100 years ago the word "knocker" was common furniture industry parlance (often used in Furniture World Magazine) to mean a wholesale sales rep or manufacturer's rep. More broadly, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word described, "Going from door to door canvassing, buying, or selling."
While working on the 100 Years Ago article in this issue, I was reminded that every sale starts with a knock and, we are all – every salesperson, brand and shopper – a knocker!
"Knock, knock. Who's there? Boo. Boo who? Don't Cry!"
For kids, Knock, knock is a set-up for a punchline, but a knock at your physical or virtual door should be a prelude to conversation. For brands and RSAs, therefore, knowing the answer to every "Who's there" question is serious business.
Twenty years ago in Furniture World, my friend Peter Marino answered the "Who's there?" question pretty well. He suggested that we need to be wary of reducing the answer to a punch line. "Nothing is more important than what the situation calls for," he wrote. "In terms more meaningful to those in sales, nothing is more important than what a given customer finds important at a given time."
I think Peter might humor me if I suggested that to the Knock knock. Who's there? sequence be added, "Who do you need me to be?" Then listen before answering their question with products, services, information, compassion and integrity.
"Knock, knock. Who's there? Adore. Adore who? A-door is between us. Open up!"
Best wishes for a wonderful summer!
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.