I Secret-Shopped Open Houses.

 
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Hi all! Erin writing again this week. This might be my first non-studying-themed blog post and my first new agent-y post. Hadn't thought about that until just now. You know how you have markers for new experiences that make it all seem more real or more official somehow? I think this is one of them. Anyway... I secret-shopped some open houses last weekend. It was really fun. Here's what happened.

 
Windowboxes
Windowboxes
 

Well, first let's start with why I did it. Part of my job on Rebecca's team is to capture the new Realtor experience and document it. I do some of that on this blog, but the rest of it we're using to create a roadmap for new agents in our office to follow. We want to create systems that anyone could jump into and feel confident in the process, be efficient and see success no matter how new they are to real estate.

Much of what I've been doing is taking myself on little field trips and then turning it into something that will be helpful and useful for other brokers. The open houses was one example. I'd shadowed Rebecca at a couple of hers, so I knew how she did things. But I wanted to see how other agents conducted theirs. I thought maybe there were things I could take back to Rebecca and the team that we could adopt.

 
House 2
House 2
 

But what I found in my, admittedly, relatively small sample was not particularly inspiring. Here's what I noticed:

Not one agent introduced themselves by name or shook my hand.

Not one agent asked me to sign-in or leave a business card.

Not one agent kept me chatting to see whether I might need their services. (And at most of these open houses I was the only person walking through, so distraction wasn't an issue.)

With a couple of them I even volunteered information that, had an open house attendee shared it with Rebecca, she would have used as a point of conversation and follow-up.

 
House 3
House 3
 

Maybe you read the above and think there's nothing wrong with what I describe. And you're right--there's nothing technically wrong with any of it. None of the agents were unkind or unfriendly, I want to make a point to say that. But there was nothing particularly right about it either.

Here's what I mean.

When we host an open house we always do three things: we introduce ourselves with a handshake; we ask people to sign-in; we do our best to connect with them somehow through conversation; and then we find a reason to follow-up.

Why? Well, let's take each of those things in turn.

We introduce ourselves because most agents don't, and doing so makes an impression.

We have people sign-in because that's how we collect contact information so that we can follow-up with them later. Following-up might be an email with the answer to a question we weren't able to answer at the open house. It's always either a handwritten note (if they leave their address) or an email, thanking them for coming and letting them know we're here to help them with anything real estate-related. It's proactive and you'd be amazed at the benefit we get from something so simple. It's also a way to track how many visitors we got, so we can share that information with our seller.

We engage them in conversation. We want to connect with them. If they're looking to buy or sell, we want them to like us and choose to work with us. If they aren't looking to buy or sell, we want them to remember us the next time someone asks them if they know any good Realtors. We also do it because we want to be of service. If there's something we can do--information we can share or whatever--we need to know what that is, so that we can help. We only find out those things if we talk to the person. The talking also often gives us our follow-up reason. We try to make note of something they said that we can mention in our note or email afterward.

If we have slow times during the open house we use that time to start on our thank-you notes. If we don't get at least 5 people through the open house, we knock on neighbors doors or we find some other way to meet someone new. We don't ever just sit in an open house doing nothing. It's lead-generation time, whether people walk through the door or they don't.

 
House 4
House 4
 

The point of all of this is really being efficient and effective. Leverage your time so that you never look back on that two or three-hour block of time you spent at an open house and think it was wasted time. Some of these things seem simple, but you'd be surprised how many people don't do them. Don't miss out on relatively easy, relatively quick things that can make a huge difference in your business.