Knocking on doors
This weekend, I learned a very important aspect of solicitation called “the opening.” At about 2 p.m., a stranger came walking through our neighborhood carrying a clipboard and proceeded to knock on every door in our cul-de-sac. As our kids have been instructed not to open the door for strangers, they sought me out to do the deed. At the door was a middle-aged man who greeted me with, “Hey, how are you today?” My focus was not on replying but inquiring about the purpose of this person’s knock on my home door. He thanked me for opening the door, rattled off his name and told me that he was representing xyz organization. He spoke so quickly that I did not have interest in listening any further, and wanted to get back to my weekend routine. I politely told him not to bother knocking at the next house as they had a small baby whose parents would be annoyed with the interruption.
At 4 p.m. the same day, another stranger came walking through the neighborhood. The man was about the same age as the first visitor and dressed similarly, with the exception that he wore a brightly colored orange vest that said COMCAST on it. Around his neck he also had a work identification tag. When he knocked on the door, he quickly said that he was with COMCAST and they were providing new services in the area. He did not go through the routine of stating his name, he didn’t ask me how I was doing and he simply stated the purpose of his call. For those residents who were interested, he handed them a brochure that included the information and his contact details so he would get credit.
Who would you listen to, and why?
I learned two lessons:
- In any industry, perception and appearance do make a difference. I doubted the first person’s credibility and wondered if he was running a scam. I’m not suggesting that everyone wear $1,000 suits, but professionalism in appearance does play a factor.
- Be direct in your messaging and respect other people’s time. I clearly understood what the COMCAST person was representing, and there was no delay in taking up my weekend time to get into details. If there was an interest, I could read the details from the brochure. This person understood that the door-to-door approach could be intrusive.
Next time you’re soliciting in buildings, be prepared, be direct and consider wearing a brightly colored vest!
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