They mean what they say.
There is a particular company that has been circling in our neighborhood for a few weeks. They aren't known for doing great work, but they are known for high pressure sales.
Our area is full of trees, and a lot of the houses - unless the roofs are less than a year old - have staining. It's not harmful, it's just part of living here. So, this company circles and tells people they need a new roof. They also lead off with, "we're doing work for your neighbors, Mr and Mrs Smith" (who don't usually exist).
We've had two approach while I was in the yard. I am polite and send them on their way.
But at dusk last night, they rang the bell. We have a No Soliciting sign. Grrrrrr. So he says, "I read your sign, but I'm not a salesman."
Ummmm. Yes. Yes, you are. You are not offering free services to me, you are absolutely soliciting. I sent him away. I'm sure my irritation showed, though my words were polite.
I wanted to scream. Seriously, my kid had been in the hospital the entire night before, I was blotto, DH out of town, kids were trying to go to bed, and we have a sign. Don't argue semantics with me.