Real estate door knocking is by no means an outdated strategy. It remains both a relevant and effective means of generating leads even today.
Take Tom Mitchell’s story, for example. During the tanking real estate market of 1990, he had two choices: quit (as many fellow agents did) or take the proactive approach. He chose the latter. He started door knocking. He knocked on 250 doors a day. It’s what kept him alive until the market heated up again. Fast forward to 2007 when the market crashed. Mitchell took up door knocking again. And again, it worked. In fact, it earned all $38.8 million of Mitchell’s 2013 closed volume.
But simply “pounding the pavement” isn’t enough. Real estate door knocking is an art and a science—to get new business, you need to know what you’re doing. Here are the essential tips and ideas you need to get started.
3 Objections to Door Knocking (And How You Can Overcome Them)
It doesn’t take much to imagine why some real estate agents shy away from the door knocking strategy. But taking the time to anticipate the obstacles you’ll inevitably face and to learn how to manage them is a worthwhile endeavor. And it can make all the difference in terms of the volume of new clients door knocking yields for you.
Reason #1: The Fear of Rejection
Let’s be honest, the concern is valid. Door knocking often ends with a door in the face rather than a foot in the door. Getting ignored hurts, and hearing “no” over and over again can be even more painful. No one likes being rejected. Especially when it’s done rudely.
But Business Insider’s Max Nisen recommends that you simply shake it off and move on. How? Remind yourself, Nisen says, that rejection is “specific and temporary.” In other words, the “no” is directed only toward their perception of your offer. It’s not a personal attack. And remember, the shake-it-off-and-move-on tactic is a skill that can be learned and developed with practice.
Reason #2: It’s Time Consuming
To acknowledge the obvious, door knocking is the most physically demanding lead generation strategy, which also means it’s the most time consuming. Not only does the act of door knocking take a while, but the waiting period between first contact and ultimate reward can also be extensive.
But there are two points to consider here. First, as we’ll see below, the time is well spent. If it’s done right, the return on investment can be extremely lucrative. And second, it will only be as time consuming as you make it. It doesn’t have to consume your work week. Focus on consistency and quality rather than an arbitrary quantity goal.
Reason #3: It’s Not Fun
When we combine the first two reasons, we arrive at Reason #3: door knocking simply isn’t fun. It lacks the instant gratification we all want. That’s why so many agents are quick to quit this approach. There are too many other things we’d rather be doing, right?
Granted. But when you start seeing the payoffs, you may just learn to love it. This begs the question…
Does Door Knocking Really Work in Real Estate?
Yes, it is a tried-and-true lead generation method that still yields significant results. And it seems to be good enough for agents like Ben Bacal, the Beverly Hills luxury real estate agent who has sold over $1 billion of property throughout his career so far. He and many other top performers are outspoken about the value of door knocking.
In a sense, it’s no different than anything else a real estate agent does. Knocking on doors – metaphorically or otherwise – is what you do, from cold calling to buying online real estate leads and from open houses to closings.
Why Is (Literal) Door Knocking Effective?
1. It allows you to bypass your competition and skip to the top. While many are waiting for clients to come to them, digitally or otherwise, you can be the one to put yourself in the way of your ideal clients by literally showing up at their doorstep. It’s a great way to tip the odds in your favor.
2. The cost is low. Sure, there’s an opportunity cost to weigh, and your time is expensive. But unless you’re driving long distances, the hard costs associated with the door knocking itself are minimal. It’s not quite free, of course, but almost. Especially when compared to the dividends that stream in after just one hot lead.
3. It’s as personal and relational as real estate prospecting can get. The face-to-face interactions you have are invaluable because of the major advantage it gives you over other agents.
Okay, all of that sounds reasonable in theory. But let’s be more concrete about this: how effective is door knocking exactly?
Of course, it’s impossible to pin down an exact conversion rate that every agent everywhere can bank on. Like many other lead generation strategies, there are many variables each agent needs to consider for themselves.
But one thing is certain: it’s a reliable lead generation method.
For example, one recent study showed that, in general, you can expect a “conversion rate or response rate of 20% and a sales conversion rate of 2%.” Going even further, it suggests that you can expect a cost per acquisition of $15.65 and a cost per contract/sale of $156.55.
Upon first glance, a 2% sales conversion rate might not raise any eyebrows. But think of it this way: An agent can generate two sales after just two hours of work (if he or she knocked on 100 doors). That’s a sizable return to which not even cold calling can compare.
Are those figures going to be the same for everyone? Absolutely not. This isn’t an exact science. There’s no need to count every last penny as part of your own cost-benefit analysis. But even if we use these figures as ballpark estimates, door knocking seems to have an appealing potential.
The key is, you have to know how to do it the right way. Here are the essential tips you need to get started.
The Best Tips for Effective Real Estate Door Knocking
Look the part. Dress professionally, but for your market. If you sell real estate in casual Manhattan Beach, California, you don’t want to wear a shirt and tie. But in Manhattan, New York, you might want to consider it. The point is, pick your outfit according to the neighborhood’s culture and style and what “I’m the agent you’ve been looking for” looks like for your particular area. Presentation is everything.
Think small. Set the ultimate goal aside for now and focus on being genuinely helpful. The immediate priority is far narrower. After all, contracts are never signed over the welcome mat anyway, right? No one wants to keep their door open to a shark who’s obviously just trying to make a sale, so keep relationship at the center.
Set goals and track your progress. For example, keep record of the number of homes you intend to visit for a certain time period, store your leads’ contact information, how many leads you’ve acquired, the number of listings, and the income you’ve generated. Give yourself a roadmap to success.
Bring something to leave behind. If it’s a marketing piece, make sure it’s branded with your information. If you really want to go the extra mile to create a lasting impression, bring a small gift to share – maybe a pastry from the bakery down the street or a simple-but-lovely potted plant.
Use a script. If you were one of the thousands of agents that took the old Mike Ferry productivity courses years ago, you might remember his cold-calling script. Done right, the script was a business-changer for cold-callers. Get familiar enough with your script that you don’t sound canned but conversational. That way you can concentrate on listening and not on what you want to say.
Download the free “Listings Playbook” now.
3 Conversation-Starter Door-Knocking Scripts
Here are three scripts you can use that will fit some of the most common situations you’ll encounter when door knocking.
The Use-Anytime Script
If You Recently Sold in the Area
The Update Script
Overnight Success Is a Myth
Door knocking can be a great way to generate leads. But let’s be honest. It takes time. In a way, it’s similar to farming. It requires a high level of persistence, consistency, and wherewithal to “plant the seeds,” so to speak.
But farmers don’t merely stand back and hope the seeds grow. They have to water and nurture the field. For you, that might include a thank you note a week later, a value-packed direct mail piece, a monthly email, or a quarterly call. The fortune is in the follow-up.
After all, you’re going to be knocking on doors, not walls. And whether it feels like it or not, every open door presents a new opportunity. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll reap results.
Get the “Listings Playbook” Today!
Knowing how to find listing leads is one thing. But knowing how to engage them with confidence is something else entirely. Don’t wing it. Stick to the script.
Download our free “Listings Playbook,” where you’ll learn how to identify the tools already in your arsenal that you can leverage to engage, nurture, and convert leads. Plus, you’ll get a handful of scripts that you can easily customize to fit your voice and the channels you’re using to get more listings.
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One of the real estate agents attempted to open my door after 10 seconds after ringing the bell. They said oh we are real estate agents and wanted to leave our cards.
Real Estate agents are MORE annoying then the Jehowa & Morons that knock our door to join their cults.
I tell the agents right away – I am not interested.
and then that real estate agent skipped ur door and made 20 000 from ur neighbor who sold their house and him and his neighbour made profit
what do u do thats so not annoying ?
Absolutely inappropriate to attempt to open someone’s door. However annoyed you may be makes no difference to a motivated agent. Our attitude is ‘next’ and it is true, we will wish you a great day and make $ building relationships with your neighbors and selling their home.
Boy you sound like a bitter person. You need a little more sunshine in your life buddy! Life isn’t all dark clouds. Open that door a little more and get some fresh air! Might change your attitude.
Good that you tell them upfront that you’re not interested. Saves them time.
Last guys actually entered my house right away as soon as i opened the door. Previous agent won’t leave. I am tried of these door knocking agents.
Wow! This is not the forum for this type of behavior. Maybe instead of showing total ignorance and bigotry toward other groups of people, why not show some intelligence by learning about others through an original source instead of believing everything you hear? Or is it fear that you’ll find out the truth?
That video is completely BS. That team does not sell that many homes. The sudden who’s speaking on the video I’ve told repeatedly to stop calling me and stop door knocking and he repeatedly always goes well I have dyslexia which is a complete lie. This guy will sit there and scam you in any way possible to try to get your listing on top of it I just Googled them and it looks like their whole team of six just fell apart
I have been knocking by doors and and I am very much in control of conversation and respectful .
Owners are willing to talk to me and seems they intend to keep my card but sometimes I get inside their house and that’s a success to me but no listing yet !!
Any reason if any experienced realtor knows …? I don’t stick to scripts !!
I politely introduce myself and asking if they are thinking of selling their property of any one else they know of ?!!!
Use the Mike ferry scripts. Ask them if they did move where would they move next. Also, If I could get you what you wanted for your now , pertaining to price, conditions and timing. Would you list your home with me?
Use the script its a great way to ask the questions for the close and to force that client to sign. Don’t take away what you are doing now just add the script in once you are sitting down.
Force the to sign? Hmmm… not sure what your market is but in mine I would feel uncomfortable forcing anyone.
I think knocking is fine but make sure that if there’s a “No Soliciting” sign on the door, do NOT knock. People have sleeping babies in houses, some are resting after a long night shift or may be ill. In general I’m not a fan of invading people’s privacy. You get much more respect when you leave your card there without knocking or ringing the bell.
More and more people are worried about security. I personally tell my kids not to go near the door when it rings unexpectly and I don’t open the door to strangers especially when my husband isn’t home.
I door knock as an agent. Some people are rude, some are nice, some have safety concerns and some come right out and talk to me for 20 minutes. I never attempt to open a door. Thats ludicrous. I always stand about 6 feet from the door. I do not want to be all up in peoples faces when they open the door. I keep my hands in front of me, and smile. I identify myself immediately before asking their name. I knocked on their door, not the other way around. Try to walk on pavement as much as possible, dont cross their lawn!! Confidence, respect and Perseverance are key.
Hello,Everybody. i just started door knocking in my community. Thru my first couple of days doing it I found two sellers. Unfortunately they are only looking to sell next year but I have their information and I write them notes and send them items of value. I am hoping it will generate a listing appointment at one day….
All I can say is ” Do What YOU Fear Most”….
Thank to Tom Hopkins
I just landed a listing appointment within fifteen minutes of door knocking. I’d rather talk to people face to face. It’s much easier to build rapport. It’s all in your attitude if you expect to meet cold, rude people, that’s exactly what’ll happen. People pick up on your vibe pretty quickly. Stay positive and you’ll make some really good connections.
Just had an agent ask my kids if I was home (they were in the driveway and I was at my neighbors house trying to help her collect her things to go to the hospital after her husband was in a bad accident).
This KW agent then approaches me in the street, calling me by my name, but not telling me who he is with (I had to ask).
Coming to my door/house shows me you do not respect my privacy. Talking to my kids is a surefire way to make sure I won’t use you or your agency to sell my home.