I do it sometimes. I actually enjoy door-knocking with advertising for church events or just the offer to talk about spiritual things. I’ve often been surprised at how little opposition I’ve encountered. Sure, plenty people don’t want to talk, but usually they say, “No thank you,” quite politely, at which I smile, thank them for their time and move on.
Which is why I try not to be unpleasant to people who call me on the phone or come to my door trying to sell me things I don’t want. I suppose they have to make a living somehow – but who trains these people? Is there a special school which teaches them how to get under the skin of mild-mannered, grace-inclined people such as I in the quickest time possible?
Last week I ignored a postal invitation to take out an extended warranty on our washer-dryer, which must be a whole year old now. Today I was rung by a man from the appliance company who asked me how I find the machine. I replied that I walk into my kitchen and there it is. I know, I know – I couldn’t resist it. I did immediately repent, tell him the machine was fine and I did not want an extended warranty (not that he had yet offered me one, but it was clear which way the thing was going). Ignoring the obvious hint, he asked me something else, at which I had to inform him that I also didn’t want an extended conversation. There is seldom a polite way to end these things.
So here is my advice for cold callers, whether you be salespeople or door-to-door evangelists (ok, especially the evangelists; I care more about you).
- Introduce yourself immediately.
- Be upfront about what you want or what you are offering
- Be honest and real
- Be prepared for objections and take them seriously
- Accept refusal graciously
Well, I’ll never sell much double glazing, but I have had the joy of quite a lot of good conversation with people on their doorsteps, when they have time and inclination to talk to someone who isn’t trying to rip them off. We’re not, are we?