Door To Door Canvassing Update

 
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Old 04-04-2009, 12:18 AM   #1
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Door To Door Canvassing Update


This is an update regarding our door-to-door canvassing. We started our door-to-door canvassing about five weeks ago and it took a few errors to iron out some wrinkles. Then, in the past 5 days, we sold two ABS (plastic) drain jobs for $5,000, $5500, and we sold a job for copper piping, heat ducts, and a shower pan to one customer for $16,000.

We started our canvassing campaign about 5 weeks ago and the start was very bumpy. We changed our strategy a few times and we are just starting to see amazing results. We have only one door knocker and he is getting 3 to 6 hot leads every day and we gave estimates on almost every lead for prices ranging from $3,000 to $16,000. There are many reasons we did not close sales for the first few weeks. The main reason was because we used the same system for closing sales we use when customers call from other advertising campaigns. We got into a home, found problems, and attempted to close a sale. Now, on the first day, we go into a home, make small repairs, and follow through with closing the sale the following day, after we build trust and a warm relationship.

We came up with what I think is a terrific canvassing campaign. The day before we canvass an area we hand-deliver the ad that on the bottom of this post. This ad is to warm up the customer and prepare them for our canvasser's visit. The following day, we send a plumber to the neighborhood with the door knocker. We tried sending the door knocker alone to set appointments, but this did not work because most people cancelled, or we had to play cat and mouse.

Like many people I always thought door knockers take a beating from customers and I was surprised to find we get a friendly welcome from almost every person.

We have a lot of changes we will be making. We will set up a database and track every house on every street, so we know every person in a neighborhood. We are going to set up farming areas and put the door knocker's picture on advertising for their area so we can make every person 'their plumber'. We will be able to back-track to go to people's homes who were not home.

The way I met my door knocker may be important. I put an ad in the Los Angeles Times, interviewed over 300 people over the phone, hired three, and they flaked. I decided to start soliciting to people who were soliciting to me, so I told a sales rep, who was trying to sell me something, about my door canvassing and he came to work for me. He is one of the nicest and most professional salespersons I ever met. In the next few weeks we will start adding more door knockers until we have four and I am very confident we will close $20,000 to $30,000 every day.

I originally offered my door salesman a guarantee of $100 per day as a draw against a 7% commission for getting the lead, plus 5% to 7-1/2% for closing the sale when he gains enough experience. After the first day, I knew the campaign was going to work, so I raised his guaranteed salaryto $150 per day. This week, after closing the 3rd sale, I raised the guaranteed salary to $200 per day, and I may raise the % for getting the lead to 8-1/2%. My overall advertising budget for my company is 10% to 15%, so 8-1/2% for getting a lead leaves me a little cushion for managing the door canvassing.

These figures are based on our average contract price. When the door salesman sells a job for $6,000 he will get 8.5% x $6,000 = $510, plus for closing the sale, he will get 7.5% x $6,000 = $450 + $510 = $960. If he sells only 3 jobs per week he will earn $2,880 x 52 weeks = $149,760 per year, plus if he is the manager of 3 more salesman who are paid $15 per hour plus a much smaller commission, he will earn about $300,000.

I know there are a lot of companies that are doing door canvassing, but this is new to me and really exciting. I hope companies that need more business give this serious consideration.

You may have noticed that my company gives away (or offers) $5,000 in free services, every month, for elderly persons with financial difficultles. While we put in writing that we will never take money from a person who is recommended for assistance, we do a lot of work for members of churches and the churches themselves. This week, we signed a contract with a church for a 14,000 sq ft Torch Down roof for $38,000.

"The more you give for free, the more you get back"

My favorite is:

"You get more bees with honey than you get with vinegar"

If anyone is interested in visiting and riding along with our sales people to see what we do you are welcome to come any time. Another free offer!

It took 6 days and about 20 hours to edit these ads and remove as many words as possible.
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Door To Door Canvassing Update-freeplumbing040709.jpg   Door To Door Canvassing Update-reason-free-service.jpg  

Last edited by pcplumber; 05-05-2009 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 04-04-2009, 12:44 AM   #2
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


hmmm, interesting, very interesting. Thank you for sharing-it sounds like an adventure in learning. I'm a bit surprised at the salesman commision, but then again I am not familiar with the norm.

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Old 04-04-2009, 04:54 AM   #3
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


Cool. Look forward to (if possible) taking you up on your 'ridealong' offer when in your part of the world on April 14. I've seen how canvassing can work for an externally visible service (roofing); you appear to have found an effective model for services which cannot be apparent from outside someone's home.

I think you've found some answers though you may not yet be at the total sustainability point yet, especially in recruiting. However, if your current canvasser is successful this will obviously make it easier to find others to follow the path.
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Old 04-04-2009, 01:18 PM   #4
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


will this work on the east coast? people are not very welcoming over here in jersey, but it sounds like a fantastic idea! how do your guys open the client?
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:44 PM   #5
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


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Originally Posted by world llc View Post
will this work on the east coast? people are not very welcoming over here in jersey, but it sounds like a fantastic idea! how do your guys open the client?

I appreciate the nice comments. I certainly am not an expert. As for our introduction, we are really giving away free services that are very valuable. We don't have problems similar to selling pots and pans, magazines, or water softeners. We really are giving away free services, so the introduction is very sweet and simple. I really have this crazy mindset where I am not hungry for sales and I really don't care if we sell to every customer because I know it is a numbers game. From other advertising campaigns, we encounter 4 or 5 days where we don't close one sale and we encounter 4 or 5 days where we close $30,000 to $50,000 every day. When we approach a customer we are not like most sales people. We laugh, joke with the customer, and I think this shows that we are stress-free, honest, successful, and good people (if that is a fair description). And the ability to get a customer to laugh is the most powerful sales tool.

I don't do the door knocking myself, but I really want to try it because I think I could be fairly humurous and actually tell the customer to listen to what I am offering before they make a decision.

I actually got the idea of giving services for free from this forum. It was from the Contractor Marketing Ideas Magazine that mentioned a handyman who was giving away 1/2 hour of free service to customers.

I have to go. Talk to you later.

Last edited by pcplumber; 04-04-2009 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:11 AM   #6
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


I foresee that introduction ad remaining in home a lot longer than you will be canvassing that neighborhood.

Now, try a one month follow up post card campaign to the homes that did not allow a conversation to take place.

List a few referral addresses from the neighborhood they live in to garner local trust.

It should keep on paying back even more than the initial door knock.

Ed

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Old 04-05-2009, 11:04 AM   #7
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed the Roofer View Post
I foresee that introduction ad remaining in home a lot longer than you will be canvassing that neighborhood.

Now, try a one month follow up post card campaign to the homes that did not allow a conversation to take place.

List a few referral addresses from the neighborhood they live in to garner local trust.

It should keep on paying back even more than the initial door knock.
That is a great idea. I'm going to start working on this today.
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:01 AM   #8
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


Great seeing someone taking the initiative,.....following it through...and being able to reap the results. I as well have reaped the results from effective canvassing,-but you're right--finding the RIGHT person is key.

I as well am surprised about the pay structure for the door-knocker....but, if he's generating the lead,....and everyone's making money--than what the hell.

My question is,..Is he simply setting the lead/ getting you in, and YOU do the selling at that point? Or is he setting the estimate, AND selling it himself?

Great post!---and Congrats!

Last edited by handyhands; 05-13-2009 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:48 PM   #9
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


I think time is critical for many contractors and I think posting this important.

We hand-delivered only 400 of these ads yesterday morning and we received 8 leads by the end of the day. Today, we received two more
leads. This morning we inspected a furnace and we signed a contract to install new drain pipes for $4400. We went on another lead and found some serious leaks and problems, but the customer was in a rush and we have an appointment for tomorrow.

When you consider we got 10 leads with only 400 flyers this is very amazing and also scary because we will not be able to handle all the business.

The ad needs many improvements and has a few problems. Most people think we are going to repair all the plumbing in their home for free and most people have many problems. We will write statements to limit the amount of free service. We will also make a second side for this ad that explains exactly why we are giving free service. We will tell the customer the free service is to introduce our company and hopefully they will give us a chance when they need more work, or a larger job.

When we are finished giving free service, we write a complete bill and enter the normal price. Then we write 'no charge' on the receipt.

What is very amazing is when we are finished, I think the customers feel guilty. One really nice customer gave us a $1 tip, but almost every other customer starts talking about kitchen and bathroom remodels, installing new furnaces, and many other things.

I think this free stuff can be applied to many other trades.
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Door To Door Canvassing Update-freeplumbing040709.jpg   Door To Door Canvassing Update-reason-free-service.jpg  

Last edited by pcplumber; 04-11-2009 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:04 AM   #10
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


Way to go. Anyone who say canvassing does not work is just uneducated. Word of mouth is the best form of marketing there is. I See results everyday that most people could not believe.

Reccomendations on Pay= do not pay commissions. Pay only for the leads.

As far as Chatham NJ. I ran a canvas crew in the Northern NJ area that produced over 200 leads per week, with a thin crew. (10) fulltime
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:21 AM   #11
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


This is a Great post and we thank you. It is very insightful.

I would like to understand the operation better:

1) Are you sending a new " Door Knocker " person out along with a paid staff technician to approach the homeowner?

2) Does your Sales person ( Door Knocker and or the Staff Tech ) have sales training and selling skills trained by you?

3) Is the Sales Person given a pricing system to be able to bid a job on the spot ? or do you have them collect data and some one else prepares the estimate later ? ( leads to my next question )

4) ( I read that you set 400 flyers on doors and had 8 leads = 1 out of 50 or 2% response rate )
How many of these leads are needed create an appointment?
How many of these leads wanted a bid / proposal?

5) What have you found to be your closing ratio to appointments to proposals?

6) What have you found to be the number of closes / no of bid proposals?

I found this to be a great idea - It is a numbers game and a thoughtful strategy.

If consistently done - it would create a pipeline of work.

Many thanks for your post.

Terry
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:27 PM   #12
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


Wow, lot of great information here.
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Old 04-15-2009, 12:28 PM   #13
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


BTW: i just read through your whole business manual, great resource. Kudos to you for taking the time to put that together.
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Old 04-16-2009, 07:54 PM   #14
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


Quote:
Originally Posted by modterry View Post
This is a Great post and we thank you. It is very insightful.

I would like to understand the operation better:

1) Are you sending a new " Door Knocker " person out along with a paid staff technician to approach the homeowner?

2) Does your Sales person ( Door Knocker and or the Staff Tech ) have sales training and selling skills trained by you?

3) Is the Sales Person given a pricing system to be able to bid a job on the spot ? or do you have them collect data and some one else prepares the estimate later ? ( leads to my next question )

4) ( I read that you set 400 flyers on doors and had 8 leads = 1 out of 50 or 2% response rate )
How many of these leads are needed create an appointment?
How many of these leads wanted a bid / proposal?

5) What have you found to be your closing ratio to appointments to proposals?

6) What have you found to be the number of closes / no of bid proposals?

I found this to be a great idea - It is a numbers game and a thoughtful strategy.

If consistently done - it would create a pipeline of work.

Many thanks for your post.

Terry
Our door knocker knows absolutely nothing about plumbing. We deliver a brochure the previous day offering free services. Then, the door knocker knocks on the doors. We station an experienced plumber on the same block when he gets a lead. The door knocker is present during every presentation and hopefully, he will be able to close sales within a few months.

The door knocker I hired is one of the most professional salespersons I ever met. He has been doing business-to-business sales and door-to-door for many years. He is a super nice person, very friendly, and a great listener. He was an independent contractor salesman for Shubee the company that sells booties for the plumbers.

From 400 flyers we deliver, we are getting 10 leads (appointments). We don't have a long track record yet for the number of sales we will close. As luck will have it, I closed a sale on my first lead for $4400 to install new drain pipes. It looks like we will probably close about 1 in 6 leads. This is just a wild guess and this number is low. I sold a sewer, from the door knocker's lead, for $5500, and I think I have only been on only 5 leads, so I sold the $4400 and $5500 from 5 leads, or $9900. The close ratio is going to be much less than from other types of leads, but our advertising cost is almost zero when we have to deliver only 400 flyers to get 10 leads.

I've been waffling over the door knocking because we don't have a track record and because I am always analyzing my return. After we started door knocking we realized the 400 flyers was going to produce amazing results. Then, I started to think that knocking on doors was a waste of time compared to the 400 flyers. Then, I thought the door knocking was another arm reaching out. Then, today I almost terminated my door knocker, and he got the lead I sold for $5500, and 10 minutes later I gave another estimate for a furnace and drains for $8600, and I think we are going to get this job. So far, we sold about $47,000 from door knocking in the past two weeks, or about 18 days. While many may think $47,000 is great, I was predicting we would have sold about $150,000 in 18 days.

We are still ironing our the kinks that are going to make this door knocking run like a well-oiled machine. I haven't had time to look at exact numbers, but I am fairly positive we are within the 10% advertising budget I like to allow.

I ordered 100,000 of the brochures that offer free service. I am going to start printing coupons offering free services and I will put these in newspapers, stores, car washes, restaurants, etc. We have to think of this service like when you get a free sample of food at a mall. I actually enjoy doing the free service more than when we charge our measily $49 for cleaning a drain. I feel like I am more friendly and more relaxed. This is something strange that is hard to explain. Maybe it is because this is something different and seeing the results is exciting.

I'll tell you when we break through our first $million.
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Old 04-16-2009, 09:03 PM   #15
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


This thread is fantastic! I am about to hit the doors for the first time in a week or two, and am both excited, and scared. I have over 7 years in sales, but not door to door. I hope to take some of these tips with me, and I will report back everything that happens out there. So thanks again
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Old 04-17-2009, 01:22 AM   #16
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


I'm confused as to what it is you do? 99% of the ad is about plumbing then you sneak in the line we build houses too. If you are a general why the plumbing only focus?
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Old 04-17-2009, 01:31 AM   #17
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


Just be careful of the times you choose to go door to door. i had someone drop by my house today around dinner and while i didn't get bent over shape b/c i know what the guy's going through, it certainly made me think others might not appreciate family time disruptions.

What time of day have you guys been doing this at?
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:15 AM   #18
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


I think what you're doing pc is awesome,....Granted, of course you're going to come across the occasional person who might look at you like another mormon spreading the word,.....but for what you're putting into it it seems like the initial results are indeed impressive.

Hat's off to you for having the initiative to see this this through, and I'm thinking there's only more good results to come from your efforts.

Good luck!
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Old 04-17-2009, 07:31 AM   #19
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


I think the fact that your giving services away gets you a more receptive reaction from the HO. I'm going to try to find a way to transfer this idea to painting, just trying to come up with something 'free' to give away.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:33 AM   #20
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Re: Door To Door Canvassing Update


I've known sales reps that carry doggy-treats with them in case there's a dog,..coloring books for kids,....etc.


You're in the painting biz.....Why not stock up on water-color sets (they're pretty cheap) and give them to the kids (if they have any).

Just my thoughts,...A little goodwill goes a long way.

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