There’s an evolution for canvassers. They go through stages of development and this is why a systemized training program is mandatory for training. Getting canvassers to be successful as early as possible is critical. The first big step is being able to get a presentation off, then learning how to handle objections and get a lead, then they get the lead but they struggle to get an appointment out of the lead. Once the appointments are set they’re not getting confirmed. It takes a lot in getting a canvasser to get good in all these areas.
With my system it’s all about capturing the lead first and then going after the appointment. The first question you should ask yourself is, “do you track your numbers?” What percentage of the leads you capture are actually scheduled to appointments? How soon after they’re captured are they scheduled for an appointment? I find there’s a significant drop off on appointments the farther out they are from when they are captured. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t book an appointment a week after it’s captured, but it’s important what you do in the interim between capture and sit. As an owner or manager you have to decide what the acceptable numbers are for your company.
Today’s conversation will be focused on these three issues:
- How are you converting a lead into an appointment?
- Once you have the appointment, what’s your final discussion with the prospect and what are you leaving behind with them.
- Validation, not confirmation (following up to make sure this is a qualified prospect).
Regardless what method you’re using, pencil and paper or electronic tablets, you must be capturing the homeowner’s contact information. The key to getting the lead information is to do it in a way that doesn’t make the homeowner feel like you’re trying to schedule them into an appointment. My Rule of 6 is how I teach canvassers to capture the homeowner’s contact information. During the steps you’re only getting information, you’re not tipping your hand that you’ll ultimately ask for an appointment. If you’re not familiar with my Rule of 6, it’s available in my Canvassing in the New Economy program and past issues of the Canvassing Insider. Once you have the contact information there’s a subtle transition to setting up and asking for the appointment.
The homeowner wasn’t planning to set an appointment with you when you came to the door. There are obstacles to overcome when you do ask for the appointment. For example, they don’t know what their spouses schedule will be tomorrow or the next day. One key to getting an appointment is to make it sound like it’s something you’re going to be doing anyway.
When I work with canvassers who are new, once I get them through learning and practicing the introduction, presentation and capturing the lead I work on them learning how to convert the lead into a scheduled appointment. The whole process has to feel comfortable to the homeowner. The only way it can be comfortable for them is when the canvasser is practiced and proficient at the language and mechanics of the system.
There are times when the homeowner doesn’t know their schedule and can’t commit to something specific. In these cases I’ll switch from trying to schedule what I call a ‘call to set’. A call to set is an appointment for you to follow up with the homeowner to set an appointment. The important thing to understand about getting a call to set is that it’s a commitment on the homeowner’s part. Will you have people who won’t hold to their commitment, yes, but a majority will be morally obligated to fulfill their commitment to at least talk to you. Face it; people aren’t comfortable making commitments, especially in these economic times. Getting people to make small commitments makes it easier on them to make larger commitments when the time comes. If you’ve done everything right to this point you have a homeowner in what football players call the ‘red zone’, the area where you’re just about to score. For you scoring is setting an appointment. You can do everything right up to this point and lose the lead and appointment if you don’t finish up strong.
Finishing Up the Appointment Strong
Some clients I observe do a great job capturing the lead and converting to an appointment, but at the end they just leave and the homeowner doesn’t have anything that keeps them sold on the appointment, something to increase the value of the appointment they just set. In these cases I see a higher number of cancellations. Why do your appointments not get confirmed or don’t get to a demo? There are several reasons. The first I call ‘Appointment remorse’. This is similar to buyer’s remorse. Buyer’s remorse occurs after a person decides to buy something and after they think of reasons why they shouldn’t have made the purchase, reconsider or actually back out of the sale, or in your case, back out of the appointment.
The second is they forget about the appointment. They didn’t expect you to show up at their door and you probably interrupted something. Many people are A.D.D. (attention deficit disordered), which means they can easily forget about what they did 10 minutes ago. This doesn’t help your conversion of appointments to demos if they don’t remember the appointment. When a scheduler calls back to confirm the appointment without the right methods for keeping them committed to the appointment this is an opportunity for them to say no and cancel the appointment, and you’ve lost all the effort and money to get that lead.
Third is having a two-leg sit for the appointment. If one spouse doesn’t communicate to the other about the appointment the appointment will have to be sold all over again. This is a huge point for appointments falling out. The person who wasn’t actually in on the presentation at the door will see far less value for the appointment because they didn’t hear all the benefits of why they should sit for the appointment. They’re getting an abbreviated version from the spouse and your entire sale is riding on that abbreviated interpretation.
Lastly it’s about the trust and credibility you’ve created during your presentation and it has to carry through to the appointment getting demoed. Every sale hinges on the homeowner trusting you’re who you say you are and that you’re a reputable company.
These are the main reasons our appointments don’t get demoed.
To overcome these challenges I leave an appointment reminder behind with the homeowner. The appointment reminder is a simple, single page sheet that confirms the appointment and offers programs to help them afford your products or services.
Validation versus Confirmation
There’s a difference between a confirmation and a validation. A confirmation is a much more detailed checklist leading to the appointment. My use of a validation is that it is done as soon as or as close to when the canvasser generates the lead. My preference, if the appointment is set for beyond the next day I’ll call into the office, from the front door, to the scheduler to validate the presentation will be for a product or service you offer and that both homeowners will be present for the call. If you don’t have the opportunity to validate the appointments at the door this can be done at the end of the day with a follow up call to the homeowner. The validation adds significant credibility that the appointment is a real appointment and solidifies the homeowner’s commitment to it.
Schedule conflicts do happen on both sides of the appointment. The company may have to reschedule, but you worked hard to get the contact information so you could keep following up on that lead. That lead has both a cost and a value. It cost the company to put the canvasser out on the street to get it and there’s a potential sale in that lead. You have to stay persistent with the leads on getting them to an appointment. There’s no step in the canvassing process, from the moment you step foot on their doorstep to signing the contract at the end of the demo that isn’t important. It is a choreographed system that has to be followed step by step, word for word.
You can hear a more detail on this subject as a Silver member and receive the audio CD from my Silver Level Telecoaching call. To become a Silver member and receive the CD click here to subscribe to Silver membership.
I am holding the first ever Train the Trainer Certification Academy on May 21-23, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. In this academy training I’ll be teaching canvass managers and canvassers who are ready for the role of field trainers how to be leaders and coaches. I’ll be teaching the skills of how to train other canvassers. I’m going to reveal and teach the very methods and skills I provide canvass managers when I’m onsite for private consulting and training. You can learn more about this certification training at www.canvassking.com/academy.