For decades, motivated real estate agents have been pounding the pavement to meet potential clients face-to-face. Door-knocking real estate agents may not be received well by all homeowners, but the practice can yield tremendous benefits when done strategically. Often, door-knocking is combined with a well-rounded marketing campaign that includes direct mail marketing, social media marketing, email marketing and more.
Are you wondering if door knocking real estate efforts are worth the time and energy? Are you trying to find effective ways to yield a greater return on this labor-intensive activity? The reality is that door-knocking or reasonable alternatives should be a part of any successful real estate agent’s marketing efforts.
As is the case with other marketing avenues, there are effective strategies that can improve the results of your hard work. Likewise, there are some alternatives to door-knocking that you may want to try. This post will delve into everything you need to take your in-person marketing efforts to the next level.
Why Real Estate Agents Knock on Doors
With so many marketing opportunities available to you as a real estate agent, you may wonder why you should spend your valuable and limited professional time knocking on doors. After all, your presence will not be well-received at all houses. Why do so many successful real estate agents continue to risk having door after door slammed in their face? There are a few essential benefits of door-knocking efforts that you should not overlook.
Builds More Personal Rapport
The real estate industry is as much about establishing and nurturing relationships as it is about the transfer of properties from sellers to buyers. Both buyers and sellers must place a tremendous amount of trust in their real estate agent, and it is far easier to lay the groundwork for a solid relationship through a face-to-face conversation. Door knocking efforts enable you to start a dialogue with prospective clients.
Offers Cost-Effective Results
Real estate marketing can be expensive, and many rising real estate agents have a meager budget to work with. While you need to bring a few promotional materials with you when you knock on doors, door knocking is generally much more affordable than some other efforts may be.
More than that, you can see the results of your marketing efforts immediately. There is no question about whether your emails wound up in the Trash folder or have been saved for later or if your mailers got lost in the mail.
Provides Value In-Person
As a real estate agent, you have access to a considerable amount of data that most buyers and sellers would find valuable. For example, you have access to market data on all listed and recently sold homes in the community.
Sellers want to know how much their home may be worth. Most sellers will also be buyers, so they want to know about the financial impact of upgrading or downsizing. You can arrive on a resident’s doorstep armed with a Comparative Market Analysis and ready to answer all of their questions in person.
Challenges of Door-Knocking in Real Estate
Regardless of whether you live in a home, a condo or an apartment, you likely have experienced many door-knockers yourself over the years. Often, these are solicitors who offer no real value to the resident, such as a vacuum cleaner salesperson. These are people who want something from the resident. You, on the other hand, are offering valuable information and a much-needed service.
Unfortunately, with so many solicitors knocking on doors today, there is far more hesitancy to open a door than there was a few decades ago. The reality is that you may knock on five or more doors before you find a resident who is interested in opening it. You may have to knock on 20 doors before you find someone who will take the time to hear what you have to say.
As beneficial as door-knocking can be for both you and the residents who are willing to hear what you have to say, this marketing effort can be physically and emotionally draining. More than that, it takes time to walk up to each door, knock and wait for a response. When a door opens, you may be fortunate enough to speak to the homeowner for a few minutes or longer. This much time and effort to establish contact with one person is considerable. Nonetheless, door-knocking by motivated real estate agents can be well-rewarded when effective strategies are adopted.
Best Practices When Door-Knocking
When you take a few hours out of your busy schedule to pound the pavement, you understandably want to optimize the results of your efforts. The reality is that everything from when you knock on the door to how you look and how well-prepared you are will impact the outcome that you enjoy. What are some best practices to follow when door-knocking?
Avoid Formal Dress
Your appearance makes a bold statement about your professionalism and your level of success in your field. Because of this, you should make an effort to present yourself attractively. At the same time, however, arriving on someone’s doorstep on a weekend or evening dressed to the nines in formal business attire can be an immediate turn-off.
Stiff clothes and formal shoes can also be uncomfortable to walk in for a few hours, and your discomfort could put you in a bad mood. Consider wearing comfortable clothing that falls under the realm of business casual.
Choose the Best Time
The best time to knock on someone’s door is when he or she is most likely to be relaxed and not busy with other things. The late morning or afternoon on a weekend often works well in many communities. However, you should be aware of the religious practices of the majority of the population in a community, and you should time your efforts around those practices.
You may also try knocking on doors in the mid or late mornings during the week. Many people are home at this time and may not be as occupied with meal prep, kids’ activities and other responsibilities as they may be during the early evening hours.
Use Proven Scripts
Do you know what you are going to say when someone opens their door to you? The good news is that you do not need to recreate the wheel. There are a variety of scripts that have worked well for other real estate agents, and you can adopt these as your own. However, it is important that you speak naturally and personably.
While following a script is a good idea, giving someone the feeling that you are giving a rehearsed speech will not yield the best results. Instead, the script should serve as an outline, and it should be delivered in a conversational way that encourages both speaking and listening from both parties.
Find Something in Common
A surefire way to get more doors slammed in your face is to start delivering a sales pitch as soon as the door opens. A better idea is to break the ice by establishing dialogue. Consider making a complimentary comment, such as mentioning how nice the spring flowers look or how you love the fall decorations. Go a step further to engage the resident by asking what type of flowers they are or other open-ended, relevant questions. This can transition to the natural delivery of your scripted conversation.
When a door opens and you are given the opportunity to speak with a potential client for the first time, you understandably want to leave a positive, lasting impression. Unfortunately, after the door closes, there is a good chance that the potential client will not remember your name. He or she may also want to delve deeper into what you discussed. To address these concerns, you should come to each door armed with a range of materials to leave with interested parties.
A business card is the bare minimum. Ideally, you will also have a brochure, details on listings in the area and even comparative market data. These materials help you to showcase yourself as an expert in the community. They also give the potential client something to review and to hang onto until they are ready to proceed.
If your door-knocking sessions are one sales pitch followed by another, you are not maximizing the full benefits of this type of marketing effort. This is your chance to showcase the value that you offer and to present your expertise to the potential client.
By asking questions, you can better tailor the delivery of your script to meet his or her needs. For example, you may ask questions about the home’s square footage, how long they have lived in the home and if they have plans to upgrade or downsize soon.
A two-way dialogue could provide you with relevant, useful information about a person’s interests, needs and concerns. Addressing those factors directly is important, but do not feel as though you need to secure a listing on the spot. Instead, by listening aptly, you can more clearly understand where the person is coming from.
You do not want to push someone into taking action before they are ready to do so. However, you do want to offer tailored information that helps him or her make decisions that are right for them. Consider taking notes after a great conversation so that you can follow up soon in a personal way, such as with a handwritten note.
Leave Something Behind
When someone is not home or chooses not to answer the door, you may assume that it is a missed opportunity. However, you can touch a potential client even if you do not speak to him or her by leaving a hanger or brochure on the door.
While some real estate agents may simply slide a business card into the door jamb, a hanger or brochure may be more effective. It may be filled with teaser details that lead to a phone call, email or meeting request. Even if the individual does not take immediate action, you are taking one additional step to build name recognition and to establish your brand in the community.
Door-knocking should be part of a larger and more comprehensive marketing campaign. It may be combined with emails, postcards and other efforts. For example, you can sign up at Wise Pelican to access a great selection of free postcard templates. These templates make it easy to follow up with contacts shortly after your first visit. You can also send postcards out at regular intervals going forward to stay in touch with hot leads or with your entire farm.
Alternatives to Door-Knocking
Door-knocking offers extensive benefits to real estate agents, such as building rapport and allowing potential clients to put a face to a name. However, there are a few other options available that offer some of the same benefits. Whether you are not interested in knocking on doors or you want to find other techniques for more comprehensive results, you could turn your attention to these opportunities.
Focus on Geographic Farming
The goal of geographic farming is to position yourself as the go-to real estate source in a specific community. When effective, this marketing strategy can make you the real estate agent that neighbors talk about at backyard barbecues, and it can increase the number of new and referral leads that you receive.
Geographic farming requires you to make regular touches to residents in the same community. You can include door-to-door canvassing in your efforts, but you do not necessarily have to. With enough repeated touches from postcards and other efforts, the community will begin to see you as a local expert.
Host Neighborhood Events
Are you interested in finding a different way to make a live introduction with potential clients? Hosting neighborhood events is a great way to get community members to come to you. One idea is to host an open house.
Some neighbors may drop by to get a feel for the market out of curiosity, or they may be actively scoping out the competition before they list their home. You can also host neighborhood events like the community Fourth of July event, family night outs and more.
Send Your Neighborhood Realtor Postcards
As your real estate business picks up, time management increasingly becomes a concern. You must provide the highest level of service to active clients. At the same time, you must keep new leads and clients entering the pipeline.
When time is limited, spending hours each week knocking on doors may be impractical. A great way to make a contact with residents is by sending out postcards. If you live near or in your real estate farm, one of the best postcards to send are Your Neighborhood Realtor postcards.
These postcard templates introduce you as the expert real estate agent in the area, and act as a great catalyst to your marketing campaign.
Take Your Marketing Efforts to the Next Level Today
Between door-knocking, door hangers, and postcard marketing, there are many opportunities to expand your marketing efforts and to grow your real estate business. Take time to revisit your marketing campaign today with these ideas in mind.