A Mini Guide: What is Canvassing in Real Estate
As a real estate professional, you have probably heard of the term “real estate farming,” the practice of marketing in a targeted geographic area or to a specific demographic to add value, establish yourself as an expert in that area and obtain clients.
Of course, the goal is to become the agent of choice for that specific neighborhood, whether buying, selling, foreclosing, renting, short selling, pre-foreclosing, etc. To accomplish this, direct mailing, emailing or even online farming may be involved, along with distributing free valuable items to homes in a specific neighborhood.
But, have you heard about “real estate canvassing?”
It’s similar to farming as it involves door knocking, relationship building and establishing a presence in a specific area, but it also involves:
- Territory management;
- Gathering specific data;
- Using captured data to nurture leads; and
- Converting leads to clients.
Are you up for the challenge?
Good! Let’s get going!
Let me tell you, real estate canvassing is not for those who lack courage, vigor or strength. It’s for those who are bold enough to knock on someone’s door, the entryway to their private world. It’s for those who are committed to walking, running or trudging along in the rain, sleet, sun or snow, even with blisters on their feet. And, it’s for those who are strong enough to laugh at rejection in the face and keep on going!
Before you start real estate canvassing, make sure you have all the right types of permits needed for the specific territory you plan to canvass. Your local Association of REALTORS® should be able to assist you with any questions regarding permits.
BONUS TIP: Scan your permits, real estate license and other needed documents into your SPOTIO app, which is directly integrated with Google Docs. No need to carry around printed permits and other important documents just to risk losing them or messing them up!
How to Canvass as a Real Estate Professional
There are 5 main elements to real estate canvassing that are essential to successful implementation. Once you understand each of these, you will be able to put together a real estate canvassing plan to maximize your number of leads that you will then need to nurture into an agent-client relationship.
Choose the territory. Work with your broker, who probably knows the market very well and can point you in the proper direction, or do your own research based on your ultimate goal and what you want to achieve. Are you wanting to find neighborhoods with a high foreclosure rate? Or, are you looking for neighborhoods that have a large number of FSBOs (for-sale-by-owners)?
Details such as demographics, average cost of homes and future developments that could affect home pricing in the near future and more will further help to discover the exact neighborhood to start your real estate canvassing journey! Here are some tools to help with your research:
Zillow – find local mortgage rates and home value info.
Foreclosure.com – lookup foreclosures before they are listed on MLS, short sales, rent to own, as-is deals, etc.
HouseValues.com – FREE tool generates reports revealing a home’s current market value.
Real Estate ABC – Estimates home’s value based on last 30 comparables sales in the neighborhood.
Effectively managing a specific territory. Once you have the neighborhood nailed down based on research, contact your title broker and request a list of all the property information—who owns the home, home’s value, when it was last sold, size, number of bedroom and bathrooms, etc.—and then load this data into SPOTIO to maximize your time so that you can knock as many doors as possible in one fell swoop.
Next, mark exactly when you will start real estate canvassing by date and time in your calendar. For example, on March 16th, write “D2D R.E. Canvass 1-4pm” indicating that you are going door knocking on March 16th from 1pm to 4pm. By scheduling an appointment with yourself, you will be more dedicated to following through, as you have set aside precious time for canvassing.
Experiment with your real estate canvassing schedule to find what works best for you. With hectic schedules, open houses and home showings, and a number of other scheduling beyond your control, you must prioritize real estate canvassing on a daily basis.
You also need a territory management process that allows you to achieve optimal results from the potential customers in your territory. The process should include components such as:
- Efficiently mapping your real estate canvassing route;
- Qualifying prospects at the door;
- Pipeline management by gathering, analyzing and making decisions based on data;
- Following up with residents until they become a client or churn out of your pipeline; and
- Other steps that are necessary to fulfill your goals as a real estate professional.
BONUS TIP: Tie the reason for your door knock to providing value at the same time to the person at the door. You could provide a free market value report of the addresses you knock, or to help establish yourself as a real estate expert in a particular area, partner with local businesses.
For example, partner with a local coffee shop to offer a free cup of coffee to people. On the back of your business cards, have 10 shapes printed and each time the person purchases a cup of coffee at the coffee shop, they get it stamped or initialed. Once the 10th shape is marked, the cardholder gets a free cup of coffee!
This shows that you are connected to that neighborhood, and every time the person pulls out your business card to get it stamped, you stay top of mind…at least 10 times!
Gathering specific data. This is a long-term strategy, not an activity that you do once or twice and expect results. You must commit to gathering data over time to build a database of potential customers that know, like and trust you. When they do need to participate in a real estate transaction, or know someone else who does, you are top of mind.
There are 5 must-know key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics that create the data you need to effectively manage your real estate canvassing territories:
- Attempts – includes “not home,” “not interested,” or “appointment set.” Keep track of this information, recording date and time of knock and outcome to determine when to follow up.
- Contacts – collect data such as name, email, phone number and any other information you need based on your nurturing plan from the people who answer their doors and you have a conversation with. You will need this data to stay in contact with residents within your territory.
- Qualified – the number of people qualified to buy, sale, or make some other type of real estate-related action. Add all “qualifieds” to your follow up pipeline and follow up within a certain amount of time.
Schedule an appointment with yourself on your calendar to make sure you do indeed follow up. And, if you tell someone you will follow up in a certain amount of time or on a certain day, be sure to follow through on your word to help create a relationship of trust.
- Leads – record the number of leads you get each time you canvass. Be sure to previously define what a “lead” means to you to properly identify them as you knock doors. Maybe a “lead” is someone who will take a real estate action in the next 30 days? Whatever “lead” means to your funnel, identify them.
- Appointments Scheduled/Real Estate Action Taken – document everyone who schedules a future appointment with you, purchases from you, decides to sale their home with you…any real estate action that a person takes with you, record it.
BONUS TIP: You can customize SPOTIO based on your specific canvassing processes and procedures. And, SPOTIO comes pre-loaded with all 5 KPIs form above!
Using captured data to nurture leads. Capturing the right data at the door by asking the right types of questions simplifies the nurturing process because it opens up innovative ways to stay in touch with leads. In my opinion and specifically for nurturing, the most valuable pieces of information are:
- Email addresses – Compile all collected email addresses into a list. As you get more email addresses, add them to the list. This type of data is priceless because you can market directly to your contacts by showing up in their inbox.
Consider creating a monthly or bi-monthly enewsletter that offers value. Include information such as home buying and selling tips, how to get your home ready to sell, recipes, motivational quotes, journal prompts, etc. Any type of information that is helpful will be received positively.
When getting started and for those with a small email list, go with a free service. MadMimi offers 12,500 emails per month for free. That means you can send out 5 emails/month to 2,500 contacts. MailChimp is another good free service and offers 6 emails/month to 2,000 contacts for free.
- Phone numbers – Just as you compile a list of email addresses, do the same with phone numbers. You can then send voice broadcasts and text messages to a group of phone numbers with very unique marketing messages.
Call Loop is a reliable, cost-effective service that allows you to create and send voice broadcasts, alerts, notifications and reminders. They have a FREE 14-day trial that includes 25 free messages and a demo keyword. It also integrates with MailChimp.
Another mass messaging service that is equally as reliable and cost-effective is EZ Texting. They offer a Free & EZ account plan that offers 250 free SMS/month plus 1 free demo keyword. According to EZ Texting research, more than 95% of text messages are read within 5 minutes of receipt, which could be a very effective way to nurture potential real estate clients.
Remember to respect the “Do Not Call” list and to those who don’t wish to be contacted via voice or text. Also, be sure you are providing value. For example, send a text with a coupon code for a free cup of coffee at a local coffee shop or you could send a voicemail out letting people know that you are making large trash pick-up available in their neighborhood on a Saturday morning.
Converting leads to clients. Timing is everything, so by collecting, analyzing and creating a plan based on collected data, you’ll be right on time, every time! From propertiesonline.com research, 74% of clients will give you a referral if you stay in touch & 100% of buyers said their agent’s response time was important
Example: You know exactly when Bob and Sue at 1234 Success Lane want to move. You could provide a personalized report complete with their name and picture of their home at 1234 Success Lane that details the value of their home, and, in your professional opinion, the amount to list the home to sell quickly.
This would make Bob and Sue aware that you know your “stuff” when it comes to real estate and that you care by providing usable value, just in time.
So, it’s time to get serious about some real estate canvassing, especially with Daylight Savings Time in effect! More sun = more time = more doors knocked.
Questions or comments? Contact Ginger Schlueter, Content and Community Manager, SPOTIO at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
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