I can remember one of these guys coming to the house. If I’m before your time, let me explain. Many years ago, it was not an uncommon practice to hire a sales force, equip them with everything they needed, then send them out into suburbia where they would go door to door. It was the ultimate in cold calling. Just knock on the door in the middle of the day. This was a fairly common practice after Word War 2 when most suburban women didn’t have jobs outside of the home. In our home in south Louisiana, courtesy the travelling salesman, we were exposed to vacuum cleaners, encyclopedias, life insurance, soaps, potato chips, milk, and of course Fuller brushes. The Fuller Brush Company made brushes for hair, toilets, grills, cars, pets, etc and these guys were famously pushy. They carried their wares in a huge suitcase and would walk through neighborhoods selling directly from their case. They banked on their pushiness and a housewife would often buy just to get rid of them. They were so common that in 1948 MGM made a movie titled The Fuller Brush Man featuring comedian Red Skelton.
Ever heard that saying, “just get your foot in the door”? That was a tactic of door to door salesmen. Stick your toe over the threshold of the door and a sweet housewife wouldn’t dream of closing the door on your foot. And that gave you enough time to be charming, or stubborn. The Fuller Brush guy that came to our house (I was probably four) didn’t count on Mrs. Virginia Malik asking him if he wanted to retain the use of his left foot for the rest of the day. And that was our first and last experience with Fuller brushes. But when the guy from Charles Chips walked up, you bet we all screamed for chips.
In today’s world, social media is our new front door, especially Facebook. It’s so integrated into our daily lives that our wall feels like a front door and its Messenger has replaced the telephone. If you’ve got a Facebook page for your business, you’ve probably had that front door opened up long enough so someone can stick their toe in your door. Over the last couple years, I’ve intercepted spam from all sorts of well-meaning but clueless folks. Beauty pageant contestants, charities, authors, bloggers, city officials, and in the last few months I’ve seen an upturn in businesses spamming other business pages. One of my clients is a pediatric dentist and his office gets more spam than all my other clients combined.
Here’s the deal, folks. People buy from people they like. And in business, before you stick your foot in the door, perhaps you should take some time to understand your prospect. Maybe even consider doing business with them first. Care to guess how many half-pound burgers I ate before one of my restaurant clients said yes?
And if your business is ladies clothing, why on earth would you spam a pediatric dentist and demand (“I’ve shared your post, now you share mine”) he like your page and share your post? Especially since you’ve never set foot in his office.
I’m hardly an authority on professional sales tactics. But I know what works. Get to know people first, understand their business, then figure out if you can help them. If they’re looking for something I can’t deliver, I’ll tell them so then pass their info off to a real marketing professional. If they’re looking for affordable social media, without all the bells and whistles that a full service marketing company provides (and charges for) then maybe I’m the guy they’re looking for. So today’s lesson is do not stick your foot in the door and do not spam a Facebook page. Practice good manners, follow professional sales techniques, and do so every day and you won’t get your foot slammed in the door.