From Door-to-Door to Billions

I came across this great article on Forbes last week called, “Door to Door Selling as the First Step to Billions” by Gillian Zoe Segal that I wanted to share.

It seems that many top entrepreneurs have done door to door sales themselves as Segal details in this article and her book titled, “Getting There: A Book of Mentors.”

These entrepreneurs have not only done these jobs but also credit this experience as helping them along their journey to reaching the top echelon in their field.

I’m sure many of you have seen the Shark Tank episodes where both Mark Cuban and Daymond John invest in companies because the founders pounded the pavement to bring in some revenue.

There’s just something to be said for an individual who can go out and make it happen in a door to door sales job.  While some home owners may think its a nuisance many business minded entrepreneurs absolutely RESPECT IT.

Reading about these famous and ultra successful entrepreneurs inspired me to share my first job which also happens to be in D2D.

My Door to Door Beginnings

It all started when I was 11 years old and needed to make some fast money.

I had one thing on my mind and couldn’t sleep at night because of this singular focus.

I was already having problems in school and this distraction didn’t help.

No, it wasn’t Natasha Henstridge in the movie Species.  (That happened a few years later)


A dirt bike.  I was dead set on getting a dirt bike.

I could see myself going through the woods, hammering jumps going 15 feet in the air and letting the bike fly while I was pulling out a superman move to make all my fans go crazy!

Ok so I was daydreaming about the jumping part but would be just as happy sitting on the dang thing in the garage.  As long as I had it and it was mine.

The only problem to my well thought out plan was the fact my horrible parents refused to buy it for me.


“But all my other friends parents would buy them a dirtbike,” I would say.  

Boy, was I sooooo deprived.

Yeah right.

Their response was often, “Seems like you chose the wrong parents Trey.  Maybe next time you can do a little better.”

I didn’t laugh then but definitely do now realizing how ridiculous that sounded because I have a 10 year old saying the same thing about an $800 phone.

What they did do by forcing me to be creative and find ways to earn money was start me out on a life long entrepreneurial journey.

The Bread Baking Kid

My mom had this killer home made sourdough bread recipe that I was sure everybody would buy.

I presented my parents with a business plan which consisted of me using their supplies, them helping me to whip up some bread and I would sell it to the neighbors door to door.

So that I did and ended up making some pretty sweet cash for an 11 year old.

After a couple of years I did end up saving enough to get the dirt bike.

While I’m not yet on the same level as those mentioned in the article I do feel that from this first door to door experience I learned very valuable lessons that have helped me be successful in several different industries and businesses.

And later in my life I would be revisiting those lessons but on a little bit bigger scale.

Some of the things I liked about outside sales then is the same as now…

What I like about Door-to-Door Sales is:

  1. you get an immediate response,
  2. the ability to find your customers instead of waiting on them to find you,
  3. the worst thing that will happen is you get a no,
  4. can create repeatable success.

Get an Immediate Response:
Just a minute or two after you knock on somebodies door you pretty much know where you stand.  There isn’t a long drawn out 9 month sales process where at the end after you have spent months putting together a proposal you are let down.  You’re gonna know something when you walk away after a few minutes of whether you got it done or didn’t.

Find Your Customers Instead of Waiting on Them to Find You:
This point is my favorite.  Have you ever been in a restaurant that has great food, a kind owner, a good location but is EMPTY?  I have and always wonder why the place isn’t packed and how helpless the owner must feel that they can’t really go out and sell customers their food.  They have to wait until somebody walks in the door.  I like having a product that you can go out and get in front of people face to face and get them to buy.  Funny you say that considering now I am selling sales tracking software and do almost 100% of my sales via phone.  But hey, things change.

The Worst Thing That Will Happen is You Will Get a No:
Rejection sucks.  There is no way around it and anybody that says it doesn’t bother them is just lying to themselves to try and sike themselves out.  But after you get used to it you can take it in stride and move on to the next prospect.

Create Repeatable Success:
I’m a big fan of activity driven metrics as many of you know who have browsed through previous blog posts.  Now, I have been able to carry this over to software.  How many visitors land on, then how many sign up the free trial and how many become paying customers.  The same as a door to door rep who tracks how many doors they have knocked, contacts they made, how many of them become leads and then buy.  Once you have these ratios you can scale up by driving the front end of the funnel to create an expected result at the end.  And if you so desire train others to do the same.

Whether it is a $3 loaf of bread or a $30,000 home remodeling project it’s pretty much the same.  Some people are going to buy, some aren’t so keep moving and make it happen.  Getting better along the way and understand your sales process so you can create a system of success.

So I shared my first door to door sales job now I want to hear about yours?

  • asco gene

    Hi Trey, I enjoy your helpful blogs. They are inspiring and I shall apply them in my new job starting in about a month.

    • treygibson

      Thanks Gene! I try to make them worth reading. Glad you enjoy them and good luck to you in your new job.

  • Starr W Horton

    My first door-to-door job was in my hometown of Miami after Hurricane Cleo in 1963 (or so). I was about 8 years old and, after the storm, our backyard was wall-to-wall fruit on the ground – avocados, beautiful ruby grapefruits, key limes & tons of mangos. As I sat there looking at all that fruit & realizing it was going to rot, I decided to go sell it & see if I could make some money on it. So I pulled out my red wagon (yes, Radio Flyer) and stuffed it with all the fruit it could hold and off I went. Sales went through the roof – so much so, that even at the age of 8 I realized $0.35 for an avocado was too low when the first house I stopped at bought them all. I would sell all the fruit, go back and reload & do it again. After a few days, I had sold through everything – which was good because by then the stores had reopened so I had to become price competitive on the grapefruits (killer item) and key limes – oranges and mangos were commodities so they didn’t move like the others (avocados were the cash cow but were gone by day one). Great experience & I really enjoyed chatting people up and, as you noted, getting the immediate response (and cash).

    • treygibson

      Fantastic story Starr. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you had a regular orchard in your backyard. Only fruit we grow here is Dallas is pecans. I’m jealous.

  • Benton lovelace

    I am 18 years old. I currently work for country fresh foods. Which is door to sort selling or meats.

    • treygibson

      Benton, good to hear from you. Any lessons you have learned so far?

  • jp mulligan

    Good story Trey, im at our companies annual sales conference, will share with the boys over a few beers!

    • treygibson

      Drink a few extra for me!

  • Jim

    My first door to door job was selling magazines,,,taught me everything I know,,,,now I do energy door to door. Couldn’t be happier.

    • treygibson

      Thanks for commenting Jim. Any one particular thing you learned selling magazines that has helped you the most?

  • david

    I sell vacuum cleaners, door to door yes Kirby and I love it I’m real close to getting my own office

    • treygibson

      Congrats on your success David. Any lessons you can share with the rest of us on how you have reached this level of success?

  • Tammy

    Thanks for sharing your story Trey! Earning the nickname “bloody knuckles” didn’t come easy. I too started soliciting business door to door/face to face from age 11. I wanted a Yamaha 80cc dirt bike that a neighbor was selling. I grew tired of watching that spoiled Brady boy next door flaunt his bike and taunt me with his long and loud riding. My parents worked hard but times were tough and such luxury items had to be earned. I began soliciting neighbors, family and friends and then went on to knock doors and introduce myself and explain my Yamaha mission. I had that bike and was tearing up our lawn and annoying neighbors from sunrise to sunset in just over three weeks!

    Now let’s play the tape forward to three years ago when I began storming. I was in Roanoke and new to canvassing in a new industry. I was walking down the road and a car pulled up and asked “are you working?”. I replied yes, yes I am.” He then proceeded to ask how much and I told him that it depended on the size. He gave me a confused look and pulled away. I as puzzled but carried on. Another car pulled up and asked if I was working. I replied Yes and he asked how much. I said “well, I have a price list but it depends on the size and if there is any extra work involved”. He said “you have a price list for that sort of thing”. Well, anyways, I eventually caught on and realized that it wasn’t a roof replacement they were looking for and that streets smarts I didn’t have. LOL

    Outside sales and business development fits my personality and allows me to utilize the skill sets I have. I am never bored and every day brings a new challenge and in turn, rewards and an education that can’t be found in any classroom. The right company, product/serve and a positive “can do” attitude along with a ABC drive has my my key to a professionally and personally rewarding sales career. – Sell on!

    • treygibson

      Your dirt bike story sounds like mine except I had a Kawasaki. It was an 80cc though. Thanks for sharing and I happen to know that you are one of the most detailed sales professionals I have ever met and follow up like nobody else’s business so I applaud you on that.

  • Blair corsello

    I just installed this app and just read the blog and it made me chuckle. I had been in door to door sales years ago. I got out of it and became a loan officer for many years. Just got into door to door again recently selling food. My 12 yr old son loves going out with me. He asked his mother for a dirt bike recently and was told he can have one but she is not paying for it. So, as usual he came to me. I told him the same thing. But, told him he could buy his own by hooking doors for me and we would split the profit on those deals. He bought his own 700.00 dirt bike a week later. I have told him the same thing as I’ve read in this article . this is the best way to be trained as a dynamic salesperson. Looking forward to having this app increase my profits!!

    • treygibson

      Sounds like you are training up your son right. Apparently dirt bikes are causing kids all over to get into a life of sales. Make sure and let me know how Spotio works for you. And heck, if your son made $700 in a week he might as well start saving up for a Mercedes at that rate. By the time he hit 16 he could cruise to school in a really nice car.

  • Ben Fiedler

    My first door-to-door job was selling Comcast high-speed internet and digital phone when it first came out. Excited to try your system – I used to lose sales because of all of the paperwork at that time. Spotio looks like the data will be easy to work with.

  • Brian McAleer

    I currently have been doing d2d for 3 years selling energy. Im not going to lie,its tough. The key ingredients are confidence, good body launguage and knowing how to lead if you want to build a team and become sucessful. Mindset is everything. If you dont have a goal, then you wont achieve success period. You need to know where your going and be reminded everyday.

    • treygibson

      Thanks for sharing Brian. Anything you do in particular to keep motivated on a day to day basis?

  • William Biggs

    If any of you Door to Door guys need a new opportunity or just have your options open. I am a National Consultant for a Direct Sales company that needs top talent. We have Energy Campaigns in every deregulated market we are the #1 Lifeline Master Agent in the country. We also have many others. We help Door to Door Sales people grow into Team Leaders, Office Owners ect… Door to Door has changed my life and tax bracket. D2D is the ultimate measure of if you are the type to Make things happen or Wait and Watch things happen! Please Email me thanks for the story! Awesome.