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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Canvassing works, but . . .

Needham Canvassing Consultants in Ceresco, MI, offers a consulting service to help businesses canvass effectively.

This thread on Contractortalk.com suggests that door-to-door canvassing is truly effective. Similarly, Ford Harding in his Rainmaking book indicates that if you have the stomach for it, cold calling for professional services can be profitable and valid. My role in reporting on these options is not to denigrate them; they work in many cases, just as do intrusive telemarketing calls, and (yes) spam emails. But is this the type of business we really want to run?

I think the business owners who have employees pounding the pavement with door-to-door canvassers would much rather have an environment where the phone rings and clients call, enthusiastically requesting quotes -- without worrying about the price (which might be well above the going rate). This is the stuff of branding, reputation, relationships, and repeat business. It is about authority, leadership, and effective niche marketing.

But I don't want to sit on an ivory tower in judgment. Cold calling and canvassing indeed are effective, done properly.

2 comments:

Daniel Smith said...

Mark,
I think canvassing definitely has its place in marketing professional services, especially for new firms. While I can't speak to the effectiveness of telemarketing or spam emailing, when I ran my painting company we did a pretty huge volume and all of it won by knocking on doors. I always thought of it as more of a public service than an intrusive activity. Reality is most people who don't want to be bothered won't come to the door, but on every street there were a couple people who had just been thinking about painting.... As they say, timing is everything.

While I also agree with your point that building residual referral work is ideal, if I were ever to run a painting company again, I think I would maintain door to door as a staple of my marketing even after enough referrals were pouring in to keep me busy. Bottom line is canvassing = business, and if I had too much business, I would just hire more staff!

My two cents...

Daniel

Mark Buckshon said...

The question I ask is this; is it a better business to have some residual referral work or to have so much acceptance in the arketplace that clients are embracing and calling on you; and willing to pay whatever price you charge (you would never abuse this) because they want to do business with you?
Nevertheless, the process works and, in the U.S. at least, canvassign is apparently protected under law by a Supreme Court decision.