Door-to-door salesmen have existed for many years. Although it’s difficult to determine when the first door-to-door salesman made his first pitch, door-to-door salesmen gained a lot of their popularity following the release of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller in 1949, and by 1952, two percent of the entire American workforce was comprised of door-to-door salesmen.
Many American children’s organizations encourage children to sell products door-to-door in order to allow the children to gain important sales experience. The Boy Scouts of America, an organization aimed at teaching young boys certain values, skills, and self-reliance, encourages its members to sell popcorn, and the Girl Scouts of America, the equivalent of the Boy Scouts, but aimed at young girls, encourages its members to sell cookies.
In the time following the advent of telemarketing and emailed advertisements, door-to-door sales declined considerably. However, these days, with strong anti-telemarketing bans and better-designed spam filters for email, many American companies are returning to using door-to-door salespeople to sell their products.
Many telecommunications companies prefer to use door-to-door salespeople to sell their products. Some modern companies that use door-to-door salespeople include AT&T, Schwan’s Food Company, and ADT Security. In 2010 door-to-door sales was a $28.6 billion industry – a rise from $28.3 billion the previous year.