Nearly every Sunday I sit open houses for my sellers here in Tallahassee, FL. While the goals of open houses are to expose a home to potential buyers, often times it is an opportunity for buyers to meet hardworking, professional and educated Realtors. It’s the perfect time to engage perfect strangers. It’s also a time to let your personality shine through. When I am working with newer agents I try to remind them, not only must you be the most educated “kid” in the industry, but the most animated, exuberant and genuine Realtor they will see during their open house tour day. It’s often your one shot to shine above the rest of your competition.
Buyers have more homes to look at today than ever before. They are also going to meet more Realtors than ever. How are you going to stand out? Do you need a wiener-mobile, (although I have asked my kids for years to submit me for “Pimp My Ride” – I wouldn’t refuse!), a musical business card, or top hat and tap shoes? It’s really not that hard. Being prepared, and being able to recognize 3 simple kinds of open house visitors are all you really need. (That and a good breakfast!)
I pretty much think you can classify open house buyers in three categories:
First, Buyer’s who are just looking, we know them as the “tire-kickers”, not to be insulting, but basically, they are just “kicking” around thoughts in their heads. Perhaps they are looking for ideas from new construction on how to fix up their homes, perhaps they are weighing their options of up-sizing or down-sizing. I love these folks! They are the ones that often enter with closed minds. not intentionally of course, but hopefully leave with something of value. In this instance, I provide a simple service whether a summation of industry news, market conditions, or at the very least a free valuation of their home. I believe in “remembrances, some call them freebies. I want these folks to remember me for taking the time to provide them with a service. A list of your services is a necessity for these folks. A perfect Brochure: “My Full-Time Realtor Service Portfolio.”
Secondly, I see the standoffs. They rush in, pull back at “hello,” and rush out. These will be the hardest customers for someone to deal with. They do not understand Realtors, they are misinformed and often have pre-conceived notions whether from a bad experience or a predatory salesperson from the past, or they simply know it all anyway. Best to let these folks pass through and continue to call on every sign, they do not value your services or your time. A perfect flyer for these customers on the fly: “Why Use a Realtor and on the back, “How Realtors Get Paid.”
Thirdly, there are the wide-eyed wonders. Generally, these folks are excited, easily enamored and also easily disappointed. They want a new home, but perhaps have not been introduced to Realtors properly. They don’t have a clue how to begin a transaction or how to work with a Realtor. These folks are also your Easter eggs. These brightly shining, colorful folks are the ones you want to collect in your basket and watch over. With proper guidance, they will hatch into to happy, grateful customers who will produce more happy, grateful customers. For these folks, it is all about subtlety and education. Have the tools they need on hand. The perfect package for these folks: An appointment card (for your Buyer Orientation), Why use a Realtor and how a Realtor Get’s Paid, A Buyer’s guide to FLORIDA Real estate (what to know about your state’s insurance, how your State Association is working to protect homeowner’s real estate interests), a first time home-owners package, and give them as much information as possible on a frequent basis. Register them to your website, your blogs; put them in an automated listing notification system. Call them when they get these notifications, review the listing that was sent and give them feedback before your ever show it. Let them know you know about this property even if you have to call the other agent to discuss it ahead of time. These are the customers that will eagerly research on their own, weed out the listings that are not of interest, and take your cards to other Realtors when they visit open houses, because… you will have trained them to do so! After all, it is great for customers to hear from other agents that their Realtor is a great Realtor! (I hope you reciprocate this!)
So, organize your thoughts and materials prior to your open house. Put your game face on for the kickers, bring the shield for the darts flying around the standoffs, and be ready to dance with the wide-eyed wonders! Ask yourself, “Would I pick me?” If not, well, that’s another article.