The beauty of door sales is the sprint. It’s not about the day or the week or the year – it’s about the distance between the curb and the door. Expertise has little correlation to experience – we’re only as good as our last day. And there is no place for negativity – it’s a battle between us and ourself.
It’s perhaps the most honest, respectable and challenging way to earn a dollar. It’s why you’ll never see someone who has successfully worked in door sales being short with someone who knocks their door. All they have is respect and admiration.
Door sales is the only act in which we simultaneously engage every sense we need to survive in business. We’re operating in unfamiliar territory with an audience that is short on time, unfamilar with our product and not expecting to spend. They are defensive, cautious and short. We have 30 seconds to prove relevance, trust, value and a point of difference. We can’t click escape if the sale goes pear shaped and we can’t ask for time if we haven’t got the answers.
If we are rejected, we don’t have the liberty of taking a break or turning to others for strength. We have 20 paces to handle the rejection, learn from it, build a callous and start over. It’s something truly spectacular.
This might appear to have little to do with art and creativity, but I challenge you to think again. The artist has a lot in common with the door salesman. Both must recognise the invisible nuts and bolts holding the system together. Both must be quicker to learn more about their audience than their audience can learn about them. And both must come to acknowledge that the prospect’s response to their actions is a reflection of their true ability.
When we consider ourselves above those who have the grit, skill and open-mindedness to ‘knock, sell and sign-up’ a prospect right there and then on the spot, we are doing ourselves an enormous disservice. One day in door sales teaches us more about people, business and ourself than a decade in college could ever even hope to. As creatives we don’t have to knock doors to make it, but those who do have an enormous advantage.