If you have a potential customer asking lots of questions, than you pull out the pad because they will feel like their questions are being addressed and answered because you are taking the time to REALLY listen and take the time to answer.

Asking an individual how they are a feeling, can 100% exactly get emotions and them telling you how they feel out of them. I work for a cable Company and train my sales reps and have been doing so for years. Asking a customer how they are feeling while you are wearing the name of your cable company on your clothing will and can get their feelings out.

They might tell you how they feel about the cable company, weather good or bad. No matter what it is, you are creating a dialect and more importantly, conversation. The more conversation, the more you can ask questions that can put yourself in the position to close the deal.

Again, you do not have to ask them how they feel, but if they seem like they are sad, depressed, or in a low key mood, you can turn that person around, as if you are actually able to relate to the person. A lot of sales, is relating to the customer. If you can not do so, you have no business in sales.

There are many techniques, and may of you have amazing ones, that I learn from too. But, keep an open mind, what works for you, might not work for the next, and what works for others may not work for you. The natural sales man that are truly most passionate with what they are selling, will always sell the best! - by Jumpman
Your job, as the sales rep, is to KNOW if you should pull out that pen and pad and take notes, or keep it away and go for the gusto.
Can you give an example of gusto, so that those members know what the choices look like? If the gusto was more appealing in the greater number of cases, I could understand why many would not entertain the idea of taking notes in a door door situation.

Also, if you were to ask someone how he/she is feeling in a non-selling situation, would you still refer to it as a "technique?" - by Gary A Boye
Tell me what you think:

You: Hey, how's your day sofar?
Unless you actually care how my day is going don't ask me. I might just say:

"Terrible, I just received a call telling me my mother was killed in an automobile accident."

I have a colleague who does exactly that. - by DaveB
Tell me what you think:

This is meant to be told with a strong energy, a lot of power and almost "you need this" tone of voice

The product: Alarm system
Delivery: Door-to-door

Me: Hey, how's your day sofar?

Them: Good, you?

Me: Good here too but I might ruin it a bit hehe.
I'm not normally a door-to-door guy, but I'm here because I was broken into two times already and I did my research and decided I would go with this company to get my alarm system because to me they had the best program.
I just noticed that you dont own one yet and I believe EVERYONE in *this city* should own one, whether they feel they want one or not because seriously, it's happened to me twice, and I don't want it to happen to anybody, ever.
Something like this I feel would not work. At the very first you explain how you are going to ruin there day and I know your trying to get them to laugh but most people will agree and at that point the barrier stays up. I would change that a bit to something like " Don't worry I'm not here to sale you a vacuum or meat" this will get the cust. to laugh most the time. Where you tell them you have been broken into and you did research and found this is the best comp. to be with I like that it helps with credibility. At the end when you say "because seriously, it's happened to me twice, and I don't want it to happen to anybody, ever" To me your beating a dead horse and its sloppy you could switch it up a bit at that point by getting the cust. involved by asking is there a reason you have not invested in an alarm at this point with whats going on in the area? - by faithbeme
I agree with Jumpman and MrCharisma that you have to approach the situation based on having 30 seconds or less to make the best possible impression (opening) with your prospect. Because of that, I think that Gary A Boye stated it best that you should go with "what seems to be the most appealing in the greater number of cases".

If you start out with a cheesy joke, something that could be deemed a lie, or a "creepy" tactic like using a note pad when it is completely unnecessary,...all of which could be used in a Saturday Night Live skit about a traveling salesman,...you are limiting yourself no matter what the perceived demographic is of the neighborhood.

If you simply present who you are and who you work for right off the bat, before you go into your sales pitch, that's when you can analyze the prospects personality, mood, interest, or frustration before you take the next step.

"Good Morning. My name is _______ and I work for _______. We're in the neighborhood today to talk to people about security issues and the benefit of Alarm Systems for personal and property security."

In that 6-8 seconds you can see if the person rolls their eyes, looks down at their watch, if their posture changes, or their eyes show interest in what you have to say. At that point you can soften the situation with a joke, ask them how they day is going, take their non-response and share a personal story that relates to your purpose.

Again, agreeing with MrCharisma, the next step is the Discovery process, but now with a better idea of the personality type you are dealing with. - by WholesalePro
In the years that the SalesPractice Forum has existed, one of the most common occurences is for a newcomer to visit the site asking for help in formulating an opening for an initial contact with a prospect. The situations have varied of course from phone prospecting, leaving voicemails, door to door canvassing, etc.

Those requests for help number in the hundreds--perhaps thousands--I didn't do a count.

In turn, the most common advice given by members here is in response to such queries.

Sadly, I can't recall anyone ever coming back to the forum and sharing experience of positive results from the advice offered--at least publically.

This could be for a number of reasons. Perhaps the new members are simply part of the attrition statistics in selling and never really practiced the advice. Maybe they never understood the advice. Maybe they simply did not find what they have been looking for, and moved on. It could be that they felt they did not get enough real life examples from the advice giver, i.e., "Here's what I do.." And then too--maybe the advice wasn't all that good.

I'll toss my hat in the ring on this, and I'll share what I've learned--and what I do. The simplicity might either inspire those looking for help--or turn them off. Neither will effect my wallet.

What I learned was that in life--and in selling--people very often reject other people because they are seen as one dimensional. In sales situations, that can happen in a matter of seconds. Conversely, people are often drawn to others because they appear multidimensional. That too can happen in a matter of seconds.

Hopefully, most people here are familiar with the extreme value of the Purposeful Call. The axiom says that we should never make a contact with a prospective buyer without a purpose. After reviewing some of their material recently, I saw that the creators of Action Selling, for instance, call that purpose a "commitment objective." It's important to differentiate between Purpose and Reasons, which brings me to my simple point.

You plant the seeds of engagement with a prospect by always stating that you have more than one reason for the contact. Example from real life selling:

"I'm calling for a couple of reasons. First, I want to thank you for stopping by our display at the recent trade show event. Second, I want to ask you what was your main interest in our products when you did so."

TWO reasons stated for every contact. ALWAYS. No exceptions.

It's not my place or desire to design openings for others here because I would have to know a lot more about what others sell. However, for those that want to take to heart the principle and insight I shared, and do the work applying it to your Purpose, I believe you will achieve some wonderful results in your career. - by Gary A Boye
Hmmm. Interesting. I'm a little skeptical about the "No exceptions" part though. My mama said, "Always beware of determiners". ;-) - by DaveB
Hmmm. Interesting. I'm a little skeptical about the "No exceptions" part though. My mama said, "Always beware of determiners". ;-)
I got 50 bucks says I can outsell your mama.

Nonetheless, thank you for your commentary on advice I've offered to those who want to achieve better results in the approach phase of their selling. - by Gary A Boye
Gary,

Can you offer 2 reasons why you just knocked on someones door trying to sell them an alarm system? - by WholesalePro
I got 50 bucks says I can outsell your mama...
I'm guessing that you quickly perceived the humor I was trying to convey. thmbp2; - by DaveB
Gary,

Can you offer 2 reasons why you just knocked on someones door trying to sell them an alarm system?
Certainly. If I was selling door to door, after introducing myself and my company, I would probably begin my approach with something like this.
I stopped by actually for a couple of reasons. First, I noticed that you apparently don't have an alarm system and I was anxious to get your thoughts as to why you haven't had one installed yet. The other reason is that I wanted to make you aware of a very special offer my company currently has on a system that is considered one of the best.

(Note: BTW, the above follows what I consider vehemently to be the two pertinent rules of prospecting. 1. Always tell the truth. 2. Make the calls.)

- by Gary A Boye
I usually hang up or shut the door on people who pretend to be my buddy in three seconds. That may be harsh on my part as often this person is innocently following directions or doing what he or she thinks is the right way to approach people. Other times it's a sophomoric attempt at trying to gain rapport.

If you knock on my door and I answer and you say, "I'm Mitch with XYZ alarm systems that can help keep your home safe from unwanted intrusion and get guick help if you need it. If that's something you want I'll tell you more." - I may listen and at least not slam the door.

The best to you.

MitchM - by MitchM
I stopped by actually for a couple of reasons. First, I noticed that you apparently don't have an alarm system and I was anxious to get your thoughts as to why you haven't had one installed yet. The other reason is that I wanted to make you aware of a very special offer my company currently has on a system that is considered one of the best.

No offense, but that just plays out as awkward to me. You've obviously adopted that rule/style for yourself and have committed to using it,... and if it's worked for you then kudos.

For me it's obvious that you really only have one reason for knocking on that door and by segmenting your opening into two parts like that, I see the person on other side of that door being instantly overwhelmed. Does he/she respond to your inquiry about them apparently not having an alarm system, or do they wait for you to continue talking about your "very special offer"?

Let's try this as I think it may be helpful...
Before I script what I would like to say in the first 30 seconds of engagement with a potential customer, I play out the many possible responses that could follow,...and ultimately settle on the presentation that solicits the response that I want to hear/work with.

With your 2 "seeds for engagement" what do you anticipate your prospects response to be? And how do you plan to work with his/her response?

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For all fairness I'll present my scripted opening in the next post.





- by WholesalePro
Knock, knock, knock.
- Door opens

ME: "Hi, my name is __________ and I work for __________."
Hand the homeowner your business card as you start your next sentence.*

"We are in your neighborhood this week to talk to select homeowners about alarms systems and their benefit for both personal and property protection."
*The presentation of the business card is a tactical move to instill trust, similar to how a detective of plain clothed police officer shows his badge as he introduces himself. I am trying to offer a very universal "open" and since the product is an alarm system, and the topic of conversation is personal and property protection, this helps to avoid the idea that you may be a criminal "scoping" out the neighborhood. (believe me, this does happen)

"I noticed that your home does not appear to be protected with an alarm system and I was curious if that is intentional or have you just not yet been introduced to a product that makes sense for your home or lifestyle?
"

Absolute worst case scenario with this open is a person assumes that your knock on the door is nothing more than a sales visit and they are not interested. This is inevitable with nearly ANY approach that you can come up with but at the very least they are still holding your business card.

Response for worst case scenario(s).

Home owner: "No thanks, I'm not interested."

Me: The "Smooth Exit" response.
"
Not a problem at all. I just wanted to introduce myself and my company to homeowners in the area. In your hand is my name, a link to our website, and my e-mail address and phone # in case you decide to so some research on your own.

Have a great day
"

Walk away smiling.

You could also be more aggressive and hold your ground...

Me: The second chance.
"
I'm sorry, what is it that you think you're not interested in? I just hoped to ask a couple questions and get your feedback on whether you think an alarm system is something you think yourself or other homeowners in this neighborhood may be interested in. If my timing is bad I apologize. I'm not trying to sell anything today, just trying to introduce myself and my company to the neighborhood.

_______________________________

The response I WANT is an answer to my question about whether they have thought about an alarm system and what they interests or objections may me.

They may also respond with...

Home owner: "Are you trying to sell something?"

Me: "Actually, what my company offers is more of a service than a physical product. I do sell alarm systems, but the benefit extends far beyond a key pad inside your home and a few sensors on your doors and windows. If this is something you do have interest in I'd like to ask a few more questions and share with you how our system and services may be a benefit.
_________________________

No on to what I hoped for from the initial knock, knock, knock...

Best Case Scenario:

A homeowner receives my opening as an invitation to offer an answer in direct relation to my question.

Home owner: "I haven't really put a lot of thought into having an alarm system installed on my home".

Me: "That's actually one of the most common response I get on a regular basis. Most people don't really pay attention to how often they are away from home, or if they are home don't think about chance of a break in.

My favorite purpose of an alarm system is so you can actually continue to not think about it because it's a protection/service that you can trust is there all the time for you."


-or-

Home owner: "This is actually a really safe neighborhood and the neighbors really do look out for one another so I don't really have a need for an alarm".

Hopefully you have done some research on the area and have a statistic or two to share with your prospect. There's always the chance you find a customer who truly feels ZERO need for your product...BUT it's not a "NO Thanks" until they say "No Thanks".
ME: "That's actually a great feeling to have and one of the reasons why I asked that question. I'm a big believer in the idea that you can never be to safe, and one statistic I was just recently made aware of is that a strong percentage of home burglary is actually committed by a resident of the same neighborhood. I purchased my alarm system primarily for when I am out of town or away from the house for extended period of time. I don't mean to pry, but do you travel much, and when you are away do you usually have a neighbor check your home regularly for you?

I do anything i can to keep the conversation going until (1) I find something that clicks or (2) until the conversation winds down and I revert back to "Smooth Exit" dialog above.
-or-

Home owner: "I'm actually a lifetime member of the NHRA and I'd be sorry for anyone who tries to enter my home".

Me: "That's a great way to look at it. I definitely won't want to be on the wrong end of that barrel.

That will definitely work when you are at home, but have you thought about how to secure your home when you are away for extended periods of time?"
-or-

Home owner: "I've had an alarm system before and it's just a hassle when you come home from grocery shopping and have to hurry to punch in my code with a an armful of grocery bags and have that thing send a false alarm to the alarm company".

Me: "Believe me, I know that scenario all to well. I've actually gotten quite used to opening the door and disarming the system before I make that first trip with an armful of grocery's. I personally rely on my alarm system more for when I am away from the house for extended periods of time, or for personal security when I am home alone or just in the evenings.

I've actually had some clients specifically place their key pad in stretigically in their home where they know they make a direct line to when they come home. That way they can be right where they need to be to turn the system off.


I'm sure you get the idea from this point.

I feel that IF you come at the prospect with one very solid reason for being at their door, and follow that with an inquiry that both serves effective to the Discovery Process AND also lets down their guard that most people seem to have for that "salesperson" they did not ask to come by, you are in a better position to engage, and get a shot at your own objective.
- by WholesalePro
No offense, ...
No offense taken. It ain't my door you're knocking on. - by Gary A Boye
I am a man who on the one hand respects the persistence and daunting determination of door knockers in 2010 AND does not welcome them with open arms. My arms are closed.

What does that mean?

First they are closed because protecting my home and the people in it come first. Secondly, I don't give my time away freely to strangers until there's a mutual self interest reason.

So I look outside cautiously to see who is knocking. When I open the door if I open the door I expect a to the point in 30 seconds: I am X, I am selling Y do you want this?

You use your imagination to add a few more desscriptive words and that's all I will give time to initially. The same for people who call on the phone.

If the "sales" type gets into the psychology of sales and is "trying to make" a sale rather than using the direct approch to find out if I want it and will pay the asking price, I quickly let him or her know I want directness now or it's good-bye.

If any sales techniques are used - and I don't disrespect them in their proper place - other than what I just described the door is closed not the sale.

I have to add that I am a very high probability prospect when the above is practiced when I want what's offered, am willing to pay the price, and believe the salesman is trustworthy.

MitchM - by MitchM
Mitch, not counting fund raiser types, i.e. Girl Scout, Boy Scout, school campaigns, etc., roughly how many times have you purchased something from a door to door salesperson in the last ten years? - by Gary A Boye
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