From CEOpedia | Management online

Canvassing is one form of personal selling. Involves direct contact of canvaser (salesman) with potential buyers (customers), whose main goal is to conclude a contract of sale of goods or a contract for a specific service. During canvassing following actions are performed: direct information, propitiation and convincing buyers by the representative of the company (canvasser), closing of sale and purchase of products by the customer.

Canvassing process

Canvassing process is performed sequentially in following phases:

  • Exploration and classification of potential customers and prioritization of choice.

In order to select customer, canvasser use phone books, newspaper ads, business correspondence as well as information collected from suppliers or bankers. After the selection of potential buyers, canvasser determine hierarchy of potential value (probability of closing sale with customer). willingness to buy) using computerized Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Potential customers are divided according to: the potential and willingness to buy.

  • Initial contact - preliminary visit to establish a list of buyers worthy of further effort.

Before the first meeting with the buyer canvasser (salesman) should use all available sources of information to get to know the buyer's preferences, needs and his personality. An important role in this stage plays the right clothes of canvasser, his punctuality and personal culture.

  • Presentation of the product. In this stage canvasser presents a detailed and more general benefits arising from the use of product. Canvasser first try to attract attention to the customer, then his interest, arousing desire for product and finally persuade him to purchase. During the product presentation of the prospective buyer is encouraged to touch and try the product (if possible).

There are three types of presentation: prepared, oriented to the needs of the buyer and formulated, which is a combination of the first and the second type.

  • Execution of presentation, creating interest, answering to the objections, fighting off allegations and stimulating desire.

An important role in this stage play a canvasser. He needs to properly present product, he should not only convincingly speak, but he should listen carefully and watch the reactions of the potential customer. During the presentation between canvasser and the buyer, customer often discuss, when he is not convinced to what is offered to him. Canvasser should skilfully overcome the objections raised by the customer, respect his opinion and get his feedback.

  • Closing the sales, that is, persuading customer to make an order. After discussions and presentation follows the time to complete the transaction. This stage ends up with a purchase - canvasser should pick up and interpret the signals sent from the customer indicating his willingness to termination of and finalize the sale.
  • Checking progress of the order. Canvasser controls the process of the contract fulfilment. He checks compliance of shipped product with the order, and ensures the timely delivery.
  • Following the sale, after the transaction. Last stage of canvassing involves various after sales processes. After the transaction, canvasser maintains the conviction of the buyer, that he has made a good decision.

Canvassing team management

Canvassing (or so called personal seeling) involves managing of the work of canvassers (salesmen) visiting or calling potential customers. Cooperation between canvassers and coordination of their work is the responsibility of the management of the sales department of the company. Managing the sales process in which salesmen spend most of their time in the field is difficult or even impossible, so managers give them large margin of freedom.

Before managers create the organizational structure they should specify the strategic objectives of sales, customer categories and frequency of meetings and tasks of sales team. Equally important is the assumption that the planned structure is specific for sales force and is not based on the existing structure of the company.

Canvassing network preparation

Creating a network of canvassers, management should take into account not only the scope of responsibilities of workers and company policy, but a number of other things, such as:

  • specialization:
    • According to the geographical criterion,
    • According to kinds of goods,
    • According to market segments - business division,
  • the number of intermediaries between the salesman and the leadership.

Canvassers control system

  • when costs of canvassing is covered by company, there is a need for frequent and accurate control as it can lead to the escalation of expenditure
  • when costs of canvassing are included in their commission, the problem of expenses escalation rarely occurs, because salesmen take care of their reduction..

Subject to control are not only the costs, but also the plan of action. Canvassers are required by management to deliver reports, about each journey or periodic. It is also necessary to keep in touch with canvassers to discuss the issues raised in the reports, it increase the employee's sense of the importance and has positive impact on the formation and maintenance of team morale.

Examples of Canvassing

  • Door-to-door sales: This is the most common form of canvassing, where a salesperson visits homes and businesses to offer products or services. The canvasser typically carries a catalogue, brochure or samples to demonstrate the product or service.
  • Telemarketing: Telemarketing is a form of canvassing that involves calling potential customers to promote products and services. Canvassers typically make calls from a call center, using scripts to explain their products to customers.
  • Trade shows: Trade shows are events where manufacturers, retailers and other businesses display their products and services. Canvassers may be present at trade shows to promote their products and services.
  • Street marketing: Street marketing is a form of canvassing that involves going to public places to promote products and services. Canvassers typically hand out leaflets or samples and make presentations to potential customers.
  • Direct mail: Direct mail is a form of canvassing that involves sending promotional materials, such as brochures or catalogues, directly to potential customers. The canvasser typically includes a call to action in the promotional materials to encourage customers to make purchases.

Advantages of Canvassing

Canvassing offers several advantages that are beneficial for companies engaging in this activity. These include:

  • Increased customer awareness of products and services - Canvassing allows for face-to-face interactions with potential customers, which helps to create an emotional connection and build brand trust. This also helps to effectively communicate product features and benefits and answer customer questions.
  • Cost-effectiveness - Canvassing is a low-cost way to promote products and services. It is much cheaper than other marketing activities such as television or radio advertising and does not require large upfront costs.
  • Personalised approach - Canvassing provides the opportunity to tailor the sales pitch to the needs of individual customers. This allows sales representatives to create a more meaningful connection with customers and build relationships that can result in more sales.
  • Easily trackable results - Canvassing allows companies to easily track the results of their efforts. Companies are able to measure the number of leads generated and the number of sales made as a result of canvassing activities. This helps to evaluate the effectiveness of the approach and make necessary changes.

Limitations of Canvassing

Canvassing is a popular form of direct personal selling, however, it has certain limitations:

  • Canvassing requires a lot of effort and time. It takes much time to meet potential customers, present to them the products or services, explain their advantages and convince them to purchase.
  • Canvassing is expensive. Hiring, training and maintaining a team of canvassers is a costly endeavor.
  • Canvassing is not effective for large areas. It is a time-consuming process, and therefore it is suitable for small areas only.
  • Canvassing may be inefficient in certain areas. For example, in some locations, people may be not interested in the products or services that are offered.
  • Canvassing may lead to customer fatigue. If the same products or services are constantly presented to the customers, they may become less interested and eventually stop buying.

Other approaches related to Canvassing

Canvassing is one form of personal selling which involves direct contact between a canvasser (salesman) and potential buyers (customers). Other approaches related to canvassing include:

  • Cold Calling - Cold calling is an effective sales technique in which sales people contact potential customers, usually by telephone, in order to introduce a product or service and to persuade the customer to purchase it.
  • Trade Shows - Trade shows are exhibitions that bring together potential buyers and sellers of products and services in a specific industry. These events allow companies to showcase their products and services while networking with other businesses and potential customers.
  • Direct Mail - Direct mail is a form of marketing that involves sending out physical mailers to potential customers. Direct mail can be used to promote products, services, or special offers.
  • Door-to-Door Canvassing - Door-to-door canvassing is a sales technique in which sales people visit potential customers in their homes or neighborhoods in order to introduce a product or service and to persuade the customer to purchase it.
  • Online Canvassing - Online canvassing involves using digital platforms to reach potential customers. This can include email campaigns, social media marketing, search engine marketing, and more.

Canvassing is an effective form of personal selling used to introduce products and services to potential customers. Other approaches related to canvassing include cold calling, trade shows, direct mail, door-to-door canvassing, and online canvassing. Each approach requires different strategies but all are designed to build relationships with potential customers and persuade them to purchase products and services.

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