Door-Knock Diary: Kick Ass, Be Kind, Repeat

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Real Estate

In the past couple of months, in prospecting for real estate clients in Denver, Aurora, and Golden,, I’ve spoken to more than 200 people at their front doors. That’s a lot of people, although it’s tracking much slower than a target I set for myself in mid-October.  At that time I resolved to make 1,000 new contacts before the end of the year.  With 19 days left, it looks like maybe I won’t make it.

To count toward my goal, the encounter must include an actual face-to-face conversation.  It counts even if the result is a polite “no thanks.”  (Even the impolite ones count.)  But I do not count "attempts" or doors knocked.  Those are far more numerous, of course.  I would guess my hit rate has been about 10 or 15 percent. I plan to start measuring this.

Obviously this form or marketing is done not just by Realtors but by political candidates, solar equipment salespeople, and all sorts of petition pushers.  I’ve encountered many door knockers at my own home, and I’ve often found them be annoying and at times even overbearing.

My own approach is to make my pitch as concisely as possible, then let them respond. My opening line goes something like this.  “Hi, I’m Tom LaRocque.  I’m a real estate broker, and I was just showing some homes in the area.  I’m always looking for more sellers and listings.  Do you know anyone who might be ready to sell a home?”     

Usually the response is negative.  (I’ll write more about the varieties of no in another post.)  When there is no apparent interest, my response is “thank you,” and I quickly turn and walk away.  Such a hasty retreat is not necessarily consistent with the advice of sales coaches and gurus.  Many say you should keep probing and pushing.  Do you know anyone who is moving out of town, or sending their kid to college, or getting divorced?  Help them think of the potential sellers in their lives.  Also ask about buyers, not just sellers.

To me that sort of questioning is a bit too personal to be asking someone who just met me, and not voluntarily. I've made my pitch, and if there is no apparent interest, I'll say thank you and walk away. (Maybe a bit too quickly.)  If there is any hint of curiosity about what I do, I'll leave a flyer or business card.  That’s my approach, for better or worse.  I am always in the business of self-improvement, hopefully, and open to suggestions about how to do it better.