Danger Zone

The amazingly simple psychology behind door-to-door sales

Sales people in a row with colourful socks Source: Zak Suhar

This is part 2 in our series on fighting back against unsolicited salespeople.

Ever wondered why pesky salespeople keep going door-to-door, time after time, often only to have the door slammed in their face? You might imagine this as akin to banging your head against the wall.

The simple truth about door-to-door sales is that it can be highly effective given the right person and circumstances. Take Joe Ades, the man who made millions selling potato peelers on the street:

We’ve pulled together some great tips and tricks to look at why salespeople succeed using these simple psychological queues.

The best-friend at the BBQ

Befriending and/or inventing a common interest with you have become a powerful and often-used sales tactic. The idea is that if the salesperson can get you to relate to them as a person, then it’s harder for you to reject their sales. This method typically involves the salesperson engaging you in non-work related questions about pets, family and the weather. Combat it simply by briefly answering the conversational questions, but coming straight back with a direct question about the product being sold. This will relay the subtle message to the salesperson that you are not about to be sweet-talked into a purchase.

The ‘1 minute to midnight’

Pressuring you to buy under the pretence that their livelihood depends on the sale to you. The salesperson may claim their bonus depends on making one more sale or that they will lose their job if they don’t get a sale from you. If a salesperson uses this approach with you, make sure to stop and think with your head and not your heart and don’t believe that that the salesperson’s livelihood rests on your decision alone.

The heckler

Selling their product or service by provoking a fear within you. Salespeople who use this method will present the idea to you that if you don’t sign up to their product or service, you’re not doing the best by your family, or if really heavy-handed in their approach, that you are actually putting yourself or your family in danger by not signing up. This tactic is commonly used in home security and insurance product sales. If a salesperson uses this tactic, remember that your family’s welfare has not been at risk without having the product or service being pitched at you.

Angry door-to-door salesperson

Ashish Choudhary

The messenger

Fabricating a story that your neighbour, friend or relative has asked them to contact you. This tactic is used as a shortcut to build your trust if you believe someone you care about has referred them your way. If this approach is used, simply ask them to supply the name of the person who referred them.

The lost puppy

Claiming that they’re accidentally at the wrong address or dialled the wrong number. But while they have your attention, they take the opportunity to sell you their product or service. If a salesperson lies to you about the details of their coming to be at your front door or the other end of the phone, inform them that they have the wrong address/phone number and suggest they (never you) contact their head office to confirm their customer’s details.

Not all salespeople will use all or any of these tactics, but if they do, just follow the guidelines above to maintain control over the situation. If it any point you feel you are being manipulated, lied to or uncomfortable, simply tell the salesperson you’re not purchasing any new products or services at the moment and you’d like them to leave.

Have you seen a salesperson use these tricks? Let us know in the comments below.

You Might Also Like