What is Canvassing in Sales?
You’ve heard the word tossed around in sales forums and team meetings. You smile and nod while wondering to yourself, “What does canvassing for sales really mean?” For sales representatives, understanding and utilizing this strategy is crucial to success in the field.
Essentially, canvassing is a proactive sales technique involving direct interaction with potential clients who were previously unaware of your product or service. This tactic may be accomplished in person, via telephone communication, through email campaigns, or even on social media platforms.
Why is Canvassing Important for Sales Reps and Businesses?
Canvassing does more than simply presenting opportunities to make a sale. It provides sales reps with valuable leads and helps to establish relationships with potential customers which aid in continued business expansion. If your offerings are high-quality solutions to real-life problems faced by prospective clients, then canvassing can be an extremely viable way of selling your products and services.
Think about it. Canvassing pushes you, as a sales professional, to venture outside the comfort zone of waiting around for someone to stumble onto your website or walk into your brick-and-mortar location. Instead, you’re out in the world engaging consumers with diverse needs, experiences, and pain points. This not only improves your chances of making a sale but also offers learning experiences that can help tweak your overall marketing strategies.
The Benefits of Various Forms of Canvassing
Every medium for canvassing has its own unique advantages. In-person canvassing allows for direct, face-to-face engagement with potential customers. Personal interaction creates a powerful connection, enabling you to understand their needs, answer their questions, and sell them on the unique benefits your product or service offers.
Yet phone canvassing delivers many practical advantages. Although it lacks the personal touch of face-to-face interactions, this form is less time-intensive and allows representatives to reach a larger volume of people.
On the other hand, email canvassing allows for virtually unlimited reach and provides an opportunity to include multimedia materials. You can share photos, infographics, video demonstrations, testimonials and other effective virtual selling tools.
Social media canvassing expands your scope even farther – tapping into networks of contacts and targeting the right audience based on user interests and behavior patterns. Social media platforms also open up possibilities of paid advertising in addition to your organic outreach activities.
Don’t forget that each medium requires a slightly different approach. Adjusting your communication style and pitch to properly suit each format is important. We will dive more deeply into proper canvassing techniques, strategies to connect with potential clients, and handling objections later in this guide.
Developing a Canvassing Strategy
Now that we’ve delved into what canvassing is and its various forms, let’s discuss how you can develop an effective canvassing strategy. This plan works as your roadmap, guiding you through the process while ensuring that your efforts fetch you the desired results.
Identifying and Qualifying Prospects
In the realm of canvassing, a shotgun approach – trying to sell to everyone – often results in wasted time and resources. You must focus on identifying and qualifying prospects to improve your effectiveness. Start by understanding your ideal customer: their needs, wants, pain points, and how your product or service fits in.
Approaching Potential Customers
Once you’ve identified prospective customers, the next step is to approach them. The tone and method of your approach should depend on your understanding of the client and the medium of your communication. In-person and phone canvassing allow for immediate interaction, which requires a confident and friendly behavior.
Email and social media canvassing need to be visually appealing and engaging to stand out and attract the customer’s attention. The message should be clear, concise and centered around the customer’s needs. Personalize wherever possible. People are more likely to respond when they feel that the communication is directed towards them, not a mass audience.
Delivering a Pitch
The next integral part of your canvassing strategy is the sales pitch. Your pitch should be focused on solving the customer’s problems or fulfilling their needs. It should be compelling and engaging enough to spark an interest in your product/service. The pitch should communicate the features and, importantly, the benefits of your product/service.
It’s equally essential to keep your pitch relatively short. You might only have a limited time to get across all the necessary information, especially in person or on phone canvassing. With email and social media, remember that customers are likely to skim through the content, so make sure your most compelling information is presented upfront.
Resistance and objections are part and parcel of the sales process. It’s crucial to be prepared to handle these with grace. The most effective way is to empathize with the customer, validate their concern, and then provide a solution or counterargument to their objection.
If you’re offering the right solution to the right prospect, there will often be ways for you to illustrate how your product’s benefits outweigh their concerns. The key is to keep your response conversational and centered on the prospect’s perspective, not on making a sale.
Following Up With Potential Customers
Once you have delivered your pitch and handled any objections, it’s crucial not to let the connection fade. Following up is an essential part of the canvassing strategy. If you’ve managed to pique a prospect’s interest in your product/service, you need to take the next step to convert this interest into a sale. Following up allows you to address any additional queries, provide more information, or even extend a sample or trial offer to the prospect.
Different methods of follow-ups are better suited to each form of canvassing. For in-person and phone canvassing, a call or even a friendly email can be an effective method. With email and social media canvassing, you should consider using automated tools to send follow-up messages or reminders. Regardless of the means, keep your follow-up engaging, personal, and centered around the prospect’s needs.
Measuring the Success of Your Canvassing Efforts
Finally, you need to benchmark and measure the effectiveness of your canvassing efforts to make informed decisions for your future sales strategies. Keep track of metrics such as the number of prospects reached, responses received, successful conversions, and any noticeable patterns in objections.
Analytics tools are available for email and social media canvassing. In-person and phone canvassing success could be calculated by maintaining a detailed progress record for each prospect. Comparing these metrics over time can help you discern what’s working and what needs to be improved in your canvassing strategy.
To summarize, canvassing is a powerful sales technique that involves identifying and directly approaching potential customers who have no prior knowledge of your product or service. With the right strategy, approach, and follow-up, canvassing can give your business a considerable boost by generating new leads, building relationships with potential customers, and ultimately, converting these leads into sales.
Embrace the art of canvassing, and you’ll soon discover it to be an exciting journey, leading to newer markets, valuable business relationships, and unprecedented business growth. Happy canvassing!