To Knock or Not to Knock...
So, I am by nature an introvert. I am not the total and complete introvert that some are as I will engage people in conversation that I meet. However, I am uncomfortable in large groups alone and have a hard time approaching people. So this of course puts me in a bit of a quandary when it comes to knocking on doors to inquire about a house someone owns. Well, at least randomly. I have realized that I am mission oriented or goal driven for those that don’t quite understand my military reference. So what? Let’s talk about the “so what” shall we?
For people like me, we can easily engage with a stranger when we have a specific mission, task or goal. That is to say, we aren’t THINKING about what we have to say or how we will engage them, we already have this planned out and usually have several engagement plans lined up ready to go.
I’ve done this for over 30+ years where I have had to step in front of strangers and do briefings to include being an instructor for the last two years of my military career. So engaging strangers when I have a mission has never been a problem. Now, go ahead and tell me to just randomly knock on a bunch of doors like some of my more accomplished REI friends do and I’ll probably give you the, “you have a leg growing out of your forehead” look.
So for me, I will knock on a door only if I am inquiring about a home that I have found that they may own and I want to buy. I have done this several times and I have had mixed results. So this goes to the next part of this question. Knocking versus letters, which one works better? In my mind, it depends. It depends on who you talk to and where you are at. I know people that swear by door knocking and others that swear by letter sending. I do both. So here are a few examples of the results that I have had with both.
Letters. To date, and remember I am new at this, I have received two responses from letters I have sent and both were phone calls. The first response was a woman that was a bit incensed that she received a letter to sell her house. I thanked her for letting me know that she did not wish to sell and then sent her a thank you note. Remember, how you handle each and every call sets the stage for future engagements so you always want to remain up beat and positive so they don’t go away thinking you are a jerk.
The second response was also a phone call and the woman was genuinely interested in selling me her house but I found that she had a rather hefty mortgage on the house with a high interest rate and, she had just recently listed it in the MLS. Again I was positive about the conversation and although it would not work for me I wished her the best of luck and told her that I would send any interested parties her way.
Now, I just sent out a batch of letters this past Friday so we will see what happens with the latest batch. This being said, I will more than likely follow up with a door knock plan on select houses that I have a keen interest in. This brings me to the door knocking results.
The first door I knocked on was a gentlemen who had tried to sell his house previously and failed so was now rehabbing the house to sell. A very nice gentleman named Phil who after discussing what he was doing was keenly interested in selling me his house. We stayed in contact for about three weeks and we were getting ready to close the deal when we ran into a bit of a problem with his bank. That deal didn’t go through but we are friends now and I check in on him every now and again.
The second door I knocked on left me with no one answering and, as I learned later, the individual in question moved. No problem, I have friends who can run skip traces! I found him and then went to visit him. He wasn’t there so I left a letter and four offers with the young lady that was there to give to him which she did when he got back. I got a call the next day. This one was not as pleasant an experience and he even threatened me! The gentleman claimed to also be an investor but that is rather questionable as he really didn’t understand any of the offers I gave him. Although he tried to intimidate me, I still kept it positive. What he didn’t understand is that intimidation doesn’t work on a 30+ year Army retiree who has seen his fair share of combat. I wished him the best of luck and then removed his property from my list of pursuits.
So what did I learn? I learned that the success of one or the other depends. Don’t let anyone fool you or tell you otherwise, there is no magic solution or secret technique that will get you positive results every single time. If there was, we would all be insanely successful and rich! Sure, there are techniques that work better than others and we have to figure these out as we go along but the bottom line is that unless you do it, you’ll never learn from your experiences.
Soooo, to knock or not to knock? I choose to knock when I have a specific target in mind however, this is usually after I have already sent out a letter. As I continue down this path, I learn, make mistakes, learn some more and grow. As I grow, I slowly overcome my fear of speaking to random strangers for no reason whatsoever. I’ll eventually get there but I don’t think I will ever be at the level of my wife who is the type to turn around and just start talking to the person behind her in the grocery store line!
So, what will you do?