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Is Door Knocking Still Viable for Generating Seller Leads?

Door to door sales is nothing new. You canvass an area, hand out flyers, and do a general meet-and-greet. It’s one of the old-school tactics that gained infamy in the late 90s, but has continued to be a pocket technique some agents love, while others prefer not to endorse.

Acquiring listings and generating seller leads is like finding gold on the Alaskan frontier. Every agent wants them, but few find the opportunity. So, we’re going to cover door knocking and how to generate seller leads. And, with Dylan’s help, we’re going to show you how to put it into action. Follow along …

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The Overall Strategy to Door Knocking

Here it is in basic terms: You take an opportunity, such as an open house, to talk to neighbors and gauge interest in selling. You don’t do it by making a cold pitch of your services or value. Instead, you show your potential.

Dylan Hale, an agent in the Raleigh-Durham area, utilizes his brokerage’s open houses, but he doesn’t make a pitch of “Here’s what I can do for you!” or “Are you interested in selling now?” That conversation happens later. What he likes to do is walk around, knock on doors, and ask neighbors if they could provide any hyper-local information on the area he can share with buyers at his open house.

“Anytime you’re tempted to upsell someone else, stop what you’re doing and upserve instead.” — Dan Pink, To Sell is Human


He asks a couple questions about the neighborhood, letting them know he’s making sure he has everything prepped when it comes to selling. Starting the conversation this way allows him to softly win their attention by pulling the Benjamin Franklin trick: Ask a favor.

It’s a psychological move known to get people to do a second favor. The theory states a person who has performed a favor for someone is more likely to do another favor for that person than they would be if they had received a favor from that person. It’s a form of cognitive dissonance, where people change their attitude/behavior to relieve tensions between their preconceived notions.

In Dylan’s case, he asks a small favor up front, by inquiring about the neighborhood. Later on, he transitions the conversation with a second ask: Can I get your email? In between that, he’s melting away the typical reactions (and thoughts) homeowners have about real estate agents, i.e. salespeople.

With every door knocking journey, he’s accompanied by simple flyers detailing his contact information. The open house serves as a backdrop to show what he can do. As the conversations taper off, Dylan likes to gauge potential interest in selling and will often make a pitch of “If you’d like some info on how homes are selling in the area, I can share them with you.” Again, it’s not a hard pitch of his services or value. He’s making an argument of “How can I help you?”


The More Advanced Door Knocking Strategy

This strategy plays off the above-mentioned Open House idea. However, the difference lies in the lead follow-up. To take things to the next level, Dylan rounds up the seller leads he collected from his door knocking adventure and sends them one, interesting email.

He lets them know the open house has been cancelled because they’ve already sold the house. This tactic works well in the Raleigh-Durham area because their real estate market is super hot right now. It’s an extreme version of a seller’s market, so this case often pops up. What this does in the seller’s mind is validate Dylan’s ability to sell real estate. Not only did this guy help sell our neighbor’s home, but he sold it quickly!

Seller leads eat this up. They realize there’s an opportunity to be made, if they’ve been on the fence for listing their property. In some cases, they probably experience FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Within minutes, Dylan sees replies with homeowners looking to list their house.


Where to Start Door Knocking

Though Dylan sees great success in door knocking and farming particular neighborhoods, it doesn’t mean every territory is ripe for the picking. Some neighborhoods can already be dominated by another real estate agent. Others might not be in a stage for housing turnover.

What you need to do before selecting an area is some research. Utilize comparative market analyses. If you have access to it, take advantage of Realtors Property Resource (RPR). Look to see what the average price point is, how many homes have sold recently, and if the market is in a position to sell. Then translate the data into something meaningful for homeowners. What can they sell for? How fast? — These are the top two questions they’ll ask you. Be prepared with information. That way, you sound like a true local expert.

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Metrics and ROI – Door Knocking

Yes, yes, door knocking is great and all, but what kind of results will I see? It’s a legitimate question, and I can tell you what Dylan sees for success. In fact, I’ll up the game and tell one of his most successful stories. But take everything with a grain of salt. Every real estate market will have different results obtaining seller leads via door knocking.

The important lesson (before I say anything) is don’t judge until you’ve tried it.

Here are some numbers Dylan gave me. For every hour of walking around, handing out flyers, and door knocking, he can usually collect 5 seller leads (i.e. their contact info).

1 hour = 5 seller leads.

I’d say that’s not bad for a little exercise. It certainly beats sitting on Facebook, perusing images and videos. With each lead, Dylan sends a personal note back to them and will typically follow up again in a few weeks (or months) depending on their interest.

And for a crazy story, Dylan shared this:

One day, a guy took my flyer, sparked up a simple conversation, and then we went our separate ways. I didn’t think much of it. In fact, I didn’t think it would turn out to be a great opportunity. The guy still uses a flip-phone with prepaid minutes. He takes the bus everywhere he goes. And his attire didn’t really speak ‘I have a huge home to sell.’

A day later, I get a call from him, saying he wants to list a farm property he had inherited. I looked it up and it’s value is estimated at $2.5 million. I can’t believe my mind! All this came from walking around, handing out flyers.


#Drive & Facing Rejection

With any cold-calling, you’ll inevitably face rejection. Before you start door knocking, prepare yourself for the possibility of “No thanks.” Most of you are already in real estate, but facing rejection in person can be a touch harder.

Dylan’s advice is … don’t worry about it. Most people are courteous and will either spark a conversation or say “No, I’m not interested right now.” There’s no lasting impression. There’s no yelling or shouting fest. There’s no hate. Simply move along to the next house.
Getting out and door knocking is like going to the gym. Just get your butt there, and from there, it’ll become easy.

Practice makes perfect.

Seller Leads Real Estate

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