Knock-knock. Who’s there? If you’re one of the 30,000 homeowners in Newmarket or Aurora, Canada, there’s a good chance it’s Tom Mitchell. Four times a week, Mitchell and the nine members of the Mitchell Team hit the streets. Their goal? Meet as many potential leads as possible. The tactic? Good-ole door knocking – a strategy that earned Mitchell $63.8 million in closed volume last year.
Mitchell’s first door-knocking experience dates back more than two decades. In 1990, just three years into his real estate career, the market tanked. As agents around him reacted to the bad news, Mitchell decided to give door knocking a try because, “I knew I had to be proactive about generating leads for my business.” Back in those days, Mitchell was knocking on as many as 250 doors a day followed by a round of cold calls. Eventually, he stopped door knocking, relying on the hot market for regular business leads. Then 2007 hit. On top of the market shift, the Do Not Call list was enacted and Mitchell had to make a decision: take a hit or get back to basics. He chose to hit the pavement once more to see if homeowners were open to the idea of letting him into their home. It worked.
"Cold phone calls only get you so far with a potential lead," Mitchell explains. "Door knocking opens up other opportunities that you just can’t achieve over the phone.” The first is the obvious face-to-face contact. The second and third opportunities, he explains, actually bank on no one being home. “If I don’t get to talk to someone, I leave my business card or one of our marketing pieces,” he says.
“They think, ‘Wow, Tom was working in extreme heat or frigid cold.’ People remember that kind of thing and keep your card in a safe little spot until they’re ready to give me a call.”
Even with regular fliers and newspaper advertisements, the majority of the business comes from the daily door knocking. The key to unlocking the potential of this lead generation tactic lies in several strategies.
Enlist the Right Training
For starters, the entire Mitchell Team has taken Business Objective: a Life by Design (BOLD), which encourages attendees to get out of the office and into the neighborhoods. “BOLD was an awesome way to get us all fired up about getting in front of people and asking for business,” says Mitchell.
New additions to the team can’t be shy about the face-to-face lead generation method either. Mitchell makes sure they’re set up for success by first having them shadow him for two to three weeks before heading out on their own. Twice a week, team members also participate in half-hour meetings to go over scripts and dialogues to maximize their daily door-knocking activities.
Get on the Ground
On an actual day out of the office, his team members knock on 100 to 150 doors. They let each other know which street they're starting on through a simple text message, which Mitchell says “creates motivation and camaraderie.” At the end of their daily lead generation, they message each other again, but this time with their results. “They’re not just reporting back to me,” he says. “They report back to each other, which means everyone is more accountable.” And if someone gets a listing, “we make a really big deal about it!”
Follow-up is important, too. One week after the initial door-knock, Mitchell and his team check in to make sure the lead's information is right and ask if anything has changed in their situation.
They also call once a month in between emails, newsletters and an invitation to a monthly investment seminar.
Move Away from Fear and Get Your Foot in the Door
People are often shocked to hear how successful Mitchell is using the door-knocking strategy – it earned the $63.8 million in closed volume for 2016. The initial fears of rejection are always a topic of conversation, but unless agents get out and try it, they’ll never get those leads. “I think some agents are scared and think people are going to be rude and yell in your face,” Mitchell explains. “People treat me with respect and are friendly – even the ones who are not interested are friendly!” Overnight success is also a common misconception. “Most agents try it for a month or six weeks and give up because there’s no immediate gratification, but in my experience, it can take anywhere from two months to six months to see results.” That’s where Mitchell’s schedule comes in handy. “I do it on a four-day schedule with a weekly objective.” (He averages 600 over the course of four days.) He also says that the morning is the best time to start knocking, “so that you can maximize your energy level. You’re out in the fresh air, getting exercise and generating leads – it’s a triple-whammy!”
As Tom Mitchell and his team demonstrate, door knocking is one of the most powerful sources of leads because it puts you face-to-face with prospective clients.
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