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Sunday, June 07, 2009

An effective (Canadian) canvassing strategy


Canvasser Keith Cressy at our home

As I pulled into the driveway Friday afternoon, Keith Cressy, a canvasser with SpringMasters Canada approached me to offer driveway sealing.

After my initial gut "go away" response, I thought, why not use the opportunity to ask some questions. The difference between this encounter and the last time I directly faced a canvasser (in the winter, after returning from my canvassing research trip to Columbus, Ohio), is that it is spring! A beautiful June day, and anyways, I am not behind the door of my house in private space not wishing to be disturbed, but outside, in public space, and so much more receptive to communication.

Cressy said he learned about the commission-paid job through "flyers all over town". (Well, the flyers are probably distributed where students and young people hang out, because I personally haven't seen any). However, presumably the flyers direct candidates to this SpringMasters Canada jobs website, which makes fascinating and effective use of video imagery and testimonials to draw visitors into the story.

Cressy says commissions vary, between 18 and 23 per cent, depending on whether the canvassers are working weekdays or weekends (the rates are lower on weekends). This is obviously a rational approach since the work is easier presumably on weekends and the added commission costs are offset by more effective scheduling.

Spring Masters Canada provides a variety of seasonal, summer-type services including landscaping aeration, dethatching, top dressing and over-seeding, driveway sealing, and outdoor window washing. Cressy provided a simple but well designed flyer outlining the different services and fixed prices for each of the services (or of course, package discounts for larger services).

I couldn't find any negative (or for that matter, positive) client reviews of the company's services or employment policies though the enterprise appears follow several intelligent practices to make the canvassing program successful:
  • It has a structured and systematic recruiting system;
  • It focuses on spring and summer markets, using young and student labour (thus avoiding the hostility and practical problems of canvassing in Canada in the winter);
  • It backs its canvassing with solid image building and corporate resources.

1 comment:

Mark Buckshon said...

I received the following comment from "window cleaning business". While the comment is valid, I do not wish to provide a free link to some e-book the commenter has built in a hyperlink.

"Window cleaning business has left a new comment on your post "An effective (Canadian) canvassing strategy":

Interesting idea. We did our own door to door canvasing in the early days of our window cleaning business. I was shocked to find out I actually enjoyed it! Later we hired college students to do it and it worked out really well. "