Tips for First Time Door Knockers

Nicky Dodd, Regional Development Officer for South Central, gives some great tips for first time door knockers…

“Hello there, good evening, my name is Nicky and I’m calling on behalf of your local Liberal Democrat team…”

A key part of winning elections is canvassing electors – asking them how they’re going to vote, and if they will support us. This can be done by either knocking on doors or picking up the phone. With the lighter evenings, summer is the perfect time to get started.

If you’ve never knocked a door before, the thought of doing it can be quite intimidating. The good news is the vast majority of people are happy to have someone to talk to about the issues in their area.

When I first started door knocking, I was convinced someone would ask me a long, hard question regarding Lib Dem national policy. I can honestly say no one ever has! It’s mainly bins, parking and dog mess.

With this in mind, here are my top five tips if it is your first-time door knocking, or if you plan to take someone with you who is a first timer

  1. Any issues or problems we can help you with? Don’t plunge into the conversation asking who the resident is voting for. It’s much better to say we’re in the area seeing if there is anything we can help you with. Follow this up with, “oh by the way, who do you usually support at election time?”
  2. Gently tease out a voting intention if they won’t say. Usually if someone says they initially won’t tell you who they are voting for, you can still try to tease it out of them.
    You: “Oh so is it between us and Labour then?”
    Resident: (angrily) “Oh No! Never Labour! Usually it’s the Conservatives.”
    You will see ‘Won’t say’ as a response on MiniVan, but this is designed for people who cannot tell you how they vote, usually because their job is politically restricted.
  3. Remember to SQUEEZE. If someone says they are voting for a party that isn’t your main opposition remind them that you are the only real alternative and X party can’t win in this area. Would they consider lending their vote to the Lib Dems to keep the main opposition out?
  4. Always offer a calling card. The calling card should have the correct Fair Processing Notice (FPN) for residents’ data on it. Even if the resident declines to take one, always offer it to them. If no one is home, pop one through the door so residents will know you have been.
  5. Always make sure any case work is followed up. Make sure the person who will be doing any case work is aware of anything you have picked up.

And finally, make it fun! After all your hard work, you deserve a treat. Why not head out with the door-knocking team for coffee and cake at the end of you session. It’s a great way to get to know each other a bit better and build up team morale.

Chris Burden says

Sometimes, if people aren't inclined to tell you how they stand politically, you can ask:
"In the past, have you ever voted for the Liberal Democrats .."
If they say 'Yes', that's the ice broken, a good place to start a conversation. If they say 'No' or 'Never', it's a sure indicator that there is work to do and you have to judge if they might be persuadable. If not, then politely finish the conversation but on a positive, open note - They may have a think and change a long-standing habit.

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