You want canvassers who can leap tall buildings in a single sales call like Superman, yet your recruiting efforts yield only Clark Kent. Is it possible that Clark Kent really is Superman? Can you recruit a Super-Canvasser?
It’s said that you have only one chance at a first impression. But is your first impression of canvassing applicants truly accurate of their ability? Or is something else holding you back from hiring Superman. Remember, no one knew Clark Kent was really Superman (except you, me, and the millions of other viewers). But the truth is, what you see on the outside doesn’t necessarily define ability on the inside.
One of the biggest challenges we have when hiring canvassers, especially young people, is the influential power of our first impression. I do it, you do it; everyone does it! We make a judgment about a person based on first impression; and many times it’s based on the applicant’s appearance. That’s not to say it might not be accurate. But don’t be too quick to judge. Ask yourself if your first impression is accurate? Or is there a trait or characteristic about a person not visible to you at first glance (a lot like Clark Kent’s true identity)? The only way to find out is to probe… asks questions… dig a little deeper.
Just because a young person chooses to wear their hair a certain way, dress following a certain fashion, or have piercings in unusual places doesn’t mean they go without talent and ability. Take for example former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman. Did wearing outlandish clothes and being outwardly flamboyant make him any less effective on the hardwood? No! The same rings true with some (I admit not all) of the people answering your recruiting ‘call’. The difference is two-fold:
- Can you look past first impression and probe deeper for innate talent and ability?
- Do you have a training program designed to develop the hidden talent?
We all have different personalities, backgrounds and interests. It’s very possible, even probable that a variety of personalities can be molded into a successful canvassing team, regardless of your first impression; and be molded to strive for a common goal. Remember, your training system should be designed to weed out the lame, and the true test will be in the field. This is where the cream really rises to the top; where the champs are divided from the chumps
Having the right canvassing system doesn’t change a canvasser’s personality; rather it should build on their strengths and enhance their talents. A sound system can adapt to any personality. But you have to get past first impressions and look for the diamond in the rough.
Where can you find them? Everywhere!
- Within other departments of your company
- High schools
- College campuses
The resources are endless. Where to find them isn’t as important though as how you contact and market to them. And once they respond, what system you have in place that qualifies and interviews them in a manner that minimizes your efforts, maximizes the quality of recruit and ultimately reduces turn over. Does it sound too good to be true? It’s not! Though it’s starts with effective recruiting.
If your recruiting efforts aren’t bringing you qualified candidates it’s likely you’re making the same mistake so many other canvassing managers are. If you’re using traditional recruiting methods, recruiting for sales people rather than canvassers, then you’re throwing your money away every time you run an ad, distribute a flier or field a recruiting call.
Recruiting for a sales person and recruiting for a canvasser are subtlety different, but they can make or break finding the right personality for a successful and profitable canvasser. Unfortunately, the traditional methods you would use to hire employees, even sales people for direct sales don’t work. Next month, I’ll discuss some recruiting methods that will drive a flood of qualified canvassers to your door, provide you consistency and reduce turnover.
For now, remember to keep an open mind when you interview that next recruit. Put your opinions on the shelf and stay focused on the goal of hiring talent with the objective of build a profitable canvassing department. It can only be accomplished one hire at a time, and each hire will be unique.