Is Door 2 Door Marketing the Key to Weathering a Recession?

Torlando Hakes
7 min readOct 21, 2022

I belong to a handful of Facebook Groups for contractors and I hold a monthly virtual Roundtable discussion group. Many are experiencing the same thing. Leads are drying up.

The challenge with contracting is that you want to find the balance between capitalizing on the busy season and being prepared for the slow season. Contractors with a heart, care about their crews having work year round. Yet, because of the seasonality it’s easy to instantly be over staffed when October and November hit.

Those who didn’t stash away their nuts during the harvest are already feeling the pinch. Running a contracting business is the ultimate example of the Ant & the Grasshopper parable.

On the PaintED Podcast, I recently had on Lenny Gray, the D2D Millionaire to discuss whether a door to door marketing and sales strategy makes sense for our listeners.

We are familiar with door to door salesmen. In particular in the industries of pest control, solar roofing, and security systems. It might be tempting to think that those industries are largely selling products that have little to real impact and that they are meant for the suckers who fear a bug problem that may or may not happen, burglars that will statistically never reach your house, and people thinking they are putting money back in their pocket by all the energy they will save. At least that’s what the skeptics would say.

But can this work for any service? Lenny Gray says, “yes”. In fact, in my conversation he listed several industries he’s worked with including insurance companies, dentists offices, and several other non-home service industries. But when when it came to home services, Gray made one thing clear: “You will never run out of leads.”

Gray cut his teeth in door to door sales as a summer sprinter in college. You know the ones. They get recruited, sent out to the middle of nowhere and are told they could earn 20k in one summer. They are given a 15 page manual and told to get out there and start knocking. Some sink and some swim.

That first year Gray earned rookie of the year and took home $50,000 in four months. In the 25 years since, he’s coached and built door to door programs for a myriad of companies, including Tommy Mello’s company A-1 Garage Doors.

In my conversation with Gray he was a little reluctant to share his secrets to our audience for free but being the stealthy interviewer I am, I was able to pull out three main insights that can keep you busy all winter long.

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Learn By Doing & Listening

If the number one fear in the world is public speaking, I would have to say that going door to door has got to be the G.O.A.T. that nobody ever heard of. It is terrifying, especially those first few doors. And Gray confirmed, even after 25 years, those first few doors are nerve wracking. But the best way to learn how to do it is to get out there and start knocking.

I’ve been going out, myself, lately to knock on doors and I can tell you that its true. The first few are scary and you mess them up. But I found myself improving at each door. The first couple I’d flub up. I wouldn’t know how to get them into a conversation. I would forget to make an ask. But each door, I’d say to myself, ok, “you forgot to do this…on the next one make sure you…”

But I’m becoming a believer. I’ve been able to generate a proposal or more than one every time I’ve gone out. For every four hours I’ve been able to generate over $10,000 worth of proposals. The book Door 2 Door Millionaire has helped.

In the book, he outlines very specific techniques like name dropping, giving a valid but harmless reason for being in the neighborhood, asking open ended questions, and being mindful of your body language. In addition to the book he has 100s of YouTube videos laying it all out AND if you really feel like you need direct advise or help setting it up with your team he offers pay as you go coaching blocks.

But you can figure this out on your own…it just takes getting out there and opening your mouth.

Before you build a team around it, you should do it yourself. One of the leadership lessons I learned as a football player in high school was to never put your people through something you haven’t done or couldn’t do yourself. My coach always reminded us of that when times were at their worst. It let us know they weren’t just sending us to hell for no reason and that it was something we could endure.

The other reason you’ll want to try it yourself first, is so you can develop SOPs and scripts. When you train your people, you have to be able to give them a good example. If you’re not working with an outside professional, then you need to establish and train your staff directly.

Choose the Right Model

There are three prevailing models in door to door sales & marketing.

There is simply canvassing which is just leaving a hanger without knocking. That’s like a billboard on their door. You get impressions but less conversions. This method really relies on consistent smattering of flyers over and over again in key neighborhoods.

There is the setter/closer model. This is ideal when the service is more complex to sell or it comes at a high price tag. When you’re hiring more junior BDRs, it may be less wise to put a multi-thousand dollar ticket item into their hands because of variable cost estimations. So in this case, you would have them go out and try to set up an appointment for someone more experienced in bidding and closing.

Then there is the full sale model where the person going out is canvassing, knocking, and selling. This is something that a year round BDR could learn and a full time sales rep should be doing in their down time.

For me, as a seasoned sales person, it became really natural for people who are curious about getting work done to invite myself in and give them a quote on the spot.

As I think about the direction to build my door to door program, I think that I will eventually employ all three. I could easily find high schoolers looking for weekend work to canvas without knocking and pay them a wage suitable for a high schooler.

For college age kids and high schoolers that have worked up the nerve and have gone through training, I would upgrade them to setting appointments. Then for our sales people, I’ll have them fulfill the appointments and participate in going door to door between appointments.

Compensation in this space is very results driven. For setters it’s customary to pay a fee per lead and then to give a small commission for a sale. Where as the closers, full commission is also quite common.

Develop a Recruiting Plan

If your company is small enough, you going door to door may be all you need. But if you want to take it to the next level, you’ll need more hands on deck. This is where a recruiting plan comes into place.

To recruit well, you’ve got to first create a fun team environment where word on the street is that it’s a great place to work. You’ve got to realize that most of the people who apply to these jobs may have zero work experience. Your offer and benefit is that you are going to teach them how to work and give them transferable skills for their next job.

You’ll have to do some planning on how you are going to execute on that. Plan for training/educational programs, prizes, and catered events.

Then, you’ll need to put together a great job ad. Your ad should address a problem that they are facing. Think critically about who you want applying for this job and what problem they are trying to solve through work.

Write about your company culture and what it’s like to work there. Give credibility to the company and speak to your audience in a way that invites them into your culture.

Provide tangible benefits to working there, not just money, but learning and growth experiences as well.

Give them a look into a day in the life and make it look appealing. Is it hot outside? Sure. But they get to be outside! And not stuck at a desk or behind a register all day.

Post your job ad to as many online job boards as possible.

Get Help with Your Plan

I’ve really been enjoying the resources that the D2D Millionaire brand has both in the books and the video content on Youtube. But getting those key people funneled in and hired is a full time job all on its own.

If you would like help recruiting a team, I can help you build their team, implement training and install systems to help your team grow.

Reach out to me by visiting Hakes.Digital to get on my calendar. I’d love to help you recruit your team.

Torlando Hakes

Author of Sprint | Craftsman Painter