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.