By Jim Droz
“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” – Milton Berle
If you want to close more sales, you need more customers.
To get more customers, you must introduce your product, yourself, to more people.
A successful real estate career is that simple.
You don’t have to be an Einstein to thrive in our industry. If your career isn’t turning out as well as you would like, product introduction is most likely the source of the problem.
In today’s real estate environment, there is an incredible reliance on electronic methods. For example, there are literally millions of websites available to the consumer; so many in fact, the effectiveness of any one site has become diluted unless an agent is involved with a service like HouseHunt, where there is a level of exclusivity, a complete dependence on the Internet for one’s success is not likely to succeed at all.
While it’s become necessary to adapt your business to the Internet, it’s just as important not to forget some of the more traditional methods of meeting people.
Open houses, for example, are a very efficient way to get your product in front of potential customers (keep in mind the product is you). I know what you are thinking: I too have attended seminars where the presenter says to not hold open houses and that they are a waste of time. Is it possible that these speakers teach what they teach because they simply don’t know how to do an effective open house?
If you are just going to stick a sign in the front yard and wait for people to trample through the house, you are wasting your time. Don’t bother! If you are going to present an open house, do it effectively… unless you aren’t interested in maximizing results!
So how can you present an effective open house? Try the following:
Prior to the event:
- Determine the type of Open House: Exclusive vs. General Public vs. Unique (An exclusive Open House is for neighborhood residents only.)
- Choose the house carefully. Take into consideration items such as traffic flow, visibility, signage considerations, targeted audience/area, image created by the property, pets and pests, parking, etc.
- Will there be a unique theme/event? Make sure to adapt your preparation to compliment the theme.
- Mail/e-mail. Deliver 100 – 250+ invitations to neighboring owners or potential move up buyers.
- Door knock. Aim for at least 50 invitations within the immediate neighborhood.
- Advertise in local & online sources.
- Plan and place signs. Make sure to ask permission first.
- Prepare “handout” packets and refreshments. Your refreshments should be weather appropriate.
- Have the homeowner clean and organize the home.
- Prep homeowner to vacate the home. Get creative. Help them plan a great day away from home.
- Make sure the homeowner secures valuables.
- Prepare a payment schedule handout.
- Prepare a photo brochure with Home Tour handout.
- Have a Guest Directory. You want to make sure to get email addresses and phone numbers.
- Prepare music. Just remember that you’re not a nightclub DJ and keep the music appropriate.
- Practice and master your script prior to the event.
During the event:
- Complete first line of Guest Directory & place.
- Turn on all interior lights. Assure correct temperature. Implement “smell” technique.
- Organize and place handouts.
- Prepare “unique activity” items if appropriate.
- Place refreshments. Check to assure no valuables are accessible. Play appropriate music.
- Use your practiced script effectively.
After the event:
- Ensure that the home is left in the condition you found it. This includes shutting off all the lights, readjusting the thermostat, smells, etc.
- Secure the home.
- Immediately remove all signs. Send thank you letters if appropriate to homeowners who permitted you to place a sign.
- Send a “Thank you” letter to all visitors.
- Call all visitors the following evening. “Thank you for having visited. May I help you with your real estate needs? Are there additional questions I may answer?”
- Place every visitor goes into your client bank. Immediately create a unique repetitive contact/drip system.
- If given the opportunity to provide service, dazzle the client. Never forget, your reputation is your most valuable asset!
Think of all the product introduction opportunities you will create when you complete the aforementioned list of activities before, during, and after an open house.
You will have been face-to-face with at least 50 neighboring residents.
Your invitations have placed your name in front of a minimum of 100 homeowners.
Your pre-event Internet and traditional marketing activities have placed your product in front of potentially 1,000’s of individuals.
Your sign placement has exposed your name to hundreds of drivers.
The event itself most likely created many very interesting opportunities. Never forget; product introduction creates recognition, and recognition produces sales!
Like Milton Berle said, if opportunity isn’t knocking, build a door. When you get your product (yourself) in front of consumers, it’s nearly impossible to fail in our industry!