Door Knocking: I’ve heard it’s successful but it’s my Greatest Fear. #15 in the series

One of the most productive ways to find deals is to actually door knock and talk to the homeowner.  My wife, Nancy, loved doing this whenever we bought a property in a neighborhood. As soon as we had access to the newly purchased property, we would go to the property and I would start changing locks and working on the property while Nancy went through the entire neighborhood and door knocked for another deal.

There are certain issues that need to be addressed to do this successfully. The first one is that you have to be fearless but not reckless when speaking to people.  Women should NEVER go into the property if they are invited by a male. It may sound like I am giving an unnecessary warning but Nancy never takes a chance and I understand.

You should also have a simple script that covers all the reasons you are there and what you can do for the homeowner. “What’s in it for me?” is the question to be answered if the homeowner talks to you. Most of the time the homeowner’s response will be one of the following:

say he doesn’t need your help,

say you are worse than a beggar,

go crazy and scream at you,

not answer the door,

and who knows what….. but frankly, it doesn’t matter except in your mind.  Get over your feelings of insecurity and go on to the next house!

You can approach these homeowners from two angles – a list of qualified prospects such as pre-foreclosure, probates, divorce or bankruptcy to mention a few.  These lists can be found from the usual sources but these cold calls are “one-on-one” and not productive for doing a whole neighborhood.  However, you can hit the pre-sorted prospects and then go door-to-door for the rest of neighborhood.

Your script should “fit” you but it should be simple because you only have about 10 seconds to get the homeowner’s attention and make the point of why you are standing there!  This simply looks like, “My name is Dave and I am looking to buy a home in your neighborhood.”  Wait to see what the person at the door says and literally go from there – you will get all kinds of remarks.  This is a numbers game so the more you fail, the closer to you are to getting a deal!

For the targeted homeowners you know are in pre-foreclosure, you need to be direct, “I see your bank is taking your home – I can help!” Their response most often will be that it was taken care of, they have an attorney working on it, you are wrong, they are not in foreclosure (they may be right), they don’t care or a myriad of other excuses why they don’t want to deal with you.

Now the countdown begins – you have to make an impression in 5 seconds or less and usually the best way is to say that you can get them money even if the bank won’t give them any and get them out of a deficiency judgment. The next question is usually about how much money can they get and how long can they stay.

Now is the time to bring in the “big guns” to answer the homeowner’s questions and who you have doing the negotiations or listing this type of short sale and they will  answer the questions you can’t. Make an appointment with the homeowner and the listing agent or negotiator and be there with the agent so you can learn what to say and how to answer the homeowner’s questions.

Door knocking for deals is one of the most productive and most discouraging form of prospecting. Most investors quit too soon and the die-hards just keep going back to the gold mine and put up with rejection after rejection – all leading to money in the bank. If you feel you just can’t do it, there are two other ways investors do it – they hire kids to put out door hangers and you wait for people to call you – feels a lot better but low results.

The other option which is used most often is to recruit door-knockers who you train and have these “bird dogs” simply set appointments for you. These are not cold leads but ones that seemingly have some problem that needs your help. Pay these bird dogs by the completed deal and be generous because they will work to get the appointments. Some of the country’s largest investors use this technique to get their deals – it works, if you work it!