Hosting Open Houses
One of the best ways to expose your business is promoting yourself at an open house. Utilize open houses to depict yourself in the best light with sharp marketing material, a well-rehearsed pitch about yourself and ensure you are thoroughly informed about not only the property you’re presenting, but also the neighborhood and the lifestyle it provides for residents. The last thing you want is to talk about yourself and how knowledgeable you are only to have someone ask about the local school district and you’re left standing silent drawing a blank – super embarrassing. If an interested party asks you about something that’s pretty specific however that you never went over with the owners, such as if the driveway is made of semi-permeable material or not, simply say, “that’s a great question, I’ll have to get an answer for you” – that way it presents an opportunity for you to retrieve their information and contact them after the open house rather than saying, “I don’t know,” which is a phrase you should always avoid saying.
An open house is exactly the type of setting you’re going to want to provide a little flash. Dress spiffy and set up a nice presentation of your glossy ads, brochures and business cards. You don’t want to overdo it as all of this is coming out of your pocket, but definitely provide enough to where there’s a variety of information regarding the property and yourself as an agent. Try your best to guesstimate how many people will be coming through so you can plan accordingly – it’s a pain to have hundreds of expensive extra large pamphlets on a property after escrow closes and have to throw them in the recycling bin. If you do find yourself with extra material try to think of ways you can further promote yourself with it. A smart way to go is color trifold brochures that can fit into a standard size envelope. If you have 50-100 of these left over you can send them to houses in close proximity to the property with a note saying, “just sold” and write a brief note to them explaining how you were such a good agent to their neighbor.
Depending on the property you may want to make a small event out of it, perhaps playing soft music and providing light snacks and beverages. If it’s a home with a large kitchen and entertaining space you might want to demonstrate what it would be like to have guests over. Just make sure you confirm with the owner first and that your menu is made up of clear beverages like sparkling water and finger foods such as dried fruit and nuts which are easy to eat and not messy – you don’t want people spilling juice or smearing chocolate in the owner’s home. If you do have any kind of nibbles at your open house provide napkins to guests and hide paper towels and cleaning solution in a nearby cabinet or closet so you can clean up afterwards.
Schedule with the owners to hold it open to the public at least 4-6 times, as in 2-3 weekends, and you will mostly likely get enough traffic to attract the right buyer. In most cases, the property will sell if it’s been maintained, prepared properly and marketed well. As long as it’s presentation-ready, focus more on selling yourself over the property. In the end there will only be one buyer for that property, but there will be many more onlookers coming through which can become potential clients – buyers or sellers. And don’t get annoyed or discouraged when people tell you they are “just nosey neighbors” - be kind and inviting and try to get to the bottom line of why they’re coming through. More often than not neighbors are touring because they’re thinking of selling in the near future so they want to check out what the competition looks like. Take this chance to get their information so you can reach out to them later and discuss their endeavors further. If they don’t want to give you their number or email don’t be pushy about it, just let them know you’d be happy to offer them insight and make sure they leave with a business card or something else that has a way to get in touch with you down the line.
A great trick to capturing people’s information is creating a sign in sheet. Make a simple spreadsheet with name, address, email and phone number and ask each person who comes in to please sign in to help keep track of how many people come through. You can even add a column that says, “YES, OK to contact / NO, NOT OK to contact” since that might make people feel more comfortable. You can then use this list to touch base with people afterwards and hopefully generate some interest in working with you, whether it’s for the property you met them at or not.
Again, operate open houses as advertisements for yourself – show people you’re great at what you do and why you stand out from other agents. The more prospects you generate at an open house the better.