The Coronavirus (or Covid-19) pandemic will impact many industries, and door to door sales is no exception. Anyone who is watching the economy right now is probably worried about their job or their business. The total impact the Coronavirus will have is hard to judge at this point, but there will most likely be ripple effects through the economy that will last months, if not years.
Door to door sales is an interesting business for many reasons. A big one is that it often operates oppositely to the economy. Why is this?
Door to door sales, or direct sales in general, often becomes more popular when the economy is on the rocks. People are looking for new ways to make money, and oftentimes for ways to save money. Direct sales in its door to door format, is a great way for people to get out of their bubbles and to introduce people to products that they want and need.
So, in our current environment, here are 3 ways that the Coronavirus will most likely have an impact on door to door sales:
People Won’t Want to Go Out (But will appreciate others coming to them)
This may seem an obvious one in the early stages of the Coronavirus pandemic as we’re seeing whole countries locked down Obviously people will not want (or may not want) to go out for the next couple weeks. However, this may be the beginning of a longer-term trend as well.
Depending on how the Coronavirus pandemic shakes out, it is very possible that people’s shopping habits may change long-term. Undoubtedly there will be a shift toward online shopping in the short-term, and the pandemic will help accelerate this macro trend that has already been going on.
However, the convenience of online shopping only works when you know what the product is that you want. What about a complex technology transaction that you actually want or need a human to explain to you?
If online shopping alone won’t be able to handle consumer transactions, then what will?
A secret that many alarm, telecommunications, and solar companies understand (among others), is that many customers want their products and services, but they typically won’t go online to buy them (at least without months of research first).
However, when a highly trained and educated salesperson shows up at their door and can answer all of the questions that have been at the back of their minds, they’re ready to buy.
At the end of the day, this all makes sense for the consumer. Why go wait at a cell phone store and mingle with all the other germ carriers when just one can come to your house and take care of your iPhone upgrade?
Which would you prefer, taking time at your lunch break or on a precious weekend to wait in line or have someone come to you to solve your problem? I think more and more frequently we’ll see customer-centric companies adopting the latter solution.
New Found Need for Certain Services
There’s already been speculation that this Coronvirus will cause the economy to go into a recession. This isn’t something to be afraid of, but a natural part of the business cycle. Thankfully, recessions don’t typically last nearly as long as economic expansions, but during them, consumer needs and desires do adapt and change.
Consumers buying decisions become much more around saving money. The uncertainty of a layoff or other financial setback keeps buyers’ radar on high alert for what they perceive as a deal. Even if they’re buying roughly the same amount of goods and services as before, when they have an opportunity to save money on something they would otherwise purchase, they spring for it.
This is a great opportunity for a door to door salesperson or company to really send their sales message home. If your product or service allows the customer to save money on something they’re purchasing anyway or offers better quality (ideally both), then you’re in an excellent position to get customers’ attention. Lawn care services, Telecommunications, or De-regulated Energy providers have a great opportunity here.
The second opportunity
For door to door salespeople in a potential economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus is to upgrade or add services that customers feel a higher need for. One easy example is internet services. Customers that find all of a sudden they’re working at home and using more internet data then they were, will start seeing gaps in their service that maybe they didn’t recognize before. Here is an easy opportunity to sell them on a competitive internet provider that can work better for them or upgrade their existing services.
Another key element
That comes in a recessionary environment is the need customers have to feel secure. Have an older alarm system in your home or one that’s no longer working? I bet you wished that worked now right? At the very least you wished it had the fancy outdoor cameras that connect to your phone like your neighbor Jill has.
All it takes is a reputable and respectful door to door salesperson to show up at the right time with the right offer and that’s an easy sale. Other products like solar power or home automation can also provide a lot of peace of mind in an unstable environment.
Hiring for Door to Door Positions Will Improve
It’s no secret that when unemployment goes down, it becomes easier to hire people. This last point is more for individuals running companies that rely on door to door salespeople. The booming economy and 3.5% unemployment rate has made it difficult for many industries to hire and retain good people, and door to door sales has been no different.
Door to door sales is an excellent job for individuals looking for a great opportunity when times are tough.
Many business leaders such as Mark Cuban and Sara Blakely got their start in door to door sales. Not only is there good money to be made for those who work at it, but it teaches invaluable lessons on how to talk to people and how to sell (not to mention mental toughness and persistence).
When I ran my door to door sales company (I ran it during the last recession as well as the latest economic boom), there would often be applicants that I would sit down that would get excited about the prospect of making $20-50 an hour marketing products from Fortune 500 companies on a heavy commission basis, but then would ultimately get cold feet and go take a job where they would be capped at $12 an hour because “it was more secure.”
At the end of the day, I would never argue with their logic, because it wasn’t logical. A great majority of the time, they lacked the confidence in themselves to take the plunge and try something different.
In times of recession, people get pushed out of their shell of comfortability.
In the scope of a 40+ year career, if that happens during a 12-18 month recession, that could be a very good thing (just ask Sara or Mark). Taking that time to be trained in classic selling techniques that will apply across a spectrum of different industries doesn’t just benefit the individual, but creates more talented and resolute workers. Ultimately, this is not just a benefit for the individual, but for the whole economy as well.
Read more on how to personally recruit new talent
So what do you see the impacts of the Coronavirus will be on door to door sales? Feel free to leave comments below!