Important note: Canvassing can be used to market life insurance, but NOT Medicare Advantage. The Medicare Marketing Guidelines prohibit canvassing for any Medicare Advantage product.
As a young child, a rainy Saturday afternoon would have me sitting in front of the television (before cable!) with four programming choices: CBS, NBC, ABC and PBS. “Sesame Street” would just be signing off and Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting.” would come on. He would stand in front of a blank canvas and say, “What do I see today? A happy little tree could go right here or a singing bird would go perfect there.”
Depending on your age and industry, canvassing can be called door-knocking, soliciting, clover-leafing, hot-knocking, cold-calling and gold-calling. The more contemporary names are grassroots and community-based outreach and B2B marketing. Just remember that if you’re a senior insurance advisor selling Medicare Advantage, canvassing — no matter what it’s called — is not allowed by CMS.
For sales professionals like senior insurance advisors selling life products, canvassing boils down to you meeting a stranger, engaging them in a conversation about your business or product and anticipating that interaction evolves into a sale.
When you hear it said like that, no wonder most sales people turn up their nose at it. But there is one thing you need to know before you get a nose bleed: Canvassing works! Let me give you an example:
While I was in college I needed money. I needed a flexible schedule and a chance to make $10-$15 an hour. One day I saw an ad on the corner of Georgia Tech and North Avenue: College Students! Earn $10-$15 an hour! Flexible Schedule Call Today!
I had no idea of the product or where we were going, but when this manager smiled and said, “It’s going to be a great day,” something inside me said, “Yes, I agree!”
I left my car at the office and drove with the manager to a less than desirable part of town. She had nerves of steel as she went door to door with an attaché case. I had no idea what was inside.
“Is the lady of the house in today?” she would say if a man answered the door. If his answer was “no” then she hit another speed, “As I am sure you treat your woman like a queen, what I have today would be perfect for the person in your life.”
She took a velvet bag out of the attaché and pulled out an exotic bottle of perfume. She sprayed a light mist in her direction. She then stepped closer to the man as the door opened wider and she tilted her head to the side and back to give him a whiff of her neck. “Smells amazing, doesn’t it?” she asked.
Here are her results from 6 hours of doing this:
- 200 knocks (she put tic marks on a page),
- 40 people answering (she tic marked that too!)
- She sold 9 bottles at $25 each
- Her cost was $6 a bottle
- Daily profit of $171 cash, making an hourly rate of $28.50