Real estate agents are currently generating leads with an ever-increasing number of apps and other high-tech methods including Facebook campaigns. Traditional real estate prospecting techniques such as open houses are also still very effective. Door knocking is less common these days, but can still produce solid results if approached in the right way.
Why is door knocking effective?
Most forms of advertising require your audience to take some type of action, such as clicking on a banner ad or driving to the store to take advantage of the sale. Door knocking doesn’t require the person answering the door to take any action, except listen to you. This is a major advantage because getting someone to take even the smallest action as a result of an advertisement can be challenging.
Separate yourself from the competition
Many real estate agents today believe using the internet is the best strategy for prospecting. One of the most commonly cited advantages is that you can easily enter the leads generated through social media and other online platforms into a customer retention management (CRM) system. However, you can do the same things with the leads that come from door knocking. Furthermore, the fact that so many agents are hesitant to knock on doors provides a great opportunity to separate yourself from the competition.
Control the first impression
Once someone answers the door, you’re able to control their first impression of you. You’re not dependent upon an intermediary like you typically are when driving traffic to your website, so they’ll get the first impression you give them. Door knocking also allows you to generate leads even if no one answers the door because you can leave something behind. Examples include realtor door hangers or a small gift with your name and logo on it. This technique ensures you remain on your prospective client’s mind.
You also need to record the addresses, so you can enter it into your CRM system as a cold lead. You can then follow-up that lead with another door knock after a month or so.
Why don’t real estate agents use door knocking more often?
Some agents try door knocking a few times and give up when it fails to produce quick results after a few tries. However, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of success. Most importantly, you must always be sincere when someone does answer the door. Being nervous isn’t so bad and may actually work in your favor by putting the other person at ease.
The most common reason for giving up on door knocking is the certainty that someone will eventually answer the door who is rude to you. If this happens before you even start talking, realize that no real estate script you could’ve used would have improved this person’s attitude. While the reason for the person’s rudeness may be because you interrupted something important, the reason may also have been because they were simply having a bad day.
You’ll probably never know the precise reason, and it’s unlikely that you could do anything about it. The best strategy is to simply apologize and leave your business card. Sometimes, this act can lead to a longer conversation by itself. While door-knocking isn’t the most popular real estate prospecting strategy, it can be extremely effective when you use the right door knocking real estate scripts.
Door knocking scripts
You need to be prepared with several real estate scripts and realtor door hangers when you knock on the door, depending on who answers. The ideal outcome is that one of the household’s decision-makers answers the door, which would require one script. However, you’ll also need a different script if the person answering the door isn’t a decision-maker.
Regardless of who answers the door, your immediate goal should be to create rapport and establish yourself as a real estate expert. A strong script can help you do this and start a dialogue. Real estate door knocking scripts allow you to generate leads and increase the probability of turning your prospect into an actual client. Selecting the right script is critical because each script is specifically designed for a particular prospect.
If nobody answers the door, you should leave real estate door hangers and a handwritten note. It’s helpful to prepare the note in advance. Whether you write the note on the spot or not, you need to have a clear idea of what you wish to convey in the note.
What makes door knocking scripts successful?
Real estate door knocking scripts are more of an art than science, like other forms of marketing. It’s difficult to determine why one script is more effective than another, although their effectiveness can be measured fairly easily by the responses you get. With experience, you should be able to identify a few real estate scripts that work well for you. Even after reaching this point, there will be times when your most trusted script is completely ineffective. You shouldn’t become discouraged when this happens, although you should try to determine if a different script would’ve produced better results.
Door knocking real estate scripts may be grouped into the following three types:
- Decision-maker answers the door
- Non-decision maker answers the door
- No one answers the door
If someone does answer the door, start by telling them who you are. If they appear to be a legal adult, your next step is to find out if they’re the decision-maker by asking if they own the house. At this point, you can transition to your decision-maker or non-decision maker script. If no one answers the door, your script will essentially consist of leaving a handwritten note and some other reminders of your visit.
1. Decision maker answers the door
A decision-maker answering the door offers the greatest chance of gaining a client when door knocking. However, it won’t help you if you can’t capitalize on the opportunity, which is where your door knocking real estate scripts come into play. Paying a compliment in real estate terms is often a good way to start this type of script, typically by talking about how great the lawn looks or how nice the house looks from the outside. You can also talk in general terms about what a good neighborhood they live in.
The next step is to ask the decision-makers if they would ever consider selling their home. Add that you know the house would sell quickly because other houses in the neighborhood have already done so. At this point, you can get into specifics about market value if the decision-maker is still interested in listening to you.
This type of script must be aggressive because you have the decision-maker right in front of you, which is an opportunity that might not repeat itself. However, it can’t be so aggressive that you lose the chance to enter that person into your CRM as a lead. Develop these scripts carefully to walk the line between these outcomes.
2. Non-decision maker answers the door
After determining that the person answering the door isn’t a decision-maker, your next step is to determine if a decision-maker is available. If not, you should ask about the relationship between the decision-maker and the person who answered the door. This question will be something along the lines of, “Are you related to the person who owns this home?”
If the answer is yes, hand the person a couple of reminder gifts and ask them to forward one of the gifts to the decision-maker. It’s very likely that the person will do this because you’ve just given them a gift as well. While most people are inclined to help you when you’re sincere about your motives, they’re even more prone to do so when you give them something for free. If the person answering the door isn’t related to the home’s decision-maker, then you can simply say something like, “Okay. Well, I’ve got something for you” and hand them a reminder gift.
3. No one answers the door
In the event no one answers the door, you can leave real estate door hangers or a handwritten note along with a reminder gift and leave. If your notes won’t contain personal addresses, so you can write a bunch of these notes beforehand and bring them with you. Be sure to bring prepare enough notes; remember that nobody will be at home in many cases since you’ll be door-knocking during the day. You may get better results with personalized notes, but this strategy will also prevent you from preparing notes in advance. Leave a small reminder gift, as always.
The following example shows what this handwritten note should look like:
My name is ______, and I’m a real estate agent. I’m sorry I missed you, but I couldn’t help noticing how lovely your home is. Have you ever thought about selling it? A home just down the street from you recently sold for _____. Please give me a call at ____ if you’re interested. You can also email me at ____.
I look forward to speaking with you.
Real estate door knocking scripts may be classified into cold openings and warm openings.
Use a cold opening for your script if you don’t know the person at all. The following examples show what cold openings should look like.
1. “My name is ______, and I’m a real estate agent. I just noticed that one of your neighbors has listed their home for _____. Have you ever thought about selling yours?”
2. “My name is ______, and I’m a real estate agent. I’ve been studying your neighborhood and noticed that one of your neighbors recently sold their home for _____. Have you ever thought about selling yours?”
Use a warm opening for your script if you know the person even slightly. Even if you only know the person indirectly through someone else like another real estate agent at your firm, you should still use a warm opening. These openings should look like the following:
1. “My name is ____, and I’m a real estate agent who works with ___. We just sold a home for one of your neighbors. Would you be interested in knowing how much your home is worth?”
2. “My name is ____, and I’m a real estate agent who works with ___. We just listed one of your neighbor’s homes for ___, and could probably list yours for about the same. Have you ever thought of selling?”
Door knocking strategies
Door knocking real estate scripts can be a valuable aid in branding yourself as the go-to agent for a particular neighborhood. This status definitely gives you an advantage over all the other agents competing in that area. However, real estate door knocking scripts can only be as effective as the strategy behind them, which generally involves location in some way. Common door knocking strategies should focus on some aspect of the neighborhood’s location, such as school districts, home values, selling history and miscellaneous characteristics.
1. School Districts
A door knocking strategy based on school districts is often the most effective for generating leads. There are multiple reasons why this so for both legacy and new home.
A home that was built in an area before it became a good school district is known as a legacy home. These homes often remain within a family for generations, sometimes because the owner simply doesn’t know what to do with it. The owners of legacy homes are more prone to sell, especially when the rest of their family moves to another city. In this scenario, a family member may have to move back into the house temporarily to sell it. That family member probably wouldn’t know any real estate agents in the area and would be highly likely to sign with you if you simply knocked on the door.
Senior citizens often own legacy homes in good school districts because those districts take years, even decades, to create. Many of these homeowners may be ready to sell because they’ve been recently widowed or are simply unable to take care of the home by themselves. The profits from the sale of the home is often more valuable to these homeowners than the home itself.
New homes in good school districts are often the most expensive. People who can afford these homes usually have children and therefore have a vested interest in living in a good school district. Any homeowner who wants to sell a new home in such an area won’t have a shortage of buyers.
2. Home Values
A door knocking strategy that focuses on a home’s value is one of the most common since an agent’s revenue is based on sale price. This strategy may be most effective by itself or in combination with the school district strategy, depending on the neighborhood. Regardless of the specific implementation, a strategy based on home values requires you to be highly familiar with the average sale prices as well as the sale prices of specific homes in that neighborhood.
3. Selling History
Selling history is another common focus for door-knocking strategies. A high sale price indicates that the house is likely to sell for a premium in the future, all other factors being equal. This likelihood makes a sale attractive to both the homeowner and agent. However, it can be difficult to get a firm idea of such a home’s true value if it repeatedly sells over a short period of time. This strategy may be less effective, so you’ll typically use it only when the school district method doesn’t make sense.
Many other factors can also form the basis of a door-knocking strategy. These often include the proximity of various amenities such as emergency services, small businesses, parks and other municipal facilities. A house that’s located within walking distance of these features can allow residents to engage in daily activities, although it could also attract undesired foot traffic. These factors can be important considerations when looking for the right neighborhood to use for your door-knocking strategy.
If you are marketing a condo unit, you can explain the difference between warrantable and non-warrantable condos. These factors can be important considerations when looking for the right neighborhood to use for your door-knocking strategy.
Door knocking has a number of best practices that can increase your chances of success, just like any other real estate prospecting process. These practices generally address the fact that door knocking can be highly invasive to residents, who are typically suspicious of door-to-door salespeople. It’s therefore critical for them not to perceive you as an annoying door-to-door salesperson.
1. Leave something behind
You should always leave something behind like real estate door hangers when you knock on a door, just to remind them of who you are. The person who answers the door may not be a decision-maker for the household, so you need to make sure you have enough items with your information for both the person answering the door and the decision-maker if possible. You should at least provide decision-makers with realtor door hangers or your business card, along with a small gift like a bottle opener or key chain.
In some households, the person answering the door acts as a gatekeeper for the decision-maker. In these cases, it might be worthwhile to reward the gatekeeper to get closer to the decision-maker. These roles can be difficult to determine at first glance, which creates a challenge for this aspect of door-knocking.
2. Research the neighborhood
You need to be familiar with the neighborhood before you start knocking on doors. This may seem obvious, but many agents who decide to give door-knocking a try simply drive to a neighborhood and start knocking on doors without doing any research. However, potential leads won’t take you seriously if you can’t follow-up your opening script with details about what their house is worth and the average value of homes in that neighborhood. You should also be prepared to answer questions about why they should sell at this time, and why they should consider working with you. Additional information that can help improve your success at door-knocking includes schools and businesses in the neighborhood.
3. Knock during the day
You may be tempted to knock on doors at night when decision-makers are more likely to be home, but there are multiple reasons why you should never do this. Most importantly, it’s more dangerous to walk around a neighborhood at night. For example, drivers have more difficulty seeing you at night, which poses a particular risk in areas without sidewalks. Furthermore, few homeowners appreciate being disturbed at night, when they’re having dinner, watching TV or just trying to relax. Talking to an eager real estate agent is probably the last thing these people want to do at this time.
4. Always take the high road
There are going to be times where the person answering the door thinks you’re the worst person in the world. Even when you’re trying to tell them how they can make money from selling their home, some people simply won’t believe that you’re trying to help them. It’s essential that you not get angry or defensive in these situations; simply thank them for their time and leave. Taking the high road like this can only help you in the long run.
5. Think long term
The purpose of door-knocking is to gain the long-term trust of homeowners rather than simply impressing them in the short term. Ensure that you’re always honest and sincere by presenting facts as you know them, regardless of who answers the door. Of course, you ideally want homeowners to become customers, but they can also provide you with referrals, even if you never sell their home. Thinking long-term helps keep you in the right frame of mind no matter what happens after you open the door, which is essential for successful door knocking.