Question: Can I “jump start” a new business by going door-to-door?
Steve’s answer: Absolutely! But you need to tweak your selling strategy for best door-to-door results!
I own a new carpet cleaning company in Rochester, NY and don’t have much money for advertising. I’d like to go door-to-door and give the “Lifetime Free Replacement” Spot Out bottles as you suggest. So Steve, do you have some sort of door-to-door script that I could use with homeowners? I also have some brochures coming and plan on giving them to the customers as well.
Thank you for your help,
Thinking in Rochester
Good question, Thinking. I’m glad you are “thinking outside the box” with the “door to door” strategy. Sure, knocking on doors is stressful!
But hey, once I heard the best way to success is to simply “Do what other people won’t do”! And frankly the vast majority of carpet cleaners just don’t have the “fire in the belly” to knock on doors! So why not try it? Here’s how to get maximum bang for your time (and stress!) invested:
1. Choose your territory wisely. Look at the demographics of the area and of course ponder on what type of customers you want to work for. I’d suggest middle class folks to cut your teeth on.
2. Choose your time. Remember, you want to interact with your prospects which requires that they be home and willing to answer their door. (DUH!) I’d suggest a Saturday afternoon. In fact, in the summer many home owners will be outside working on their yards which will make it even easier for you.
3. Choose your “hook”. You need something to break the ice and give you an “excuse” to bother the customer knocking on their door. (I can’t think of a better reason than to give the home owner their very own Free Lifetime “Spot-Out” spotter bottle with your contact info permanently on it!)
4. Choose your attire. I suggest a crisp, clean and ironed professional uniform. (Don’t forget your photo I.D. badge which is essential for this approach.) Be sure to shave, shower, brush your teeth, etc. Doll yourself up like you are going on a first date! (But no colognes please- many people are allergic to scents.)
5. Choose your script. I suggest short and sweet. Ring the bell, step back three feet, have your Spot-Out bottle in your right hand and your business card/flyer in your left hand. When the door opens smile, look the home owner in the eye and say,
“Good morning, I’m (full name) with (company name) and we’re handing out free Lifetime Supply Spot-Out bottles to help you keep your carpets clean. (Show them the bottle.) When this bottle is empty just give us a call and we’ll get you more- no charge and no obligation! (Hand them the bottle.) And here is my card- we do incredible carpet cleaning and please call if I can ever be of service.”
Homeowner says thank you and then you say: “Oh, by the way, we also do upholstery cleaning and … (List out other services you offer.)
You’ll be amazed, Thinking, how many (not all) will say, “You know, I was just thinking about having my sofa cleaned. How much do you charge?” And now you are off and running. Even if your “batting average” isn’t that high remember that every time you leave a Free Lifetime Spotter bottle with a home owner you are “planting a seed”.
Sure, this seed will cost you about a “buck a bottle”- but hey- this marketing investment is so much more targeted than Yellow Pages or a newspaper ad. Plus remember that your “delivery system” is free! I mean, all you are investing is your shoe leather!
6. Test and modify your approach. Don’t be rigid. The script I’ve given you above is just a starting point. Listen to what people say and observe how they react- then adjust accordingly. Be yourself- smile a lot- relax, have fun and maintain a sense of humor. If you get turned down smile, wish the home owner a good day, shrug the rejection off and move on. I’d appreciate knowing your results.
7. Don’t stop. If you come up with a winning system, Thinking, please don’t stop it. Most cleaners have a very “stop and go” approach to their marketing. They advertise/sell for a while, get busy, stop marketing and then sales fall of so they crank up their marketing again- you get the idea. Instead, I urge you to burn this saying into your brain- “Marketing should be a process- not an event”! Just every Saturday afternoon set a reasonable goal of knocking on 100 doors!
NOTE: Here’s two more thoughts from the ever sharp Big Billy Yeadon:
1. Be careful with the posted “No Soliciting” neighborhoods.
2. If you have a child five to ten years old drag them along with you. Few home owners can withstand A CUTE LITTLE KID. (I’d add fix your kid up in a little matching uniform. Even better don’t feed them the day before you go knock on doors so they look really hungry!) LOL
Get out there and try this stuff, Thinking. Don’t over complicate matters- you are honestly trying to help people and most home owners will appreciate it.
PS Even after choosing the best time you will find that many people aren’t home. Check your local laws and if it is legal you may want to discreetly tuck your new brochure with a card attached into the door. After all, you have already made the effort to walk up to the house- you might as well get some return on your work!
NOTE: Once you do have clients use this “apologize for your noise” technique to give away even more Spot-Out bottles and get even more customers!