You’ve marketed for the open house all week, put out directional signs in the sweltering heat, thoughtfully laid out your spread of treats and market updates and made sure everything is in place throughout the home… twice. Certain your attention to detail and laboring will bring a successful open house, you greet your first guest and point them to your sign-in sheet. They take a glance and pick up the pace of their tour to the next room.
“That’s okay,” you think to yourself, “I’ll get them on their way out.”
They come back through the kitchen, standing just feet from your sign-in sheet, and you graciously let them know you’ll send them updates on the home and the neighborhood if they’ll Just. Fill out. The sign-in sheet.
Blank stares are the only response you receive to your request. They thank you for allowing them to tour the home and abruptly leave. You’re deflated, “Another lost opportunity at an open house. Why do I even keep doing these?”
You may even start to question yourself and your decision to get into this business. Don’t take a lack of open house sign-ins personally—improve your approach with your guests instead.
Four Ways to Increase Your Open House Sign-Ins
- Have a better system. The simple sign-in sheet is archaic and doesn’t build trust. Think about it, everywhere we shop now, we’re asked to provide an email address at the register. No, thank you! We’re practically conditioned to say no to the sign-in sheet these days. Some agents use sign-in software on their iPads, etc, and love the ease of how the data is automatically linked to their database, but people are just as weary of the electronic sign-in as they are of the paper sign-in. Anything that screams, “Give me your information so I can hound you!” will turn people off to you and hinder your ability to connect with them.
In my book, Your Key to Open House Success, I discuss a different kind of sign-in. The top two-thirds of the page is a feedback survey about the home. You attach multiple copies of the sheet to a clipboard and instruct guests to make notes and feedback as they tour the home. This empowers them and shows them their opinions are important to you and the seller. Gauge your visitors’ personalities as they walk into the home and, when it’s a couple, give the clipboard to the person who gives you a warmer, more open vibe. The bottom third of the sheet announces the drawing for your open house guests—which should be a substantial (think $50) gift card to a local hotspot and is their entry form… where, you guessed it, is where they fill in their contact information.
This step is important: When you hand the guests the clipboard, let them know you’ll separate their information from the top feedback portion, that way they can be as honest as possible without fear of the owners holding a grudge against them! This eases their minds and helps you build trust.
- When you speak with your open house guests, do more listening than talking and, when you do talk, point the conversation back at them with questions about their needs. When people walk into an open house they’re prepared to be accosted by a real estate agent, so they’ve already put up their guards. Slimy sales tactics and elevator pitches won’t work here. Instead, talk about their favorite subject: themselves. When you show genuine interest in the people you’re talking to (instead of trying to win them over by talking about you), you build rapport with them. If the conversation falls flat, pick it back up again by asking them an open-ended question about what they’re looking for in a home/community. Showing genuine interest and building rapport will solidify more details on the “contact information” portion of the feedback sheet.
- Make your move. Of course, you can’t just pepper the guest with questions—that can get a little too awkward and is too one-sided to truly build trust. When appropriate in the conversation, tell a previous experience you’ve had helping someone similar to their situation. Highlight challenges other clients have faced and how you helped them through those. Getting on their level and showing how your clients have been there and you’ve helped them to the other side builds credibility and demonstrates that you’re the real estate professional they want on their side. For example, if the guest mentions not finding anything they like in the neighborhood you’re holding the open house in, yet they really want to live there because of the schools, tell them how you helped a buyer recently get into the same school system, but in a neighborhood with inventory similar to their tastes (you’ve learned their tastes through the questions you’ve asked them already at this point). The guest will want your insider expertise and will be eager to give you their contact information at this point. Don’t have a lot of stories in your wheelhouse? Talk to your broker or a mentor and ask them to fill you in on past client stories—you’ll learn a lot, plus will be able to tell guests, “Oh, my broker had a similar situation… he found a lender with great down payment assistance programs and his clients got the home after all. I can get you that number, let’s be sure I have your right contact information.” Which leads me to…
- The re-check move. Because you don’t have instant rapport when your guests walk through the door at your open house—rapport is something you build throughout their tour and your conversation after—they may have scribbled down fake information. That’s okay, who can blame them, they didn’t know you yet! But, as you listened to them, asked great questions and gave an example of how you help overcome client challenges, you felt the trust between the two of you growing. That’s when you go for the re-check. Usually after we discuss something they want me to send to them, I will casually (not in a shaming manner), mention for them to make sure I have the email address they prefer to receive emails, “Great! I’ll send you those lender numbers as soon as I’m finished here. Just double-check that you gave me your best email address on the feedback form. Sometimes people automatically put their work email, forgetting most outsider emails go to spam.” You’ll be surprised at how many people blush and give the correct email address or make sure their information is now legible. If you blank on something you can send to them, just use the re-check with the prize drawing you’re doing for the guests that day.
I give more open house strategies and tips in my book, Your Key to Open House Success, as well as resources to download, such as the feedback sheet I use. Be sure to get your copy today!