Canvassing: Tackling the recruiting challenge

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Canvassing in columbus
Canvassing in Columbus with a former hockey player -- a memorable experience. Undoubtedly, door-to-door sales (uninvited) is one of the most irritating strategies. Yes, it works for some businesses but how many would really want to do this routinely.
Canvassing in columbus
Canvassing in Columbus — What I learned 2008

There’s no secret that I have an incredible distaste for canvassing as a lead generation method, and my recent survey inviting readers to describe effective marketing methods (beyond word of mouth, referrals and repeat business) validates the perception that canvassing (along with other intrusive and irritating marketing methods such as telemarketing) are among the least popular/effective options.

Yet some contractors and trade suppliers, especially in the residential marketplace, assert there is value in door-to-door sales, in part because (if you can master the method and find the people to do the work), you can generate a solid lead volume and find individuals who need the services.

This old Contractortalk.com thread — it started in 2011 — provides some insights into the canvassing recruiting challenge.

It starts with the young contractor asking what to do:

Hi Everybody, 

I have been recruiting marketers on Craigslist for the last 7 weeks here in Phoenix. I have gotten about 300 calls from people who are interested and I have screened through them and done some phone interviews. All in all, I have invited about 25 of the candidates to come out and canvas with me over the last 6-7 weekends. Out of the 25 candidates that I have interviewed over the phone and invited out to market on the weekends(and reconfirmed with all of them Friday evening) none of them, zero, zilch, nada, have showed up to market. 

Now I consider myself a good judge of character and I have done a lot of recruiting and interviewing over the phone in the past. I can’t figure out why 25 out of 25 people who verbally committed to coming out to market with me all flaked out, and almost all of them didn’t even call me to tell me they weren’t going to show up. This is incredibly demoralizing for me and I am getting very, very frustrated. 

I wanted to know how you guys successfully recruit marketers. Whether it’s on Craigslist or other methods. 

I can canvas myself, but if I am canvassing then that means nobody is doing estimates. 

I have offered all my marketers $10/hr + $10 for every lead +$5 for every booked job. 

I would think that would be enough money to get them out of bed in the morning and get them working! Guess not…..any ideas?

Others begin to suggest options, including different interviewing techniques, pay models, and avoiding discriminating based on obvious criteria. You can read my own posting about canvassing training in Columbus, Ohio, here (one of the constructionmarketingideas.com blog classics.)

The old thread recently was revised with a posting leading to this timetohire.com blog posting. 

Aha, after several years, a thread is brought back to life with a reference to a commercial lead generating service — maybe social media marketing at work (on Time to Hire’s part.)

But, heck, I use the Timetohire.com service and, understanding the limitations and challenges in finding qualified commission-focused sales representatives, I have found it to be effective. So, I’ll give Chad Bronstein’s organization the benefit of the doubt and a double-SEO achievement recognition here.

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