What is door to door canvassing? Door-to-door canvassing involves a systematic visit to each home in an area to knock on neighbors’ doors.

Political scientists often touted such a door-to-door campaign as an effective way to boost turnout for midterm elections or generate support for a candidate.

While political canvassing can be incredibly effective for voter turnout on election day, political campaigns are not the only groups that use such methods.

There is a long history of religious organizations, advocacy group workers, and census takers using this proven means to contact people in their homes.

Whether the participants in door-to-door canvassing are paid, or volunteers doesn’t diminish the reliability of this contact method.

Many businesses use a canvassing team to supplement their inside sales team selling products and services.

Why is door-to-door canvassing such an effective thing?

door to door canvassing

When Organizations Might Use Door-to-Door Canvassing

Using door-to-door canvassing as a sales tool can be different than using it to get out the vote.

But there are still some lessons to be learned regarding why campaign managers choose political canvassing over other contact mediums.

Consider why door-to-door canvassing is used in the world of politics.

Inform Residents

Organizations choose door-to-door canvassing because it is a key way to inform people of issues.

When canvassers can put a piece of campaign literature in a resident’s hand, they can form a physical connection to their issue.

This may be more powerful than speaking to a faceless voice on the phone or the other side of an email.

Direct contact gives a salesperson an advantage too. Speaking face-to-face with a customer candidate gives an effective salesperson a better chance of closing a deal.

Observing reactions, evaluating interest, and reacting to their feedback allows the field sales rep to respond and tailor the selling experience to the customer.

Making a home visit also allows for demonstrating the product or service, depending on the industry.

Voter Identification

A second reason that political campaigns often rely on door-to-door canvassing is the ability to be informed about the residents.

  • What situations are people dealing with?
  • What hardships or obstacles are they facing?
  • Find solutions that are important to them?

Similarly, sales reps should be more concerned about informing clients rather than being informed about clients – their needs, wants, and motivations.

Striking up one-on-one conversations – it doesn’t have to be long – helps interested potential clients open up and identify with the salesperson.

This can provide valuable insights into what a particular market is concerned about. People tend to be more open when they speak face-to-face.

Increasing Turnout

A third reason a political campaign manager may use door-knocking is that it is a proven method for increasing participation.

Home visits can remind a person to vote and has the potential to persuade voters to vote a desired way in polls.

What are sales but trying to persuade a customer to take a specific action? How many people can be convinced to purchase when given the easy opportunity?

door to door campaign

Benefits of Door-to-Door Canvassing

Door-to-door canvassing certainly has its benefits. When a business has a good ground game, they have the potential to generate more money in sales.

A visit to a person’s home puts the sales representative face-to-face with the customer, where they can interact with interested buyers.

It is an effective method of systematically covering a wide area with the prospect of speaking with every person in a population.

Further, it allows the business to get real feedback from its potential customer base and have conversations with prospective clients.

Door-to-door canvassing can effectively perform cold calls without being tied to a desk and phone.

Let’s now consider some valuable reminders for safe and effective door-to-door canvassing.

How To Carry Out Successful Door-to-Door Canvassing

Door-to-door selling may not be your first choice as a sales rep or manager.

But by applying a few tips below, you can succeed in your sales campaign.

Some of these points are common sense, while others may overturn myths that have been told and retold about canvassing.

Always Stick to the Script?

Canvassers will appreciate having a sales script to work from.

The most effective thing you can do while canvassing is to be clear about who you are right from the start.

In some localities, strangers are viewed with suspicion. So, being direct helps put the person at ease so they can focus on why you are there.

However, following a script word-for-word usually could be a better idea. This can lead to a sale presentation feeling robotic.

Have key script elements in mind and let the conversation flow organically while at the strangers’ doors.

Respond to their input and let it determine the path to the sale.

No Soliciting and No Trespassing

Good judgment is needed when in a neighborhood. Some houses may be marked with ‘No soliciting’ or ‘No trespassing’ signs.

Be mindful of legal matters and people’s rights. For that matter, the region you are canvassing may have ordinances that require registration before beginning a campaign.

The Flyer in the Mailbox

You will only find some people at home as you walk your route. People lead busy lives.

It can be very tempting to drop a sales flyer in the mailbox if no one is at home.

However, leaving the material in a mailbox that has yet to be properly mailed through the post office is a federal offense.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel with a sales flyer or at least a business card.

Only some people you contact will be able to talk when you knock at their door.

Handing them a page they can read later or slipping it discreetly in a door when nobody’s home may let your flyer talk for you.

Have the Right Tools

Equipping your canvassing team with a canvassing app on their mobile devices can give them the tools to have their walk list at their fingertips.

As the canvassing progresses, the app can provide an easy way to take notes of interest to follow up on later.

Have the Right Mindset

Developing the right attitude about your door-to-door sales campaign will help make it a positive experience.

Don’t think of it as bothering people; you are there to offer them the goods and services they need.

Even if there is a lackluster response in the neighborhood, remember that there are people out there who will want the goods and services you present.

Stay upbeat and remind yourself why you believe in your products to solidify your confidence.

Long Conversations

Conversations are key to making sales – but not necessarily long ones. Keep in mind your purpose and the area you must cover.

Of course, it is important to build relationships with potential customers.

However, gauge what is the right amount of time to stay at a person’s door and make sure to stay within your welcome.

One effective goal is to get the person’s contact information to follow up with them later.

This also has the added benefit of sales reps feeling they can only field some questions on one visit.

A canvass campaign is a numbers game. Reaching more potential customers will translate into more closed sales.

So, spending all your time at one home is counterproductive.

Stay Safe

Door-to-door canvassing can be a safe and effective method of cold calling. But there are some inherent dangers to any activity.

It makes sense to canvas an area with at least one other person and have their contact info in case you get separated.

Be cautious about going into someone’s home alone, and, of course, if you are uncomfortable with someone, trust your instincts.

Be mindful of weather conditions and dress appropriately in comfortable walking shoes.

It’s wise to have water and a snack or take regular breaks.

An Effective Method for Every Sale

There is an effective sales method out there to reach each person.

Door-to-door canvassing can be one item in your tool bag that may help you reach more potential clients systematically and thoroughly.

However, remember that not everyone is a customer, and every door is an opportunity.

No matter how well-formed and practiced your sales pitch is, you will not have 100% success.

Some people won’t be interested – and that’s fine! Don’t take their rejection personally or let it rattle you.

Even if someone responds rudely, you can smile, wish them a pleasant day, and move on.

It’s only natural to feel a bit of trepidation at first. But know that door-to-door canvassing is a tried-and-true method. Consider it as an option for your next sales push.