For a business to be successful, its managers need to apply the most cost-effective methods to grow its top-line sales while keeping a firm control on costs. This is easier said than done.

Due to the highly transactional and volume-based nature of the lawn care industry, carefully controlling marketing and sales budgets while on the never-ending search to find marketing methods with the highest ROI is even more important.

Telemarketing is one cost-effective method for selling to large volumes of customers in a short period of time. Unfortunately, in 2004 the federal government started to strictly enforce the DNC (Do Not Call) laws and it became increasingly difficult to telemarket effectively. As phone numbers began to dry up and homeowners shifted to mobile phones, modifying sales strategies became the only way to succeed.

Even though the channels and means of lead generation have changed, the buying behavior for lawn care has remained the same. We had to find a way to contact our younger consumers on their primary cellphones or emails, since older customers became the only people picking up their home phones. For us, door-to-door canvasing became the most practical solution to get over this hurdle. By canvasing door to door, we are able to acquire valuable data from our sales prospects (cellphones and emails), which has given us the ability to market and sell to them in the future.

Even if you aren’t able to close new sales at a prospect’s front door, you will have succeeded in getting around the tricky DNC laws and acquiring the necessary data needed from sales prospects in order to close new sales on the telephone in the future. You will have basically killed two birds with one stone: first, you have generated a lead that you can now legally telemarket and, second, you have acquired valuable data from the client (mobile phone number and email), which can dramatically increase your likelihood of closing them in the near future via telephone.

Here is a quick checklist to refer to prior to launching your door-to-door sales campaign.

1. Recruiting and training.

Start the recruiting process in January so you’re adequately staffed by early spring when you launch your door-to-door program. This will give you the time needed to train new door-to-door sales professionals in order to start canvasing targeted neighborhoods by the spring sales rush.

2. Systems.

Clearly lay out systems and procedures that allow your door-to-door sales team to operate efficiently and smoothly. Train your sales managers on these systems so they can implement them during your busiest time of the year.

These systems should include a clear schedule of hours your employees will be working, guidelines on issuing vehicles, equipment, marketing literature (such as door hangers) and any other tools necessary to set your team up for success. The more organized you are, the more time your team will have to knock on doors rather than put out fires.

3. Goals and standards.

Post clear goals at your office accompanied with standards to set the correct expectations for your team.

This should include the number of prospects that your team should contact per afternoon/evening, the amount of distance covered and exact locations you want to target with your canvasing, the number of leads that should be generated per shift per employee, and the number of actual sales that you expect your sales team to close each day.

4. Schedule.

Design a sales schedule defining the months that your team will be canvasing neighborhoods door to door along with a marketing and sales budget. We solicited new lawn care programs to prospects from March to May, for instance. Our sales team worked six days per week: Monday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

5. Licensing.

Your outside sales team should be properly registered in each town in order to attain their hawker’s license. All sales professionals wore a registered name tag/license with the SmartLawn logo and name on it in order to project a professional and safe image to the prospects. Additionally, team members must be professionally dressed in a clean uniform to reflect the image you want to convey to your target market. The people you employ for this job are going to be representing your entire company and, in many cases, making the first impression on prospects. Lastly, they will most likely be invited into these people’s homes if the sales presentation goes well, so you want to create a safe and comfortable environment for both parties involved.

6. Software tools.

Providing your team with excellent handheld technology such as a remote CRM platform and GPS devices can increase your campaign’s chances of success. These tools will assist your employees in creating efficient routing so they can have the most productive day possible, which will increase the amount of contacts made per shift. The proper technology will also allow your team to track their entire day in order for them to check on the progress they are making with sales and contacts. By using the correct handheld technology you will also be able to remotely store all of the lawn sizes and pricing that your team quotes, so if they don’t close the sale at the point of contact, they can save this data and market and sell to these prospects at a later date.