The 5 Golden Tactics to a Successful Open House
How can I get quality leads from open houses?
Is there anything I can do as an agent to make a property stand out during an open house?
Are open houses a high-conversion channel at all?
These are the questions Craig Schneider, founder of Norchair Real Estate had set to answer. But not by flicking through pages of advice or studying the great online gurus of real estate.
No – Craig is a tech guy. And like any good tech guy, he wanted hard, quantifiable, unquestionable data.
And after a decade of experience running hundreds of these events, compiling the results and analyzing them in a systematic way, he came up with an infallible system.
A set of golden tactics that have shown time and time again to mathematically increase a realtor’s chances to not only run successful open houses that result in a sale, but to also generate high-quality leads for the future.
In this article, we break down 5 of Craig’s Golden Tactics that he shared with us at RealGeeks. You can watch the full interview here:
Tactic #1: Be Strategic About Signage
Craig believes the open house process starts a couple of days before you run the event. Because you want to be fairly strategic about how you’re going to place the signs that lead people to the house.
In fact, he believes you should print out a map of the area surrounding the house, and draw where you’ll be placing your signs. And you want to be using three different types of signage:
- The first one is one layer surrounding the street of the house. This is where you place your bigger, 24 inch x 24 inch signs. You’ll usually have 6-8 of those driving traffic in from as many areas as you can.
- You also want to put some smaller signs (1 foot x 1 foot) on a stake and set those one layer further out. The highest-converting signs? Arrow-shaped, pointing in the direction of the house, painted with bright dayglo color.
- Finally, you want to use attention-grabbers. Especially mylar balloons, because they tell people that this is a new event (otherwise the balloon wouldn’t still be inflated), so they tend to drive a lot of traffic.
As for the messaging on those signs? Easy.
“Leave your ego aside,” says Craig. “Nobody cares about the broker – that’s not why people go to the open house. Talk about the house and clearly state the address, that’s it.”
Tactic #2: The House Tour
Here’s what most agents do at an open house: they clock in and wait around in the kitchen for people to show up while they scroll through their phone. And once people get in, they let them browse on their own, and stay available in case they have any questions.
“Probably the worst thing you can do,” says Craig.
Want to know what actually works? Greeting people at the door, and setting the rules of the open house. You read that right – setting the rules.
And from the experience of thousands of open houses, here’s exactly what Craig wants you to say:
“Welcome to [address]. I’m gonna give you a tour of the house. I’m gonna point out some of the features that the seller’s asked me to review with you, and then I’m gonna let you tour on your own.”
And then people will follow you, and you’ve gained complete access to their attention. Now you can build rapport, and ask questions that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to if you just let them browse on their own.
Of course, you want to be prepared with the answers to the most common questions they’ll have. In fact, you should volunteer that information before they ask.
Showcase your professionalism by beginning the tour with the specs of the house, and the facts people generally care about (school districts, nearby parks, etc).
They won’t remember this later on, but it’s a chance to start the relationship with these leads on a great note: by anticipating their needs and giving them what they want.
Tactic #3: Triggers
Did you ever finish an open house and realized you forgot to highlight one of the house’s best features? It’s certainly happened to Craig.
That’s why he sets up triggers for himself.
Triggers are simply objects that when you see or touch them around the house, they remind you to ask a certain question.
For example, whenever Craig walks up a flight of stairs, that’s when he asks the buyers what they do for a living. This is because when he’s turning his back to the buyers, it doesn’t feel like an interrogation, it feels like natural small talk as they walk up the stairs.
If you find that you always forget to ask a certain question, create a trigger for yourself. Maybe when you show them the fireplace, that’s your queue about whether they’ll be living at the house when winter comes, so you remember to ask them when they’d be looking to move.
Tactic #4: Follow Up
There are two big mistakes Craig sees agents making at open houses (besides not greeting people at the door – but we suspect you’re past that stage!):
- The first one is not putting someone’s information on your CRM as soon as you get it.
In Craig’s words: “Having someone’s email and number on a piece of paper (like a house card) and not having it saved in your database should make you feel uncomfortable. It should be like having thousands of dollars laid around the table and not in your bank account.”
- The second one is not doing anything with someone’s information after you get them on your CRM. People are not going to call you, even if they’re interested.
That’s why he follows a 3-step nurturing process with his open house leads.
First, as soon as he gets home after the event, he makes sure to call the leads who showed the most interest.
Second, as soon as he gets someone’s information (like when they fill out the house card for the seller) he gets them into their CRM and tags them so that they automatically get a Thank You email with his details.
And third – and most importantly – he sends out handwritten letters. Yes, letters.
“They don’t need to be complicated. A simple ‘thank you for attending, it was great meeting you today’ plus my business card in an envelope, and you’re good to go.” he says.
Think this one’s a waste of time? Think again.
“I’ve gone to a lot of listing appointments, 3 to 5 years later, and guess what is sitting at their home table? My handwritten letter. People hold on to these, because we’re not used to getting them anymore.” Craig tells us.
It’s the cheapest way to build a great relationship.
You can even write these when you have some down time at the Open House, and mail them all on your way back to your place after you finish.
Tactic #5: The Soft Approach
There are two kinds of people who attend open houses:
- The people who are interested in the property, and
- The people who are not in the market but want to get in, and are looking for a softer entrance than setting up an appointment with an agent straight away.
This is why Open Houses are full of opportunities. They’re the best channel to build rapport and charm potential buyers who may not be a good fit for that particular house, but might be a good fit for other houses you list in the future.
No other channel will allow you to build relationships quite the same way.
That’s why, another great way to follow up with those people from the second category (interested in entering the market but not ready to commit to an agent) is by inviting them to homebuyer seminars.
“Here’s the thing. You can call these leads 100 times and offer them a 1-on-1 session with you, and 100 times they’ll say no. But if you invite them to a homebuyer seminar, they’ll attend.” says Craig.
The value in having you coach them 1-on-1 is obviously higher, but that’s not the point. The point is that they don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to.
A homebuyer seminar is a great approach for those leads that you suspect are interested in entering the market but need a softer way in.
These are just some of the tactics Craig shared with us, but we hope they helped you realize the potential that this specific channel has in terms of building relationships and harnessing opportunities.
We hope you take at least one of these tactics and implement it to make your next open house the most successful one yet.
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