Entry-level sales positions are usually the lifeblood of a company. They are also commonly the hardest positions to fill. Many consumer business services, especially those selling home security systems, are selling them door-to-door. The old fashion way of pounding the pavement provides sales people with an opportunity to survey neighborhoods, homes and to talk to the homeowners about risks and rewards of home security. As reported in The SafeWise Report, the “Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that door-to-door sales jobs would decline 15% by 2018, but the current trends don’t seem to point in this direction. According to the same organization, 2010 saw direct sales—80% of which are door-to-door sales—was a $28.6 billion industry. That’s up from $28.3 in 2009, with no sign of a downward spiral.”
Who wants to be a door-to-door salesperson?
With thousands of these jobs open across the country, the question of who wants to do them is an important one. It needs to be someone that can meet the physical demands of the job, has the ability to stay motivated while working independently, does not get discouraged by rejections and is motivated by commissions.
The tough part for a recruiter or sourcer is that someone that has had previous job experience with door-to-door sales is not likely to be the best fit. Simply put: if they are successful, they are not likely to make a move. On the other hand, if a person was not successful at selling door-to-door, they won’t be a good fit for the role you have for them. If we cannot target talent with door-to-door sales experience, it is important to identify transferrable skill sets that will enable a candidate to be successful in this unique role.
While different markets have different profiles of the perfect candidates, there are some career types that can have matching transferrable skill sets:
- Inbound Sales: if the candidate is not comfortable sitting all day by the phone making sales-call, selling face-to-face may be a good fit.
- Retail Sales: especially if commissioned based
- Collections: candidates who worked for large, reputable companies often possess great sales and problem solving skills
- Bouncer/Security: although this one sounds odd, these candidates have experience with issue resolution and influencing people
- Home Product Sales: selling built in closets, blinds, garage doors, gives the candidate the experience working on residential homes
- Veterans: many have had experience working outdoors and oftentimes are willing to put in the work for the right incentives
Keep in mind that scanning resumes is not enough to identify the perfect door-to-door salesperson. A proper search requires multiple phone calls and personal interactions to hone in on the very characteristics that are going to make the candidate successful.
How do you get the qualified candidates to entertain the opportunity?
Well, simply put, you must sell it to them. Qualified candidates are going to need to understand the importance of the position and how they can be successful in it. Here are some tips for the phone interview:
- Refer to the candidate by name (many times) during the call to build rapport.
- Ask the candidate first about their experience. As you are listening, target specific skill sets that make this person a good fit for the position.
- Tell the candidate how their unique experience will help them succeed in the role.
- Be optimistic and realistic about the earning potential. Tell them what the average first year earnings are and what they could potentially earn to spur their interest in the commission.
Here is an example of what you might tell someone who had previously worked in collections why a door-to-door sales job is a great fit for them.
“Joe, your ability to talk to people about their issues, tells me that you are solutions-oriented and know how to influence customers. These are exactly the type of skills that will make you a perfect fit for this role. The story you told me about the customer that had his identity stolen was a great example of skills you already have that could make you really successful at this kind of sales position.”
Don’t forget to “close” the pitch!
Even the best salespeople are still influenced by common sales tactics. After the candidate has agreed to meet with someone to discuss the role further, it is important to remind them about the exciting and more advantageous aspects of the job, including salary and commission, development opportunities and career advancement prospects. A great way to keep the candidate engaged is to send them a simple follow-up note explaining the role, its potential, and what “a day in the life” on the job would look like. Make sure to ask if they have any questions and let them know that you are excited to hear about the next steps in their interviewing process.
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