The Joy of Canvassing: Be confident when prospecting life insurance

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.” 

Joy of Canvassing
His soft-spoken “don’t worry, be happy” demeanor belied his military background and was part of the charm of the show. At the end of 30 minutes, there would be an amazing scene that evolved right before your eyes from a blank canvas.  He believed you could do the same if you could find your happy place.
Pardon my pun here: Prospecting is also an art because it starts with a blank canvas.
Canvassing is basic. Primal even. To be good at it you have to find your happy place because it is hard work (that actually does work! More on that below). 

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!

 My prayers were answered! I went for the interview and they told me I fit the profile: young, good-looking and energetic (Just telling you what I was told!). I was partnered with an extremely attractive female manager who took me out in the field and showed me the ropes.

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
What lessons can be learned from my experience? You could say that sex sells — and it does — but this was not that simple. You could say men buy from beautiful women, and they do, but many men said “no,” and only some women  said “yes” to my manager.  She was neither overt nor acting with poor taste — she just exuded a confidence that I had never seen before or since.
The real lesson I have for you today is that canvassing works when you work it with boldness and confidence. Your approach to the sales process is built to not only your product, but your personality as well. To be truly effective you must find your happy place and embrace what I’ll call the Joy of Canvassing!
Want to get more confident with the Joy of Canvassing? We can help you with this! Call RBI today at 1-800-997-3107 for help on canvassing and other great community marketing ideas.  Click here to watch our recorded webinar on “Marketing for Success.”