Should You Still Be Doing Open Houses?
Whether they generate reliable business is a debate among many professionals, but it depends on how you use them.
April 24, 2015
If you were to ask 100 agents if they think open houses work to create new business and generate leads, half would probably say yes and half would say no.
So do they work or don’t they? I believe that, as with most things, the issue is usually not the tool you are using but the implementation of the tool. For example, if you gave me a wrench to fix the engine in your car, I can tell you with almost 100 percent certainty that by the time I’m finished, your engine will be no more “fixed” than when I started. Why? Because I don’t know how to fix an engine in a car, regardless of the tools that you give me. But I’m not going to go on a tirade about how the wrench doesn’t work.
Most of us know that Internet leads have become a huge part of our business, but converting them is another story. Generally, the agent who pursues a lead the longest and actually gets an in-person conversation with them wins, but that can take months — if not years. With an open house, you are getting these same potential leads in person, and you’re able to have a conversation right then and there. What could be better than that?
But wait — I know what you’re thinking. Those aren’t the people who come to your open house. You only get “nosy neighbors,” right? Well, that’s a marketing issue. When done effectively, open houses can be incredibly profitable, so let’s talk about four ways to run them in a more successful way.
- Use targeted Facebook ads. Most of you reading this have heard all about Facebook ads, but few actually understand how to create and target them correctly. This is a shame because they are an absolute game changer. Gone are the days of putting your open house ad in the Sunday paper and getting overloaded with traffic. However, this isn’t an article on how to create Facebook ads, so I advise you to either watch tutorials on YouTube or hire a company like mine to do them for you. You can create either an ad or a boosted post with your Facebook business page that is targeted at buyers in your area and promotes your open house. You should offer something of value to those who register beforehand or to the first 50 people who show up and mention your ad.
- Offer exclusivity/privacy. Don’t underestimate the power of allowing potential buyers to get in for a private or exclusive showing before everyone else has a chance to see your listing at an open house. Nothing drives competition like scarcity, and by allowing people to register for the open house, as I mentioned above, you are now able to tell prospective buyers that there are 37 people already registered but you may be able to get them in beforehand if they would like.
- Invite the nosy neighbors. I know this goes against traditional thought, but hear me out. Sometimes neighbors are nosy because they are curious about the value of their own home, or they may have a friend who wants to get into the neighborhood. But even if they are just nosy, they do still serve a purpose: traffic. The more people who walk through your open house, the more buzz that will exist and the better the offers will be that you receive. Think of it this way: If I went to an open house, walked around for 45 minutes, and nobody else showed up, do you think my offer would be the same as if I went to the open house and was surrounded by other people the whole time? Traffic creates perceived scarcity, whether the visitors are nosy neighbors or not. Get them in the house and let them hang out! You might further interest them by saying, “I’m not sure if you are aware, but your neighbor’s house going on the market may have changed the value of your home. Would you like to know how it has changed?” See how that works out for you.
- Make sure you follow up after the open house. I know this sounds like it falls into the Captain Obvious category, but you’d be shocked to know how many real estate professionals believe that if someone doesn’t make the decision to work with them on first contact, they aren’t going to ever. You can use an app such as Open Home Pro or anything that has built-in follow-ups to send to people who sign in. If you are uneasy about asking visitors to sign in, just tell them that, for security reasons, the home owner requires that you have the correct information for anyone walking through their house when they aren’t home. Then say, “You’d want the same thing, right?” They won’t have an issue.
If you follow these simple steps, there’s no way that you won’t see an increase in the number of attendees at your open houses, as well as a better return on the time you spend on them.