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Sales Blog - The Open-Door Race

By Steven J. Schmidt (5/12/08)

Many salespeople I used to work with were friends of mine, yet we were always competitive with one another. I used to sell newspaper subscriptions door-to-door and we always used to think that if a door was open, it would be an easier sale. That was usually the case for some reason. I think the thought process was that if the door was open, the people would be more easy-going and open-minded to buy whatever we were selling.

There was one night when it was raining, though my co-worker and I didn't care. We would work through the rain, as long as it was not a torrential downpour because we wanted to make money. We weren't going to let a few raindrops stop us from doing so.

Sometimes we would work every other door. Basically, that means that I would knock on one door and then the other salesperson would knock on the door directly next to me. So, we each had six sales for the night, and we just got the call from our manager that we had five minutes left to knock on doors, and we both saw a door that was open down the street.

I said to my colleague, "OK, I got that door." He looked at me quizzically and replied, "The hell you do, that door is mine."

Well, in a situation like that, what is there left to do? So, we looked at each other and started running!

We ran stride for stride, when suddenly my leg took a jumping step right into a puddle, causing my leg to get wet all the way up to my knee. I didn't care because I wanted to beat my co-worker to the door to get the sale. I ended up winning the race, but my momentum, mixed with the slickness of the ground, gave way to my footing, and I ended up kicking their screen door open with my foot and I landed in their foyer.

The people looked at me, and the lady began laughing so hard she dropped her cup on the floor. After the initial laughter, however, she sternly told me to get out of her house, or she would call the cops.

I said to her, "I can explain everything if you just give me a quick 20 seconds." Obviously, the 20 seconds turned into 10 minutes and I ended up getting the sale.

It wasn't just the fact that I got the sale, but the fact of how competitive we both were. In addition, we pushed each other to get the last sale of the night to also be the top seller in the field. We both refused to stop until one of us was the top salesperson through sheer will or persistence.

Having goals to beat out the top seller, or to target someone in your sales group to go after is always a plus. It will make you strive harder, and the end result will be more money in your pocket, even if you have to dropkick a door open to get the sale.

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