Love it or hate it, door-knocking is a longtime, tried-and-true method of prospecting. It can be daunting to step up to a stranger’s door and start a (sometimes unwelcome) conversation. However, armed with the right tools and strategies, you’ll make the most of your jaunt around the neighborhood.
When you do decide to go door-knocking, I always recommend doing your homework first.
As odd as it sounds, I have seen so many sales people go door-knocking fully expecting no one to answer the door. You really should be armed with good information and have a good presentation ready in case someone actually answers the door. Make sure to have some handouts that have tangible and updated local real estate market information.
Property-, city- and neighborhood-specific home statistics are the best possible options for tangible data. What you want to do is pull a list of the nearest 25-50 homes that have sold and include data on bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage and everything you can think of.
Have that on a flyer. To ensure you are prepared for off-the-cuff conversations, be sure to have apps on your phone that can retrieve other data as well. If you don’t have better or faster access to data than the people you are visiting, what value are you really bringing?
Leave something memorable
If it is a neighborhood where you really, really want to have some success, go above and beyond. Try bringing a pack of 100 oversized manila or orange legal type envelopes and put a short, handwritten note to each homeowner inside of it.
Leave it in front of their door unless there is a no soliciting sign. Remember that you can not put things in mailboxes in most municipalities without actually mailing them with postage. Check local ordinances first.
If the homes you are visiting have that little newspaper insert under their mailbox, that is usually fair game. Anything you can leave behind is huge.
I have worked with sales people in the past who had a habit of leaving 100 Grand candy bars for every $100,000 the home is worth and leaving the candy with a short note that said, “I want to get you $250,000 for your house.” For a $250,000 house, you could leave two full-size bars and a fun size. This approach would be a good mix of tangible and memorable.
(Note: Please do not do this in super warm weather. I don’t want to be responsible for melted chocolate all over someone’s front porch. It’s more of a fair weather marketing strategy!)
Be strategic about when you go and who you meet
Whether you decide to door-knock by yourself or with a group, it is important to pick the times of day and to quickly adapt if you are striking out.
If you go knocking at 10 a.m. every day and you never connect with anyone, maybe you’re going at the wrong time. Consider going at 5:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. when people are getting ready for dinner or right after dinner.
Times when people might already be outside and half the neighborhood is going to be out mowing their lawns, getting things ready and doing yard work are also great times to choose. Finding the right time will make your job a lot easier.
Set up a lemonade stand
One insurance agent I know goes door-knocking without actually going door-to-door. His strategy is to help his 6-year-old son set up a lemonade stand in their driveway.
They have a small sign that says “25 cent Lemonade and Insurance Advice.” Dad stands with the kid, and anytime a neighbor or passerby walks up, they get their lemonade (often comped by dad if the jogger has no change).
Does the kid make a fortune? No. But it is good quality time punctuated by conversations with new and old neighbors.
What’s the ROI on this, you might ask? Assume in an hour or two dad can have 10 conversations, and over the course of the time they are out there, 25 people walk by and see the sign.
The neighborly branding and awareness is valuable on its own, and the quality time with father and son also has value.
When asked, the insurance agent told me that he has three to four sales a year that he can directly attribute to conversations that started at his son’s lemonade stand.
At the end of the day, it’s about figuring out what works for you. Figure it out, and then work it.
Matt Muscat is the author of TAG – The Tangible Action Guide for Real Estate Marketing. He is also the Marketing Director at Treadstone Funding and owner of Maltese Marketing.
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