The 11 rules of engagement when going door to door.

Have you thought about going door to door in your area to meet new potential clients and promote your Fall & Winter services to them? Is so, you might be wondering what the best way to go about this is. Are there certain things you should do or shouldn’t do in order to improve your chances of success? That is what a business owner was wondering when he got on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and asked “I am preparing a campaign where I will personally go door to door, introduce myself and my services in a upscale area down the road from me. I half thought about having my employee do the ground pounding but figured I would be the best to represent my business in a professional manor. Are there any specific rules of engagement when going door to door like this? do and donts?”

Another member shared his 11 rules with us and said “you could either get some door hangers and hang them without talking to someone or if you insist on talking to them (probably the best option) still take something along for them to look at.

Whatever your approach, follow some basic rules. These rules are not to poke fun at anyone or be funny. You would be surprised how little things are overlooked.

1. Brush your teeth. People will be distracted by your bad breath and will just be trying to get you out of there instead of really listening. If you are a smoker (I am) carry some mints. I wouldn’t recommend gum as someone smacking gum can become distracting as well. A mint can fit comfortably in your jaw without them even noticing that you have something in your mouth.

2. Since we are on smoking….This is a touchy subject for some. I am a smoker! I have rights! However, despite how ‘unfair’ it may be for someone to pass judgement on you for being a smoker, it is inevitable. I don’t smoke when doing business!

3. Keep noise down. I know when I am on my way to a potential sale, I like to pump myself up with some music. When you arrive at someones house however, have it turned down. Better yet, when you are in a neighborhood, don’t blare your music. This is most unprofessional.

4. Dress professionally. I understand, we cut grass. I’m not saying where a suit and tie to the door. That would appear ridiculous to people anyways. What I do recommend though is investing $20-$30 in a nice polo shirt with your company’s name and/or logo on it. Tuck it in. It looks much neater.

5. Don’t skip houses! This one hits a personal note with me. A buddy was with me passing out door hangers one day. I happened to look over at him and he was walking by a house without hanging one. When we got to the end of the block, I asked him why he didn’t hang a flyer there. He said “Well, their grass was well maintained, they probably have someone they are happy with already.” The next block he does the same thing and I notice. This time a lady happens to be walking out to sit on her porch as he is walking through her yard, passing her up. She is looking at us like “what the hell is going on out here?” I walked over and talked to her, giving her a flyer. That was the last door hanging he ever did with me. I think it makes you look unprofessional. I’m not saying the trailer in the middle of town with 15 cars on blocks that haven’t been mowed around in 5 years should be on your list to hit but don’t pass people by because their grass looks nice.
6. Once you knock on the door or ring the bell, take a step or two back. Don’t crowd the doorway so that you are in their face. Once they open the door, you can step closer with your hand out to shake hands as you introduce yourself. (if they don’t reach for the hand, I always liked to look at my hand as if there was something on it, wipe it on my pants and reextend, this usually gets a smile at least out of them)

7. Hand them something right away. If they are holding something of yours, they won’t be able to close the door in your face. Simply hand them a flier with a list of duties you can perform, after shaking their hand.

8. Name drop. Use your closest customers names in conversation. Example, you cut Julie Smith’s grass, she lives a block over. Say, we take care of Mrs. Smith’s lawn over here (and point in that direction) on Hemlock St or whatever street she lives on. When they see that their neighbors have already instilled their trust in you, they are more likely to do the same.

9. Practice. Practice your pitch in front of a mirror. It doesn’t have to be word for word and if you mess up the customer will never know because they don’t know your ’script’ in the first place.

10. Be natural. Don’t sound like you are reading a script. Just relax.

11. If they are rude. Be polite. Give them a card and say ‘thanks for your time, I would like for you to do me a favor. If you know someone who may need my services, please pass my card along.’ This shows professionalism.”

Another member shared “handing something to the home owner when they open their door is critical and makes a world of difference. Although I generally don’t go door to door, I have a new employee that loves doing it and he closes sales on just about every call he visits. When I do this, I simply say good morning/afternoon, my company is in your area and I noticed……We offer this service along with a host of professional lawn care, may I leave you with my card, our estimates are free. We have references in your area if you wish. Just give it some thought as I am not here to obtain a reply today.

That last line is something I started about a month ago and it really works. It takes all the sales pressure off the prospect and for whatever reason gains a quick trust.”

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