What is the Doorknob Close?

Here’s a great example of one of the closing strategies that are used by home improvement salespeople all over the country.  When you’re inviting a salesperson into your home this is the kind of thing you may get.

Notice when you’re watching this video how many people are in the audience taking this stuff in.  I would bet you lunch that there are thousands of people across the country tonight pulling this move.

If someone does this to me does it mean he’s trying to rip me off?

Nope, but it does mean that he has the advantage in the interaction and it’s probably best if you get his best price and spend a couple days thinking it over.

If you want to place the order in a week he’ll take your business and if you decide it wasn’t the deal it was cracked up to be you may have saved a small fortune.

Have fun watching this one!

Have a question or comment, post it below.  You can also find our explanations of other common sales tactics and replacement window reviews here.  Want to get a quote from a reputable company?  Find our list of fantastic window companies here.

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7 thoughts on “What is the Doorknob Close?”

  1. I have never seen this video but I’ve had the tactic used on me once or twice before. Thankfully I am a heartless uncaring automaton and I could care less what he “felt” (also I strongly suspected it was a play act). So I have no problem simple repeating what I had already repeated several times earlier in the conversation. “We don’t make financial decisions of that magnitude without careful thought and time spent researching.” Period. End of line. No Exceptions. Have a nice day.

    None of those businesses have ever gotten my business. The best salesmen were the ones who showed up, told me about the product, showed me an example, answered my questions, and left when I said I had sufficient information to evaluate my options. The absolute BEST of the BEST salesmen were the ones who also answered my followup questions promptly and without further sales pitching.

    Thank you for posting this. I will be sharing with friends and family because this video is a fantastic example of what to look out for if you’ve never seen it before.

    p.s. If some sales guy ever said “I’ve spent more time here with you than with my family” he wouldn’t be allowed to finish speaking. Leave now. Get out. lol.

  2. Window dog,

    I just want to offer a different perspective then the perspective commonly said on your website.

    I believe myself an honest person, I never manipulate, never lie, and I would never do anything I deem unethical, but I have used similar techniques to this. If you can convince me that what I do is somehow wrong I’ll quit my job tomorrow.

    I’m a professional who considers my time valuable, and would you believe it there is people who considers a salesperson’s time worthless.

    Being an in home sales I go to some people’s houses for appointments set days in advance and confirmed that same day, just to be blown off nobody home or treated rudely to.

    Sometimes the husband or wife isn’t there, and I know you’ll disagree with me on this but after driving an hour there I find it disrespectful of my time. Certainly, if they are both involved in the decision they should both be there to go over different options and pricing.

    Now I don’t expect to be the right company for everyone, and I even tell people that. If they are not comfortable with everything they hear I’m not going any further with it.

    Making a decision on the spot (whether yes or no, either one I’m okay with) is the most productive use of everyone’s time. All of the information you need is readily available. You may tell me you’ll think it over, but I’ll tell you a little secret most people don’t think it over and in just a few days most of what I said is going be well forgotten.

    The competition who give you an estimate in less then fifteen minutes, the truth is they are going be about half the price and are absolutely going rip you off and if I didn’t show you all my company offers you wouldn’t know that.

    It doesn’t take much to become a contractor, a truck some tools and 250$ for the liscence and your in business. There is no exam, no background check, nothing.

    And would you know that over time you’ll pay more by going with the cheapest. Your not just going do it once and be done with it that is for sure.

    And when there is an issue, do you know how difficult it is to get ahold of a contractor and who does the contractor commonly blame, the manufacturer.

    Now this contractor I’m competition against isn’t going on appointment after appointment, if he wins your business he isn’t going be looking for anymore business until that job is done. So he has time to go back to your house if he needs to.

    Me on the other hand I have a full schedule of appointments and if I need to go back to your home a second time that is one less appointment I could run that means that it is costing me money and actually raising the price of the products and services I offer.

    Now if I tell someone as I’m leaving that I spent more time with them today then I did with my own family it is actually the truth, and if I offer them an incentive to make a decision as I’m leaving it means someone isn’t getting paid and it’s usually me. For all of the work it takes to get a sale if I offer a discount like that I’m making maybe 80$ on a 5,000$ sale. In other words I’m paying my gas. I consider it a big deal offering up my commission to earn your business.

    If you still say you need to think it over (which a no is actually more preferable then that, a no I’m happy with it means I’m not going waste anymore time) and if you call the company in a week and say you decided to go ahead with the project, I’m not coming back I don’t do callbacks. My boss on the other hand is probably going make me. My time doesn’t cost him anything. So at that point I would have already invested four hours (an hr drive each way, and a two hour demo) and now I need to invest another three hours ( an HR drive each way, plus an HR for paperwork) and then I need to drive to the office drop off the check and all the paperwork (half HR drive each way). Coming back to your house a second time literally cost me twice as much time for a heavily reduced commission and cost me the opportunity of another appointment where I could have made a sale at a normal commission.

    I can honestly say at that point I may be nice to you while doing the paperwork but if it was up to me I’d rather sooner have just forgotten about you and passed on the business.

    1. Hi Paul, thanks for writing in. I completely understand that customers can be rude or disrespectful sometimes. It happens to me too and it happens to everyone. I think they can get that way because other window sales people have been jerks to them so now they think everyone is a jerk and they’re going to treat you like a jerk. Certainly not an attitude I would recommend they take, but people do all sorts of things I wouldn’t recommend.

      I don’t think that means the pricing tricks are a good strategy. You don’t need to spend 2 hours driving back when they want to buy a week later. It’s 2020. They can get you the forms you need online. If you’re really spending more time with a window lead than your family and your potential commission is $80 I think your job sounds horrible.

      You’re not alone in thinking that the way you’ve been operating is the only way to be successful. It’s an attitude many people in your position share. I just don’t believe it. I think there’s a better way and it’s better for the customers too.

      Not trying to convince you of anything or make you quit your job. I just think there’s another perspective.

    2. If your time is so precious to you, then WHY BOTHER TO COME IN THE FIRST PLACE?
      Why not just do the whole thing via email and phone calls? I actually BOUGHT A HOUSE, doing the whole contract thing COMPLETELY OVER EMAIL AND PHONE CALL. I was nervous about it, because I prefer to have physical papers in my hands – – BUT YOU COULD EMAIL DOCUMENTS IN FORMATS THAT CAN BE DOWNLOADED AND PRINTED OUT!!!!
      Why not let the customer COME TO YOU, to look at the products and ask questions? Let the CUSTOMER come and go, then you can stay in the comfort of your office/warehouse and not HAVE to go from door to door!
      I have had the unfortunate experience of having salesmen (i.e., two guys together, carrying cartloads of stuff to SHOW ME, but NOTHING TO LEAVE WITH ME) come do the hard sell, using every trick in the book, and WASTING WAY TOO MUCH OF MY TIME wearing me down just to “close the sale” RIGHT THEN AND THERE. Chances are, if I invite a salesperson into my home (unless it is a dire emergency, which is probably an unlikely scenario with windows), I have ALREADY RESEARCHED MANY PRODUCTS AND ALREADY KNOW WHAT I WANT AND DON’T WANT. Furthermore, I will have STATED, BEFORE MAKING THE APPOINTMENT, EXACTLY WHAT IT IS THAT I WANT, so please, if that is NOT what you want to sell me, then please DO NOT MAKE THE APPOINTMENT!!!!!
      I don’t need you to describe every detail of your product – – if there is ANY PART with which I am not already thoroughly familiar, all I need is for you to answer my SPECIFIC QUESTIONS. I try my best not to show it, but I ABSOLUTELY HATE when salesman brush my questions aside, or divert me from stating what I want them to tell me, in order to try to tell me that their product is better, without answering my SPECIFIC questions about the SPECIFIC MECHANISMS that make it better. I hate when salesmen try to sell me something unfamiliar without first allowing me to RESEARCH IT ON MY OWN. And I especially HATE when salesmen keep wasting my time this way, giving me the “look how much time we are spending with you” while they are refusing to answer my SPECIFIC QUESTIONS. The first time I got suckered in with this, the salesmen spent ALL DAY with me – – I kept TRYING TO GET THEM TO LEAVE AND THEY WOULD NOT GO – – after 7 hours with NO FOOD, I was starving – – I even offered them food and beverage, in an attempt to give MYSELF a chance to drink/eat something! Every time they tried to get me to sign something, I countered with another objection, and they kept diverting me with “more information” that was NOT ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS. When they did the “get it for THIS price RIGHT NOW, because it will cost THIS MUCH MORE IF YOU DON’T DO IT NOW,” I was sorely tempted to sign something JUST TO GET THEM TO LEAVE!!!! So I said “Can I make a phone call?” I called and left a message for someone describing (loudly, and looking at the salesmen right across the table from me, to make sure they heard what I was saying) what I had asked the salesmen and what the salesmen had told me. Then, since I didn’t get a live person, I asked to make another phone call, and, getting a live person, I asked “What’s that law about having X number of days to change your mind IF you decide to sign a contract?” (again, making sure that the salesmen HEARD that I was confirming that there was a law that said that if I signed a contract and changed my mind, that I could CANCEL it – – that should have been their FIRST CLUE), and then (giving them a SECOND CLUE that IF I had to sign something to get them to leave my house (because I couldn’t get them to leave any other way), that I was, indeed, signing only to GET THEM TO LEAVE, and that when they were gone, I was planning to CANCEL the contract) ; I confirmed the number of days with the salesman, and signed JUST TO GET THEM TO LEAVE – – then I immediately called the company and said “I want to cancel the contract I just made. I don’t like the hard pressure sales techniques that were just used on me. I told you when I made the appointment that _____ was what I wanted to discuss, and when your salesmen came, I told them that ____ was what I wanted to discuss. I showed them the rooms and said that ____ was what I wanted to discuss. They said they would discuss these things with me, but THEY DID NOT.
      THEY WASTED MY TIME AND NEVER ANSWERED MY QUESTIONS. I AM EXHAUSTED, EXTREMELY HUNGRY, THIRSTY, AND ANGRY. I want to get something to eat and drink, and then I want to talk to someone who will discuss ________with me. In the meantime, please CANCEL the CONTRACT, and DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN UNLESS YOU WILL DISCUSS ________ with me. I followed up with email and a paper letter, and they eventually cancelled the contract, but not before sending like 40 emails and calling me multiple times a day doing the “doorknob” thing, and then NOT LISTENING TO MY REASONS (which were “this information is NOT ANSWERING MY QUESTIONS. I want to discuss ___”)

  3. Sounds like you had one exceptionally bad experience. You shouldn’t have jaded eyes from one experience. Sounds like whoever you had was desperate for a commission. I’m not desperate for any sale. Whether someone buys or doesn’t I’m still going be able to put food on the table and gas in the car. At this point I could care less, if somebody doesn’t buy the next person does. A no is preferable to a “get more quotes or think it over” I’m okay with a no it means I could go on to the next one and don’t need to follow up it saves me time. Why should I spend time on an appointment with people that won’t be able to give me a yes or no answer? Need to talk it over with someone? Well let’s reschedule when your both available before I go into everything. As far as giving a discount it is taking money out of my pocket and into your pocket. Why should I come back for that or waste time on the phone email when I could get my usual commission on the next one. Following up sucks. I don’t do it.

    Somebody spending that much time in your house is outrageous. Doesn’t sound like they were too busy. I work 6 days a week two appointments a day with an average drive of an hour. I wouldn’t dream of spending that much time in someone’s house who has time for that, that is an insane experience.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write. If you really don’t follow up with unsold leads we’d be happy to do that for you. Feel free to send me an email for more info.

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