March 2015 Article

How to Host an Open House
Courses by Jim Luger
By Jim Luger, CDEI
Certified Distance Education Instructor and Real Estate Professional for 35 years

Visitors might be interested in buying your open house, but if not, are you willing to match them with other listings? You’ll first have to overcome some barriers.
Visitors will usually arrive guarded.
Here’s why most visitors come to your open house feeling defensive:
  • It’s your event, and they are guests. That gives you psychological power, but it makes them feel vulnerable. They’ll instinctively try to protect themselves by being evasive.
  • Visitors assume that you will try to sell them the open house, so they try to appear that they’re “just looking.”
  • If they surrender their names and contact information to you, they fear that they will be relentlessly pestered.
You only increase their resistance if you…
… use the “grab” approach (sticking your hand out to make them shake it, saying “Hi folks, thanks for coming, my name is John Doe—and yours?”).
Likewise, if you use the “gate-keeper” approach (“Before you can come in I’ll need you to register with your name, address, phone numbers, social security number, and date of birth.”), you’ll just flare up their need to protect themselves—from you!
Let visitors feel relaxed and safe.
Try something like, “Would you like me to show you around, or would you like to look on your own?” Or just smile (the ultimate ice-breaker) and thank them for coming.
And when they are ready to leave:
If you took a relaxed approach when they arrived, their resistance will be at the lowest point when they are ready to leave. Smile again (from within, please) and ask if they have any questions about, or an interest in, the open house. If not, suggest that there might be something else on the market more appropriate for them, and then engage them with questions about their housing needs. Keep your questions simple for now. For example, ask about area, price range, number of bedrooms for now. After a few questions, ask for permission to let them know if a property comes on the market that meets their needs, adding “but it will be up to you if you want to see it, okay?” (Let them feel a sense of control.)
After you get permission, it will be relevant to introduce yourself and ask for their names and contact information.
The good news about asking permission to contact visitors later, is that they
will expect your call. And that’s a great first step toward building a client relationship.

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