The Lead Handoff in Canvassing: How to Identify & Correct a Low Show Rate (Part 3)

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Part 3: How to Identify & Correct a Low Show Rate

Canvassers play a critical role in your organization as they’re responsible for making sure sales reps have a calendar full of appointments with qualified prospects to go to on a daily basis. You’ve spent time training them on best practices and developed their pitch to be perfect. Once they actually set an appointment and get a lead, the real fun is just beginning.

The handoff process from canvasser to sales rep can often be a lengthy one for many door to door companies. Sure your business already has a way of doing things, but is it the most effective or can it be improved?

Your process is the first place you want to look if you’re not having as many leads show up to their appointment as you expect.

Low show rates have a variety of negative effects on your business, ranging from poor attitudes among sales reps to a decrease in profit margin for the company. Follow these steps to ensure a high show rate and give your sales reps as many at-bats as possible.

How to Identify Show Rates

1. Check your Dashboard

This may seem like the obvious answer, but it goes beyond just looking at your current show rate. You’re looking for the number of appointments set vs the number of appointments showed. You want to compare your current rate to the last 3, 6 and 12 month benchmarks.

You should also be looking for any holes or leads that have slipped through the cracks. One of the most common reasons for a low show rate lies on the shoulders of sales reps. They often have preconceived notions about the appointments set for them due to a variety of factors like the location or look of the house.

Create a custom historical report to verify that sales reps are actually working the leads they get from canvassers. This will be one of your most powerful tools to not only track your appointment show rate, but also make sure you’re not wasting money by giving appointments to sales reps who won’t work their most valuable leads thoroughly.

2. Spot & Recognize Trends

Certain times of the year will yield more appointments being set, while others will see fewer. This may have a direct correlation with your show rate. You may actually have a lower show rate when you have more appointments being set because sales reps are investing less time into each appointment prior to the scheduled time.

Other trends like seasonality, location and canvasser experience can have a significant impact as well. It could mean you come to expect your show rate to dip to a certain percentage when you bring on new people, or you recognize that you’ll have less appointments with a higher show rate in the fall and winter months because home owners have more going on during the summer.

The trends that affect your show rate aren’t as important as you being able to recognize, anticipate and implement a plan to overcome them.

3. Talk with Canvassers & Read Notes

If your show rates aren’t measuring up, start reading through the notes that canvassers are adding to the lead for the sales rep. A lack of notes, or a lack of details in those notes, likely means the canvasser failed to deliver the quality and value in the conversation.

If the canvasser doesn’t add notes, he/she also probably did a poor job of qualifying the prospect. The same can be said about having a conversation with the canvasser. By speaking with them directly, you’ll be able to determine their level of confidence in the prospect and the appointment.

If a canvasser can’t provide you with pertinent information about the conversation, like the customer’s main pain point or something they were really interested in, there shouldn’t be much hope in the appointment showing. This could be a key indication of a low show rate.

4. Evaluate Closing Percentages & Win Rate

First, determine each sales rep’s closing percentage and win rate. This information will be automatically calculated on the dashboard of your sales tracking software. Most of the salespeople on your team should be fairly consistent.

Whether they’re good or bad is irrelevant, as long as they’re consistently good or bad. If these metrics start to decline for multiple sales reps, this could be a sign there’s little interest from the prospect and that these appointments shouldn’t have been booked in the first place. It could also give you the insight you need to understand where canvassers need the most help and coaching.

How to Correct a Low Show Rate

1. Do your Part

The leadership of your organization plays a key role in improving low show rates. Sales managers should constantly be monitoring the lead handoff process and making adjustments to make it as smooth and efficient as possible. You have to understand the importance of a sales process in door to door sales.

If you’re experiencing a low show rate, read through the notes added by the canvasser and make a determination on whether or not you think the appointment should have been set, and whether or not it will show. There’s no reason to send your best sales rep to an appointment you don’t believe will show up and waste their time.

Managers should also be confirming with the sales rep that they received the appointment, and are clear on the notes from the canvasser. If there’s a page worth of notes that don’t make sense, there’s no benefit for the sales rep.

The whole goal is to provide them with as much information as possible. Sometimes you have to help in this process; it could mean all the difference.

2. A/B Test New Strategies

Innovation is an essential aspect of any business, especially in sales. For organizations struggling to get prospects to stick to their appointments, try A/B testing different strategies to get people to commit to their word. There’s plenty of techniques at your disposal to try.

It could be a situation where canvassers need to build more value during their lockdown, or you may need to change the approach sales reps use to contact customers prior to the appointment. The possibilities are endless.

If you’re unsure, try asking customers for feedback. Take the initiative yourself to personally call a few customers who have recently made a purchase from your sales reps. Be vulnerable, humble and sincere, and ask them about the experience they had and what they would change to make it better.

3. Canvasser SPIFFs

SPIFFs, in general, are a great strategy to incentivize salespeople to accomplish something. The most important thing to know about SPIFFs is that they can’t be used every single month. They also can’t be the exact same month after month.

Try running a SPIFF that rewards the canvasser with the highest show rate for the month a $750 cash bonus. Do you think you’ll get the best out of them now? Sure, it may be a hefty price tag to pay out, but you have to look at it as an investment. By having all of your canvassers only set appointments they think will show, you’ll likely increase the quality of appointments being set – giving sales reps a better opportunity to close.

Once the SPIFF is over, ask the canvassers with the highest show rates about the strategies and techniques they utilized to have success. You can now implement these across the entire team. Think about it… If you’re able to learn what works and can improve each canvasser’s show rate by 10% – 20% per month, that will significantly increase the number of deals your sales reps put through.

This is true even if their closing percentage remains the same. The ROI you’ll see from a one-time investment drastically outweighs the cost of the SPIFF.

4. Reward Sales Reps / Create Hierarchy

Obviously, you should want your sales reps with the best closing percentage to have the most opportunities. There should be some correlation between their effort to get the appointment to show and their closing percentage. While the canvasser sets the appointment, it’s the sales reps who are selling the product at that appointment.

They’re not selling the service, product or company at this point, they’re simply selling the appointment. A rep who gets buy-in from the customer to show up for the appointment, has a higher chance of making the sale. Reward their efforts for getting clients to the appointment by giving them more “canvassed leads.”

You can create a tiered position that has senior and junior sales reps, where only senior reps get canvassed appointments, instead of everybody being equal.

You can distribute a certain number of appointments to the best sales reps first or have a weighted system where your top reps get 3 appointments for every 1 appointment other reps get.

Create a process for whichever strategy you feel is best.

Want more? Check out the other installments in this series below

The Lead Handoff in Canvassing: Part 1 – The Handoff Process from Canvasser to Sales Rep

The Lead Handoff in Canvassing: Part 2 – Ensuring a High Show Rate


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