Open Houses --- are they really an effective marketing tool?
Open houses have had mixed responses overall in my office for the past several years.
In fact, most agents no longer pursue them in this market for fear that they do not have any "fast" response for a sale on the listing itself or they fear that they will not turn up future prospects. Some brokers don't like to do them either because it takes up alot of ad space with no clear indication of return.
In addition, Real Estate Agents rarely measure the results of any marketing tactic (and that is fuel for a whole 'nother blog) or they use the number of visitors as the only measure of an Open House's success. We are, after-all, in a technology driven society that only expects a "quick fix" and to most who are only looking at the short term and immediate future --- open houses are a lot of work with no fast return.
I have experienced alot of traffic and a terrific return on the event itself because I have taken the time to establish other measures of success ( or failure ) for the event. And, I keep measurements to a minimum because I look at an Open House as a piece of the overall marketing puzzle with a significant place in the overall marketing mix. I rarely whip in an OPEN HOUSE at the last minute to appease the wants of the seller. Instead, I map out a plan ahead of time and I tie the OPEN HOUSE to all of the marketing tactics that go into marketing of the home.
When developing my listing marketing plan to include the OPEN HOUSE, I map out the plan and communicate the strategy with the seller. I illustrate to the homeowner, the strategy and the timing so they are included in the planning and they, naturally, buy into the overall event.
Some of the strategies that I use to position the OPEN HOUSE include:
1. New listing or premier showing of the home
2. New price or price adjustment
3. Neighborhood or community open house
4. Event /theme drive
Along with the strategies, I incorporate multiple levels of other marketing tactics to support the event itself. This is critical to the overall success of the event and will lead not only support the event itself, these lead to the overall long term marketing success --- the BRANDING of YOU!
INCLUDE AREA BROKERS
One of the most important of these support tactics is to invite the area brokers to tour the home a few days prior to the OPEN HOUSE. There, you network with these brokers and tell them that you will cooperate with them when they send a client/buyer to your open house. Don't forget to use your local MLS ! Lots of area MLS groups have a means to promote --- bulletin boards, annoucement sections, etc. (See below )USE THEM!
Don't forget direct mail! Mail invites to the neighborhood, your farm and prospects. This is why you plan the event ahead of time. Even invite past clients to come "visit". This is good for the OPEN HOUSE and good for future business. Use your newly designed JUST LISTED cards to invite people in the area to attend your OPEN HOUSE>
Use your blog to invite readers to your event. Offer referral fees to other Active Rain agents encouraging them to send buyers. Networking works! A blog is a fantastic way to promote your local OPEN HOUSE.
Overlay your existing website, office website or internet advertising to include the open house feature --- new content and timely information evokes responses. Print and share with your seller. Don't forget realtor.com. There is a link there under property enhancements that enables you to flag and promote your event to the public.
MARK THE MLS
Most Multiple Listing Services have the ability to mark the date for the OPEN HOUSE and Broker Tours --- use as many vehicles as possible to communicate and support the Open HOUSE.
Don't forget the ability to use email to market you event to out-of-area buyers and brokers. Lots of companies are out there to support your needs and your pocketbook. Keep hard copies of these emails --- and share with your seller as another means of advertising.
And, if you can, use an email BLAST. Include all attendees of other past Open Houses. This will show your potential buyers that you are actively seeking a home for them!
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
When you host an OPEN HOUSE, you are open for business. That means, the potential buyer or seller may get their first impression of you at this event. This not only includes your clothing, it includes your attitude. Are you dressed and confident to help people manage their largest financial asset? If you are not dressed for success, physically and mentally, people in turn will not think you are successful. And in turn, will not trust you...with their business. If you don't want to be there.....no one will want to give you their business. Sounds simple. And it is true.
BRING OTHER WORK WITH YOU
Maximize your work time and you will maximize your sales. Reading the latest novel or sports page will not help you --- use your time effectively. Be prepared to work on that sell sheet or future prospecting.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Arm yourself with solid information and mini-market analysis of area homes and sales. Give this data with your card to ALL who visit. AND, know thy neighborhood. Don't know anything about the area schools, homes or local history --- you will not sell the home to an out of towner nor will you get another listing there. ;)
An example of the OPEN HOUSE PROMO could be as simple as follows:
Join me for an OPEN HOUSE --- This weekend!
Sunday, March 28 from 1 to 4 PM
Rio Vista Estates, Mahwah, NJ 07430
Mahwah has been voted one of the TOP TEN PLACES to LIVE in Bergen County --- 2 years in a row
by New Jersey Monthly magazine. Come see what the town is all about.
SIMPLY A BEAUTIFUL BRICK HOME ON A LUSH, FULLY LANDSCAPED FLAT ACRE IN RIO VISTA. THIS HOME HAS EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR GRACEFUL FAMILY ENTERTAINING. FORMAL LIVING & DINING ROOM ARE OFF THE GRACIOUS 2 STORY ENTRYWAY. THE EXTRA LARGE EAT-IN KITCHEN HAS GRANITE COUNTERS & FEATURES A FULL WET BAR AREA. SLIDING DOORS BRING YOU TO THE FULL SIZED DECK. JUST BEYOND THE KIT IS THE HUGH FAMILY ROOM. THE FPL IS THE MAIN FOCAL POINT W/BEAUTIFUL MOULDINGS DETAIL. THIS ROOM IS OPEN TO BOTH THE KITCHEN AND TO THE LG FORMAL DRM W/PALLADIUM STYLE ARCHED WINDOWS. A FULL BATH IS JUST OFF THE KITCHEN & A NICE-SIZED BEDROOM IS ALSO NEARBY. THE SECOND FLOOR FEATURES A WONDERFUL MASTER SUITE WITH A NEUTRAL FULL BATH W/WHIRLPOOL TUB, DOUBLE SINK VANITY & SEPARATE SHOWER. DOWN THE HALL YOU WILL FIND 4 MORE GENEROUS SIZED BDRMS W/LG WALKIN CLOSETS IN EACH. A FULL BATH W/DOUBLE VANITY SINKS &LAUNDRY ROOM COMPLETE THIS FLOOR. THE LOWER LEVEL IS UNFINISHED &HAS SLIDERS AND WINDOWS TO THE HUGH YARD. RV FEES APPLY. Please call for pricing and for your own private tour.
After all is said and done --- go back over each of the above and analyze the results not just for the day but for your future business and the overall BRANDING of you! You will be surprised with the results.
Copyright - Pamela Stetson 2010, www.pamelastetson.com