In response to the many questions we had on canvassing from our recent home improvement webinar, we have called on our resident expert on that topic, David Alan Yoho, who is the featured presenter in the vastly popular recorded series “Leads, Leads, Leads”.
Q: What are some of the things that companies that have successful/profitable canvassing teams do differently than those companies that are or have been unsuccessful/unprofitable with canvassing crews?
A: The list is long since there are more ways to fail at canvassing than there are to succeed. The good news is that when performed correctly, it’s a great way to develop leads consistently at lower cost than most sources.
Successful companies control the herd. They transport them to and from the canvass. If you allow canvassers to transport themselves, you risk multiple problems (legal and ethical among them). The company has scouted and chosen the routes, the quantity of properties and have set rules about what canvassers can and cannot do in the neighborhood. They do not allow canvassers to fill the schedule with poorly set appointments.
Successful companies find and keep strong leaders. This includes the Team Leader, who transports, coaches and guides the team. They are the first line of ensuring that production and behavior are positive. They set the tone for performance; they are excellent canvassers. They demonstrate as much or more than they observe. Companies have bench strength in place so they cannot be held hostage by poor performers or people with poor attitudes.
Successful companies recruit daily. Since the average canvasser is single, doesn’t own a home and is engaged in this difficult selling assignment, their ongoing employment is tenuous. However, you need to keep low performers from dragging down performance and morale. You need to pare from the bottom up. You cannot be misled by the false belief that the scant few leads developed by the worst performers are somehow profitable.
Q: How do companies measure the outcome or degree of success in canvass programs?
A: Successful companies have profitability measurements. Their key measurement is demos, or at the least, issued appointments (assuming the full demo rate on issued appointments is 80% or better – – well-run operations enjoy demo rates as high as 90-92%). They forecast, budget, compensate and measure by the paid man-hour. This is simpler and easier to track, and any high school educated canvass department employee can understand it.
Successful companies compensate based on the cost of the lead which enables them to pay more to their best people (and keep them), paying less to lower producing, more costly canvassers. Compensation is the prescription for working under emotionally draining conditions including tough weather.
Q: How do these companies train or utilize ongoing training with canvassers?
A: Successful companies train with non-negotiable methods and language for selling and setting appointments. They train daily using a variety of methods; they coach every rep, every week, whether they need it or not.
Successful companies are also exceptionally well organized. They know when and where to canvass. They have prepared their canvassers with all kinds of intelligence about the neighborhoods so that their canvassers are positioned as experts.
Finally, successful companies are professional. They dictate dress, grooming and behavior without compromise. They ensure their canvassers handle complaints, unhappy homeowners and law enforcement with prepared professionalism and decorum no matter the situation.
We appreciate the participation of everyone from the January webinar, and stay tuned for more information on our next home improvement webinar which is scheduled for March 21st.