Top 4 Ways to Juice Up Your Open House Strategy
I go to open houses, but not just because of my profession or interest in architecture and interior design. I go to open houses to see how effective real estate agents are at selling. It has been rather eye- opening because there is very little selling going on—the average open house strategy needs work.
Perhaps “selling” is considered an outdated skill, or that it feels socially awkward for agents to be regarded as a salesperson. But if you’re a real estate agent, you are a salesperson. At most of the open houses I go, I see money floating out the door every time a visitor leaves because of the agent’s inability or refusal to sell.
An open house is a lucrative opportunity to find buyer or seller clients –selling the listing itself may also be the goal, but an agent should not pass up this chance.
There are 4 distinct strategies an agent can immediately employ to juice up their open houses and get awesome leads.
1. Build a Dynamic Open House Booklet After they leave, open house visitors will discard a one-page for-sale info sheet naming a home’s features. But they will keep, and possibly use, a 6 or 8 page booklet loaded with interesting items that directly solve problems for them.
It will require some strategic thought to nail the content and design, but perhaps include: (i) descriptives about the benefits of buying the property you’re showing, and not just data, (ii) compelling reasons why they should consider working with you along with a web link to search for listings on your website, (iii) a web link telling them how to get a prompt, written estimate on the value of their home, or to find out what other homes in their neighborhood sold for, (iv) possible discounts on real estate related services—maybe a reduction in fees from your preferred lender, or a reduced home inspection price, (v) possible discounts on non real estate related items.
If you combine this dynamic booklet with properly trained closing language, as touched upon below, it is something the average person will either keep and use or pass along to someone they know. A well designed booklet can bring you a lot of business.
Pre-internet, both open houses for resale listings, and model homes for new construction, relied on strategic collateral materials (handouts). Visitors were ostensibly looking at several competitors at the same time, so collateral materials had to have the power to bring them back to your site a great call to action, eye-catching color, identification of the benefits of buying your product.
Yet at open houses today, I primarily see bland information sheets dis – cussing features—the listing price, the square footage, and the standard data—and they are void of interesting or problem-solving information.
2. Work The Neighborhood A few days prior to your open house, find the names and addresses (from tax records—or elsewhere) of, say, 20 homes in each direction from the open house.
For the cost of postage and some sweat-equity, mail a postcard to these 80 homeowners inviting them to the open house and offering something unique and compelling—perhaps a drawing or giveaway for those will ing to provide their opinion on the asking price of the home (and the entry card, of course, will net you their email address and phone number). People are generally nosy and like to be validated, so asking for their opinion on something happening in their own neighborhood is very appealing. And, it is best to mail them again right after the open house to talk about what happened.
“From our Saturday open house, we discovered 3 qualified and eager buyers that are now looking for a home in this neighborhood—if you would like to know what your home is worth for these buyers to consider, please give me a call.”
Also, adding on door-knocking or flyer-hanging to your mailings boosts your neighborhood equity even more.
3. Close and Qualify Engage every single visitor in closing dialogue, because every single visitor is there for a reason.
While smiling, with shoulders erect, and maintaining suitable distance, look them in the eye and offer your handshake while stating your full name and company—and then ask:
“Are you out looking to buy a home today?”
There are 4 categories of answers, and any answer they provide is an opportunity to get to the marrow of what they need. There are “nos”, “don’t knows,” “yeses,” and “other.”
If they reply with a “no” variety of answer, then you can hand them your dynamic booklet and say: “Please enjoy our open house, and am hoping you’ll do me a favor. This booklet is loaded with great information about, and if you become interested at some point in buying or selling, would you please call and give me the opportunity to earn your business? Or if you happen to know someone now who is looking now, would you kindly pass this booklet onto them?”
If they reply with a “don’t know” type of answer this usually means they are indeed looking but are just not ready yet to reveal this to you, so you will need to work to make a connection. Good consultative sales connections are made when you can make them feel you’re not pushy and are able to directly resolve their problem.
A “yes” type of response is great, but you should take the qualifying step of asking them if they’re working with another agent. If they are, the dynamic booklet comes in handy again: “If for any reason your agent is unavailable to show you homes, I can be reached at the phone number in this booklet. Plus, it contains fantastic resources for searching online and a discount on financing.”
If you can’t get a sandwich, get a bite. If they are definitive about looking, and don’t have an agent, then they are available for you to work with and here again you need the right type of closing and qualifying dialogue.
The goal here is to evoke from them their home-buying goals so that you can match and narrow down to a single opportunity. It’s a mistake to present multiple listings to a buyer at once. Ask broad questions and then narrowing questions followed up by “if-then” questions.
Example: “What types of functions do you want in your new home, or activities near your neighborhood?” Followed by something like, “is the number or size of bedrooms important to you?” Followed by, “so if I can show you the kind of home we just described, are you ready to go see it and possibly make an offer?”
Naturally, any objections or “nos” you receive in this process are just fantastic opportunities to learn about their needs and earn a connected trust.
The “other” thing they might tell you is that they’re not a buyer at all, but a potential seller. Potential sellers often go to open houses to find out how their home stacks up, but are you aware what the number one reason they attend open houses is? Potential sellers go to open houses to directly or indirectly interview you, a potential listing agent. And they hire confident, prepared professionals.
4. Have Interactive Tech Tools Onsite It is the worst feeling to engage someone as a potential client at an open house and then have no tools available to solve their problem— don’t assume they aren’t going to want to do business right away.
If you’re engaging a potential buyer, you better be able to instantly gratify their desire to see viable homes online so internet access and an easily view-able screen are necessary. They may ask you to go see other homes in-person, so you need to have a co- agent available to either show them those homes, or spell you off as host while you do. You may be asked to write up an offer for them so you will need the tools and ability to create and e-sign documents.
When a potential listing client is in front of you, you need to be able to show them recent comparable sales and may even be asked to list their home and will need the tools and ability to create and e-sign documents for taking that listing.
It happens sometimes—but it never happens if you’re not ready.
By Rob Flitton