Canvassing is hard work for tough people. Whether you’re pushing a noble cause or just trying to make a paycheck, you need proper insight before you hit the streets and start engaging prospects. You would hate to embarrass yourself by unwittingly breaking the unwritten code of canvassing ethics, so you want to make sure to take a minute to review the most important rigors of the trade. While door-to-door tactics will differ in some ways from working a street corner, the primary do’s and don’ts have key overlaps. This is the simple guide to boost your canvassing conversions while steering clear of rookie mistakes that would keep you from becoming the Sham Wow guy of the streets.
DO Be Memorable
Canvassing is about recruiting. Whether you’re after buyers for a product, sponsors for a charity or voters for a campaign, you’re trying to bring people into the fold. Whether you get a signature or a payout in your encounter is less significant than getting the brand to stick in their minds. Don’t be afraid to venture out to left field to make sure they’ll never forget the experience. Are you selling knives? How many reps open with a juggling act? (The real pros will find a way to add fire to the act.) Trying to get a donor to help a starving child? Bring one with you while canvassing! Who could say no to that! You’ll notice that these tricks try to stay on topic, but if that’s hard, you can always fall back on bringing an exotically adorable pet. Baby sloths are my weapon of choice, but you should take your time to find a good fit.
DO Fight for That First Yes
This is a common sales tactic, and the idea is that getting any agreement sets a good tone for the conversation and breaks the “no” mentality. Oftentimes, this means getting them to agree to something other than what you are selling, and then transition the conversation back to your product or brand. With that in mind, some easy early “yes” questions could be, “Would you like me to leave you alone? Would you like the cash in my pocket? Don’t you just hate relentless canvassers?” Any of these are an excellent ice breaker that is sure to open a friendly conversation and get your targets used to agreeing with you. From there, it should generally be an easy close.
DON’T Take “No” for an Answer
Everyone knows that the key to successful canvassing is persistence. Everyone will say no at the beginning, but if you keep badgering them, they’re sure to cave to the pressure eventually. Did they slam the door in your face? Just ring the bell again. Is their pace steadily increasing as they try to escape you? That’s why you wear your running shoes to work! Is that a restraining order? Great job! That means they remembered you after your conversation, which means you were successful with goal number one. A real canvasser never says “die,” so get out there and relentlessly annoy your prospects into submission. It’s the best way to make sure they become a part of whatever you’re selling, and try to remember: swear words are just adult pet names.
DON’T Engage Prospects on Your Lunch Break
You’re diligent, and you have an excellent work ethic. Those are great strengths, but lunch time is for eating. For starters, talking with your mouth full is gross and rude. More importantly, it makes you difficult to understand. You’ve worked hard on eloquent and compelling rebuttals. It would be a shame if they went to waste because you couldn’t prioritize a delicious sandwich properly. In a worst-case scenario, you could unintentionally recruit support for your competition. All candidate names sound the same when you talk through a face full of pastrami, so err on the side of caution on this one.