From online showings to all-digital signings and closings, the digital transaction has fully come into its own. All month, Inman examines the companies and technologies driving this new world of digital transaction.
Let’s face it. During a pandemic, fewer people are interested in opening their doors up to strangers who come knocking — even if we’re the most approachable and kind people in the world.
So what can traditional real estate agents who’ve built their careers on the tried-and-true principles of door-knocking do? Fear not, real estate pros! We actually don’t have to abandon our traditional real estate door-knocking values. We simply have to pivot our actions to match the new neighborhoods that we’re now door-knocking within.
The key is, once we begin to view social media as a digital neighborhood or community, we’ll quickly realize that digital door-knocking is just a modern-day twist on something we’ve already been doing for years. So, let’s break it down.
1. Social media presence
Remember when we’d canvas neighborhoods wearing our company shirt, pin, badge or lanyard? Well, now our door-knocking attire is our social media presence.
Before we start the process of digitally door-knocking, we need to ask ourselves: Where does my target audience spend their time online? Perhaps it’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube.
Wherever it may be, we need to start off by tuning up our own social profiles on these platforms so that when future clients land on our account, they will automatically recognize that we’re active, qualified, informed and engaged real estate professionals.
We must keep in mind that nobody likes an all-business, all-the-time page. So we need to remember to mix in some personal content that will give onlookers a solid idea of what our personality looks like. Video is great for accomplishing this goal.
2. Posting on social media
What did we always have in hand when we’d canvas a community? Most of us likely canvassed with an item of value such as a flyer, calendar, market update, etc. When we digitally door-knock, we’re now posting items of value to our social media feeds.
This can be in the form of an infographic, a photo, an informative post or a link that takes them to a useful tool or service. When bringing the consumer value, we need to ask ourselves: What matters to my target audience? Is it schools and ratings? Is it trails and nature preserves? Is it medical facilities? Is it beaches, rivers or lakes? Dog parks?
The more we break down the psychographic of our desired audiences, the easier it will become for us to understand what matters to them most, and we can then become their go-to resource.
3. Direct messages
Most successful door-knocking agents have either memorized or somewhat relied on a tried-and-true script that has worked well for them out in the field. Well, guess what? That script can still be used, but instead of knocking on a future client’s front door, we’re now ringing the doorbell of their direct messages (DMs) instead.
There’s a playful expression that says, “It goes down in the DMs.” When it comes to digital door-knocking or building relationships online, this is actually true. In fact, a useful pro tip is to use your Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter Stories as a way to drive traffic directly to your DMs.
Why? Because when someone responds to our stories in any of these places, they are automatically routed to our DM inbox. Essentially, this instantly turns our cold leads into warm ones, and we can now begin the process of relationship-building digitally. In fact, by responding to our posts, they have actually initiated the dialogue first. Talk about a plot twist, right?
4. Following, liking and commenting
Remember back in the day when we’d have our handy-dandy notebook, worksheet or tablet in hand that we’d collect all our information in? Well now, when we digitally door-knock, that process of data collection starts with a follow, like and comment, and it ends with a CRM entry.
When we door-knock traditionally, our goal is to keep track of all the names, emails and phone numbers that we’ve collected so we can add them to our database. None of that has really changed. We still gather data, only now we manage it digitally so we can set up relationship-building drip campaigns within our CRM.
Additionally, when digitally door-knocking, if we bring value, attention and genuine care to our future clients via their social media, we’re much more likely to receive a follow back. And when someone follows us on a social network, it’s far more impactful than getting them to open their door for a few minutes while offering us their brief (and sometimes merely polite) attention.
In fact, once someone chooses to follow us online, there’s a higher probability that they’ll see our regular content and engage with us privately in DMs. Also, when we start running online ads, we can now include them in our targeting efforts, which makes for greater leverage and follow-up opportunities.
5. Social media outreach
Speaking of follow-up, how did we follow up our post-canvassing traditionally? We’d either send a postcard, an email, a letter or a card, or we’d pick up the phone, right? When digitally door-knocking, our follow-up is now the regular and consistent passive outreach via our social networks.
Believe it or not, this is where our biggest opportunity lies because this is where most agents drop the ball. If we take the time to regularly pay attention to, acknowledge and “show up” for our future clients by liking, commenting and sharing their posts when appropriate (for example, when their child is selling Girl Scout cookies, their church is holding a fundraiser or the PTA is having a meeting), we are showing them by our actions that we are truly there for them and invested in what matters most to them.
That beats out a postcard or letter that usually ends up in the trash anyway. We can still send personalized cards and items of value as the relationship deepens, but regardless of what stage of the customer journey we’re in, we must consistently show up for our future clients online.
Bonus: the last (and biggest) perk
Last but certainly not least, these digital door-knocking principles have another huge perk that we haven’t even discussed yet. (That’s right — we saved the best for last.)
Folks, these concepts are all free. No money needs to be spent on gasoline, parking meters, stamps, printed materials, envelopes, company clothing or accessories, notebooks, pens, sunblock, hats or sensible walking shoes.
Instead, we can take all the money we saved and roll it into our monthly online ad campaigns, which will directly target these new or reacquainted digital neighbors we’ve connected with. Believe it or not, digital door-knocking is not only already proven to work, it’s actually a pretty exciting concept to participate in once we allow ourselves to pivot and redirect our efforts.