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Don’t knock it: 6 tips for door-knocking success 

In an era of tech-enabled everything, door-knocking might seem quaint — but it can be an effective, low-cost way to build connections and generate leads.

November 20, 2022
4 minutes

Key points:

  • Agents should think of door knocking as a form of "sweat equity."
  • Don't hit the streets without a plan: Study the market and prepare your script before you knock.
  • As with any lead-generation method, leads mean nothing if you don’t follow up.

Marketing tactics like social media posts, cold-calling and direct mail work for some real estate agents in search of leads. Cameron Ure was not one of those agents. For him, old-fashioned door-knocking was the key to growing his new business. He knocked a lot — four to five hours each day — and it paid off.

“It took about four months to start seeing success,” says Ure, an agent with Prime Real Estate Experts in Salt Lake City. “But during month four, I put 10 houses under contract and I haven’t looked back since. I closed 33 houses and did $10 million in sales my first year, and I closed 44 homes last year for $15 million in sales.”

Ure, a third-year agent who hasn’t door-knocked for about a year, says meeting potential clients face-to-face was the key to building his business early on. He focused his attention on high-turnover neighborhoods and learned to quickly gauge residents’ interest level. “You’ve got about 15 seconds to make an impression, so those first 10 words out of your mouth really matter. I had a solid follow-up system and was able to market to my database. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but I was young, newly married and broke. I had no choice but to put in the work.”

Craig Chamberlain, an agent with eXp Realty in Missouri and a business coach for the Tom Ferry organization, agrees door-knocking can be a good, low-cost way to grow your business. Sure, agents can buy leads and advertising, but not everyone is in a position to make that investment — especially new agents who are just getting started. He calls it “check equity versus sweat equity.” 

While door-knocking can be a great way for new agents to build rapport with potential clients, Chamberlain also knows veteran agents who like to pound the pavement from time to time. “It’s a great way to get out of the office and out of a rut,” he says. “I know agents who are pretty heavy phone prospectors who like to take one day a week to get out there and knock on some doors. It doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I know a lot of agents who find it easier to build connections when they’re doing it face to face.”

As with most aspects of business, door-knocking works best when you have a plan. Just popping into any old neighborhood and knocking on doors at random is typically not effective. Ure and Chamberlain offer these tips for those who want to give knocking a try:

1. Do your research

What are the values of the homes in the neighborhoods where you’re knocking? What’s for sale in the area? How long have the residents lived in the neighborhood? Knowing the hyperlocal market shows potential clients that you’re good at what you do.

2. Practice, practice, practice — but don’t sound too rehearsed

When someone opens the door, you need to greet them, tell them who you are, what brokerage you’re with and why you’re there. Ask questions that can lead to further conversation: Do you have plans to upgrade or downsize soon? Are you interested in learning how much your home is worth? Do you like to make money? 

3. Keep it casual

Come on too strong and you’ll offend most folks — nobody likes a hard sell. Remember door-knocking is about making a first contact and asking homeowners how you can help them.

4. Prepare a leave-behind

Some agents choose to leave business cards. Others create calendars of community events or gift cards for coffee or ice cream. Leaving something with your name and brokerage serves as a reminder for property owners.

5. Dress the part

Present yourself as a professional, but be aware that formal business attire could be a turn off to homeowners.

6. Follow up

Use a pen and notebook or an app like KnockWise, SalesRabbit or ActiveKnocker. No matter the means, keep track of leads and stay in touch.

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