Guerrilla Marketing: Is Door Knocking Good For Business?

Going door-to-door is one of the most effective ways to get your name out there, especially when you're just starting or facing a business shortfall. It's inexpensive and quick, and it allows you the chance to meet face-to-face with potential clients. However, there are a few things you should consider before you start knocking on doors to sell your service. In this post, we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of door-knocking so you can determine if it’s a good fit for your business.

Door-to-door sales for your service business: what it is and isn't

Door-to-door sales is a term used to describe going door-to-door to sell a product or service. But what is it in practice?

The stereotypical door-to-door salesperson that we think of is often someone who works for a direct selling company. Direct selling companies are companies that sell products directly to consumers through direct sales representatives, who are independent contractors that make a commission off of every sale. Direct selling companies have been around since the 1940s; many are legitimate companies with good products. Still, their commission-based pay structure encourages salespeople to be unrelenting in securing a sale. The pay structure of direct selling companies and the behavior of their salespeople have given door-to-door selling a lousy wrap with consumers. 

It's essential to understand the difference between an independent contractor working for a big direct selling company and a business owner selling a service. You might be using the same approach to sales, but you aren't in the same category. 

Suppose you work for a direct sales company, and you're still reading this post. In that case, it's a good time to stop because the strategies here won't be half as effective for you as they are for a service business and an independent entrepreneur. 

The advantages of door-to-door sales for your service business

1: Reach a wider audience

One of the most significant advantages of door-knocking is that you can reach a wider audience than other forms of marketing. Service businesses offer things that every homeowner needs, and chances are there are people in your area who would be interested in hiring you. Door-to-door sales lets you reach customers without them finding your product online or through advertising.

2: Connect with potential customers

With most forms of marketing or sales, connecting with customers in person is impossible, but knocking on doors almost guarantees you'll meet a future customer. Meeting customers means getting to know your customers and their needs before they hire you. Knowing your customers is especially important if they have to trust you when you enter their homes to perform a service. You can't get this personal connection via phone calls or emails alone.

3: Tailor your sales approach

The number one advantage of door-to-door sales for home service businesses is seeing a potential customer's home, which lets you tailor your sales pitch. For example, suppose your company specializes in pressure washing, and you see grime and oil spots on their driveway. In that case, you can explain to them how pressure washing would make it look good as new and even tell them the exact methods you would use. Lawn care and landscaping are also industries where this approach works well, as is any industry where you can see the area you're servicing from outside. This strategy of assessing and addressing the customer's needs on-site before you even knock on the door is only possible with door-to-door sales.

The disadvantages of door-to-door sales in the home service industry

1: Unpredictability

When you sell your services door-to-door, unpredictability is a part of the job. You never know what you'll find when you knock on someone's door: maybe they'll be in the mood to talk, perhaps they'll be annoyed you're there, or maybe they won't answer their door. While there are ways to make it a valuable knock regardless of what happens, you will need to knock on many doors to find people interested in your service. Impatience won't help you win door-to-door. 

2: No solicitation policies and legal considerations

Laws in many states make it illegal for door-to-door salespeople to solicit customers without obtaining permission from those customers or during certain hours of the day. Specific homeowners associations may have policies, and some homeowners will post a no-solicitation sign. It's best if you check with your state's Department of Consumer Affairs before you start knocking on doors. 

When researching local laws, remember that many things fall under the legal definition of solicitation, so look specifically for laws and policies that apply to selling services door to door. An excellent place to start your research is library.municode.com, a website with an extensive database of municipal codes that is free to use. You may also want to call your local municipality to check. Most importantly, always respect the homeowner's wishes if they ask you not to solicit their home, and leave the neighborhood when asked. Overstaying your welcome in a community can damage your company's reputation. 

3: The walk and the weather 

Another disadvantage of door-to-door sales is that you have to walk around in all weather conditions. Bad weather can be uncomfortable and even dangerous if you don't prepare. Still, planning and preparation make it much more manageable. Because you will be walking door-to-door, the terrain and the area's layout can make or break a day of selling. 

In the next Guerrilla Marketing post: we'll go over tools and strategies to make door-to-door sales successful in practice. Stay tuned!

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