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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A canvasser's perspective

Joseph Needham of Needham Canvassing Consultants took exception to some remarks in today's eletter where I stated: "Notably, these consultants don't canvass themselves."
The correction is that my Consulting firm actually does canvass for our customers . . . . Customers can hire my firm to canvass for them, however when we are out at a Customer's location building them a canvassing team of their own, we actually go out with the canvassers and canvass with them.

I believe that I am the only Consultant that actually puts their money where their
mouth is. When other consultants are just offering lip service (meaning telling best practices) we show our customers best practices. We take them into the street and go with them door-to-door showing them how it is done.

When we are out at a location typically the leads we generate while we are there more than cover any costs associated with the building of their canvassing team.

It is my company's goal to raise the bar when it comes to canvassing. We are setting new industry standards with the generating of a qualified appointment through canvassing.

Actually generating leads for my customers is how I differentiate myself from my competition.
I wrote back and explained that my intent in saying "canvassers don't canvass themselves" in relation to their own businesses -- that is finding commercial clients for the canvassing services they are marketing. Needham responded: "I do a little telemarketing when I need a couple of customers. It usually takes one week on the phone to keep me busy for a month or two."

Needham also corrected an error in one of my earlier blog postings.

I just noticed when reading one of your articles about American Dream Vinyl that you wrote the name Doug Holland. I know the owner of American Dream Vinyl. He is a customer of mine and his name is Doug Hillyard.
My bad. I failed to double check Hillyard's name spelling before publishing the original posting. At least, with blogs, there is one big advantage over other media when you make a mistake of this sort. Corrections can be entered within seconds, and no one would know (except for my admission here) that I had it wrong in the first place.

I asked Needham where he thinks canvassing makes sense.

As for the types of business that could benefit from canvassing would be (of course) any construction company, also I've seen success in the real estate market, I've often wondered what it would be like to canvass for a car dealer. Would they pull up in a driveway in a new car, knock on the door and ask the homeowner if they would like to buy the car?

For any business to be cost efficient for canvassing they would need a high unit sale
amount to offset the costs associated with canvassing.
Needham also asked me, in another email, why I hate canvassing. Here is my response.
It's basic -- the canvasser intrudes on my space. I don't give him/her permission to enter it. It's a matter of respect for my privacy and right to enjoy my home without unwelcome distractions.
Recognize the intrusion element. I am doing something I enjoy (or maybe some work, or maybe spending time with my family.) The door bell rings, and someone is there to sell (or gather leads, or whatever) for something I neither requested nor wanted. The entire process takes time away from something I would rather do. Your canvasser is certainly not paying me for the inconvenience which I wish not to happen.
Canvassing is worse than telemarketing, which is so irritating, you know, that laws were passed to establish do not call registries.
Please don't misunderstand, I respect canvassing works from a marketing perspective. But I don't want to be bothered. I want to choose who and how I do business, especially at my home.
More and more, I fear, marketing is polarizing between honorable permission-based initiatives (you certainly are not forced to read this blog, and you can choose how and when to view it), and extreme intrusion, whether it be canvassing or phoning. Notably, it looks like the former owner of my Skype number has a few organizations trying to reach him/her (perhaps collection agencies). I get several calls a week with a recording saying "this is not a sales call" but to phone back a certain number. I imagine how irritating these calls are to the people who actually receive them. The intrusion-type marketing probably is 'necessary' because people are shutting off the other forms of conventional advertising and selling -- we're flipping the channel, surfing the net, and refusing to read the mass of fliers dropped on our doorsteps. Since it is harder and harder for marketers to reach our targets, we are resorting to more intensive in-your-face strategies.

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