Pinnacle Energy, in Maryland and Delaware, has always canvassed. Owner Carlo Pinto started his business as a canvasser, and the majority of the company's leads come from the six to eight canvassing crews it runs. P.J. Fitzpatrick, in Delaware and Pennsylvania, had not canvassed until 2004. Today the company's canvass operation is a major lead producer. And, unlike many companies, P.J. Fitzpatrick got its canvassing operation up and running the first time out.

THE RIGHT STUFF So what's it take to make your canvassing effort successful? “Be passionate and persistent,” says Almena Faux, who manages outside events for P.J. Fitzpatrick and worked on launching the company's canvass program with help from Chicago consultant Chuck Anton. P.J. Fitzpatrick started with six canvassers and grew, and Faux says the program needs hands-on management attention and always will. “We role-play every day,” she says and stresses the need to have a system in place before canvassing begins. Canvassers should be scripted, and someone at the office should be prepared to handle any leads generated.

Chris Thompson, who operates Canvass King, a consulting company, says that having a program in place for continuous recruiting is key to keeping your canvassing effort productive and on-track. “Once you know how to recruit out of colleges,” he says, “you'll have an unlimited number of people to work for you.”


  • Decide if you want canvassers to represent one, several, or all of your products.
  • Know the neighborhoods you're going to work, and obtain necessary permissions.
  • Outfit canvassers in a uniform.
  • Pay canvassers by the hour and bonus them for confirmed appointments.
  • Offer daily, weekly, and monthly incentives to keep morale high.
  • Have a phone-room or other admin employee ready to process the lead.
  • Use leave-behinds. Thompson suggests three things: an appointment reminder, a packet that includes your company's credentials and awards, and information about financing and discount programs.
  • Manage your canvassing operation, or the person managing your canvassing operation, every day. “This has to be an ongoing part of your business culture,” Anton says.