Going door-to-door is one of the most effective ways of generating leads and closing sales in the home improvement, solar, cable, telecommunications and retail industries. It is also a great way to increase awareness and support for political campaigns and organizations.
In a 2002 study, Yale professors Donald Green and Alan Gerber found that face-to-face contact raises turnout by 7-12 percentage points among those who are contacted, making it the most effective form of outreach.
"... there has been a resurgence of door-to-door selling. The (BCG)'s recent experience revamping the door-to-door approach for a company in the energy sector has convinced us that, given the right circumstances, there is a significant opportunity in the door-to-door channel for consumer products and services."
"Big solar companies such as SolarCity and Vivent Solar Inc. have been engaged in a fierce battle to amass market share, analysts say, and have spent heavily on old-fashioned advertising, telephone and door-to-door canvassing, and booth at retail outlets to acquire new customers"
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Bring water.
- Work in pairs when possible for safety, support, and comradery.
- Practice out loud what you will say to prospects.
- Telling your personal story will be more effective than telling your organization’s message.
- Don’t read from a script. Keep your message short, simple, and heart-felt.
- Weekdays from 6 to 8 pm are usually the best time to canvass.
- Give your pitch on the porch. Going inside is likely to take too much time.
- If you don't know the answer to a question, say so. Offer to get back to them with answers.
- Always be respectful.
- Never leave anything in mailboxes. It's against the law.
- If you aren’t comfortable walking up to a particular home, skip it.
- Use the Polis app to manage your canvassing campaign.
How to Canvass
Don't get fixated on doors your canvassers can't access or get discouraged when you have a poor contact rate because you have the opportunity for repeated attempts to get to those households one way or the other. Small and persistent efforts accumulate to help you win come Election Day or improve sales enough to hit your revenue goals.
When your canvasser identifies a strong supporter, move that name to a supporter list. Have your team contact that person again as soon as possible to solidify the relationship or make the sale. When you identify opposition or hostility, move that person to a no-contact list. Undecideds should be contacted again -- and again if resources allow.
Canvassers often find that their discussions represent the first time the someone has heard about their organization or offering. Consequently, people have not had time to form an opinion. Your canvassers should answer any questions the person may have and leave them with useful information. This gentle and positive approach helps to get people to favorably consider your organization.
The key to canvassing success is contacting large numbers of people. It is a lot of work, but canvassing is the technique that wins big returns on investment.
"Many results suggest that it is the dynamic interaction of authentic person-to-person contact that is most important in determining whether a method will successfully mobilize people."
-- Institution of Social and Policy Studies site at Yale