The Magic Happens at the Seller’s Kitchen Table – Part 2

Posted on August 6, 2012 by

Electrolux VacuumWe’ve built a successful real estate investing business by constantly knocking on seller’s doors and asking Pete Fortunato’s famous question: Why are you selling such a nice house like this?

Remember: The BEST way to find great deals is to meet face to face with sellers and help them solve their real estate problems.

We knock on seller’s doors because it’s – BY FAR – the most effective, affordable and quickest way to get face to face with a seller.

Today, let’s discuss what to say and do after knocking on the seller’s door.  One thing: There’s a lot in this world I know nothing about – but knocking on doors isn’t one of them!  I was a door-to-door salesman and sold Electrolux vacuums from ages 18 to 36.  Since 1995, I’ve knocked on homeowners’ doors who are trying to sell their houses.   With 34 years of door-knocking experience, I know what I’m talking about.

When working my area – a 5-mile circle around the Cartersville, Georgia Wal-Mart – if I see a house with a For Sale or For Rent sign in the yard – whether it’s a realtor’s sign or a For Sale By Owner sign – I pull into the driveway, get out of my car and walk up to the seller’s door.

One thing to remember: The hardest door to open is your car door.  Not once in 34 years of knocking on homeowners’ doors have I ever wanted or looked forward to knocking on a stranger’s door.  But to succeed, it’s something you must do!

Which door do I go to?  The door the homeowner uses most.  If the house has a carport, I go to the carport door.  If the house has a garage and the garage door is up, I go to the garage door.  Otherwise, I go to the front door.

At the door, I ring the bell and then knock.  Why do both?  Because lots of doorbells are broken.

And here’s a critical piece of information: After knocking and ringing, I back away from the door about 20 to 30 feet – this usually means I end up standing in the middle of their yard. 

Why do I back so far away?  My goal is to have the owner come outside and talk to me rather than talking to me from behind a partially-opened door.  If I’m crowding the owner – if I’m standing directly in front of their door – I’m making them feel very uncomfortable…defensive.  Giving the owner lots of space prevents these negative feelings and allows them to feel safe about coming out and talking to me.

The conversation usually begins with the seller asking, “Can I help you?”

My answer is always the same: “I see your house is for sale.” (I point over my shoulder at the For Sale sign.)  “I’m looking for a house in this area.” (I hold my hands straight out from my sides.)  Finally, I turn my shoulders 45 degrees from the owner and ask, “Would you mind telling me about your house?”

The seller normally asks, “What would you like to know?”  I begin asking questions like: How much are you asking?  How many bedrooms?  How many square feet?  Is the basement finished?  After my fourth or fifth question, 8 out of 10 sellers will ask, “Would you like to see inside?”

And in I go!

Folks, there are a ton of marketing techniques you can use to get face to face with a seller – newspaper ads, websites, direct mail, etc.  But nothing comes close the 80% success rate you get from simply knocking on sellers’ doors.  If your goal is to get face to face with sellers, why not give it a try?

Next week, we’ll conclude this series by discussing what to do once you’re in a seller’s house.

The Magic Happens at the Seller’s Kitchen Table: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

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.


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