Having been in canvassing and business in general, for as long as I have I see so many people trying to reinvent things. For example, finding leads and appointments; there’s very little rocket science in being able to go out into a neighborhood and knock on doors and get leads. However, where you’re getting those leads is just as important as your canvassing system. You have to be in the right neighborhoods. Now, one might think that any neighborhood will have leads, and that would be true, but some neighborhoods are more target-rich than others.
Marketing legend Gary Halbert used the analogy of opening a hamburger stand in a neighborhood. The question he posed was, “What would be the most valuable thing you’d need to be successful with your hamburger stand?” Some might think it’s having a great tasting burger. Others might think it’s having great marketing and others might believe its location; and they’d all be correct. But none of those things would be worth anything if you didn’t first start with a starving crowd to buy the hamburgers. Without customers willing to fork over their cash there’d be no need for hamburgers, marketing and location. So, to Gary Halbert’s point, “you first have to go where the hungry people are.”
Yes, every neighborhood in your general demographic would have hungry people for what you’re canvassing for, but then again you’re not McDonalds selling a $2.50 hamburger. Your products and services can cost in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. All neighborhoods will have hungry prospects for what you sell, but not all of them will be able to afford them. You want to be where the hungry people are, that can afford and pay for what you sell.
I mentioned at the beginning of this article about people wanting to reinvent things. The fundamental way to look at how to target prospects or neighborhoods is to consider a marketing triangle. This can be borrowed from the direct mail industry. There are 3 sides on the triangle. First consider the market you want to go after; this would be to know who your ideal prospect will be and where you will find them. Next is what media will you use to reach that ideal prospect. In our case it would be canvassing and/or show and events. And the final component in the mix is the message, this is the right message communicated through the media (canvassing/show & events scripts) that will speak to your target market.
I won’t spend any time on the message because I have devoted a lot of time to this in other articles and live Telecoaching calls. As for the media, that’s a given so I won’t spend any time on it either. I want to focus on the market.
Where is your target market?
Just because you get a lot of leads out of a neighborhood won’t mean that’s a target neighborhood for you. Let’s consider a high end remodeling company and the population structure of most cities in America. You have the core city, for example Cleveland, Chicago or Atlanta. These core cities are surrounded by an inner-ring suburb; for Cleveland it would be Brooklyn, Lakewood and Cuyahoga Heights, for Chicago, Cicero, Oak Lawn and Lincolnwood; Atlanta, Druid Hills, Buckhead and East Point. Those suburbs are surrounded by an outer-ring suburb. You get the point.
Decades ago the core city’s population demographics have declined and historically population and income moved out. We were able to do well and generate a lot of well-producing leads from the inner-ring circle cities. As the core city populations have expanded into the inner-ring suburbs the people of those developments have moved to the outer-ring suburbs and we have to go out further to find the target-rich neighborhoods. The income-level, credit worthiness and home values in the core city and inner ring suburbs have gone down. Again, these homes are potential leads, but the economic numbers decrease your odds for being able to get a lead into your product or service. You can generate a lot of leads, but if they can’t afford you or you can’t get them financed then you’re investing time and resources in leads that just aren’t as financially fruitful for you as you need them to be, to support your business.
We don’t do enough research on this. There are a lot of factors that play into where you find ideal prospects. For example, I did a lot of work with a cemetery and pre-planning funeral services company in California and Texas and we found a pocket in the Spanish-speaking market that proved ideal for this client’s product. In fact the economics was the complete opposite of a high end remodeler. Household income and credit worthiness was best suited at the middle and lower class. Make sure you listen to the live Telecoaching call for details on this particular example.
Once I’ve helped clients pinpoint on their ideal neighborhoods the next question they ask is, “?”
To answer this question I find it best to look at the numbers; I’m a numbers guy. I’ve written about this before. If you knock on 100 doors you’ll find only about 30 of those doors knocked opened. And of that 30% not all will be qualified for your product or service, so subtracting out non qualified prospects you’re only face to face with about 25% of qualified prospects in the neighborhood at any given time.
That leaves at least 70% of the neighborhood that you haven’t reached. So again, the question, how often do you go back into the neighborhood? If you were there in the spring should you go back in the fall? Yes. I find it’s more productive and more lucrative to keep going back to 500 target-rich homes than to 1500 not-so targeted homes.
There’s technology available to help you log and track the contacts and results on every home you reach. Apps for use on tablets and smart phones that allows you to enter data on every door you knock. Several clients are using this kind of technology and going back into neighborhoods the same day, the next day or weeks after and see great success. These Apps let you track the key benchmarks to determine when and where you should visit. My friends at Spotio have created a door to door tracking app. Click on this link http://www.spotio.com/108.html and receive your free trial and test drive this great tool.
As an exterior home improvement company you can be capturing information about the homes even if no one answers the door. I call these spotted leads. This is about 70% of the neighborhood your canvassers weren’t able to talk to, but you can spot if they’re a potential lead for you.
When you hone in on your target neighborhoods and start tracking the data that comes out of your efforts in those neighborhoods you can repurpose that information into other marketing efforts, like direct mail. You can start mailing into those neighborhoods to enhance the results and efforts you’re generating by canvassing these neighborhoods. With very little effort you can dominate your ideal markets.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to put the time and research into targeting the best neighborhoods for your company.
Now that you have the best neighborhoods identified, how do you now pay for this? How do you keep your canvassers compensated and motivated to go back to the well time and time again.
This isn’t just an issue of selling your products or services, but it also plays into how you can pay your canvassers. It’s a question I get all the time… “Chris, how should we pay our canvassers?”
The simple answer is that when you have a system like mine that allows you to capture more leads you dramatically increase the number of appointments, sales presentations and sales. When you increase this math you insure a higher pay plan for your canvassers.
I go into detail on pay plans and how the math works on my live Silver Level Telecoaching call from August 26, 2015.
If you’re not a Silver member or higher you can get access to recordings of the live calls on the member site archives when you join membership. For more information on Silver membership, go to http://canvassking.com/SilverProgram.html.
If this is a place where you’re hemorrhaging money and time and you’d like to have a solution to it, it is part of the curriculum in my Jump Start Canvassing Success program. You can discover more about this program at CanvassKing.com; or, if you have a more immediate question you can post it at www.AskTheCanvassKing.com
Committed to your canvassing success,
Chris Thompson, The Canvass King