Door knocking - any success?

Do you or do you know of any agents who have had success door knocking?  If so, do you have any advice or tips?
  • March 13 2012 - US
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Answers (45)

Well, Chris, you're wrong. Nobody is going to "score" after making a scene at a restaurant, and whether anybody likes it or not, people who door-knock for listings will earn a good living from doing it.

How people respond is certainly their own business, but I've found that the sanest people will simply go to the door and say, "I'm not interested." It's the crazy people that have been waiting for just this moment to let fly and set the dogs on them and display that hatred and all of the other stuff that is out of proportion to the inconvenience.

When you get jostled in a supermarket aisle, how do you behave? When someone blocks your way on a commercial street with a clipboard, when people just interrupt you momentarily - is it really so difficult to simply say, "I'm not interested?"

Is it selfish to want to disturb people to earn a living? Maybe . . . but you know, there just aren't that many jobs out there that don't disturb people. The checkout clerk wants to sell me a store credit card or a carton of copy paper, the cab driver clogs up my streets, computer users increase the amount of carbon, the art museum fills up my mailbox.

You know, if you find yourself slamming your fist in your car or at your office desk, maybe it's not the circumstances, maybe it's not traffic - maybe it's you.
  • March 18 2012
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Profile picture for wetdawgs
My dogs are hungry!  Salespeople welcome!
  • March 18 2012
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
"Lots of people make a living, in many industries, by knocking on doors."

"Residential doors? Name the industries please."


The two most common (though not necessarily frequent)?
  - Lawn maintenance
  - House cleaning services

Other service industries that have come to my door?
  - Pest maintenance
  - Window coverings (mostly when the neighborhood was new)
  - Window cleaning services

So far, no REAs. Those mostly come in the form of a colored "We sold your neighbor's house" flyer.
  • March 18 2012
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Profile picture for Cindy Quinton
Chris, you crack me up with your narrow view that everyone feels as you do.

There is so much I could say, but I will leave you with this advice: Buy yourself a NO SOLICITING sign, and the reality of door knocking is far different than your perception.
  • March 18 2012
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Mack said, "The fact of the matter is that it is hard work, and the rejections are many and not always polite - see above - and if you do it consistently, you will have a successful real estate practice."

And is it acceptable for a man or woman to go to a crowded restaurant and yell out, "Would anyone like to go home with me?" Once in a while they're going to score. Someone will be impressed with their suave and determined technique. But the other 200 people are going to be annoyed. Does the end always justify the means?

"For every person or two that feels the need to take the time to let fly at you, there will be another person who will be polite and some number - perhaps it's one in a hundred, maybe one in five hundred, will be glad you knocked because, in fact, they have been thinking of selling and they don't know any real estate agents and, by gosh, you sure seem nice."

So it is OK to interrupt hundreds of disinterested people so that you and that rare potential client can hook up? This is so selfish.

"Don't let the sad, misanthropic people who have been preparing for the moment that salesperson rings their phone or knocks on their door discourage you."

Sad? LOL Just because someone doesn't want salespeople knocking on their door and they say so they are now "sad?" What does that make you? What do we call the person that knows almost everyone that answers the door will be annoyed but still knocks? Selfish. You don't care that you are bothering 99% of the people because there is a 1% chance you'll get paid.

And there is nothing misanthropic about reacting to selfish people interrupting your personal and private life. A misanthrope has a general dislike or hatred of the human species. The guy who tells you off for knocking at his door and interupting him and his family has a general dislike or hatred of YOU, not the human species. Quite a difference.

"Normal, healthy people can politely ask what the purpose of your visit or call is, and tell you that they are not interested without making you fear for your safety or your sanitation."

Normal healthy people don't bang on strangers doors and expect the normal healthy people that answer the door to be sweet and kind. The fact is you are disregarding the desires of the people inside the house in hopes of getting a paycheck. This is selfish and rude.

There are plenty of people that have little babies napping inside the house. Knock on their door and wake the baby and now those people are up all night with a cranky baby. There are people that work the night shift and they just fell asleep. Your interruption just meant that they won't be able to fall back asleep and will therefore be exhausted all night at work. Whatever people are doing...YOU have decided it is cool to stop them and discuss how you can make some money off them. Not nice at all.

There is a reason people hate telemarketers. Knocking n doors falls in the same category. You are forcing your way into the lives of people that don't want you there. And it is all for the hope of making money off them.
  • March 18 2012
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The fact of the matter is that it is hard work, and the rejections are many and not always polite - see above - and if you do it consistently, you will have a successful real estate practice.

For every person or two that feels the need to take the time to let fly at you, there will be another person who will be polite and some number - perhaps it's one in a hundred, maybe one in five hundred, will be glad you knocked because, in fact, they have been thinking of selling and they don't know any real estate agents and, by gosh, you sure seem nice.

Don't let the sad, misanthropic people who have been preparing for the moment that salesperson rings their phone or knocks on their door discourage you. Normal, healthy people can politely ask what the purpose of your visit or call is, and tell you that they are not interested without making you fear for your safety or your sanitation.
  • March 17 2012
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
Vickie, "Maybe FSBO's are really looking for help."

Then you can be sure to pass this on to them.
rockinblu's blog: Thinking About Selling as a FSBO?

It is some of the best information and help a FSBO can get.

"Not to mention the liability of selling without a professional AND the security and safety of your family & home by letting strangers in your house."


As this would be a cold call just how is a realtor not considered a stranger and the risk would be any less? If I understand it correctly instead of the owner showing the house to a stranger the realtor (who is really a stranger) will be showing the house to another stranger with the owner out of the house. I see no added security in this situation.

There is more than one way to look at this situation. Just because a person is selling FSBO does not mean they want to deal with a realtor. They probably already considered that and decided to try it themselves. It also does not mean they will not deal with a realtor at some point in time. Why risk upsetting them before they are ready to search for a realtor?
  • March 17 2012
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Maybe FSBO's are really looking for help. I'm sure it looks a lot easier to sell a home than it actually is. There is a way to approach without being pushy or aggressive. Let them know that you are there to help when they are tired of trying it on their own. Not to mention the liability of selling without a professional AND the security and safety of your family & home by letting strangers in your house.

  • March 17 2012
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Profile picture for Cindy Quinton

Roofing
Lawn care
Security systems
among others...

If somene has a home for sale by owner they are expressly saying they DO NOT want to use a realtor. Look at the post here on Zillow about people who are sick of speaking to real estate agents. Simple, call and ask if they will allow you an appointment to give your listing spiel, but don't knock on their door. Or anyone else with a no solicitation sign.

We disagree. Maybe you have no need of it, but there are people (and agents) who do.

BTW, what is your industry standard of people falling out of the business in say the first year? Yeah, unless you have someone to support you, have substancial savings, or are willing to do stuff like cold call, you can't make it.....
  • March 17 2012
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Profile picture for the_country_hick
Can anyone explain the difference between getting phone calls by telemarketers and salesmen (even realtors) knocking on your door?

The answer is simple. In real life the salesmen can not get away as easily and quickly when I start to tell them off. They also get the impact of me telling them not to contact me again.

I am sure by the time an unwanted salesman got off my property they would mark my address as a "never return there" address.

There was a insurance salesman who bothered a friend of mine while he was out in the barn milking and feeding the cows. The salesman followed him around trying to make a sale. While the salesman was standing behind a cow making his pitch the cow lifted its tail and coughed. The salesmans blue suit then looked a lot more brown.

I believe 2 things happened that day.

1 The cow got a double serving of grain for helping out the farmer.
2 The salesman rethought his sales approach at least in barnyards.

Had the salesman just been less pesky his suit would have stayed clean. Be careful, some people know how to take care of unwanted salesman. When all is said and done the salesman may come out smelling nothing like roses.
  • March 17 2012
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"Well, with that perspective then you should also NOT knock on FSBO either. If they wanted an agent they would find one."

A FSBO is a home currently on the market. The sellers are trying to sell their homes. Realtors sell homes. Knocking on FSBO's makes logical sense.

All the other homes out there are NOT currently on the market. The owners of the homes are likely NOT interested in the interruption to their lives. Knocking on those doors is selfish. You're basically saying that your need to earn a paycheck supersedes their desire to have privacy and peace and quiet. There is a reason many neighborhoods have signs saying "No Solicitation." Very few people appreciate cold sales calls.

"Lots of people make a living, in many industries, by knocking on doors."

Residential doors? Name the industries please.

"I suppose the could sit at home and live off of state assistance."

The only two options are to bang on people's doors and interrupt them or sit at home and collect welfare? LOL I'm not sure how to even respond to this line of reasoning.

"But in my opinion THAT is rude if you can do ANYTHING else."

You can do plenty of other things other than ruin people's dinner with unwanted cold solicitations. You know what I do? I bust my butt, am honest and give great advice and professional service. The type of post I'm making right now earns me respect and gets me listings regularly. Buyers and sellers are reading these posts and I think most of them would agree that real estate agents and vacuum salespeople banging on their doors is rude and unprofessional. But if you think it is acceptable have at it.

"Maybe I see it differently, but a closed mouth doesn't get fed, and people in sales need to have the gumption to ASK for business."

This "gumption" you speak of really irritates a lot of people. There is a difference between having grit, resolve, and determination and being an annoying salesperson.
  • March 17 2012
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Profile picture for Cindy Quinton
Well, with that perspective then you should also NOT knock on FSBO either. If they wanted an agent they would find one.

Lots of people make a living, in many industries, by knocking on doors. I suppose the could sit at home and live off of state assistance. But in my opinion THAT is rude if you can do ANYTHING else.

I don't see how it would be rude to stop by homes in an area and say, "I am a real estate professional who helps people buy and sell homes in this neighborhood. I you ever wonder what your home might sell for, I do CMA's for free, here's my card, thank you."

Or... "I have a client looking to purchase in this area, and am checking to see who might be selling soon."

Maybe I see it differently, but a closed mouth doesn't get fed, and people in sales need to have the gumption to ASK for business.
  • March 17 2012
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It depends on what you mean by "door knocking." Knocking on the doors of For Sale By Owner homes can be a great way to get listings. But knocking on the doors of houses in an effort to introduce yourself is rude in my opinion. There was a day and age when it was common practice to go door to door, but today I think doing so is totally inappropriate.

I always put myself in the other persons shoes. Do I want a salesperson knocking on my door to introduce themselves? Heck no. My time is valuable and I'll seek out a Realtor if I need one.

Do I want a stranger knocking on the door when my kids are home alone? Do I want my dinner interrupted by a sales call? There is no difference between a Realtor and a Jehovah's Witness knocking on doors. Both are unwanted solicitations to most people.
  • March 17 2012
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Profile picture for Connie Klemme
Two agents in my office do that frequently.
they have good luck with it.   It's not for me ...but they enjoy getting out and have gotten a few listings that way, if nothing else, it's good exercise.


I like handing out goodie bags with my cards in them.  It's a step below soliticiing- but it fits my style.  Do what works for you.
I've also gone out during memorial day weekend and put flags at every yard in a neighborhood, with cards on the flag, if there is a house for sale by another agent on that one I skip the card but still do a flag.  The way I do it..it's not really "effective marketing"  it could be done more aggressively for better results.  I'm not really doing it for big results, I'm doing it because I can and I enjoy it.  (it's cool to drive through a neighborhood and see all those flags and know you put them there).

  • March 13 2012
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It's certainly worth a try. I have known Realtors call on FSBO and list & sell them. I've known agents who have found buyers that way too. The agent used door knockers in a neighborhood and list homes there as well. So it's worth a try! Good Luck!

  • March 13 2012
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