If yours is like most home improvement companies, you have shifted a significant portion of your marketing dollars to face-to-face promotional efforts. You know what I mean: canvassing, mall displays, shows and events or in-store demonstrators stationed in places like Sam's Club, The Home Depot, or Costco.

Companies like face-to-face marketing because it yields a predictable and measurable result, just like telemarketing did before the public got sick of it and the government restricted it. Bodies multiplied by time equals leads. Need 10 on Friday? Fifty next week? Send out a canvassing van, book a booth at the wine-tasting festival, or install your demonstrator in the store for a four-hour shift. Manage these marketers well, and indeed the leads come in.

But face-to-face is also a challenge. And the challenge is ongoing. A big part of it is finding the people who can effectively promote your company and its products ? because not just anyone can. Think about it: your prospect is the homeowner, and homeowners are often people with families, or seniors, singles, or unmarried couples who have made a substantial investment in the space where they live. This person, your marketer, who knocks on the door or engages the homeowner's attention in a store or at a home show or street fair, is typically their initial point of contact with your company. So view these marketers as the human resource they are. You'll need to invest in recruiting and training them, and a major portion of that investment will consist of time ? yours and that of other managers at your company.

Careful selection is critical. You can never make hiring and recruiting foolproof, but by taking a systematic approach, you substantially increase the productivity and profitability of your marketing effort.

Go Where They Go

Now, who would you like to see representing your company? Someone young? Clean-cut? Articulate? Eager? Well-dressed? All of those things, of course. Who would impress you if you heard the doorbell ring or were walking down the aisle of a retail store? Envision it, and build a profile of your type, even a checklist. You don't need to test people for face-to-face marketing positions, but you do need to be completely clear about the kind of people you want representing your company.

Now where do you find them? Make a list of the habits of people like this-where they eat, shop, socialize, congregate-and the venues where they're likely to be found. Prepare your recruiting efforts and the message about your opportunity in such a way that they will not only see it, but will be likely to respond to it. Remember, you are selling them on the position, much like you would sell a homeowner on a product or an appointment.

Here's another question to ask yourself: Do I want to recruit people who are unemployed or do I want those who are already working but are dissatisfied with their current job and looking to try something else, i.e., the underemployed? My guess is you'll want to look for the underemployed. That's where you'll locate people who are hardworking, ambitious, and motivated by money. People like that ? the go-getter, those with the mindset that really likes to work ? are rarely without some kind of job. So, you're unlikely to find them through ads on the Internet or in the newspaper classifieds.

Design your message ? say you put it on a flyer or a Facebook page - to highlight the opportunity for unlimited advancement. Post this message strategically in areas where your target demographic will be certain to see it. Have your employees, colleagues, and people in your social network carry fliers or cards that outline the details of your opportunity. This way they can share them with any potential candidates they come across in their day-to-day interactions with people. You can easily acquire key employees through this type of social networking and, because you're picking and choosing, you're likely to get exactly the sort of people who fit the profile you have constructed.

Don't forget to embrace all the technological resources now available. Websites such as Twitter and LinkedIn are great opportunities to broadcast your message to people who may be underemployed. LinkedIn even offers, in addition to references, information regarding a potential candidate's employment history. This can be valuable in spotting applicants with specific backgrounds or with certain kinds of experience. Sites like Twitter and Facebook can provide you with valuable insights about a candidate's values and social graces. These aspects will be apparent in their personal profiles.

Thoroughly Qualify

Lastly, be sure to qualify your candidates thoroughly before bringing them aboard. So often we fail to complete background checks and check employment references. The extra half hour that that might take will ultimately save you time, money, aggravation, and liability.

You can't be successful at direct marketing without assembling a team of high-quality candidates. But it's not a one-time deal. Once you have your quality team in place, you'll need to continually recruit and train. You'll need to stimulate employee referrals with some kind of incentive. Hardworking, energetic people know similar. Moreover, people like working with their friends or with people to whom they can relate. Greater morale equates to increased production and higher-quality leads, so good luck.

?Consultant Tony Hoty has been a home improvement salesperson and company owner. Reach him at tony@tonyhoty.com or by calling 888.447.3969.