Door to Door Sales Reigns Supreme Over 200 Years of Salesmanship

Door to door sales has its roots and origins in the early days the country. Before there were mass newspaper outlets and before the digital revolution brought about by the Internet, salespersons would step out of their door and canvas door to door to generate sales of everything from newspaper subscriptions to entire  subdivision home sales.

The success rate of door-to-door sales has always been in a class of its own. Marketing mediums have always boasted their conversion rate such as billboards, radio ads, television spots, and even email distribution. However none of those mediums come remotely close to the conversion rate of door-to-door sales.

And that boggled our minds when that question was asked in  of all places and the top answer was loaded with misinformation saying that there are "to many variables to break down" and determine an average conversion rate for door to door sales.

Hindsight and Foresight

Door to Door Sales is Consultative-style Selling

Door to door sales (or, also known as D2D) is at your front door consultative-style selling.  And consultative-style selling is the leading form of sales because it is in person and in front of someone. The same goes, people do business with people they do not do business with entities. It is part of our social construct and there are dozens of psychographic, body language, social, cultural, affinity, and playing like or dislike of a person feelings being exchanged in a one on one in person interaction.

The following statistics are by medium and are the correct answer to the to the question of the average door-to-door sales conversion rates:

In-person Consultative-style Selling (i.e., at your front door sales included) 63.0%

Virtual Web-based Online Webinars 12.7% 

Audio Real-person Telephone 12.5%

Direct Physical Print Mail 7.4%

Website or Blog Page Post 2.3%

Internet Search Engines 1.9%

Social Media Sharing 0.7% 

Digital Email Mailings 0.5%

Door-to-Door Sales - The Myths Behind The Stigma

The problem with door sales is that it has a stigma by some industries that if you are knocking on doors you must be desperate. That you must be an out-of-town company generating shady transactions. That you are at the bottom of your success run and have resorted to knocking on doors because you have no money to advertise.

Nothing could be further from the truth. And the details breakdown as follows:

Roofing contractors sending sales representatives into storm damaged areas is a deployment of the x-ray level understanding of who their ideal customer is. Who cares if a homeowner needs a roof inspection if it's a brand-new roof? however a roofing contractor that sends in sales representatives to in affected area for wind and hail damage, known to be homeowners instead of renters, is perfectly positioned convert those homeowners into sales IF the sales representative is also knowledgeable in the product and service.

Local businesses, for example, a plumbing service have enough homes around their immediate business location to keep them busy year after year and month after month. So it makes sense for the business owner to send out the troops into the streets and neighborhoods that make up their local territory and put of door hangers and every single door and knock and introduce themselves and put a face to a business name and let everyone know that they are the local plumbing service in the area.

A tradesperson, that sees Google ads being clicked at $80 or $120 a click does not have to engage in Google ads. In fact no one should ever pay that much for any kind of PPC ad. The number one thing that drives the cost of PPC is misinformed businesses that receive that a click of say $50 will have a probability of converting. Unfortunately, it may take 10 or 20 of those clicks to generate a sale and by then the tradesperson has lost their profit. So it is perfectly acceptable to take stack of door hangers and step out of the business and go into the neighborhood and knock and hang them up at a cost of zero.

The Purpose of a Door Hanger Is To Open The Door

Consultative-style selling at the door can be a powerful source of brand and identity recognition and an immediate source of revenue. However, what makes door sales expensive sometimes and ineffective is that sales representatives are improperly trained on how to approach door sales.

a door hanger can be placed on a door. However looking back at the conversion rate for direct mail, we see that the door hanger does not have the person's name and therefore takes a conversion rate dive to about 1%. That means that a sales representative would have to hang 100 door hangers to receive one phone call. And when that phone call has a conversion rate of 12%, let's do some math:

100 Door Hangers  x 1% Conversion Rate

1 Phone Call x 12% Conversion Rate


If your contracting business is telling sales reps to go out and put up door hangers (and then some of them staple their business card to them also), then you're about to have a lot of discouraged salespersons.  so let's do this differently.


Question: "What is the purpose of a door hanger?"

Answer: "To Open The Door!"

Let's remember what we said about human interaction. That people do business with people not entities. A door hanger is an entity. It doesn't have eyes. It does not talk. It doesn't show its vulnerabilities. It doesn't exchange social report. It's dead and at the temperature outside. so it can't possibly convert the way a human person can. It can't possibly answer questions. So it's purpose cannot be to convert into a sale.

The purpose of a door hanger is to open the door. And the way this is achieved is to arrive at a door, knock three times and then ring the doorbell simultaneously once and then step back 4 to 6 feet and start writing your information on the door hanger and look busy. In fact if at all possible, use a clipboard and tilted so that the prospective homeowner looking through the peep hole at the door can't see what you're writing on. And then the purpose of the doorhanger will be achieved. The curious homeowner will open the door!

And this is when you can now use consultative-style selling and your presence and the 63% conversion rate to generate a sale.  and if you knocked on 10 doors and seven people open the door out of curiosity than five should become sales. To expect those five sales from the incorrect use of door hangers would mean a salesperson would have to hang up 500 door hangers just to achieve the 1% conversion rate. However because that conversion rate is only of and for a website visit or a telephone call you have to discounted to that conversion rate of say 12%. So of the five callers or website visitors, only one will become a sale. Meaning, that your sales rep would have to hang up 2500 door hangers to generate five sales.

Door to door sales is extremely powerful and extremely profitable for contractors nationwide. However, it must be deployed with an understanding that the human person at the door must be knowledgeable in their product or service and they must be at the door of the correct target prospect and they must remember that the purpose of a door hanger is to open the door.

Knowledge Transfer LLC is a door to door sales advisory for trades persons and contracting companies in need of effective marketing and back-end system solutions. Take advantage of our training courses and read the available blog posts to enrich your knowledge and understanding of things outside your trade so that you can create and maintain profitable and credible contracting business.