Almena Faux is director of the outside sales program at P.J. Fitzpatrick, a roofing, siding, and window company based in New Castle, Del. She discusses direct marketing and the company's canvassing program.

REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR: When did you take over P.J. Fitzpatrick's direct marketing efforts?

ALMENA FAUX: We started outside sales — canvassing and shows/events — in 2005. I was hired in January of 2006 as controller. Shortly after that the president of the company said we were having trouble with outside sales and asked if I could take it over.

RC: What percentage of P.J. Fitzpatrick leads come from those lead sources?

AF: In 2007 we generated $6.7 million, out of $20 million, from outside sales. My department brings in 40% of the leads. Of course, they close at a different rate.

RC: What's your canvassing program like?

AF: I have 65 active canvassers — all part-time. We have a morning crew and two or three crews at night. I have multiple crew leaders and people right under them. Every day I mix and match.

RC: What does it take to successfully manage a canvassing program?

AF: Passion, believing in the company, and giving it 100%. You're going to have problems and you're going to fail and have to try something different.

RC: How long does it take to do get canvassers out there producing leads?

AF: Canvassers are out the day they're hired. They get assistance, but the next day they're on their own.

RC: Are you finding it more difficult to get leads?

AF: Every year I try to figure out new ways. It might be more difficult, but I'm not getting less.

RC: How often do you hire new canvassers and what's the most productive way to find them?

AF: I hire at least one or two a week. I hire young people and I go where they are — schools, malls — and I just walk up and pitch them on the company and ask if they've thought about getting a job.

RC: Are you encountering restrictions on canvassing? How do you manage for that?

AF: In some municipalities you now have to apply for a license. Some are expensive. Your canvassers have to be prepared for what to expect and how to handle it. Many canvass programs are flying by the seat of their pants. They throw them out there and say: Do what you can. My guys are not like that. We methodically track everything, including how to prepare for restrictions.