Are you a bold agent who isn't afraid to knock on the door or ring the bell to meet FSBOs face to face? Here's some advice to use that skill and get listings!
FSBO Sales Appointments Part 4: Door Knocking
Let's talk about knocking on a seller’s door as an approach. This can be difficult and intimidating for some, but if you can get in there and start gaining credibility face to face, it's very powerful.
I've talked to agents who are doing this, and they say 90 percent of sellers or more invite them into the home when they show up. After all, they're not just sitting behind their computer waiting for a phone call -- they’re active in the community and making the rounds. It can be a great way to get in touch with sellers who aren't answering their phone or returning phone calls from agents.
In fact, I’ve personally done this when I can't get ahold of seller and I'm in the neighborhood. I simply stop by, start a conversation, and many times, I've walked out with a signed listing agreement! They all say about the same thing: “I'm so glad you stopped by; I was getting frustrated. I'm getting bombarded by all these agents, and I didn’t know who to pick. But when you showed up, I liked what you had to say. I liked your approach, so I listed with you.”
In other words, if you're knocking on doors and you're out there being proactive, it can be very lucrative.
FSBOs are pretty safe. Their information is online because they're selling their home. But it’s still important to maintain distance at first.
When you knock on the door, don't have your face right in the doorway. It’s too personal and overpowering. You want to give them space and give yourself space. Just knock on the door, smile, step back, have a name tag on and have some information in your hands. And if the sellers do invite you in, make sure you've done your research.
Rick Culp shared with me exactly how he does this:
“Hi, I'm Rick. I'm with Brokers Guild. Is it okay if I come in? I immediately identify myself as an agent and say, is it okay if I just come in and look around? And 99 percent of the time, they're very friendly. They'll smile and say, absolutely Rick, come on and look around. And that's how I approach them.”
Rick advises agents to be prepared in their approach:
“Try to do a little research on the neighborhood and know what’s going on. Most FSBOs are very good at embellishing on their own homes. I try to spend some time asking them some leading questions.”
Basic questions to ask might be the following:
- Why are you selling this home yourself?
- Did you have a bad experience with a broker?
- How did you determine your price?
- What is the buyer's motivation for buying from you? (If the home is listed at the top of the market, will the buyer agree to the price?)
- Is it hard to show the home with your schedule?
- Do you have an attorney preparing the paperwork? How much are they charging?
- Have you prepared the State Disclosures?
- Are you offering a finder’s fee or willing to pay for a buyer?
- Do you feel that you can get as much for the house as a broker can?
- What title company will you be using?
- Who will hold the earnest money?
- How will buyers, inspectors and appraisers access the property once you are under contract?
Rick points out that you might learn things at this type of appointment you wouldn’t ordinarily learn from a simple phone call -- after all, you’re face to face. However, he also cautions against being overly personal in this situation, and to recognize that you might not leave with a listing.
“Don't be intimidating. I would never recommend standing up and “talking down” at them. Even in a presentation, I always like to sit side-by-side with them. Be relaxed, and don't be uptight. And one way to relax yourself is to be cool with walking out without the listing appointment. That way, you can be more in tune with what they have say, and you can strategically schedule your call to actions.”
Don't take the aggressive approach that failed for other agents!
Rick also cautions against using the approach that other agents might have tried - that is, being aggressive and jumping the gun when the sellers are just beginning to warm up. This could include saying things like:
“If I had a buyer and could sell the house in 30 days, would you be interested in listing with me? If I can bring you a buyer and get your home sold for more money or the same amount that you would get selling it on your own, would you be interested?
He continues to say:
“If you jumped right into that, the sellers are probably going to say no. Because that's what they're telling all the other agents that are jumping the gun. But you're in there building trust and rapport, sitting at the dining room table after you previewed the home - and just an hour ago you were knocking on the door. All this trust and rapport is built. If you feel like you have an opportunity to get the listing, don't be afraid to ask ….. but do it in a way where you're not being so aggressive they're just going to shut you down, like they did the other 30, 40 or 50 agents who've contacted them.”
So go ahead and knock on the door. You're likely going to get ahold of home sellers that other agents can't get ahold of. It's going to show you're the type of agent who is active in the community. You've done your homework. You know about the house that sold and the house that didn't sell because it was overpriced. And again, you're getting quality face time. This is a great way to go from a nobody to the agent they want to list with.