Where do you find new clients? This is the one question I get from new real estate agents on a regular basis. It's as if they think that new clients are all hanging out in one place or that they will magically appear. However, the truth of the matter is that new clients are everywhere if you take advantage of the opportunities that are presented before you. Having said that, I've found one of the best ways to find new clients is at an open house. People who go to open houses are generally looking to buy or sell a house. Sure you will come across some "looky loos", but those are the exception not the rule. If you are new to the business, holding open houses should be on the top of your prospecting list because they are low hanging fruit. But just like everything else you do in real estate, there needs to be a strategy behind what you do and how you do it. Here are my top 3 ways to convert open house visitors to clients.
Number 1 - Select Your Open Houses Carefully
As a new agent chances are you will not have any listings of your own to hold open, however there will probably people agents in your office who would love for you to hold an open house for them. But here is where you need to be selective because all open houses are not created equal. Before accepting or requesting an open house from another agent, do your homework. Find out how long the property has been on the market. If it has been on the market for a long period of time, check to see if there have been any price reductions. The ideal situation would be for you to hold to the open house right after the seller has reduced the price because the property will now hopefully appeal to a new set of buyers. Make sure the property is located in an area that you are somewhat familiar with.
- Is it a desirable location in the eyes of potential buyers?
- Do properties seem to move quickly in that neighborhood?
- Does the price point help you achieve your goals?
- Will the agent allow you to keep the leads that come in?
All of these play a role in whether or not you should spend your time working a particular open house.
In addition to asking the listing agent the questions above, you'll want to do your homework on the property and the neighborhood. Once you have committed to the open house try your best to visit every "Active" listing in the neighborhood. Take notes at each property so you can inform your open house visitors the differences between the house you are holding open and the competition. You should know what amenities are in the neighborhood. Is there shopping? Are there restaurants? How close are the schools? Is it a walkable community? Is it close to public transportation? What other development is going on in the area or the surrounding area? You want to be a resource to those who attend your open house. This makes the next step easier to accomplish.
Number 2 - Engage Your Open House Visitors
Your goal is to fully engage with your open house visitors and convert them to clients. You want to accomplish this without being annoying, pushy or too aggressive. Yes, there is a fine line you must walk, but it can be done and done successfully. The first rule is to always stand up when you see or hear someone approaching the front door. You should remain standing as long as there are people in the house. To do otherwise could be perceived as you being lazy, unfriendly or unapproachable. The next rule is to greet all of your visitors with a warm smile and a firm handshake. Act like you are happy to be at the open house and happy that they choose to visit the open house. Introduce yourself, your company and thank them for stopping by and ask them to sign in. You can either have a sign in sheet handy or use one of the many open house applications on your tablet. If you are using an app, be sure your laptop or tablet are fully charged so you can capture everyone's information. While they are signing in is a prime time to start asking questions.
- "How did you hear about the open house"?
- "How long have you been looking"?
- "When are you looking to move"?
- "Where do you live now"?
- "Do you currently own or are you renting"?
- "What other properties have you seen"?
- "Are you looking specifically in this neighborhood"?
After they have signed in, give them a fact sheet and tell them to feel free to look around and to let you know if they have any questions. This is also a good time to highlight any unique features of the property or to point out any recent improvements. Position yourself so they will have to pass by you before exiting the house. This is your next opportunity to ask a few more questions.
- "Do you have any questions about the property"?
- "How does this compare to other properties you've seen"?
- "Are you finished for the day or do you have more properties to see"?
- "What did you like about the property?"
- "What didn't you like about the property?"
You can ask these questions in any order you like. Go with the flow of the conversation. By asking these questions you will be able to determine their motivation, time frame, if they're working with an agent and how serious they are about making a purchase. If they are not interested in the property, let them know that you are available to show them other properties. There are some jurisdictions that don't allow you to discuss other properties while at an open house so be sure you know the laws and regulations in your area. But you want to ask this question because buyers don't always understand that you have access to almost all properties, not just those represented by your brokerage. As for those visitors who don't want to talk to you, that's fine too. Don't sweat it. Simply welcome them, hand them a fact sheet and let them tour the house. Treat everyone professionally because you never know who will come back and want to work with you. It is sometimes the very ones who don't want to talk with you that you end up working with.
Number 3 - Follow Up
Follow up is key to success with open houses. After the open house send all of your visitors a "Thank You" email. That includes those visitors who indicated they were working another agent. Not everyone who said they were working with an agent may not be. They may have said that just to keep you away. For those who indicated that they wanted to be notified of other properties in the area, run a search and send them the results. I am often asked how long you should stay in touch with someone you met at an open house and my answer is simple. Stay in touch until they tell you to stop. Many times agents stop emailing because they didn't get a response. Did you know that research has shown that there needs to be at least 7 exposures to a message before we even take notice? Be patient. Keep in touch. It only takes a minute to do so. Once they are ready to buy or sell hopefully they will contact you, but you want to stay top-of-mind.
You may not be successful at every single open house you hold. There will be times when no one even shows up, and that's fine and to be expected. What you want to keep in mind is that you are putting yourself in position for success. You aren't sitting back waiting for something to happen. You are out there trying to make something happen. All you are looking for is an opportunity to get a client and that opportunity won't come if you are sitting at home watching reality television.
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Inman News named Candy Miles-Crocker as one of the Top 25 Real Estate coaches in 2016. Candy, “The Real-Life Realtor”, coaches, mentors and trains new and experienced real estate agents to transform their business by mastering her proven systems for success. She is a firm believer in managing expectations and her goal is to elevate the perception of real estate agents among the general public through education so every client has an amazing real estate experience. Candy’s unique training methods have shown agents what it takes to be successful!
Learn more about her training program at www.RLRETraining.com or send her an email at Candy@RLRETraining.com.