Sometimes success requires hitting the pavement—literally.
This is especially true when you're running your own contracting business. Even in the digital age, door-to-door canvassing remains effective. Canvassing allows you to get out into the community, meet people, share your story, and understand how you can help homeowners solve some of the challenges they face.
Cold canvassing may seem intimidating, but it's an art you can master with some time and practice.
The Benefits of Door-to-Door Canvassing
So, why bother with cold canvassing in the age of the internet? Because speaking to someone face-to-face can build trust, even during a short interaction.
Replacing a roof or remodeling a home is a big, expensive decision, and homeowners want to hire people they know they can trust. Door-to-door canvassing allows you to have an in-person conversation about the value your company offers while also giving homeowners knowledge they can use to make an informed purchase. Most importantly, it helps homeowners associate a friendly face with your business.
"People buy from friends. They don't buy from strangers," says Jake Strotman, owner of American Home Tech, a GAF Master Elite® Contractor.* Strotman has built a successful company over the last six years with door-to-door canvassing, and he has a wealth of tips to offer on how to canvass successfully.
Tips for Successful Canvassing
Being an effective door-to-door canvasser takes a willingness to learn and a strong work ethic, Strotman says.
It's also important to have a positive attitude and a tenacious spirit because some homeowners may not respond kindly to an unexpected visit from a salesperson. Others may not make a purchase even after you've spent an hour or more trying to convince them.
Strotman says you can't carry any of that frustration on to the next door. Instead, treat every customer interaction as a new opportunity to put forward "the best version of yourself."
To improve your chances a little, Strotman uses a strategy called "Five Steps to a Conversation" to make canvassing more effective:
- Deliver a creative introduction: This should be fun, but not off-putting, and should engage a homeowner within the first five seconds.
- Share a short story: Tell the "story" of your company in a memorable way to let the homeowner know who you are and why you're there.
- Give your sales presentation: Provide two to three quick facts about what your company can offer. "The sales pitch I use is really that short and it's really that simple," Strotman says. "You never really close anybody the first time, but it gets the customer to engage in talking with you."
- Close the deal: If they seem interested or give positive feedback, schedule a follow-up appointment.
- Rehash: If you do receive a yes, the work doesn't stop there. You can rehash the conversation and try to receive an additional yes by either upselling your services or getting a referral. Some homeowners may need additional contracting work, while others may have neighbors, friends, or family members who need a new roof.
These fives steps can help you give every customer your best pitch every time, increasing your chances of having a successful visit.
The Probability Behind Successful Canvassing
Canvassing may feel like a shot in the dark, but Strotman says it's "really just a numbers game."
"Ninety percent of what we do is no, and 10 percent is yes," Strotman says. "What I love about canvassing is that it's just numbers. I know how many doors I need my guys to knock on every day for them to have success."
It's expected that only a small percentage of homeowners will actually be interested in your services, but knowing that means you can better plan how many doors you'll knock on. Thinking of canvassing as a numbers game can help you canvass more strategically while also lessening the sting of rejection.
Strotman encourages his employees to seek two "no"s and a "go," which means getting two rejections from a homeowner before leaving the property. With canvassing, the more doors you knock on, the more "no"s you'll likely get—but that will just bring you one step closer to getting the "yes" you need to land a sale.
*Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products.