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Do people still do "traveling salesman" thing - town to town?

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RogueRose

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I was watching an old movie that had some sales guys selling insurance and vacuums, going door-to-door and town to town. I'm wondering if that sales model is still utilized in any industries and I'm not talking about regional sales like pharmaceutical sales (legit kind to doc's office - not street corner regional pharmaceutical sales...) and such.

The reason I ask is if trying to set up sales at brick & mortar stores, wholesaling I guess, do people have to set up appointments with the manager or store owner?
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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I would plan ahead as much as possible - look over target areas and find possible shops. Contact them, see if they want a fixed time or if you can just pop in, if they are even interested in the first place! Then when you are there keep an eye out for any places that you missed and pop in on the off chance.

It's actually what I am planning on doing :)
 

rparrny

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I don't sell, but I live in the area of the Hamptons on Long Island so I frequent those cute little touristy shops a lot.
I have seen vendors come in off the street with product displayed in their hands and asked to speak with the shop owner...now often there are customers in the shop and they ooh and ahh over what he/she has to sell and the owner...although a bit annoyed, isn't stupid and will take some of the product. I noticed that the vendors that were successful were usually dressed or represented the essence of the shop they were selling to...a funky shop where the vendor was a hippie looking girl dressed bohemian did well in one shop I was in. I've seen vendors dressed very professional get turned away, but I now wonder if it was because of the misfit appearance to the shop or if they would have done better if they had product in hand.
Just my observation...hope it helps!
 

rparrny

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That may be one way to go although shop owners usually know their customers...in this particular case the oogler was my best friend who probably would have bought this particular bracelet from her out on the side walk if the owner would have said no...I shop vicariously through her and save a bundle...lol.
 
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BattleGnome

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I would say it depends on your market.

There is the potential for a living at niche conventions. I go to anime conventions and there is always an Artist Alley to sell at. If you find your niche you can always travel from convention to convention and litterally live the traveling salesman life.

I'd otherwise agree with the "talk to the owner/manager about setting up an appointment" advice for wholesailing
 

Susie

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The reason I ask is if trying to set up sales at brick & mortar stores, wholesaling I guess, do people have to set up appointments with the manager or store owner?
I would think that courtesy would never be a bad idea. You also would know from the phone call which days would be best, which would save you the aggravation of going on the boss' day off.
 

CTAnton

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Rogue I've been selling to a couple of shops in my area.Just a few of my experiences...
I go at an off time of day...being an early bird helps...often within the first hour that a shop opens.
I was lucky enough to set something up with one store before they opened for business. She carries other soaps but says the ones she hand picks from me do much better.So I bring her an assortment. A lot of assortment!A coffee roasting business just opened in my home town and being I had a bar of coffee soap that I made for a friend left over I brought it in to him. He flipped.In the meantime while the coffee soap cures destined for his shop I brought down a basket of Valentine's Day soaps..all hearts of various formulations and scents. I got to say it really jazzes up his place that is , at this stage, rather bare bones. I even picked up yesterday a strand of battery powered miniature lights in the shape of red hearts to add some bling to the basket.It doesn't hurt to really showcase your product.
Lastly, don't forget to pay yourself when striking a price.
 

dixiedragon

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Yes, for a lot of business-to-business sales. I live in the suburbs, the only people I've had come directly to my door to sell stuff are kids - school fundraisers, Girl Scouts, etc, - and very rarely people selling pine straw. Once, somebody selling meat.
 

shunt2011

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I'm one of those who won't answer the door when people are soliciting. Fortunately, it doesn't happen often. Otherwise my husband will give them some kind of crap. (except kids just politely tell them no thanks). I find it extremely annoying. Especially when they usually show up at dinner time or later than they should.
 

The Efficacious Gentleman

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The original direction here was just popping in to a shop when you pass it and trying to set up a wholesale, rather than door-to-door B2C sales. The former could work, but the latter I would not even attempt!
 

Susie

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Our Avon representatives leave catalogs in convenient places like hair salons, doctor's offices, etc rather than going door to door. Too few stay-at-home moms these days, I'm afraid. And the working women are busy, busy, busy when they are at home, and would not appreciate an Avon representative showing up at the door.
 

shunt2011

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I haven't seen an Avon Rep door to door in years either. Only window, cable etc...and as I said I don't answer the door or my husband shoos them away.
 

IrishLass

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Right here, silly!
Somebody in my neighborhood sells Avon. Instead of ringing our doorbell, though, she discreetly leaves a catalog (with her e-mail addy on it) by our front door. As a matter of fact, lots of other businesses do the same thing. They'll either leave flyers or business cards at our front door. We get all kinds from local businesses like landscapers, insurance salesmen, realtors, restaurants, house painters, roofers, exterminators, salons, etc..., you name it.

I must say that I do like the fact that they just leave them instead of ringing our doorbell. I don't know how much in sales they get from such leavings, but from time to time some of them actually do get our business from a card or flyer left on our doorstep. We wouldn't have known otherwise about them because their place of business was not in a prominent place where it had good enough visibility.

I never answer the door to anyone unless they were invited or if they're someone I know. Some years back a lady a few houses down the street from us was raped by a door-to-door guy selling cleaning products that she had opened her door up to. I found out later that he was the same guy that rang my doorbell about 5 minutes earlier, but I didn't answer.


IrishLass :)
 

clownking99

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door to door and you can be a millionaire by the end of this year
i personally dislike alot of people so i stay @ home and try to do business online U_U
 

Arimara

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In my neck of the woods, the only people who go door-to-door are non-profits like Green Peace, small-time scam-- er, energy companies, pyramid sche-- um, companies like Cutco, and (not that they sell anything) Jehovah Witnesses. I've seen prospective entrepreneurs come in and out of my previous job for research purposes but never for selling (they would have been refused nicely).
 

traderbren

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Wow, Irish Lass. How frightening.

We are fairly rural here, so not many door-to-door sales, only the occasional meat salesman or religion dealer here, and it's few and far between.

We have a few small shops within driving 10 miles that might feature my soap should I choose to go that route, but as I am semi-rural I imagine I would have competition.
 

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