What’s the Most Effective Way to Meet Sellers?

Posted on July 29, 2013 by

Last week, Kim and I drove to Savannah, Georgia to speak to the Savannah REIA (Real Estate Investors Association).  When teaching, in addition to presenting at a REIA’s monthly meeting, I do something most real estate investing teachers won’t do: I take the REIA members out to knock on sellers’ doors before the meeting.

Kim and I have built a very successful real estate investing business on the foundation of knocking on seller’s doors.  We don’t put out bandit signs (these are the “We Buy Houses” signs you see at intersections), we don’t do mail outs, and we have the WORST website in the world.

Lots of “gurus” TALK about knocking on sellers’ doors, but when it comes time to walk the walk, just try getting them into a neighborhood, out of the car and up to the door.

A few weeks back, Kim pointed out that I’m uniquely qualified to show folks how to door-knock.  Why?  Because I’ve spent nearly 40 years making a living knocking on homeowner’s doors.  You can say that door-knocking is more than just second nature to me.

My mother started it off.  Beginning in 1968, she sold Electrolux vacuums door-to-door for 28 years.  She is one of the most successful salespeople in the company’s history.  As a kid, I cut my teeth listening to her tell door-to-door stories at the dinner table.

My door-knocking career began when I was fourteen.  I was allergic to grass, so mowing yards was out of the question.  Instead, I’d take my mom’s Electrolux shampooer and go out door-knocking.  I’d offer to shampoo for $2.50 per room. 

When I was eighteen, my dad let me know that I’d be paying my own way through college.  Back then, college cost $5,000 per year.  To pay for it, I got a job with Electrolux selling vacuums door-to-door.  After graduating, I ended up staying with Electrolux until I was 35 years old – and then Kim and I became real estate investors.

Now at 53, I’ve spent nearly 40 years talking to homeowners at their door.  Funny – I never thought of myself as an expert until Kim said something.

So, what is the most effective, efficient and affordable way to meet with sellers face-to-face?  Whenever you see a “For Sale” or “For Rent” sign in the yard, pull to the curb, walk up to the door, knock, and back up about 25 feet.

You back up 25 feet because you don’t want to crowd the door.  You want to be far enough away so the seller feels comfortable to open the door and step out on the porch.

When the seller comes out, I point behind me and say, “I see your house is for sale.”  Next, I hold my arms straight out to either side of me and say, “I’m looking for a home in this area.”  Then I refocus on the seller and say, “Would you mind telling me about yours?”

Here’s an important thing to consider: Back when I sold vacuums, when at the owner’s door, I was the one with something to sell.  As a real estate investor, when at the owner’s door, they are the one with something to sell.  THEY are soliciting ME!

Does door-knocking work?  If I talk to ten homeowners, eight will invite me in.  You tell me – do these numbers work?  Can you name any other type of marketing that comes close to being this effective?

Bill & Kim CookBill & Kim Cook are a husband and wife real estate investing team. They live in Adairsville, Georgia and have been investing in real estate since 1995. They specialize in buying single-family homes, mobile homes and mobile home parks. They also run North Georgia REIA and teach folks how to successfully invest in real estate.

Contact Bill & Kim Cook

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