Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate Agents’

Follow-up and Communication … the Final Keys to a Successful Open House

May 26, 2011

As the fourth and final installment of my open house series, I’m going to share the importance of strong follow-up and communication plans, and why you’ll never achieve the full potential of an open house without them.

Follow-up … or fail!

Quite often one of my clients will call me and say, “I thought I had the best open house! I was so excited afterward! However, nothing has come of it. Not one person has called me back. What happened?”

I’m here to tell you that if you are expecting people to magically call you back, you’re going to be waiting for a very long time. No matter how much they like you, not everyone you meet will call you after that first open house. It’s incumbent upon you to reach out to them! You may need to meet people at several successful open houses before your phone starts to ring. Rome wasn’t built in a day … and neither are relationships with potential clients.

Here are the follow-up actions that need to be part of your open house plan. Some are tried and true … but some may be new to you!

  1. Before you leave your open house, put everything back in order. You’d be surprised how many agents hurry out the door and forget to do this. The seller comes home after the open house, only to find things out of place – or worse yet – hidden away where they can’t find them – and may feel uncomfortable or angry. Remember: you are a guest in their house. Treat your time there as such.
  2. If you were successful in connecting with people who attended your open house and have an email or a phone number, send them a “thank you for coming” email or make a quick phone call. This is not the time to give your sales message!  It is, however, the time for a simple thank-you. If neighbors attended, be sure to contact them as well.
  3. Send a second thank-you when possible, including a message that says something like, “If you didn’t have a chance to sign up for my real estate market update, please give me a call or send me an email and I will be sure to get you that information on a monthly basis.”
  4. Leave the sellers an open house report. If you create this report as part of your open house system and have it preprinted, all you need to do is fill it out just before you leave the open house and put it on the kitchen counter for the sellers to review. Include how many people attended your open house, any comments (both positive and negative) that they made, and your comments about how you feel the open house went. Please be honest here – it’s not fair to only provide positive information, when the reality might be something like “most attendees felt the price was too high.” If they only hear that things are going very well, they will become frustrated quickly if there is no other activity or any offers.
  5. You have yet another opportunity to reach out to people who attended your open house by sending “just pended” or “just sold” postcards at the appropriate times. Keeping people abreast of market activity is another way to stay in touch – and it allows you to articulate your value as a knowledgeable professional.

Communication is critical!

Communication is such a key piece of having a terrific open house, yet so many agents struggle with making guests feel welcome while also trying to establish the beginnings of a business relationship.

There are three key areas I want you to be aware of:

  1. The welcome: Are you a “stand at the front door” agent, or a “sit in the kitchen” agent? What I’m getting at is this: what is your comfort level when people come in the door? I have attended open houses where the agent literally frightened me by opening the front door with such gusto they almost knocked me down! I’ve also attended open houses where the door was already open … and when I walked in the agent was at the kitchen counter using her laptop. She only looked up long enough to say “Hi there.  Come on in and look around.” Finding a balance between the two is a skill that you must learn.
  2. The home tour: Do you like to show people around the house, or would you rather they tour on their own? Some agents are very successful at corralling groups of people and leading an actual tour – others are much more comfortable just letting people wander on their own. Sometimes this depends on the layout or amenities of the house or the seller’s wishes. Regardless of what tour style you choose, you must be comfortable talking not only about the house, the neighborhood, and the current market, but also encouraging people to take a look at all of the display boards and market data that you have provided.
  3. The goodbye: Are guests leaving your open house with a positive lasting impression of you? In talking to hundreds of buyers over the years, the general consensus is that while agents are nice and will say “thanks for stopping by”, buyers rarely feel like they made a connection with the agent. The goodbye is your final chance to make that connection without being pushy. You really need to think about how you want to handle this, based on your personal style.

So remember – you can turn an “ok” open house into a great open house by implementing great follow-up and communication plans.

Don’t forget that the weekend of June 4th and 5th is National Open House Weekend.  Public attendance at open houses this weekend should be high.  Make sure you’re prepared for your best open house ever!


If you joined us for our Unforgettable Open House class this week, thank you! You are on your way to creating your own unforgettable open house during the National Association of REALTORS® Open House Weekend June 4th and 5th.

As our “thank you” to those who came to class AND to those who have been reading through this series, we would like to share a document to add to your open house tools. This is a sample letter you can send out to the neighbors of the open house, offering to put “slow down” signs up due to the increased traffic in the neighborhood. Neighbors love this! This small touch accomplishes several things:

  • It introduces you, the agent.
  • It lets the neighbor know there is an upcoming open house. Remember, people buy neighborhoods…and neighbors are a fantastic way to spread the word about your listing.
  • It shows that you are concerned about the safety of their family.

You would not believe the response agents have received from neighbors so thankful the agent has gone the extra mile in keeping their neighborhood safe.

These safety signs are available in a variety of child safety areas of stores or you can buy them online. This is just one type of sign, but there are others types as well.

This letter is my gift to you. If you use it, I would love to hear what response you receive from the neighbors! Email me what you have heard to denise@thelonesgroup.com.

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Ask Denise: Open House Tools

May 25, 2011

Q: Denise, I saw the samples you had at the “Unforgettable Open House” class. I can see that having all these materials would be super impressive to visitors, but I’m absolutely overwhelmed at the thought of how much work it would be to figure out how to do everything. I really have no idea how to get started on all this.

A: I’m glad you could attend the live class!  And you’re right – having amazing open house materials definitely is a big component of what I like to call “The Unforgettable Open House”. Don’t worry if you don’t have the skills, or the time, to figure out how to create these materials on your own. If you wish, you can simply purchase the CD of all 37 templates for these materials from us! And thanks for joining me in class.

Safari is Just Around the Corner!

May 24, 2011

Don’t let the amazing event pass you by!

We’ll be looking at:

  • Where you are in your business.
  • What the last two years have brought … and what the next two years could bring.
  • Your natural work and behavioral styles, and how they dramatically impact your success.
  • The ten essentials for a successful business.
  • How to create an action plan that takes you where you want to be.

Think this is just another real estate seminar?  Think again!  We guarantee you’ve never attended an event quite like this.

Here’s what one agent had to say after our last event:

“This was the most personal and insightful seminar I have ever attended.  Denise has a great gift, and this could be the key to my personal and professional success.”

If you’re ready to take action, enroll in Safari while seats still remain!

Fresh From The Lones Group’s Instant Identity Portfolio: “Slim Line”

May 23, 2011

Stripes are classic, and stylish. “Slim Line” offers a beautiful stripe design, in a simple palette designed to focus attention on you and your listings.

Whether you want to develop a completely custom brand, or select from one of the amazing designs in our “Instant Identity” portfolio, we are here to help.

Interested in learning more about developing your custom branded image? We can help with that too! Please send an email to support@thelonesgroup.com or call us at 360-527-8904 to learn more.

Fresh From The Lones Group’s Instant Image Portfolio: “Calming Nature”

May 18, 2011

If you’re looking for a brand that imparts a sense of nature and serenity, look no further.  “Calming Nature” does just that.  It would also be a great brand for agents who specialize in the “green” market.

Whether you want to develop a completely custom brand, or select from one of the amazing designs in our “Instant Image” portfolio, we are here to help.

Interested in learning more about developing your custom branded image? We can help with that too! Please send an email to support@thelonesgroup.com or call us at 360-527-8904 to learn more.

Ask Denise: Signing in at Open Houses

May 17, 2011

Q: Denise, how do I get visitors to sign in so I can get their contact information?  I’ve tried telling them the seller requires that for security reasons, but I’m getting some pushback from clients … or they use fake names.  Last week someone signed in as Betty Rubble. Help!

A: No one wants to be forced to sign in “for security reasons”. Unless you’re checking IDs at the door, and confirming people are who they say they are, it’s pretty obvious to visitors that security is not the issue.  Here’s a new approach to try:  Instead of demanding that guests sign in, instead allow them to tour the home. While they are there, make an effort at building rapport and showing your expertise. As they are finishing their tour, offer them something of value – such as neighborhood sales data or an analysis of appreciation in the area. Visitors are far more likely to be receptive to sharing at this point during their visit.

Not sure how to frame this up? How about asking a visitor, “Would you like me to send you an appreciation analysis of the neighborhoods in the Claremont area?” I think you’ll be surprised by how many visitors say yes, and happily provide their contact information.

Ask Denise: Keeping up with technology

May 11, 2011

Q: Denise how do I keep up with all the new technology that is out there? I feel so left behind!  

A: Because technology is such an integral part of our business — and our lives — I personally devote a portion of time daily — yes, DAILY — to learning something new, or playing with a new technology. This is often one of my favorite times of the day! Learning new technology can be tough — however many companies who have created amazing technology have also created great learning videos. YouTube can also provide a wealth of information for you to digest. There are so many interesting new tools on the market all the time; keeping up should be a part of your day, not something you only do when you desperately need it! Want to keep up? Get online and start looking around. You’d be surprised at how much fun you’ll actually have.

Throw Open the Doors!

May 5, 2011

Think open houses aren’t effective in today’s tech-driven society? Think again!

Open houses – if done strategically – can generate more business than you would ever imagine.

Open houses have been around for a very long time. Twenty or thirty years ago, they were one of the only ways to get buyers into a home without an appointment. They were much more effective than printed ads because buyers had a chance to really look around and get a feel for the home. They were certainly the best way to do some low-cost marketing! Buyers simply showed up at as many open houses as they had time for and could quickly get a fairly good feel for their local market.

But then the internet arrived … and it wasn’t too many years later that real estate agents started marketing homes online. Beginning in early 2005 there were a number of articles discussing the fact that the open house – as a marketing tool – was a dying breed.

I disagreed with that theory then, and I still disagree with it today. I believe that open houses can be an incredible source of marketing for a home, an incredible source of business for agents, and an incredible tool for buyers to really explore what they want and need in a home.

According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2010 “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers”, 45%* of buyers use open houses as part of their information source. That means nearly one out of every two buyers is attending at least one open house! That’s an important fact for agents – and their sellers – to understand. Open houses are not just a last resort to find buyers for an over-priced listing, or to find buyers at all. An open house can have a very positive effect on the sale of a home.

A lot of agents will say that rarely have they sold the listing where they were holding an open house. That may be true, but remember this: open houses sell other houses. Open houses cultivate buyers and engage them into making positive buying decisions by getting them into houses and off the fence. Open houses can help get a sluggish market back up and running!

If you’ve taken open houses off your list of marketing activities, you need to put them back on your list. Right now – today – you have a better chance picking up a buyer than you did 5-10 years ago. Why? Because today’s buyer has more access to home information than ever before. They’ve already done their research. They have seen homes online and reviewed the stats. When they attend an open house, they’re attending because they have some interest in, or at least some curiosity about, the home. Today open houses are very targeted toward ready, willing and able buyers, compared to open houses of the past. And today’s buyers are savvy buyers. They are very clear on what they’re looking for. When they attend an open house, that house has already gotten their initial stamp of approval.

Have I piqued your interest yet? I hope so! Here are more things for you to think about.

Open houses have a lot of pros and a few cons … based on who you are, what your market is like, and your natural personality style.

The Pros

  1. You have a chance to meet with potential buyers face-to-face and build credibility and trust.
  2. An open house is a great way to sharpen your client interaction skills.
  3. You’ll learn a lot about a neighborhood by doing the analysis necessary to have ready answers to buyer questions.
  4. An open house is a very low-cost marketing alternative.
  5. You’re creating an informational focus group to get feedback on the listing for you, and for the seller.
  6. You receive immediate results – and feedback. You’ll quickly get a sense of what buyers are looking for – and what prices are most attractive to the “right now” buyer.
  7. An open house shows that you are proactively involved in your local market.
  8. You can pick up a listing in the neighborhood. Many people attend open houses in their neighborhood, not only to see how their home stacks up, but to get to know agents that they might want to hire when they decide to sell their home.
  9. You could pick up a buyer for another home without spending a lot of money on marketing.
  10. An open house helps you familiarize yourself with the area or neighborhood inventory.

The Cons

  1. An open house can be a waste of time if no one shows up. (If you do an open house strategically, this won’t happen to you!)
  2. Prep time is needed, and can appear to be a lot of work. (It’s not a lot of work once you’re organized and you have a system!)
  3. An open house can be stressful if you don’t like to meet new people and you find building quick rapport challenging. (Role playing can help.)
  4. You have to be a great listener, and you need to know how to ask good questions. (Again, some role playing can do wonders for your interaction skills.)

I want you to take a few minutes right now and start a simple two-column list. On one side, write down all of the reasons why you like (or might like) holding open houses. On the other side, write down why you don’t do them. Compare both lists. Figure out what – If anything – is holding you back, and determine what you can do to help you see success with this potentially lucrative marketing strategy.

Believe me – open houses can be a goldmine for you! It’s time for you to throw the doors wide open and join the open house crowd!

If I’ve piqued your interest, stay tuned because this is just the first installment in a series of Zebra Reports that I’m going to write on open houses. Next week I’m going to talk about what kinds of houses get good traffic, and how you determine the right house (or houses) based on doing some highly-targeted research.

*Source: National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2010, page 46: INFORMATION SOURCES USED IN HOME SEARCH.

Are you a real estate agent working in Washington State?

If so, we want to invite you to attend our “Unforgettable Open House” event on Tuesday, May 24th  in Bellevue, Washington.

We’ll teach you how to design and conduct a truly unforgettable open house experience. You’ll learn the secret “props” needed for success, and how to captivate open house visitors. Discover the art of truly showing a home, rather than simply standing in the kitchen while potential clients walk in (and out!) the door. Hear the simple secret to capturing client contact information, without seeming like a pushy salesperson, “masculine talk” versus “feminine talk”, and much, much more!

We’re offering this amazing opportunity in support of Washington REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® Open House Weekend, which will be held June 4th and 5th this year. Master all of the insider secrets to a successful open house … then participate in the Open House Weekend by holding your best open house ever!  Public awareness of open houses will be high, and their expectations will be as well. You need to be ready to deliver!

There is no charge for the class; however, if you wish to obtain clock hours, a fee of $35 ($40 at the door) will apply.

If you want to create an unforgettable open house experience – one that will generate income for you – you must attend this memorable class! Space is limited, so register today! 

The Unforgettable Open House!

May 5, 2011

Join us for our “Unforgettable Open House” event, and we’ll teach you how to design and conduct a truly unforgettable open house experience. You’ll learn the secret “props” needed for success, and how to captivate open house visitors. Discover the art of truly showing a home, rather than simply standing in the kitchen while potential clients walk in (and out!) the door. Hear the simple secret to capturing client contact information, without seeming like a pushy salesperson, “masculine talk” versus “feminine talk”, and much, much more!


We’re offering this amazing opportunity in conjunction with Washington REALTORS® in support of the National Association of REALTORS® Open House Weekend, scheduled for June 4th and 5th. Master all of the insider secrets to a successful open house … then participate in the National Open House Weekend by holding your best open house ever. Public awareness of open houses will be high, and their expectations will be as well. You need to be ready to deliver!

Event details:

Tuesday, May 24
Master Builders Association
335 116th Avenue SE
Bellevue, WA   98004

9:00 – 12:15    OR    1:00 – 4:15

Attend for no cost* … or receive 3.5 clock hours for $35 ($40 at the door).  We’re limiting attendance to this event, so sign-up today!

If you want to create an unforgettable open house experience – one that will generate income for you – you must join us for this memorable class.

RSVP for “The Unforgettable Open House” class, today!

*You must RSVP for this event, even if you are selecting a complimentary ticket.

This event sponsored by:

Kathy Tarabochia
Mortgage Consultant

Ask Denise: Personalized Open House Signs

May 5, 2011

Q: Are personalized open house signs really all that important? My company provides us with very nice signs that we can use.  

A: You absolutely need personalized open house signs! In the sea of open house signage on any given open house day, you will never stand out if you only use your company’s signage. Buyers and sellers tell us over and over again that they want to talk to a real live person when they want information. Be that person, by providing easy to read, personalized signs, with your name and phone number prominently placed. Yes, custom signs cost a little more, but all it takes is one buyer or seller who closes a transaction with you and you’ve more than paid for your personalized signs.

Of course, before you purchase personalized signs be sure that you check with your parent company to ensure you are working within any signage guidelines they may have.


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