In hard times, and with an unfortunate amount of time on their hands, more remodeling contractors are turning to canvassing in order to generate leads for work. But don’t think that door-to-door canvassing is only some desperate act relegated to recessions. That only increases the focus on a proven lead generating tactic, and one employed by many contractors for many years.
Yet canvassing is not easy work, and successful programs require trained canvassers (often the contractor personally) to be effective. That is why many didn’t think too much of it during the housing boom when competition existed more between homeowners trying to find quality contractors than between contractors trying to find work. But now the tables have turned and competition abounds in the home improvement market, and door-to-door lead generation has its unique benefits and requirements, such as:
- Instant leads. You never know who awaits behind the next door, especially these days when the need for home repair is growing as yesterday’s homes age. The economy is weak but homeowners still want to remodel and repair, they just tend to be indecisive about it, enough so to hesitate in making the call to a contractor. But if a contractor knocked on the front door?
- The trained eye. Hitting the streets can be an eye opening experience. As you stroll up to a house you might see a sagging gutter, peeling paint, or a shoddy roof. Immediately you know how to angle your pitch. You can focus simply on what the house needs to generate your leads, leads which would have gone unfound but for the art of canvassing.
- Determination. Door-to-door lead generation requires a healthy dose of perseverance. In many cases, realizing a lead will require one or several call-backs, not to mention knocking on a heck of a lot of doors.
- Training. While you, the contractor, may have the trained eye to see potential problems (see #2), it is hard to work on a job and canvass at the same time. Therefore, you’ll want to hire some canvassers to do the legwork. It is vital that these employees have some training — continuing from day to day — in generating leads and interacting with potential clients. Take the time to train, it will usually still be cheaper than buying print or TV advertising.
- Permits. Some communities, cities, and neighborhoods require permits to canvass in their area. This is often little more than a technicality but one you should definitely pay attention to before hitting the streets.
- Tracking. In order to effectively canvass and to improve on your methods as you get started in door-to-door generation, keep close watch on the numbers: where you’re going, how you’re doing, and what percentage of leads are generated from the canvassing.
- Considering professional help. There are specialists who’ve been helping companies set up canvassing programs for years. Depending on your situation and the size of your company and service area, it may be worth your cost and effort if you’re new at this to get a little professional push in the right direction.
- Community. Finally, if nothing else, going door to door gets you out into the community, getting to know potential clients. In tough times a relationship and word-of-mouth can be the difference between a working contractor and an out-of-work contractor.