Get More Business From Open Houses

For most agents, holding an open house is not high on the list of “favorite parts of the job.” But, by using these opportunities correctly, you can easily turn any open house into a listing getting machine.

We’ve had many members get listings and buyer clients by offering their books at open houses.

Ohio-based agent Ryan Tompot had the genius idea of holding a contest to give away copies of his book.

“I hold open houses and I have free book drawings.”  To enter the drawing, leads leave their name and contact information for Ryan. “Now everybody that signs up and leaves their email, they won the contest.” Ryan says, “Everybody gets a book because everybody likes to win.”

For Ryan, giving out his book at open houses separates him from other agents. “I want to get my book in their hand, it gives them something to see this guy is different than the other agents. Like, there's something different about this guy.”

Using this opportunity, Ryan instantly creates a warm lead out of every “contest winner”. 

“I need a reason to call somebody”, says Ryan. “So, if somebody is a for sale by owner, my reason to call is ‘I can potentially get you more money than you can’, but now if they have my book, ‘Hey, this is my reason to call. What did you think about that? Do you see now how, if we apply this strategy, it can make you more money at the end’ and just get them engaged in the book.”

Ryan also has copies of his books for sale at his open house. By doing this, Ryan is increasing the perceived value of his book and collecting high-quality leads.

See our entire interview with Ryan here.

Contests and drawings are not the only ways to use your book at an open house. If you want to get your book in the hands of potential customers immediately you can do one of the following:

  • When you create a social media event or send out an email blast about your open house, let potential visitors know that when they come to the open house, you’ll provide them with a free copy of your book.
  • Place your books on the kitchen counter or on a table by the front door next to some sort of sweet treat. Write a sign that says “Take one of each!”
  •  Place your buyer book and seller book side by side. (You can even put multiple books side by side.) You can also use a sign that says, “Which book do you need?” or something similar.
  • When someone comes in, hold up your book and ask, “Are you looking to buy or sell a home?”
  • Make sure you say it assumptively. Just assume they want to buy or sell and that’s the reason they’re attending. Most people will answer one of three ways:
  1. 1
    “I don’t want to buy or sell. I just want to check out the open house.” To this, you say, “OK. Well, go ahead and check out the house and let me know if you have any questions.”
  2. 2
    “We’re actually thinking about buying a home. But we’re just looking.” To this you reply, “Excellent. Here’s a copy of my home buyer’s guide. Check it out and let me know if you have any questions.” Reach out your hand and give them the book. People are more likely to take something from you if you actually reach out and hand it to them. 
  3. 3
    “We’re thinking about selling our home, but not for a while.” To that, you reply, “Excellent. Here’s a copy of my home-selling guide. Check it out and let me know if you have any questions.” Reach out your hand and give them the book. Again, while you are saying that, 99 percent of the time, they will take the book from you.

The key to having success with this strategy is to “own” the room. If you’re confident when you give away your book, you will impress prospective clients, and they’ll be happy to take it. In most cases, the book will start a conversation.

Debbie, another one of our members, has had great success prospecting at open houses.

“I used the book to get an expired listing, and we have an accepted offer on that for $550,000,” Debbie said. “But at one of the open houses, I had a family come through, and I gave them one of the books about the secrets of wealthy home sellers. They wanted me to help them purchase a home.”

Debbie also used The Home Buyers Guide to assist another couple. “With that couple, I have an accepted offer on a $600,000 home and, as soon as we close on that … I will be listing their home for probably about $400,000. Basically, that all came from one book.”

“I’ve been handing out some of my books at other open houses, as well, and actually have gotten two more listings from not quite that high a price range, but they are in the $200,000 and $300,000 range. They were just people walking in, looking at the house itself, but you find out that they have a house that they need to sell, as well, and I hand them a book.”

At her last open house, two buyers came in who said they were about a year away from looking for homes. Both were moving in from out of state. Debbie gave them books that they loved and got their contact information.

“They’re going to be contacting me when they’re ready to move into the state. The books are doing some amazing things. They really are. They’re setting me apart.”

Debbie said she initially sent out only 30 books to expired sellers because the books have been so successful.

“I did 30 packets of books, got that one listing, which … absolutely paid for all 30 of those books. Since then, I have been handing them out personally at open houses and just meeting people in general, so probably another 30 books.”

According to Debbie, most of the successful responses she’s received from the books have ended up being high-end listings or sales. “A listing book has also brought me buyers, which I find really interesting. Not only do I get their listings, but then they’re so impressed with the book that they want me to help them buy their next house, too, without even necessarily having to give them a buyer’s book.”

Debbie described her open house strategy, which relies on having an assortment of books on hand. “It all comes down to people knowing that, number one, you are listening to them at open houses. It’s more than just walking them through this house. I begin asking many, many questions about what they’re looking for, what are they needing and, in that process, I’m handing them the books, whatever book fits. I take several of my books ... different titles.” She decides which book to give them depending on how they answer her questions.

“I have a couple who actually have their home listed in Fort Lauderdale because they’re moving here, and that came from a book at this same open house — the $320,000 house. They are buying with me because I handed them one of my buyer books. They are going to be purchasing with me as soon as they have an accepted offer on their home in Fort Lauderdale. We already have a house picked out here. As soon as they get an offer, they’ll be writing an offer on the house up here.”

A decade ago, when Debbie started her real estate business in the Denver area, it was not uncommon for an open house to draw no visitors at all. She believes the growing number of real estate websites — along with the greater opportunity to post photos — has stimulated interest in open house events. “My husband is a professional photographer, as well, so we always make sure our photos are great.”

“Your description in the MLS must be very good at drawing people in. We also put ads out on Facebook for open houses.” She has found that individuals who attend open houses are reluctant to use a sign-in sheet if it can be viewed by other people. So she hands out individual cards and promises to keep them out of sight and private. Her aim is to create a comfortable, no-pressure environment for open house visitors.

“We always tell people that we are not real estate salespeople; we are real estate consultants. What can we do to help you?” The books reinforce this approach. “It’s amazing how people will open up and begin talking to you. I’m not a natural at high pressure. It doesn’t work for me.”

A significant portion of Debbie’s business comes from open houses, as well as referrals. The books make a huge impact. “Everyone is impressed. They’re just going, ‘Wow!’ Everybody’s jaw drops so, yes, just being able to hand it to them, it has a big impact.”

Prospects and clients rarely ask whether she was the sole author of the books. The books with her name on the covers seem to be proof enough of her expert status. “I talk to them as an authority, so they have no reason to question me. I’m just very factual.” But that’s not what she considers the biggest benefit of using the books:

“There is something very concrete that they can hold in their hand. It’s not like just paperwork that they can toss away. Even the listing presentation, you don't always know if they hang onto that listing presentation or maybe even read through it but, with the book, there’s something that my picture is [on], looking at them every day. Even if they lay the book down on a table or something, my picture is looking at them, and I have never known anyone to throw my books away. A number of the listings I’ve gotten, I’ve noticed that they’ve kind of put my book in the drawer or something after they’ve gotten the listing, but it hasn’t been thrown away. They’ve kept it.”

Debbie said the biggest breakthrough the books have given her was an increase in confidence. “I don’t have to go and flaunt this book. I don’t have to be a salesman for the book. I just hand it to them and say, ‘Here’s a book that I’ve written that is really going to help you.” I just have to say that very factually, and that’s all I have to do. It sells itself, you know, so thank you. I really appreciate these books.”

She said agents who are struggling to get listings should be sure they read the books inside and out. “Make sure you know what the content is so that when you hand them out, people know that you know what you’re talking about.”

She added a closing reminder: “Open houses are not necessarily for selling the house that’s there. They’re for getting leads. If they get buyer leads from them, then that’s the place to start their business.”

To Summarize:

  • Many of our members have found success — both with buyers and sellers — by handing out their books at open houses.
  • There are many approaches you can take to handing out your books at open houses, but no matter which you use, you’re guaranteed to make a positive impression on open house attendees.
  • Having a book to hand out at your open houses allows you to be more confident in your presentation and come away with more than a potential sale of the house you’re showing.

Take Action:

Are you ready to turn open houses into a real opportunity, instead of just wasted time? You can easily turn things around by leveraging your book at your next open house.

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