Dec 3 2008

Sales tips for the creepy

I've been having a lot of door-to-door salespeople visit my house lately, and they are exhibiting some rather disturbing tactics. The following is a very short guide that should help a prospective sales dude not get punched in the teeth while visiting my house.

1) Don't use the "shave and a haircut" knock pattern

That's a knock of familiarity. We're not buddies. I'm not going to welcome you to my porch with a warm hug. In fact, if you start out with a knock like that, you're immediately making me feel as if I'm being tricked into opening the door.

2) Don't just say your first name when I ask who's there

So, now you've knocked, and I ask you through the door: "Who is it?" Please, say the name of your company -and- what you're doing on my porch. Don't respond with "David." Inevitably, you'll just be asked "David who?", and then "What do you want, David?"

Again, it seems as if you're trying to trick me into opening the door, and worse, you're wasting my time while we play 20 questions.

3) Don't say you're doing "word of mouth" advertising

It's not word of mouth if you're going door to door. For the record, that's called 'door to door'. Word of mouth means that your customers are doing your advertising for you. If you're not getting paid by a company, and you've discovered an AWESOME product that you just MUST go walking around the neighborhood to tell everyone you see about... okay then. You're allowed to call it word of mouth.

4) Don't say you aren't selling anything

If I tell you "I'm not interested", don't reply indignantly with "Wait, but I'm not selling anything!!" If you're advertising on my doorstep, you're selling something, even if I'm not directly giving you money at the moment. That's the definition of advertising. You or your employer has a product that they want me to have, in exchange for my money. If that indeed is the case and you really don't have anything to sell me, that just means you are a transient and have even less reason to be hanging out at my house. Please leave.

5) Don't compliment me on my children

Telling me how beautiful my little girls are does NOT endear me to you. It instantly brings forth a feeling of parental terror that cascades over me, as I realize a stranger (that knows where I live) finds my children attractive. This makes you appear to be predatory in a really bad way, no matter how innocent the comment actually might be. In any event, I certainly won't be overcome with an intense impulse purchasing desire.

Eh, maybe it's just time to invest in a tacky little 'no soliciting' sign. Or a big dog.