Canvassing, should you do it?

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Canvassing, should you do it?

Canvassing is the act of in person marketing in the neighborhood of one of your current projects. Contractors have mixed thoughts on canvassing. Some think it’s intrusive and a total waste of time, others think the conversion rate is worth the minimal work that it requires. Neighbors typically know when construction is going on, and therefore they understand they might hear the doorbell ring. Each homeowner takes a different reaction, with many of them saying no, or even slamming the door in your face. However, it is reasonable to say of every 25 people you talk to, one will bite. So, the strategy becomes: Each No is one closer to a Yes.

When canvassing, there are likely three scenarios:

  • The homeowner slams the door demanding that there is no soliciting
  • The homeowner says “Thanks, but no thanks”, and you politely leave
  • The homeowner says “I’ve seen that work happening across the street, and have some of my own I’d like to take care of eventually”

Scenario three is the one you’ve been waiting for and should be your hit for every 25 No’s. If this person seems genuinely interested, ask if they want you to take a quick look at the potential job. If not, schedule a time (in person) for the future. It’s important to have your salespeople/estimators canvassing so you can generate a preliminary estimate either on the spot, or with minimal information. Your employees may be hesitant to canvass because, well, it’s canvassing and has a bit of a stereotype behind it. Incentivize them with an additional commission, on top of their usual, if they sell a canvas job.

Let’s talk about the cost for you. If you’re paying your canvasser an hourly rate, and their typical commission, with a little extra for selling a canvas job, the cost/conversion can be quite good. In a typical day, you might hit 140 homes (20/hour with one hour lunch break). Of those 140 homes, 5 could be leads. Of those 5, you convert one. That’s one job that was sold for a day’s work (hourly canvassing time) + % commision. What isn’t measured in dollars are the flyers and business cards left behind, and the polite “Thank you for your time” responses.

In conclusion, if you have staff willing to canvass, doing so is a low-cost option for lead generation. Remember the practice of casting a wide net, and nurturing each lead as it works through the funnel.

Thanks for reading!

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