Boo! Day Light Savings time is less than a week away.  And for those door to door canvassers who will be knocking after sun down, the change can be a little scary.  There are numerous factors that can have a derogatory affect on performance this time of year, so let us address them one by one so we can best prepare for the unique challenges the darker, colder seasons can present.

 

Adjust Your Hours – although contact rates can be low during the daytime, the fact remains that reception at the front door is greater during daylight.  Homeowners feel more comfortable coming to the front door to greet strangers when they can see them more clearly.  As a result you may want to target neighborhoods with an older demographic.  Search for areas with large numbers of retirees.  Sometimes this type of research can be done online through websites like Zillow.com.  In other cases it must be done through more in-field scouting by seeking out classic American icons from an older generation like lawn jockeys, yard gnomes, and concrete geese dressed to the nines!  A strong emphasis on canvassing in neighborhoods with these types of décor will yield increased results during daytime hours.  Lastly, stretch the weekend schedule!  Increase the hours on Saturday and add Sunday to the weekly schedule as well.  These are the only two days of the week where we are likely to reach homeowners during daylight hours.  The myth that Sunday is a day of poor reception at the front door is far from true.  I have tested this theory all over the U.S. including the heart of the Bible Belt.  The fact is that those who would be offended by your visit on the holy day are typically at church or brunch and not at home to offend…

 

Dress for Success – In addition to neat, business casual attire, and dressing warm for the weather, I have found it to be incredibly helpful to wear two items in particular. The first is a lanyard I.D. badge.  In addition to your photo, this badge should have both you company name and your personal name for identification purposes.  Furthermore, many canvassers have found reduced harassment from homeowners and law enforcement alike by placing the word PERMIT in bold print at the top of the badge.  This can be an internal permit for all intensive purposes, but the very presence of the word instills confidence if both the door knocker as well as the consumer.  Last but not least, sporting a bright colored safety vest (much like road workers wear) has a tremendous impact on contact rate.  It seems homeowners are much more likely to answer the door when they feel the person beckoning them may be coming from the utility company, city, or delivering a package… whatever the case it works and is especially effective after dark.  To view a brief video where I discuss this topic in depth follow the link below:

 

Canvassing Uniform / Dress Code

 

Focus on The Now – Knocking on doors through an entire dark, cold, wet, winter is not something anyone looks forward to.  Therefore, the tendency for high turnover at this time of year can be quite prevalent.  The use of daily cash bonuses can be very effective at shifting the canvassers focus from long- term to short-term almost instantly!  By offering daily cash bonuses, the employee mentality swings from that of preoccupation with the arduous task of knocking through an entire season of inclement weather, to: How can I put some extra money in my pocket today!?  If you change their way of thinking, you will change their results.  In the end that is the only sustainable method for increased performance.

 

Other valuable Tips – Maintaining good moral among the canvass crew is paramount this time of year. Some additional suggestions for doing so include strategies like team incentives that allow for early quitting time provided that the group has hit their daily appointment goal.  I have found that encouraging canvassers to embrace the seasons by dressing up on Halloween and wearing Santa Clause hats during the month of December has also had a very positive effect on their spirits.  Other small motivators include things like taking periodic breaks for hot chocolate to warm up and rejuvenate.  On a final note, the use of colored pencils versus pens is key in colder temperatures as pens often freeze up and fail to work.  Not only does this pose the obvious problem, but it can leave the canvasser thinking if my pen doesn’t even want to work in these conditions, then why should I…

 

Ultimately it is important to have a winning attitude.  And like winning, canvassing is not a sometime thing it is an all the time thing. So be sure to embrace these valuable tips!

 

Cheers,
Tony