Article

Door-to-door sales: Definition, scripts, and techniques

Door-to-door sales are far from dead. Learn the tips and techniques to keep your D2D sales efficient and modern.

By Donny Kelwig, Contributing Writer

Published February 2, 2017
Last updated March 8, 2022

Door-to-door sales is often considered a dead sales language, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While not the top sales style, door-to-door sales and outside sales make up 71.2 percent of the current sales force, with each salesperson generating around $2.7 million in revenue.

Door-to-door sales and outside sales make up 71.2% of the current sales force.

Despite the increase in remote sales during the pandemic, person-to-person interaction will always hold power in the sales industry, so it’s smart to keep those door-to-door skills sharp. Keep reading for our insider tips, techniques, and essential information for improving your door-to-door sales.

Door-to-door sales meaning

Door-to-door sales (otherwise known as D2D sales) is an in-person sales method used for sales, marketing, advertising, and campaigning. In door-to-door sales, sales reps visit prospects and customers at their homes or offices in an attempt to sell products or services.

D2D sales are inherently difficult for several reasons:

  • Sales reps lose valuable time traveling between leads rather than simply dialing a new phone number or sending an email.
  • 54 percent of American consumers (and climbing) prefer shopping online for convenience and for ease of product comparisons. They want to go to the companies, not the other way around.
  • On-the-go tech access is frequently less efficient or non-existent than an in-office sales position.

For these reasons, D2D sales have fallen out of favor with many companies. But D2D techniques shouldn’t be so quickly dismissed. In 2020, the D2D selling industry was estimated at $67.5 billion. That’s not a number that can be ignored. It’s clear that D2D sales still have their place—and with the right techniques, they can be extremely impactful to your bottom line.

D2D sales can generate a fair amount of revenue for your company, and it’s worth it to stay on top of best practices. Let’s take a look at some ways to improve your D2D sales.

Door-to-door sales tips

Every salesperson has their own techniques, but in general, there are five steps to the door-to-door sales process:

1. Prospecting

You need to find potential customers before you can start knocking on doors. Look at where current customers are located. If there are new residents or offices in those areas, that’s a great place to start. Make a list of doors you’re heading to rather than just charging in blindly.

2. Qualifying

This is trickier in D2D sales than in phone sales, but it’s still a necessary step. Ask open-ended questions once someone starts talking to you. In order to be a qualified buyer, a prospect has to need the product, have the money to purchase it, and be able to make a decision about purchasing. If a seven-year-old answered the door, you wouldn't start pitching your life insurance to them; when a buyer doesn’t meet your criteria, you’ve got to move on.

3. Pitching

Once you have a qualified buyer, pitch them the product. Use what you’ve learned about your prospect to zero in on why they might need your product. Pitches are never universal, so keep the essential facts, but make it personal. One of the few advantages of D2D sales over other types is the intimacy of person-to-person interaction in someone’s home—use it to close that deal.

4. Closing

Even in D2D sales, you need to end with a call to action (CTA). Ideally, your prospect is making a purchase, but even if that’s not the case, you want to guide the prospect to the next step. Whether it’s a consultation, a demo, or just a flyer with contact information, you never want to leave your prospect empty-handed.

5. Follow-up

Always follow up. Even if you made the sale, make sure your customer is happy with the product. Not only does this give you an opening for future sales, but it also increases the likelihood of your customer telling the rest of the neighborhood about your product, which makes future sales a breeze.

Didn’t make that sale? Follow up about your CTA. If you set up a consultation, make sure the appointment is kept. It’s all about persistence and understanding the customer.

Keep in mind that within these five steps, there’s always room for a unique spin or a special technique. The joy of D2D selling is how individualized each interaction can be.

Opening lines

Opening lines are the hardest part of D2D sales: Unfortunately, there isn’t one tried-and-true way that works for all prospects. The main thing to remember about an opening line is that it shouldn’t be a yes or no question. Most people are trained to say no to sales questions, even if they might be interested in the product. So start with a conversation, and leave the product out of it.

Getting started with Sunshine

Streamline your door-to-door sales process, and access customer information in seconds with our Sunshine CRM platform.

Try making a joke or complimenting their home or car. Better yet, bond over how you’re not trying to bring religion to their door! The relief that you’re not proselytizing will at least get you a laugh, and it might prompt them to ask you what you are doing there. Most of all, keep it casual. People want to buy things from people they like. The more fun you have getting to know people, the better D2D salesperson you’ll be.

Techniques and best practices

No matter where you are in your D2D career, here are a few tips to keep in mind for every prospect interaction:

  • Know your product. Nothing halts a sale more quickly than when a salesperson can’t answer a prospect’s questions.

  • Build rapport immediately. Your product is second to your ability to connect. If you can’t strike up a conversation, you’re dead in the water before you even start pitching.
  • Practice listening. Too often, sales die because the salesperson can’t stop talking. You want the prospect doing most of the talking so that they’re not overanalyzing everything you say.
  • Establish expectations. Nobody wants to talk to a D2D salesperson all day. Once you’ve started talking to a prospect, let them know how much of their time you plan on taking, and stick to it.
  • Keep accurate activity records. You’re not going to remember the name of every person you interact with on a sales day, so write it down—or better yet, input those details into a mobile CRM. Keep your records organized and up to date so that you’re always ready when a prospect reaches out to you.

How to improve door-to-door sales with scripts

As we mentioned before, scripts are great guidelines, but they shouldn’t be followed to the letter for every prospect. That said, scripts will usually follow a six-part flow:

1. Greet your customer and introduce yourself (don’t mention the product unless you have to)
2. Introduce the purpose of your visit (focus on the pain point, not the product)
3. Expand on that purpose (now you can introduce the product)
4. Ask a question
5. Make an offer
6. Thank them for their time

Now, let’s look at that process in a script example.

Door-to-door selling example

Let’s say you’re selling for a solar panel company, and you’re working to switch people to cleaner, more affordable energy. Assume the prospect is talking in between these points.

1. Greet your customer and introduce yourself

“Hi, there! So glad I could catch you. Do you mind if I ask what gardener you use? Your flowers are absolutely beautiful.”

2. Introduce the purpose of your visit

“Thank you so much, I’ll have to contact them soon. My yard needs some serious work. At least we get plenty of sun. We actually installed solar panels last year.”

3. Expand on that purpose

“We used to be pretty skeptical, but we invested in Solar Panels Plus and it cut our energy costs in half. I actually loved the product so much that now I’m helping bring that opportunity to others in the neighborhood.”

4. Ask a question

“Have you ever looked at solar panels as an energy solution to cut back on your utility bill?”

5. Make an offer

“If you’re interested in knowing more, we offer free consultations. We’ll be able to look at your energy costs and let you know the logistics and pricing of an installation. No commitment necessary.”

6. Thank them for their time

“Thank you so much for your time today. I’ll let you get back to your family. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. My email and phone are on this card. Have a great day!”

A script like this is very simple, but it allows for key connection points and keeps aggressive tactics out of the conversation. Relatable, simple, direct, and quick. Those are the key aspects of a great D2D sales script.

Is door-to-door B2B sales different?

The main difference between B2C and B2B door-to-door sales is simply that B2B D2D sales are pitched to companies while B2C sales are pitched to individuals. D2D sellers targeting other businesses do have a bit of an extra challenge, however, as the first person they meet is rarely the person they want to pitch to. A receptionist may be interested in the product and think it will benefit the company, but they are rarely the decision-maker.

Instead, the B2B seller must be able to use the initial drop-by to set up a pitch meeting with a high-level decision-maker. That said, B2B sellers still want to follow the five steps of D2D sales outlined above as well as the six script steps.

Door-to-door selling and CRMs

Unlike even the busiest of outside sales reps, door-to-door salespeople have only a few moments in between knocks to capture information about their prospect interactions. Without the ability to quickly and easily collect crucial data points like visit outcomes and prospect preferences, this information can easily be lost forever.

Unfortunately, older CRMs are seriously lacking in mobile functionality, forcing door-to-door reps to return to their desks at the end of a long day and try to recall details from each of the many homes they visited. Rather than using inflexible CRMs, door-to-door reps often turn to spreadsheets, pen and paper, and even slippery mental notes in an attempt to manage their leads.

That level of disorganization not only hurts prospect and customer relationships, but also makes it impossible for leaders to manage and improve activities, communications, and processes.

Use a CRM designed to help you

Next-generation CRMs and sales platforms are built with field sales teams in mind. They provide clients with native, fully functional mobile applications at no extra cost. Not only do these apps give D2D reps complete data access on their tablets or smartphones, but they also do so in a way that makes it easy for them to enter and access information in mere seconds.

Zendesk Sell offers mobile-specific functionality designed to make capturing door-to-door outcomes a snap. Take, for example, Sell's geolocation tools, which enable mobile reps to view and track the status of their most recent lead visit, like “not interested” or “come back later,” on a mobile map.

Consistently capturing this type of information gives managers greater visibility into their agents’ pipeline and activities, providing opportunities for coaching and performance optimization. When you can optimize your data, managers can:

  • Determine the ideal number of activities needed to hit quota
  • Provide constructive and detailed coaching
  • Spot opportunities for peer-to-peer coaching
  • Uncover bottlenecks in the sales process

If you’re struggling with door-to-door sales, you need a sales CRM that will speed you up, not slow you down. Request a demo of Zendesk Sell today to see how fast, accurate mobile data can drastically improve your D2D sales success.

Getting started with Sunshine

Streamline your door-to-door sales process, and access customer information in seconds with our Sunshine CRM platform.

Getting started with Sunshine

Streamline your door-to-door sales process, and access customer information in seconds with our Sunshine CRM platform.

Learn more