Open homes aren’t just about buyers.
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First impressions matter, and none are more important than open homes.
Open homes are the number one source for building relationships with future sellers; however, are you making an impression that shouts to your marketplace? Are potential sellers walking away thinking, “If I ever sell my home, I’m having you in to appraise my home.”
Open homes are not just about attracting buyers, but are a great way to showcase your services to potential sellers. Some people attending open homes are not just looking at the home as a possible purchase; but also (unconsciously or consciously) checking out how the agent is doing, performing in order to maybe decide to use them to sell their home.
How do you create the wow factor at your open homes? Or are you just the same as everyone else?
Over the years I have conducted “mystery shopping surveys” of open homes across many areas of Melbourne and Sydney, with varying degrees of service delivered.
A couple of experiences included agents (two) chatting to each other and ignoring myself and a couple of other potential buyers as we entered the property. Another poor example was a cold winter day and the agent was standing inside, in front of the old-fashioned gas heater, expecting buyers to come to him and provide the mandatory details. The other, more common experience has been a muffled greeting (no eye contact) and a request for name and number while typing into an iPad, then handing a brochure with a look of dread.
Now, I can assure you, none of these agents recognised me and did not treat me any differently to any other buyer entering the properties. As a home owner and a potential seller, what impression would they be taking away from the interaction?
The following are ways you can upgrade your open homes to attract more business. You have two to seven seconds to make a first impression. How can you create a lasting first impression that is memorable and places you as a standout in your local market?
Have your flag up on the property board. If permitted in your area, have a number of open home signs on all major arterials pointing in the direction of the home. Have an open board out the front of the property. If you are in an apartment complex, have as many signs as possible to ensure the apartment is easily found. If you want to really stand out, have a pull up banner at the front door, which may display a full length picture and the word “welcome”.
A SMILE is FREE and simple. Greet every potential person as if they are the most important person you will meet for that day. Smile, introduce yourself, and shake the person’s hand or both people’s hand. There are some obvious cultural sensitivities here so please observe those. This act alone can make you stand out as very few agents complete this form of greeting.
Inside the open home, touch all five senses from the second the potential buyer / seller walks in. Have a signature scent, either candle or scented oil sticks positioned in a couple of locations to make sure the smell goes through the entire property. The smell sense is directly connected to the memory part of the brain and the scent, over time, will be the scent of you or your agency’s brand. Imagine buyers walking through the front door of your open property and instantly recognising your brand via a smell.
Have music playing, not house music (pun intended), but a relaxing or upbeat music that gives the house a lively, happy feel. People will be attracted to the home when they feel good inside the home. Bluetooth speakers of good quality are very affordable, yet don’t skimp as the sound quality does vary greatly. Be aware of the pitfalls with bluetooth speakers, such as your mobile phone being out of range for the speaker or answering a phone call, etc. You may instruct the owner to set up the home with your music playlist prior to leaving the home, if they have a speaker system.
What visuals will you have on display? There are the legal requirements (state-dependent), brochures of the property, agents’ profiles, how-to booklets, property information sheet, copy of the contract, SOLD sticker, open home list or booklet etc. You can have too much information, however always consider your market place and how you can add value.
Other visuals included for aesthetic appeal: flowers, bottles of water and individually wrapped lollies in a bowl complete the inviting atmosphere for potential buyers and those future sellers.
The taste sense is covered in regards to the bowl of lollies, and touch has been discussed earlier – the handshake.
Making an impact at open homes takes time and effort, yet if you are prepared to stand out from the rest and wow your buyers and, more importantly, your potential sellers, it is all worth it.
Prepare for your opens on Friday, placing all of the required information and items into clear plastic stackable storage boxes clearly marked with the property addresses and the open times.
When done well, a WOW open home should form part of your listing presentation and be a standout point of difference in your market. Think outside the box, add different items or ideas to the above, and make sure that you create a memorable open home experience.
Remember, it is not just buyers inspecting your open home properties; potential sellers will be checking you out and how you perform.
Warren Tate is the performance coach at Harcourts Victoria.
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