By Alex Pilarski

You ring the door bell and you hear footsteps as someone is approaching to open the door. Your heart starts to race and you begin to sweat. It’s a scary feeling, right?  Let me walk you through a bullet-proof strategy so you can control your fear and get the results you are striving for when door knocking for business.

Success in real estate is about meeting people, discovering their needs and helping them satisfy those needs. The more people you meet, the more people you will find who need your services. Door knocking is a great way to meet people. On average, you can knock on 60 doors per hour (10 per cent open rate) and expect one appointment to discuss their real estate needs for every 100 doors knocked.



100 Doors = 1 appointment

6 appointments = 1 listing

3 listings = 1-2 sales, or about $30,000 in commissions

Looking at it another way, each door knocked, whether answered or not, is worth $16!

Given a 10 per cent open rate for each door you knock on, what happens to those 90 per cent of doors that aren’t opened? Never let an opportunity slip by because the doors weren’t answered. Bring a black and white copy of a new listing in the neighborhood with your card stapled to it. Write “sorry I missed you” with your signature in pen.

If the door opens, it’s the moment of truth.

Keep it simple and introduce yourself. Then say, “I am canvassing the neighbourhood to introduce myself and promote new listings.”

Here are some questions you can ask to plant some seeds for future prospecting:
  • “Municipal assessments will be out soon; do you need any help ensuring that your assessments are fair?”
  • “The market has changed; would you like to see a current assessment of how much your home is worth?” They will either say yes or no but not to worry. It won’t be your last chance to plant the seeds.
  • At the end, you can ask, “Would it be okay if I kept in touch with you to let you know about any new listings or sales in the neighborhood?” The person will more than likely agree, and you can get their contact information.
Once you have provided value, you can then ask:
  • “Have you lived in the neighborhood for long?”
  • “We have a lot of interested buyers in the neighborhood. Do you have thoughts of moving?”
  • “Do you know of anyone interested in selling their home?”

These questions have a twofold purpose. They allow you to determine their real estate needs and offer the opportunity of the person giving you referrals. Most importantly, you have broken the ice and you can follow up with them in the future.

Fear is a normal reaction to new situations, because we are nervous about the outcome. The psychology of what you are doing will help you overcome the fear. Focus on these key thoughts and overcome your fear.

  • I am helping people with the most valuable asset they will ever have.
  • I am providing valuable information.
  • I succeed when I focus on activities, not results.
  • I can’t make anyone want to sell their home, I am just trying to find the one out of 100 who is considering it.
  • I am making $16 every time I knock on the door!

Knocking on doors is a tough task and it requires having persistence and the right strategy. Prospecting is the key to a successful real estate career. Set a goal of door knocking on 50 doors a day. You will meet lots of people, make new friends and build a great career.

Remember, if it were easy, everyone would do it.

Alex Pilarski was introduced to the world of real estate in 1972. In 1985, he co-founded Re/Max Realtron with his brother Richard. Together they have been awarded many top honours within the Re/Max system, including No. 1 Re/Max in the world in 2012 (most transactions), International Broker/Owners of the Year and the Prestigious Distinguished Service Award. He is also a certified mentor with Buffini and Company and Richard Robbins International. Send him an email or phone 905-944-8800 x302.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I have never, ever, heard of a lawyer, doctor, dentist, surgeon, architect or journalist etc. who door-knocked looking for business. However, I have heard of vacuum cleaner salespeople, politicians, Jehova’s witnesses, duct-cleaning-outfit salespeople, hungry Realtors etc. doing the door-knocking thing. Real professionals do not piss off people knocking on their front doors. Those who do are simply commissioned salespeople (of any and all stripes) who will do anything to make a buck…including pissing off the majority in order to score a hit here-and-there with a very, very small minority. It’s like panning for gold in the Pacific Ocean during a hurricane.

    Pissing off a significant number of homeowners at their front doors in pursuit of a listing presentation appointment is simply playing the callous, mercenary numbers game. This is why the public holds a dim view of desperate real estate salespeople and/or successful in-your-face hard-ass high fliers. “When you make the big bucks, who cares what the majority thinks?” thought high-flying Terry Paranych (pre trial decision).

    There are simply far too many real estate “professionals” thrashing about out there. Cut the number in half (at the very least) and the vacuum cleaner door-knocking ritual will become a thing of the past. The real estate salesperson image will improve in direct relation to the lack of scripted desperados showing up at their marks’ front doors at the most inopportune times.

    “Knock-knock”

    “Who’s there?”

    “Why do you care?”

    ” ‘Cause I’m in my underwear!”

    “Well then, have I got a deal for you!”

    “Shove it asshole, get out’a my view!”

    “But! but! but!…”

    “Yeah, yeah, I know; you have buyers lined-up just a-waitin’ to overpay for my house!”

    “Sumbitch! Some other scumbag got here first, right?”

    “Yep, and I sucked the nose right off’a his face wid my brand new commercial vacuum cleaner! Now: Hit the road Jack, and don’t come back no more, no more; ’cause ya just ain’t no good, no good; hit the road Jack!.”

    “Does this mean that I don’t get a referral?”

    • I don’t think you quite understand the purpose of it. I am a buyer, and my real estate agent is going door to door in two complexes that i would love to buy in. There are currently no listings in them, but it doesn’t mean no one considers selling in the next few months. Given how I can’t read people’s minds, I may end up having to buy a house I don’t quite like and miss my dream home. And if a knock at the door and a minute of your time pisses you off, then I’m sorry…

  2. I think hell would freeze over before I would go door knocking. Interestingly, in the 28 years I live in rather upper middle class neighbourhood, nobody ever came to my house. You’d think if people spend their time going door to door they would go for the more expensive homes.

    • Same here. Replica of what I could say, Sabine. Agree completely. Seems no one has brought forward the relativity of the topic from that perspective. And it’s interesting that in Ontario we have the “do not call or do not email” laws, and some sales such as furnaces and ac’s are forbidden to door knock. When will the new law apply to real estate?

      I miss having the “agree” “disagree” buttons on the comments.

      Cordially,
      Carolyne L 🍁

  3. Excellent article Alex! Thank you for sharing. I am a huge fan of door knocking!! I agree door knocking is an excellent prospecting technique for making an immediate and effective connection with the home owner!!.

  4. Fantastic article!! I have door knocked most of my career and it is a lost art. If done well people are delighted you came.

    • Carolyne I’m confused. A minute ago you seemed to agree that door-knocking was inappropriate, but now you are enclosing your stale marketing materials for the door knockers to pass along. Shameless.

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