Sales canvassing is a sales process where you get in touch with potential customers that have never heard about your brand. Examples of sales canvassing are door-to-door sales and cold calling.
Those are critical strategies as they might be an inexpensive and sustainable way to generate qualified leads without having to rely on sales consultants or expensive lists. However, to be successful, the process of sales canvassing needs to be structured.
Why sales canvassing matter?
As many new startups operate in the digital space, it is easy to assume that old sales techniques are also outdated. Thus, we all like to speak about marketing funnels, automation and multiple touch points.
However, any business to be sustainable needs a continuous stream of leads; and in many cases this implies cold calling or approaching people that never heard of you before. Indeed, unless you have a massive marketing budget that you can use to grow your brand quickly.
In most other cases you need a sales force that can venture in the world and create contacts with customers that don’t have a clue about you.
However, to make the sales efforts effective you’ll need to make sure your sales force has a plan, a strategy and a process to follow.
That is what sales canvassing is about. That is a process through which salespeople can have consistent results nonetheless of the single outcome.
When you make the sales canvassing process yours, that is when your company can become sustainable in the long run as you won’t need to depend on other companies to provide you with a consistent stream of leads, you’ll be able to generate them on your own.
Also, you’ll be able to grow a sales department able to create new opportunities independently from the marketing department.
That doesn’t mean you’ll need only sales canvassing. In many cases, having multiple touch points with a potential customer via proper marketing strategies is a good strategy as it makes it way more comfortable for your salesforce to close a complex deal.
In other cases, though it is also critical to have an independent sales force able to open up new opportunities, primarily when your brand isn’t yet established.
So what steps do you need for your salesforce to take advantage of sales canvassing? Some key ingredients are:
- Have sales force once understand the product/service and its strenght and unicity
- Make sure your sales force understands what problem your product or service solves
- Have them set clear targets and share them with the rest of the team
- Make the clear to your sales force
- Prepare scripts and speaking points but let them be flexible enough to handle a complex conversation
- Get them ready to be rejected
- Rejection as a key to the learning process
- Focus on a single channel but leverage on several media
Understanding the strength and unicity of the product/service
When a salesperson ventures to bring in customers that never heard of your brand before, it becomes critical that the sales force is very knowledgeable about the product and service and they can explain it in the simplest terms.
Focus on the problem and payoff
When approaching someone that never heard about your brand, why even focus on explaining who you are. Instead, focus on their issue and what solution you have for them.
They need a short term pay off. Find out what is the payoff and struggle your potential customer has and propose a solution. That is when you’ll listen.
Set a target customer
During sales canvassing it is critical to have a laser focus. You need a list of contacts, but it makes sense to start from a profile that fits best the profile of existing customers your company has.
Indeed, when approaching a customer that never heard about your brand, you’ll need to understand what problem you can solve. But she/he won’t trust you can answer it unless you show case studies that resemble the situation they are in.
When you can tell a business owner you’ve already helped someone in a similar situation it’s easier to trust you even if they never heard of your brand.
When you take the time to understand the problem, propose a solution and show a similar case study that is when sales canvassing becomes way more effective.
Have a script but leave it open
Many salespeople like to use scripts. Scripts are prepackaged dialogues usually drawn by old conversations with existing customers. While scripts are a good starting point, you need to be flexible.
Indeed, with sales canvassing, you’ll deal with people that never heard about your brand and your company. Would it make sense to engage in a dialogue you had with a client that already knew you? Not really.
Rejection is part of the process
During sales canvassing the risk of being rejected is exceptionally high. It is critical to allow your sales force to understand that is not something personal, but rather that is part of the process. Rejection is what makes them more effective.
Focus on a single channel but leverage on several media
During sales canvassing, it is important to focus on a single channel. Therefore, if your preferred way is telemarketing, you’ll use the phone. However, not all customers like to be reached by phone.
In that scenario, you’ll need to learn how to use several channels, from social media to emails. The important thing is to be able to generate a conversation for long enough that the person, on the other hand, trusts you can bring an actual value. When you get there, you won.
Examples of sales canvassing
Sales canvassing can be done in several ways, like:
- direct mail
- introductory sales letters
Whatever medium you choose it is critical to have a process, with clear objectives, which is repeatable and where rejection is part of the learning process.
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- Marketing vs. Sales: How to Use Sales Processes to Grow Your Business
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