When Keller Williams associate Carl Battiste hung his license during a down market in 2007, he didn’t wait for clients to come to him. Battiste instead took matters into his own hands – and started knocking on doors.A decade later, Battiste still refers to this grassroots strategy as the “heart and soul” of his successful real estate company in the East Bay Area of California. In the first few years, almost half of his business came from short sales, most of which he says were listings acquired from hitting the pavement and “working his farm.”
“I knocked on over 9,000 doors in less than 18 months,” Battiste says. “I took No. 1 market share from three boutique REALTORS® that had a really popular name in our community. People had no idea where this guy came from.”
Though it might seem a nostalgic practice of days gone by, Battiste – a former marketing director for consumer product giants like SC Johnson – encourages agents to never underestimate the power of face-to-face interaction.
Here he shares his top tips on how to use door-knocking to generate leads and listings.
Sure, door-knocking can be intimidating, but Battiste suggests simply having an open mind. Focus less on the unknown and more on the relationships you can build with potential clients, as well as your larger purpose. “You can do it,” he says. “You get used to it, especially when you know your ‘Big Why’ is at the end of that tunnel when the person says, ‘I need to sell my house.’”
Work in Your Talent Zone
If, like Battiste, you are drawn to conversation and getting to know others, harness these skills. “When you love what you do, you do it exceptionally well,” he says. “For me, knocking on doors and getting face-to-face with all those people was my talent zone. Somebody asked me the other day, ‘If you moved to Oklahoma, what would you do to drive your business?’ I would knock on doors all over again. Because I love doing it.”
Materials, Materials, Materials
A big part of the process, Battiste explains, is posting fliers around neighborhoods and on unanswered doors, as well as mailing marketing materials. Even if some homeowners don’t open their doors, they might hang on to your material and call you down the line. And it also leads them to recognize your name and brand and will give the impression that you have a great market share. “You don’t have to know all of them,” he says. “They just have to know you. That’s the beauty of farming.”
Know Your Stuff
Though it can be strange to show up uninvited at strangers’ homes, Battiste says you must exude a cool confidence and be prepared for the unexpected. “If you show up as a leader,” he says, “you will act like a leader. And people will see you as a leader.” When knocking on doors and speaking to homeowners, be professional, know the area – like the pending sale next door or the house down the road that just went on the market – and respond well to questions or comments. He stresses how important Keller Williams’ BOLD coaching can be for natural and effective dialogue and scripts.
If you’re starting out and have just a few listings, Battiste says to use this to your advantage by spending more of your energy on providing exceptional customer service. “I learned that when you add value and deliver the very, very best, you get people who will want to do business with you.”
While always being mindful of your valuable time, never neglect the impact of getting to know your community. Battiste, who started in his market center as a newcomer to the state, points out that being in direct contact with homeowners can teach you a lot if you take the time to talk – and to listen. Also, make yourself available to do interviews with prospective clients in their homes. Buying brain share takes time and farming doesn’t happen over night, he says. “It’s about time on the task.”
Do not underestimate what door-knocking can do for your business!
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Watch Carl Battiste's video below!