By William Bronchick and Frank Pulley
Let’s say for argument’s sake that you have tried marketing with signs, letters, postcards and more. You have given this a concerted and consistent effort but in your target farm area, it seems like everyone else is doing the same thing. You feel that your results are diluted at best. You want to try something that not every other investor can or is even willing to do, such as Door Knocking. You like the idea of not having as much competition, but you don’t have a clue where to begin. The thought of doing this is intimidating, to say the least. Fear no more! Door Knocking for Real Estate Investors is easy when you know what to do, so here are some tips:
- Know Who Your Target Seller Is. It’s imperative to know exactly WHO your target seller is. Are you going after Foreclosures or some other type of seller? Other options might be FSBOs (for sale by owner) or houses in a state of disrepair, to name a few. Once you have determined the type of seller you are going to pursue, then get a good idea of exactly where you will be door knocking. Get a feel for some of the pain and problems these people might be experiencing in their situations and then develop answers for how you might be the solution for them
- Have a Plan. Make sure you have everything ready such as materials, addresses, the time you will go, etc. If you are going to a variety of properties spread over an area, then you can usually use your GPS (or MapQuest or another app) to optimize the route for you. In other words, you just input the addresses, ask it to optimize the route and it will sort them by the shortest and most efficient route.
- Timing is Everything. Timing is critical with door knocking. You want to do this when most folks are at home so evenings and weekends are best. Times NOT to go; Sat. am (people like to sleep in or have kids soccer or other activities) Sun. am (churchgoers won’t be home), during major sports events such as Pro or college football game. Also, try to avoid dinner time around 6 pm. That doesn’t seem to leave a lot of time, does it? Weekend afternoons, if there isn’t a major sporting event and early evenings during the week seem to work best. HINT: door-knock during inclement weather. No one else is doing it and folks tend to feel sorry for you and tend to be more receptive.
- Dress Appropriately. It’s important to remember that you are dealing with people in distress and the last thing you want to be doing is having success coming out of your pores! Think about who you will be talking to. We never wear ties or that sort of thing. Our normal dress would be nice jeans and a collared shirt. Even in upscale areas, a pair of slacks, dress shoes and collared shirt seem to work. We also never carry a briefcase! It can be a real turn-off and be intimidating. Instead, carry any paperwork such as brochures, handouts or door hangers in a leather folder. Keep some business cards in one of your pockets.
- Don’t Drive the Mercedes. People that you will be meeting in person don’t want you to be driving a beat-up vehicle, (you want to appear successful) but they also don’t want you to bring your Mercedes and shove your success down their throats. Drive a nice, but ordinary vehicle, if you can. Also if you have magnetic signs, be sure to pull them before you start heading down the block. We prefer to park at the end and then go up one side of the block and then the other. If there is only one house on a block we intend to knock on, we also look for other door knocking possibilities such as vacant houses, For Sale by Owners, etc. so we can make the best use of our time.
- Safety is a Priority. Safety first! It can be tempting to go on your own, but we really don’t advise that you do so. First of all, there is the safety aspect. Second, people seem to better relate to a couple of people, especially a guy and a gal. If they don’t relate to one of you, many times they will relate to the other person.
- Know What to Say and How to Say It. It is important not only to know what to say but also have some in-depth knowledge about your target, the neighborhood, what the seller’s problem is likely to be, and the appropriate responses. In addition, if you are door knocking on foreclosures, it’s important to know about the foreclosure process and laws in your area so you can answer questions.
- Remember Your Objectives. Investors try to get too much from a door knocking experience with a seller. All you are trying to do is:
- See if the seller is motivated
- Possibly get enough information to see if this fits within your business model
- Build a bit of rapport.
- Educate the seller so they can make a decision that they can feel comfortable with
- Most important- get an appointment for a later date in order to visit, see the property and talk to the seller a bit more in-depth and possibly strike a deal. Be sure and get the date scheduled as soon as you can!
Hopefully, these tips will help you on your way to some good results in door knocking for leads. A couple of final thoughts: It’s a numbers game so you have to door knock consistently and knock on a lot of doors. A reminder that if a seller isn’t home, leave a post-it note and possibly knock on a couple of surrounding properties to see if the neighbors know what is going on with the property owner. Be prepared for rejection- you will get better as you gain experience. Be respectful at all times. Safety is your number 1 priority, so if a property owner gets angry or aggressive, apologize and then leave.
Door knocking for real estate investors is a must for getting more deals. Here’s to your success!