This is inspired by a post by newbie blogger, Eric Hempler. It's right here. And he talks about holding other agent's listings open (until he gets a bunch of his own). Eric's blog reminded me of an experience very early in my career.
My first Open House was memorable, because I let one of my office's old timers totally take advantage of my newbieness.
Oldie Agent approached me at a sales meeting and said she had this really great condo and she needed help with an Open on Sunday afternoon. And I was chomping at the bit to put into action all of the wonderful stuff that I learned at the old Shannon & Luchs Academy of Real Estate.
God I'm dating myself!
It was an ungly condo in a building that didn't allow pets or overnight guests. They didn't allow Open House signs out front or cards by the entry buzzer telling people how to get into the place. It was a bust.
Rule Number One: people have to be able to find you and come through the door! I mean, du-uh!
If y ou're a rookie agent, holding other agents' listings open is a great way to connect with prospective clients - both buyers and selelrs. Here are some ways to make the most of the opportunity:
- Be picky about what you hold open. It should be an attractive, well priced and well staged property. Before you say yes, preview the place. If it's ugly, overpriced or in an obscure location, pass.
- If it's a condo, be sure that it's easy for buyers to get in the door and find you. If they make it hard, take a pass.
- Before the Open, preview as much as you can in the neighborhood and in the price range in simillar neighborhoods. Most of the people who come in will find something that won't work about what you're holding open. If you can converse intellegently about other possibilities, you have a great chance of converting lookers into clients.
- Review all of the neighborhood's recent sales.
- Put Open information on your MLS, Craig's List, Trulia, and everyplace you can think of on the web. It's where the buyers are looking.
- An Open House afternoon is not the time to be subtle. Put up tons of signs and, unless they are illegal in your area, use a bunch of balloons. Invite them to a party, and they will come.
- Ask people if they are working with an agent. If they are, get their agent's name to pass onto the listing agent. Don't flirt with other people's clients.
- Don't ask for names, email addresses or phone numbers until they've seen the house. I start with a schmooze, let them go through, then engage them after we've had some back and forth. Then you are more likely to get a real name and contact information.
- If they are asking quetions you can't answer, that's great! Tell them you will get the information and get back to them. You've just greatly increased your chances of getting their real names and contact information.
- I am always prepared to offer something that I can send them, preferably by email. Another way to get real contact information.
- And if you want to really be prepared, print out the contract forms - leaving the price and the buyers' names blank. You need to be a good Girl or Boy Scout - you know the motto! Be Prepared!
- After the Open, follow up!
Many agents feel like Open Houses are a total waste of time. And they can be. But I've found that Opens can be a wonderul opportunity to meet future clients.
And sure, they might begin their search on the Internet. But they will end their search with an agent they connect with, maybe at your Open House! And with any luck, you'll end up at the end of the day with at least a couple of qualified prospects you connected with. That sure does beat paying some lead selling service, doesn't it?
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