I Visited Your Open House, Why Didn't You Follow Up?

Services for Real Estate Pros with Happy Grasshopper

I love open houses!  In fact, since getting engaged in January (yea!) it has become a favorite Sunday afternoon activity.  We're trying to see a wide variety of properties and get a really good feel for where we want to start our family.

Here's a stunning fact: of the 25 or so open houses I have been to this year, only 1 agent asked for my email address!  Unfortunately, that agent hasn't followed up.  It drives me a bit crazy really, because I just don't understand.  We're qualified buyers with excellent credit and we even have a listing once we choose an agent.  Why doesn't anyone follow up? 

I attended another open house yesterday and decided to find out.  It was a three bedroom ranch style home on a tree lined street in South Tampa.  The agent didn't have a sign in sheet and didn't ask for any contact information.  When I asked why, he said "people don't like to give it out."  He also said that following up was too time consuming.

Do you agree?  I was completely surprised.  Is it really too much work to follow up with the people who visit your open houses?  Could the Tampa market be somehow different than the rest of the world?

I spent most of last night thinking about it.  The agent I met yesterday is absolutely wrong!  Here's why:

People don't like to give out their contact information. 

This may be true, but why not ask?  If they are so deeply offended that you asked for an email address, chances are they weren't going to be your customer. No one ever decided not to buy the home of their dreams because you asked for their email address.

Tips for getting contact info

  • Write it down yourself so that you can read it later.
  • Keep it private, don't display it for everyone to see.
  • If they hesitate, just explain that you won't bombard them with emails.  Tell them you just want to keep in touch, so you'll be easy to reach if they have any questions.

Follow up is too time consuming.

Then find a better way. DO NOT GIVE UP! 

Even if most of the people you meet aren't ready to buy or sell today, it makes sense to pay attention to them.  That includes people who walk into open houses [think me:)]  You just need an automated way to stay in touch with them until they are ready.

Good News: Marketing to people who don't need you right now can be easy, take almost no time, and be very, very cheap.

You just have to get in touch.  At Happy Grasshopper, we write fun, friendly emails that get great results.  But if you want to do it yourself, here are some tips:

  • Send a message at least once a month - I recommend every 3 weeks
  • Keep them short, friendly, and non-salesy
  • Do not talk about yourself, your firm or your listings
  • Include a method for easy opt-out
  • Include your picture or logo and your contact information

The trick is to be friendly and non-threatening.  All of us (me too!) put our guard up when it comes to email.  It's easy to spot junk mail the moment it hits our inbox, even if it gets around our spam filters.  Short messages, written in plain text can generate much better results than you can imagine.

Click here to see some sample emails now.


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We help salespeople write and deliver thoughtful, well-written follow-up that connects them with their prospects and current database in a way that builds a stronger relationship and a deeper trust.  Take our free assessment here to see how we can help you keep in touch with your sphere, convert more leads and grow your team.



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Cory Barbee 03/29/2011 10:55 AM
  2. Donald Bradbury 03/29/2011 11:00 AM
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Dave Jezierski
The Nova Home Seller - an Avery-Hess Realtor - Ashburn, VA
Northern Virginia Realtor

Hi Celeste, great post, and great info. I am looking at the Happy Grasshopper service, and it looks very good.  By the way, congratulations on getting engaged, and I have a couple good contacts in the Tampa / Clearwater area. ( I used to live in the Clearwater area many moons ago) Do you have a good agent yet? Would you like me to put some good ones in front of you to interview?  Hope you have a great rest of the week.

Mar 30, 2011 12:03 PM #79
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

It's amazing, isn't it? When my son was looking for a house not even the agents he called or the agents who actually bothered to show him a house followed up.

There was only one out of more than a dozen - and guess who got the commission when he purchased his house?

Like you, he was well-qualified, had a good income, good credit, and money in the bank. But when he didn't want the first house he saw, they were gone.

Congratulations on all the good press the Happy Grasshopper is getting on Active Rain!

Mar 30, 2011 12:36 PM #80
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I think sometimes people in businesses that are consumer driven mistake professionalism with pushiness. Sometimes sales people CAN be pushy. But if someone signs a sign up sheet and gives contact info you bet they understand that they likely will get contacted. My company does a lot of online leads where people register and give their name, phone number and email. Sometimes agents, including myself, get timid and don;t want to 'bother' anyone. But you know what? Recently my husband and I have been researching different products online and on a few websites have had to fill out our info. Nobody has followed up with us and we are actually frustrated by it, not only because we are business people and understand what those registrations are for, but also because we WANTED someone to contact us and nobody did so it makes us want to bring our business elsewhere. Imagine how we look to a prospective buyer who gave out their info expecting us to follow up and then they hear nothing. So instead of being afraid to follow up we should be afraid not too. I know I went on a liyyle tangent from the open house example, butI think the same basic principle applies.

Mar 30, 2011 12:49 PM #81
Tony Mendez
Florida Mortgage Solutions, South Florida - Pembroke Pines, FL
Certified Mortgage Advisor

I just signed up for your service yesterday!  And here you are on a Featured Blog.  Follow-up is so critical to our business.  This week I started going thru some old leads and calling them up.  I got 2 ptotential deals out of the first 7 calls.  It's a lot cheaper and easier to call warm leads than to go out and find new ones.

Mar 30, 2011 04:15 PM #82
Steven Pahl
Keller Williams Tampa Properties - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Consultant Tampa, FL 813-319-6423

As an agent I preview alot of homes and especially Open Houses to add to my knowledge of the area.  I am amazed at how many agents don't greet me when I walk in, don't ask for contact information, have little to nothing available as a handout on the homes...etc.

Mar 30, 2011 04:18 PM #83
Suzi Sandore
RealtyONEGroup - San Diego, CA
North County San Diego Homes

Great post Celeste.  Isn't the reason for doing an open house to get buyer (and possibly seller) leads? What's the point if you don't plan on following up?  And thanks for the reminder to check out Happy Grasshopper!

Mar 30, 2011 04:25 PM #84
Rhonda Abbott
Howard Hanna - Wadsworth, OH
Wadsworth & Greater Akron, OH

My first Happy Grasshopper message goes out to 50 of my contacts tomorrow - I'm excited to see what kind of response I get!  Unfortunately, it is going out the same day as my monthly eNewsletter (which I can't change the delivery date for, either), so I hope that no one gets upset ause they happen to get two pieces of email from me in one day!  Celeste, is there any way to get the delivery date for the HG message delayed by a day or two???

Mar 31, 2011 01:39 AM #85
Robert Courtney
Lihue, HI
Century 21 All Islands, RA, CDPE, MCRE, CIAS

Sounds like some agents are hoping to get lucky!  The real opportunities of an Open House happens after it is over.  Some folks are missing the point of Open House.

Mar 31, 2011 02:18 AM #86
Happy Grasshopper
Happy Grasshopper - Tampa, FL

@Phil - Follow up is one of those funny things.  Sometimes you hear back, sometimes you don't.  I've given clients proposals and then not heard back from them for 2 years.  Then suddenly they are ready to get started.  The trick is just to find an easy way to keep your contact info in front of them so that when they are ready they call you first.

@Gene - We will be waiting for you!

@Dave - Thank you

@Marte - Great to hear from you! Thank you so much for all of your great advice when I got started in the rain.

@Kasey - I think you just came up with the title for my next blog post - "Pushy or Professional"

@Equity - It is often published that it cost 5 times more to find a new customer than to keep an old one.  Real estate isn't necessarily about repeat business, at least not like pizza would be, but I think the same concept is still true.  Why try to find more and more people instead of trying to become more well known by the one's you already are in contact with.

@Steven - Thank you for your comment! I was starting to feel as if I was crazy with everyone commenting that they always ask.  Maybe it is Tampa. 

@Rhonda - I've canceled your email, we will load another one for you in the next couple of days.

Mar 31, 2011 03:23 AM #87

What a waste of time, if you (agent) don't get names and don't follow up!!!!!!!!!! 

Mar 31, 2011 03:58 AM #88
Tricia DeSouza
HomeSmart - Scottsdale, AZ
Selling Scottsdale Luxury

This is great advice. I mostly work as a Buyers agent but I will definitely keep these things in mind if I do an open house.

Mar 31, 2011 07:11 AM #89
Kevin Vitali
EXIT Realty- Massachusetts Short Sales & Residential Sales - Tewksbury, MA
Helping Massachusetts Home Buyers and Home Sellers

I feel open houses are a waste of time on the whole.  I do one open house and thats when the property first comes on the market. 

I feel an afternoon sitting at an open house to get a handful of unqualified buyers can be better spent doing some internet marketing on the property.


Apr 01, 2011 11:54 AM #90
Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

In my area, OH are worth it. Most people head right to the sign in sheet and fill it out completely. I do follow-up and the potential buyers do like it. I am not pushy and never talk about myself or my company. I send them my monthly newsletter. If I find an article pertaining to a particular buyer, I will send that as well.

Apr 03, 2011 12:01 AM #91
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

There is hardly a better use of time than following up on a lead.

Apr 29, 2011 12:37 PM #92
Retired Notworking
Tallahassee, FL

I've spent many hours conducting open houses and following up with visitors. I subsequently worked with several potential buyers, but unfortunately, no sales resulted.

May 24, 2011 12:51 AM #93
Jayne Esposito
Coldwell Banker - Morgan Hill, CA

I am just seeing this blog now as a result of seeing Part 2.  Reading about your experiences with open houses is like nails on a blackboard for me!  Having gotten a good chunk of my business from open houses, I have to say to agents who do not get the contact info and do not follow up this:  Why waste your time???  AND why would you send the sellers out for the afternoon if you're not going to do anything beyond wishful thinking that someone will pick up your card and call?  They'd be better off staying home and rubbing a magic lamp!! And you'd be better off doing ANYTHING else!!

May 24, 2011 09:19 AM #94
Happy Grasshopper
Happy Grasshopper - Tampa, FL


May 24, 2011 09:23 AM #95
Rhonda Abbott
Howard Hanna - Wadsworth, OH
Wadsworth & Greater Akron, OH

I use individual 1/2 sheet sign-in slips that double as entries for a drawing for a box of fancy apple bread mix.  Works like a charm for getting visitors to sign in (they want to be contacted if they WIN, of course!), and I can tuck the sheet away after they're done so that no one else sees the information they provided....AND I can easily write notes on the back of the paper after they leave, so that I don't forget where they work, what hobbies they have, what their kids' names were, what they're looking for, why they're moving, etc.  Some folks give LOTS of info in that short period of time that can be very helpful later! 

May 24, 2011 09:33 AM #96
Laura Al-Amery



Thank you for nice article


Aug 19, 2011 08:25 AM #97
Andrew Machado

Would love your feedback back on Open Home Pro. We digitize the Open House sign in sheet, automatically followup for you and do it all with an iPad.  







Feb 03, 2012 09:37 AM #98
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