Just my Thoughts About Door-to-Door Marketing, and How it Sucks

Okay, I am going to tell you about this phone call I got from an old friend from Kirby…yea that door-to-door J.O.B I used to have. It’s funny; I heard this ‘J.O.B (just over broke)’ saying back in that job.

They used to tell us,

“If you want to go get a regular J.O.B, then go ahead, but you know what that means: just over broke.”

Why I think this is funny is because most of us there are just over broke in that same job, so what was the difference?

Anyway, he called me to see how I was doing. I think they all think that if you’re not doing Kirby than you’re out there in the world dying. I am just assuming this is what they think though.

I told him I was doing fine, and he asked me what I was doing. I explained to him about blogging, and affiliate marketing and the whole Internet marketing thing that I was doing…

I think he was still confused. As always, he told he was selling this many vacuums a week and how great they were doing. I was glad for him, but something in my mind told me he wasn’t telling me the truth…Last time another dude from Kirby called me he told me that this guy that just called me had quit working there, so I was shocked that he went back, and he was actually doing good selling $2400 vacuums door-to-door. (I don’t see why would you quit a job if you love it and you’re doing good, right?)

So I kept going with the conversation; we got to the topic of how they were getting their leads and sales I wasn’t surprised. He said “we still do the same thing” knocking doors and pitching [lying) to people about getting a FREE room shampooed without telling them it was a presentation, and getting leads from people that they did the presentation for to take them back to the telemarketing room to and call them and once again, pitch “lie” about getting a FREE room of shampoo, without actually telling them about the presentation. (blind pitch as they call it) I tried offering advice, but he didn’t like it, he said “Why fix it if it ain’t broken?”

It’s not that I don’t believe that they’re not selling; I used to sell them too, in this economy, doing the same thing, and not getting paid because the customer’s “credit was shot”.

But the question that kept bugging me was “Why fix it if it ain’t broken?”

What do you think? Do you this way of marketing has any long term success, the way things are changing? There’re so many new ways of doing marketing and getting prospects that are more targeted. And not having to go door-to-door in a dress shirt and tie in this 90 degree weather. Trying to convince somebody of something they don’t want…Seriously who the hell cares about a vacuum? I understand its a necessity to keep the house clean, but is it something that triggers our strongest emotions? There’s nothing cool about buying a vacuum. If you sold iPhones or iPads door-to-door I think that would be much stronger. And its something people actually want to buy.

I think there is a better way! I even gave him some ideas, but, just like I was back then, he was stubborn and said he was still happy to be doing the same thing…waking up at 7-8 a.m to go to the office at 9 a.m, get yelled at by the sales manager because you made the same mistake that you made the day before, and going out to work in the field for another 10 hours or more.

Here’s a typical morning dialogue:

Manager: How many homes did you get in? (notice the question “get in” like you’re some kind of thief or magician)

Crew Leader: Well, hmmm, let me look at my sheet…(Which most of us never kept track of like they told us to.) OH, I got into 8 homes (lie-He’s just trying to give the manager the numbers he wants to hear).

Manager: WHAT?!!!!! ONLY 8!!!

Crew Leader: “Well, we were in 10 homes but the salesperson didn’t finish the SHOW!!!” There’s nothing exciting about a vacuum presentation except for the phony jokes, which people would laugh at by courtesy. EX: You know why the vacuum has a headlight? To watch for incoming traffic…ha ha ha. I can’t believe I remember this…WOW I am having flashbacks. NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Anyhow it would be a long meeting with all the office managers until around 10 a.m then they would go upstairs and sing the “vacuum song” (yes there was one); it would be funny to see the new employees look at the veterans clapping and jumping to the phoniest song ever, but within a month, the one or two that would make it out of 20 new employees would sing also.

After the song was over the owner or the manager would give a huge spiel about How to sell a vacuum cleaner – Sales tactics and techniques. This was everyday, about 364 days a year, it would literally feel like we only had a day vacation in this gig every year.

Just When you Thought it Was Over

Okay so the second meeting would be over by 11:30-12 a.m and everyone would go to their sales groups in a dirty little caravan with the desire to sell one of those 6 vacuums sitting on the back of the van, most of them used from the last show that they didn’t sell the day before. (Still they told each customer they were getting a new one). Once everyone was in the minivan, more training would go on in this van for another hour before they got to the destination.

Typically a little hick town where people were less aware of the sales tactics was a favorite, as it was easy enough to get in a house; in the city it would be harder because these city people get telemarketers, and 4 different door-to-door salespeople a week, they already knew the GAME…

…Back to the crew, most of them would be exhausted, sleepy, tired, and stinky from being in these minivans with dirty vacuums and the energy that they got from the motivational meetings would be worn off. The crew leader would drop these people off on individual streets to give their “shampoo pitch” and have them call him when they got one.

How terrible–Imagine being out there in a a shirt and tie, 90 degree weather, in the middle of nowhere, trying to give out a pitch that you know is not totally honest to some nice old person, to try to sell them a vacuum. The mantra use to be “somebody out there has your money, what you need to do is go take it from them and give them their vacuum” and “you got my money I got your vacuum.” Tell me that isn’t wrong?

I don’t know what exactly should be their mantra but this just didn’t sound good to me.

Anyway if you’re still with me, the crew leader would be out here with 3-5 people everyday trying to get into a house to sell a vacuum until 11-12 p.m at night sometimes not getting back until 1 a.m and having to be back in that office by 9 a.m.

I am not saying you don’t have to work your ASS off to get what you want. But these methods they use Today! don’t make any sense to me anymore. If you look at all the time that is wasted, from 9 a.m to like 1 p.m it’s just so unproductive.

The you get to these little towns where people would work until it 5 p.m so from 1 to 5 you’d be lucky to find a good prospect. Most of the time you would get in but it would be a spouse alone and you’d have to deal with the spouse objection.

In my opinion, why don’t you just avoid the objection, right? I understand that the best way to avoid any objection (tactic) is to bring it up before it comes up, but seriously, why make your life harder? You’re already trying to convince a guy/gal to buy a $2400 VACUUMMMMMM!!!! Come on…

I just spent all day sweating, picking up dirt, and pissing people off..Woo!!! Can’t wait until tomorrow!!…Huh?

To be honest I don’t know how people come back to work to a place like this…would you? I mean the pitch that you get when you get hired has to be extremely powerful for you to believe that this is the best opportunity out there right now.

To end this…

…I just want to hope that if you’re one of these people that works door-to-door jobs can eventually see that the Internet is giving so many people the opportunity to do what they love and get paid for it. I would never have thought that I would be doing what I am doing. I guarantee anyone that is capable of doing door-to-door is capable of succeeding online. I just hope you’re smart enough to open your minds. Good Luck

If you’ve read this entire article and you’re a person that is a blogger, marketer, or just simply owns an online business, What advice would you give a fellow door-to-door salesman that has this kind of routine? Do you think they could make money online? At least $500 a week with some effort even if they don’t have any online experience?

  • Geez Wilson, sounds like you had it tough. Any wonder you wanted to get out. One point I would like to stress is that not all sales people are liars. Whether intentionally or not this post portrays all salespeople as liars and con artists. I work in sales but I don’t sell – I communicate. I give value and build relationships based on trust and dialogue – as Jeffrey Gitomer says “People don’t like to be sold to, but they love to buy.” People buy off me because they trust me.

    Also as a sales person I don’t ever try to avoid objections. Objections are pathways to doing business.

    Thanks for sharing.


    • You know what that gig made me tougher that’s for sure. And no I don’t think that all salespeople are liars either. The only point that I was trying to get across was that my friend still thought doing business this way was still the best way and the best way to market a product. I respect a good salesperson, but when I see the money sign on the salesguy eyes it’s over. And yes that’s a great quote too but again remember I’m a status quo rebel, I like to challenge assumptions. I don’t think people like to buy when they know they are being sold… Honestly when you have a guy in your HOUSE trying to sell you a 2400 vac that cost 300 to affiliate at 9pm or later what do you think is on the peoples mind?

  • I used to be in sales and I’m glad I got out when I did. I was in the business of selling medical supplies to doctors, which may sound easier but getting through to the decision-makers (the doctors) was especially tough. What didn’t help was that I was working for a start-up, so they had no sales manager, and I was their only sales rep.

    Working for them was definitely the last straw, and it was after I quit that I decided to venture out on my own. No regrets. And you’re right, once you’ve been through sales, it makes you tougher and everything else seems easier. 🙂

  • Hey that’s awesome, I am glad we got something in common, well besides the fact that we’re doing our own thing now. It must have been tough not having any reputation as a company and being small, but I think that’s how all successful companies start, “from zero”.

    Well, at least you’re here now with us making things happen on your own I’m always glad to see people doing what they want and what they love. Talk to you soon.