August 24, 2010

The Return Of The Door-To-Door Salesman?

doorknocker 250x390
Knock knock? Who's there?

When the doorbell rings unexpectedly, the cause is usually a handyman giving free quotes, a fundraiser, a politician at election time, a location scout or a Jehovah's Witness. Annoying pests.

Occasionally there's a pleasant surprise like family, friends or a courier delivery. Welcome guests. Usually we're notified in advance and anticipate these visits.

This time, I was greeted by an investment advisor who just joined a big bank. Unusual but still an intrusion. Normally advisors send letter or fliers.

We chatted briefly about marketing — the kind of things you'll find on this blog. We exchanged business cards at my suggestion. He's having some success going door-to-door.

Second Impressions

Afterwards, I looked for him online. A web search yielded no useful results. He's not listed on his firm's website but will be soon. The process is surprisingly slow.

He said he has a proper LinkedIn profile. I checked. His common name produced 511 results and he wasn't on page one. Drilling down, I think I found him. I'm not sure because there's
  • no photo
  • no mention of his new employer
  • no relevant experience
  • no relevant recommendations (and only one in total)
Would you invest with a person like that? For the same price, you could get an advisor with experience and the three marketing essentials for today.

Create Intrigue

If you're going to annoy people by knocking on their doors, why not compensate them with novelty. What's possible depends on how much you're willing to invest to acquire a new client.

The ideal gift is significant, personalized and unexpected. That doesn't mean expensive. You've probably received fridge magnets, calendars and pens. Big deal. How about a historical photo of the neighbourhood or an old-time newspaper clipping? You'd put your contact information on the gift, saving you the price of a business card. Maybe you offer a monthly eNewsletter with more of the same. Maybe you give a framed photo/article for those who get a free portfolio review.

You could hire others to deliver your initial gifts. That lets you focus on those who raise their hands for your services.


People see us at our best when we're helping others. That's one of the lessons from networking with millionaires. How about increasing public awareness for a little-known charity you're passionate about? Maybe you're conducting a quick survey on their behalf. You probably don't want to collect donations.
"I'm from [firm] asking if you know about [cause]. My name is [name] and I'm an [job]"
Would that be more intriguing than saying "I'm an investment advisor"? The handouts would focus on the cause but also mention you.

Whatever you do, be sure to leave something behind. That way people who aren't at home know you were there.

'A' for Effort

Going door-to-door gets an 'A' for effort but is still an annoying interruption. At least with phone calls you can screen out the intruders.


PS A "No Solicitations" sign makes a great gift

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