Real estate is not a get rich quick scheme. It is a highly competitive, cutthroat industry which only rewards the agents who hustle and think ahead. Some agents whine and whine about “oversaturated market”, “exclusive rights”, and “bad market” but refuse to break out of their own comfort zone. Then there are also those outstanding professionals who don’t hide behind excuses but carve their own path to success.
There is no substitute for hard work, especially in real estate. You reap what you sow and in this blog we will talk about planting those “tiny seeds” in your market which can help you generate a lot of listings. Yes, we will talk about real estate door knocking, that old fashioned prospecting technique that’s often underestimated.
Door Knocking – The Old School Prospecting Technique
One of the top reasons why people love real estate is that they are in control of how much money they want to make.
As an agent, your business depends on how many people you know and how many people know you.
Door knocking might not seem like much and might also be ridiculed by some agents as “grandpa technique” but it’s something that really sets an agent apart from the competition. You are NOT a common salesperson going door to door, you are building relationships within your community, you are welcoming new people who just moved into the neighborhood, you are inviting people to open houses, and there is no better way to gain a person’s trust and business than through face-to-face networking. Through door knocking, your customers get to “experience” you, they see you as a person who wants to help.
Door-knocking is an incredible prospecting strategy which requires a lot of hard work but can be incredibly rewarding, especially in long-term. Believe me, your clients don’t want to hire a lazy bum. They want to hire an agent who is active, energetic, and persistent.
“Each listing you get through door knocking can help you get 1-3 more additional transactions. Listings are a sign of credibility. They show that you are the agent to go to for selling or buying a house. Other sellers will approach you.”
Benefits of Door Knocking
Take 30 seconds and quickly think about all the ways you can promote your real estate business. Now think about all the ones which are free. Real Estate Door knocking, my friend, is free and there is no limit on how much you can do it.
You my friend is in charge of the business you can get from door knocking! You control how much you want to door knock, you decide how important the next listing is to you.
There is no better way for new real estate agents to find business than door knocking. You don’t need to spend any marketing dollars to talk to people; you get to pick the area to door knock, and you start laying the foundation for your business by building relationships.
Here are some of the benefits of door knocking that other forms of marketing don’t have:
- You don’t have to spend any money.
- You get to exercise for free.
- You don’t need anything to start door knocking. You can start today, right now!
- You build real connections.
- Rejections won’t be as bad as you would get through cold-calling.
- You will get more exposure in your market
- You can expand your sphere of influence or SOI
Is Door Knocking Worth It?
If you are a competent agent and sincerely want to help your clients, then door knocking can get you 10 to 20 listings per year. In addition to that, each listing basically has the potential to give you 2-3 more transactions. If someone is selling their house, then they would also be searching for a new house as well. If they are happy with your services, they might refer one of their friends, family or colleagues to you because you touched them with your professionalism and sincerity. That means if you got 10 listings from door knocking in 1st then you have 20 more potential side transactions that you can get through those listings. These side transactions are only going to compound over the years. If everything goes well, you will get more transactions in the 2nd year of door knocking in your real estate market.
“It’s important to note that door knocking doesn’t generate listing appointments. You generate leads through door-knocking. It’s the follow-up calls which will get you listing appointments.”
Types of Real Estate Door Knocking
There are two main types of door knocking in real estate:
Continuous or Serial Door Knocking:
Continuous door knocking is like ‘hit and trial’. You keep knocking on doors down without the intention of knocking on the same doors again. You can actually knock doors outside your farming area because you are not doing this to build long lasting relationships, you’re doing this to “find” your next listing. On an average, you have to knock more than a thousand doors to get a listing. This approach is all about numbers, you knock as many doors as possible hoping to generate warm leads.
Think of it as a treasure hunt. There are always listings in an area, you just have to talk to the right people.
Farming Door Knocking
In real estate, you reap what you sow. Yes, I am repeating this again because it’s something you need to remember. In farming door knocking, the objective is building great relationships with the people in your farm. You want to stay on top of their mind as a real estate agent so when they or someone in their circle is considering buying or selling a property, they call you. There are a lot of things you can do to nurture your real estate farm like giveaways, direct mail, newsletters, call followups, and online marketing campaigns but real relationships are built face to face. In that way, door knocking not only helps you stay in touch with the community but also nurture those leads through helpful conversations.
Setting Your Door Knocking Goals
Before you get too excited and head out to start knocking doors, you need to set your goals, especially if you are a new in real estate industry.
The rule of thumb to calculate the number of listings you will generate through door knocking is this. Your listing presentations will be equal to twice the number of people you talk to on daily basis, 5 days a week, throughout the year.
The higher the amount you set for yourself, the more effort it will require from you to achieve. But, the effort you put in equals the amount of business you are going to get in a week, month, or a year. And, slowly and gradually you will WIN the race.
Let’s take an example. Ava Claire is a new real estate agent who is really passionate about helping buyers and sellers in her community. She is also ambitious and wants to close 15 listings in the first year of her career and 25 in the next! She did some door knocking in her farming area and found out that she gets to talk to almost 25% of the total doors knocked.
Let’s calculate the number of doors she has to knock each day:
Our ambitious Ava has to knock on 100 doors per day to get the listings she wants. On an average, it can take upto 3 hours to do that. Although according to calculations Ava has to knock on 166 doors next year but it probably will be a lot less as she will be able to get more listings and referrals from her farming area as she continues nurturing her farm.
Agents should always consider the 1st year of door knocking as an investment in their career, it’s laying a solid foundation for the house before actual construction starts.
Picking Your Farming Area
Picking the right farming area is very important for effective real estate door knocking. You need to carefully evaluate your options because some areas will be more suitable to farm and door-knock than others. Here’s a short blog on “5 Easy Steps To Picking The Right Real Estate Farming Area” which will help you understand the factors and calculations that you need to take into consideration before picking your farming area.
Approaching Door Knocking With Right Mindset
If you have never door knocked before, then pay attention. We will talk about how you can get started with the right strategy and mindset so you can get more listings.
Just Do It!
You probably have seen the hilarious motivational rant by Shia LaBeouf. If you haven’t, spend a couple of minutes watching it, I promise you some solid entertainment! Although the speech itself is hilarious, the core message of “just do it” is spot on. We make excuses everyday for things we don’t want to do. Agents have tons of excuses NOT to door knock. Here are some of the common excuses (lies) that agents tell themselves so they don’t have to doorknock:
- “I am shy, I don’t have the right personality to door knock!”
- “I don’t have any giveaways!”
- “I don’t think this will work”
- “I hate dogs”
- “But I can’t walk that much!”
- “I don’t want to be rejected”
Listen, all of this is in your head. If you really want a listing, then you won’t care about all of the excuses. Be true to yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and “just do it”.
Believe In What You Are Doing
I will be honest with you. Door knocking isn’t for everyone. It will work for some agents and it won’t work for others. There are agents who swear that they are successful in their markets because they door knock. There are others who disdain it and consider it a “common door-to-door salesperson approach”. As a new agent, it’s easy to be swayed by opinions of others. If a top producing agent in your brokerage tells you that “door-knock sucks”, then you will start looking down on door knocking as well.
Here’s the truth!
The success of any endeavour is determined by your mindset. If you believe in what you are doing, it will work. Door knocking doesn’t work for real estate agents who don’t believe in it. They simply don’t have the energy or confidence to make it work.
“For successful door knocking, you need to be persistent, enthusiastic, and believe in what you are doing!”
Let me help you think of this another way. When you knock on a door, you are not selling a product. You are building a relationship, hopefully one which will last for years to come. You are introducing yourself as an agent and planting a “seed” which you hope will sprout into a tree one day. You become part of the community you live with. If you think of yourself as just any salesperson trying to unload a product, then that’s who you are. However, if you think of yourself as someone who loves having fun conversations, meeting new people, and sincerely helping them, then that’s the mindset you need for successful door knocking.
This is what makes you different from just another pushy salesperson!
Instant Gratification vs Delayed Gratification
We humans are guilty of trying to find shortcuts in every aspect of life. It’s in our nature. We want to get the most with the least amount of effort and as quickly as possible.
One of the top reasons agents stay away from knocking doors in their real estate market is that it won’t give you instant results. It’s like finding a buried treasure, you don’t know if you will find it or not. It’s a long-term strategy which starts showing good results AFTER 6 months of effort. You won’t get instant gratification (unless you get lucky and get a listing after knocking 5 doors which is great!).
The “Stanford Marshmallow Experiments” were a series of tests conducted by Stanford University. In these experiments, a child was offered a choice. They could eat one marshmallow now, or they could wait for 15 minutes and will get two marshmallows. The study showed that the children who were patient and waited for two marshmallows were more successful in studies, health, and overall life.
Door knocking is just like that, you won’t get results instantly. You will have to wait, be patient, and be persistent. Believe in the power of delayed gratification, it works.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan
The Fear of Rejection
Let’s talk about the biggest reason why agents stay away from door knocking which is the fear of rejection. What if they say “no”? What if they are rude? What if they insult me? We fear these “what if’s” so much that we would rather not prospect at all.
Fear of rejection is just like all the other phobias that you have heard of. Some people are scared of heights, some fear water, and some fear insects. Fear itself is a “feeling”, it’s a defensive mechanism that protect us from “unpleasantness”. When you get rejected, you feel bad and the trick to “bypass” this defense mechanism is to focus on the good things rather than the bad. Most of the people that you will talk to during your door to door knocking will NOT reject you. They might say “no” but they will still be polite to you. Some would be really friendly. There will only be a few cases in which you have a rude encounter (Which is quite rare and in most of the cases it’s due their experience with past agents who haven’t provided them with enough value).
If you are a new agent, then you should know your door knocking scripts and just start knocking. That’s the best way to overcome the fear of rejection and overcoming this fear is crucial to your success as an agent.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
In a way, rejection is “redirection”. The people who reject you won’t be your customers so it’s good that they said “no”. That way you can concentrate on the leads that matter and aren’t stuck with “dead leads”. Door knocking is hard work and there will be plenty of rejections. The trick is not to focus on bad encounters but the good ones.
Getting Ready To Knock Some Doors
Now that we have got the excuses and the fear of rejection out of the way, it’s time to get into the details of door knocking. There is a lot of confusion, especially among new agents, on how to get started. You need to showcase yourself as a confident and knowledgeable agent. If you don’t know what to say, if you don’t know which questions to ask, if you don’t have the right giveaways, and if you are not “ready” for different outcomes, then you won’t get those sweet sweet listings.
Here are a few tips which will help you do that:
Let’s talk about dressing.
Your dressing plays a HUGE role in how you are perceived. Dress badly and the people might mistake you for a homeless person. When door knocking, wear something that resonates with the people living in your area. When you are door knocking, make sure to dress professionally but don’t overdo it. For example, the only time you should be in a suit is if you are dealing with luxury clientele. It’s important to look the part to get business from luxury clients.
Before I go any farther, I would warn you to not over-scent yourself by pouring half of the bottle of deodorant on your clothes as some people have allergies to scent.
Men should go for business casual attire. Dressing in a full suit would be an overkill in most markets. In colder weather, men can go for jeans or slacks with a sports jacket or a sweater. Make sure that shirt is tucked in. You want to look professional but be comfortable as well.
In summer, you can go for casual slacks and a polo shirt or a dress shirt. You want to seem friendly and approachable. Make sure your shoes are comfortable and go well with you overall attire.
Knocking on a 100 doors is no easy task ladies, you need to dress keeping comfort in mind. Avoid sexy at all costs, that means no revealing or skin tight clothing. Yes, that means no cleavage, no short skirts, or tight jeans. You need to look like a professional real estate agent, not a hooker.
At the same time, you don’t want to look like a tent with baggy clothing. Keep your makeup and jewellery as simple as possible. No fancy jewelry, that you can make you look salesy and a target for criminals in that area.
In summer, you can wear light slacks or capri pants with classy shirts. You can’t dress too modest either, you need to look like a confident strong woman. In winter, you can go for layer up and take off your coat or jacket if it’s too warm. If you work with luxury clientele, investing in a good charcoal, black, or navy suit is a must.
Practice Your Door-Knocking Scripts:
“Knowing what to say and how to say it is crucial for success in real estate.”
This is the most important part of the entire door knocking process. You are standing in front of their door, their dog is barking nonstop, and you have no idea what you are doing to say or do next. As they open the door, you fumble up your introduction and suddenly ask them for their business.
That’s where you lose their interest and their business!
That’s why, it’s so important to practice your door knocking scripts beforehand. You need to know them like the back of your hand. If you know what to say and how to say it, then you will be able to earn their trust and get more listings. One important thing to remember is that you don’t want to sound like a robot. Be absolutely you & yourself!
As an agent, you have to “pitch” your business to people to make money. Real estate door knocking gives you an incredible opportunity to do that to hundreds of people without any cost so you can build confidence, learn how to deal with objections, and refine your pitch.
We have written a detailed blog on door knocking scripts, common objections, and how to overcome them. You can go through these and practice your verbal skills to get more business. Our WorkoutScripts module also gives you thousands of scripts that you can practice online so you know what to say and how to say it. Your conversation WILL go off the scripts so if you have a sense of humor, use it and make sure to smile! Keep your body relax and act normal.
“70% of the communication is body language, 23% is voice tone, and only 7% is your spoken words!.”
Also, during these conversations you might have to talk about numbers. How is the market? What is the average house price in a particular neighborhood? How much would that particular house sell for if listing?
Agents, numbers are your best friends!
Nobody would pay you 5-6% of their hard-earned equity for nothing. Get comfortable with numbers and learn how to use them during conversations.
Best Times To Knock Doors
You don’t want to knock on someone’s door when nobody is there. To maximize the results from your door knocking efforts, door knock in the evenings around 5:00 PM or 6:00 PM or on Saturday morning but not too early morning as most people would be asleep. That’s the time when most people will be at home and patiently listen to what you have to say. You can test the times and the results in your farming area. Sometimes you can also door knock in the mornings and talk to housewives who can probably provide you with a lot of information on neighborhood and might even refer someone to you.
Holidays are a phenomenal time to door knock. Everyone is at home, you have a greeting, and you can customize your giveaways according to that holiday. However, be respectful of their time and if they don’t feel comfortable having conversation with you, back off.
Bring Your Business Card & Giveaways
Giveaways are a crucial part of door knocking process. If you are serious about door knocking, get some flyers printed. Attach your business card with those. When you knock and talk, hand out one flyer with your contact information. If you are looking to build a long lasting relationship with these leads, bring some good giveaways like flower seeds in spring, calendars, newsletters, halloween pumpkins, fridge magnets, etc. Be creative and be different.
You can also “leverage” door knocking to support your other real estate activities. For example, if you just won a listing, create a flyer and distribute it. Ask people if they know someone who would be interested in moving to this neighborhood. You can also organize an open house, create a flyer and promote it through door knocking. If you have just sold a property for a great price, use that to build credibility!
Managing Your Leads
You should always have a pen and a notepad to keep track of your leads! When you had a good conversation with someone, note down their name, email address, and phone number on notepad. Add some comments as well because after knocking a hundred or so doors, it’s easy to lose track of what happened. You can classify your leads into three categories:
Hot Leads – People who are likely to sell their property in the next few weeks or buy one.
Warm Leads – These leads aren’t ready to sell immediately but might sell in the next 2 years.
Cold Leads – You are not sure about these leads. You need to reach out to them again. It’s a NURTURE & FOLLOW-UP game!
Referrals – These are people who were referred to you during your door knocking activities. You need to follow up with them immediately.
Make sure you add all these leads in your CRM and add details of your conversation as comments. This will help you not only build a solid database of leads overtime but also make it easy for you to follow up with them in the future.
Door knocking might surprise you and give you a listing right off the bat. For example, someone might already be thinking of selling their house and moving to another area. Or there might have been a family death because of which the home is getting sold. It can be a divorce sale or it can be a vacant house which you can sell if you reach out to the owner.
Make Sure To Follow-Up
“Door knocking generates leads. Followups generate listings.”
Your hours of door knocking effort would go down the drain if you don’t follow up. Make sure you set up reminders for follow-up calls, plan nurturing campaigns for the leads that you generated through door knocking, and stay on top of them. If you have a real estate assistant or an Inside Sales Agent (ISA), you can delegate some of the follow-ups to them. Follow-up is everything, don’t mess it up.
Summing Everything Up
“Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.” – Albert Einstein
Door knocking isn’t easy. It’s hard work, but in life there is no substitute for it. If you truly want to become a top producing agent in your market, then you need to knock those doors. You need to build those connections today so you can dominate your market in the years to come. You have to plant those seeds, nurture your farm, and take care of it. It shouldn’t be a burden or a challenge for you, you need to know how to have fun instead of being afraid of real estate door knocking, just jump right in. After the first 100 houses your fear of rejection and door knocking will evaporate into thin air.
Stay strong, keep going. Let me know about your thoughts or door knocking experiences!