It was 2013. Ashley Shaffer had lived in Albuquerque, N.M., for three years and finally secured her real estate license. She was eager to start her business, but was missing an important element – clients. Where would she get them? She only knew a handful of people in a city of more than half a million.
“The only people I knew were my parents and a couple others who had moved to Albuquerque from Farmington, the town I grew up in. I didn’t have a sphere, so I decided to create one.”Determined to provide for her growing family, Shaffer began knocking on doors for leads. She knocked in the rain, in the wind and even in the heat of July – nine months pregnant. Fast forward to today and Shaffer has grown a successful business, closing 2016 out with 26 units and $6 million in production. This year, she has set her eyes on 50 units, $10 million in production and $324,000 in GCI – a goal that quickly increased after moving to Keller Williams from Coldwell Banker five months ago.
With a keen awareness of how much time she has to put into door-knocking and a “deep why” keeping her grounded, Shaffer is confident she’ll reach her goals. “I have a lot of people who depend on my success, and Keller Williams has given me the tools through the Career Growth Initiative to get there,” she says. “When I want to stop door-knocking for the day, it’s my husband, children and parents that keep me motivated.”
Experience has taught Shaffer not to underestimate the revenue opportunities behind each door.
“Someone came to my office asking me to show them how to door-knock. I said, ‘Pick the listing, print the fliers and I’d be happy to help.’ After the fifth house, this person decided to leave because it was too hot, but I kept going. The woman at the next house I knocked on told me that she and her husband were going to sell their house in a year, so I made a note to put them on my sphere. I found their information from the county records and funneled them into a drip campaign.”
That stop eventually paid off sevenfold.
“A year and a half later, the couple reached out to me and have sent me referral after referral. I have closed seven houses from that one door. The most valuable part of the experience was that I took the initiative to get their address from the county and mailed items of value every month. It’s about being self-sufficient.”
Not all stories end like this one, but the majority of responses Shaffer’s received at the door have conditioned her to be optimistic.
“Of course, I occasionally get the door slammed in my face or the person on the other side isn’t interested, but most people are kind and willing to talk to me when I tell them my name is Ashley and I’m a REALTOR® with Keller Williams. The general public feels pretty good about what we do.”
What matters the most is being authentic and doing what works for you, says Shaffer. She shares advice based on what’s worked for her.
Before You Knock – Know Your ‘Fishhooks’
“I use a variety of fishhooks to hook people into a conversation with me. Sometimes it’s to let people know how much other houses are selling for in the neighborhood. The great thing about my farm, and this can translate to other subdivisions, is there are only six home models, so I can give people a picture of how much their home would sell for by stepping inside. Other times, I knock to invite neighbors to an exclusive open house or “nosy neighbor open house” to see a listing. I also knock with just listed/pending/sold information. You can ALWAYS find a reason to door-knock. Don’t have a listing? Knock for someone else! Having direct contact with clients is worth it.”
At the Door – Know What You’re Listening For
“When I’m having a conversation with someone at the door, I’m listening intently for one thing – any indication that they will be moving in the future. If I hear it, I work hard to build rapport.”
After You Knock – Stay in Touch
“The big money is in the follow-up! If I knock on 500 doors, I expect to get 300 answers and want at least 15 appointments from that. The only way to do this is through quality follow-up. Door-knocking as seed-planting. Because you listen for the cues and you follow up with them with whatever way you see fit. Some people are price driven and want to stay plugged into market prices. Others are not. Try connecting with local businesses and send special offers. Whatever you send, make sure it’s valuable and change it up from just listed/just sold fliers.
When the Going Gets Tough – Stay on the Path
Shaffer compares door-knocking to going to the gym. “The hardest part is getting in the door. When I work out, I tell myself, ‘If you aren’t into it, you can leave.’ When I door-knock, I tell myself, ‘If you are knocking for 15 minutes and you’re not into it, you can leave.’” But she doesn’t leave. “I start knocking, having conversations and generating potential business and just keep going.”
Make sure to have your accountability partners too!
“Having accountability partners is important for me. When I say, ‘I don’t want to door-knock,’ they are quick to tell me that I can do it. We encourage each other.”
And, if mental obstacles continue to get in the way of door-knocking for you, Shaffer offers words of encouragement.
“Putting yourself out there is hard for anybody, but you need to move past that. When I started door-knocking, my biggest obstacle was my ego. I had to overcome my own feelings and you can too. The more knowledgeable I became in real estate, the more confident I became at the door.”
Don’t get discouraged if you’ve knocked and received little response!
“In order to reach your goals, you have to do the activities to get you there. Your time isn’t wasted when you door-knock. You’ve learned more about the neighborhood, floor plans and people.”
As Shaffer’s repeat-and-referral business climbs, she admits it can be tempting to put door-knocking to the side, but refuses to let waning motivation derail her from an activity that has proven successful time and time again. Once she feels a hint of her door-knocking routine slipping, Shaffer meditates on all of the remarkable opportunities she’s received as a direct result.
“Door-knocking jump-started my business, has given me a skill to pass on to new and experienced agents, has allowed my husband to stay at home with our children for a year and a half, and has helped me move past my ego space. I constantly go back to ‘This is what built you in the first place.’”
Do not underestimate what door-knocking can do for your business! Download our toolkit for resources to help you leverage door knocking as a lead generation engine.