From the August 2006 issue of Entrepreneur

Randy Schneider, 32, and Allen Evans, 39, partners in Generator Nation, found direct selling to be a very effective way to reach out to hurricane-ravaged communities that needed the permanent and portable backup power systems their Fort Lauderdale, Florida, company sells.

In the wake of the National Do Not Call Registry, some companies are going door-to-door as an alternative outreach option. The Direct Selling Association, a direct-sales industry trade association, has seen an increase in inquiries about door-to-door sales. But don't knock until you've tried this:

  • Check local legislation. "It does seem like there have been some increased efforts on [the] local level to put restrictions on door-to-door sales," says John Webb, associate legal counsel for the DSA. Some communities ban door-to-door selling, while others require sellers to register at the town hall. Call the municipality you're targeting to find out specifics, or you could face fines.
  • Shelve the hard sell. "We ask if there is a time when we can come back and give a consultation--we don't sell right off the bat," says Schneider. This helps Generator Nation reps gain trust.
  • Be identifiable. Wear a badge or other identification to show customers that you're with a legitimate company.