5 Things Direct Sales Reps Want You to Know
By Lena Fields Arnold
February 7, 2018
I never thought much about direct sales representatives (aka door to door sales reps) until I became one. It never occurred to me how difficult their job is. Like postal carriers they brave extreme temperature and whether fluctuations, work under the threat of animal attacks, and sometimes have to deal with unreasonable and irrational people who can make their jobs a nightmare.
After dealing with one of the above mentioned unreasonable and irrational people I decided to write this post in the hopes that people will read it and think about it the next time a sales rep comes to your door.
We Are Not Stupid
In fact, most of us are pretty intelligent. The vast majorities of sales reps are either pursuing higher education or have completed it. We hold certifications, associates degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and even master’s degrees. Most of us work in sales because it allows us the flexibility to raise our families, and complete our education while earning a decent income. In many cases were are in an executive training program and often these programs require one year of direct door to door sales before the person can be promoted.
We are entertainers, college students, professional musicians, small business owners and up and coming executives; so when you talk to us, keep that in mind. We love it when you converse with us, even after you have said no. Not because we are still trying to sell you anything, but because we are interesting people who are interested in people.
We are Not Ashamed of our Jobs
Susan Horsburgh in her article “Life of a Salesman,” for People Magazine writes, “Door-to-door selling has a long history in the U.S., probably dating to the country’s early days when peddlers carried their wares in tin carriers or piled in a wagon.” Although the practice has significantly declined since 1980, door to door sales still exist and can be very profitable for those with a determined and disciplined nature.
Many successful people today either started out as directs sales reps, selling anything from encyclopedias, vacuums, beauty products, or home goods. So prevalent was direct sales that once upon a time in America it was through the door to door salesperson that people bought a majority of their products.
As people became more enamored with retail stores and later online shopping, the direct salesperson began to be viewed as an unwelcome intrusion. Nevertheless, the growing use of technologies has not been able to fully kill the entrepreneurial spirit of the direct sales rep.
Sometimes We Really Aren’t Trying To Sell You Anything
We’re not just sales reps. We are marketing professionals and often the companies we work for will ask us to survey customers for satisfaction, to ascertain why they dropped services, or to inform them of the benefits of new products and upgrades. One of the first things I do when I am given a new territory is peruse through the list to find existing customers who may be eligible for free or reduced price upgrades. Often these customers aren’t aware of their eligibility. These specials benefit existing customers by saving them money or by increasing the value of their current services. So when a sales rep says “I am not here to sell you anything.” They may just mean it.
Sales Reps are People Too
Like you we have families, obligations, and personal issues we are dealing with. We come into this job knowing that 98% of the people don’t want what we are selling or may not see the value in the product. We muddle through because it is our job, and to be truthful most days we like what we do. But like you, sometimes we have bad days. So if you can see us through the door, you know you don’t want what we are offering, and you are tempted to answer the door just to be rude; please just don’t. You are not obligated to open your door and opening it just to tell off a sales rep benefits no one. Most of us respect the No Soliciting sign, so just put one up and most of us won’t bother knocking on your door. Please keep this in mind as I move on to the next point.
It cost you nothing to be Nice
If you elect to open the door, remember it cost you nothing to be nice. You may even be rewarded for it. Once a lady opened the door just make me aware that I was soliciting in a no solicitation area. When I informed her that I was not aware, she very politely directed me to the location of the no soliciting sign posted at the entrance to the neighborhood. We talked for a moment about the ordinance and I thanked her for making me cognizant of it and I forwarded a photo of the sign to the company I was working for.
She was so polite that we ended up talking about other issues and to make a long story short I was able to point her in a direction to help her resolve some things she was dealing with. I didn’t sell her anything, yet it was a win-win for both of us. It cost her nothing to be polite and in fact she gained a benefit. It cost you nothing to be polite either.
So to all you sales reps toiling out there in the streets, keep your head up. I know your job is hard, but you have life goals you are trying to accomplish and as long as your sales job is helping you achieve your objectives keep on keeping on.
I’ll end by encouraging you to read the article Life of a Salesman (link below)by Susan Horsburgh who highlights the story of award winning salesman Bill Porter. According to Horsburgh, Porter, who suffers from cerebral palsy, once crawled the last part of his seven-mile route on his hands and knees. His “grit-and-gumption” story of how he became an award winning salesman was made into a TNT movie entitled “Door to Door.” He was successful because he was motivated by his dreams. I encourage you to remain motivated by yours.
Life of a Salesman. (n.d.). Retrieved February 07, 2018, from http://people.com/archive/life-of-a-salesman-vol-58-no-4/
Remember the Door-to-door Sales Days?, Dorene Weinstein retrieved from https://www.argusleader.com/story/life/2014/03/28/remember-door-door-sales-days/7026505/
Lena Fields-Arnold is an author and motivational speaker whose work has been featured in numerous papers and periodicals. As a writer, Lena seeks to push people past their comfort zones and engage in meaningful dialogue that moves beyond the boundaries of political correctness, and leads to real understanding and mutual respect-even for opposing opinions and beliefs. Lena received her master’s degree on Executive Leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and her bachelor’s in Mass Communications Wright State University in Dayton, OH. As a journalist, she has written for several periodicals and was endorsed by the late CBS News Correspondent Ed Bradley for “…being a thoughtful writer who goes beyond…” To read more of Lena’s Work visit Stuff Inside My Head- the Official Blog of Lena Fields Arnold at: https://lenafieldsarnold.wordpress.com/