It’s 12pm on a Sunday and instead of spending a lazy day in bed, you put on your game face and head to an open house.
Love them or hate them, open houses matter. According to a 2016 report from Inman, 87% of consumers said they expect an open house, and 50% of agents and brokers rated open houses an 8 out of 10 in importance in the sales process.
If you ask agent listings specialist Monica Diaz and digital marketing expert Jay Campbell, they’ll tell you open houses are the secret to stellar lead gen. And with more than $300 million in sales, they’ve got it down to an art form.
Here’s a step-by-step insider look at how the rockstars behind one of California’s leading real estate teams transform every open house into a lead machine.
Nearly 70% of agents have sold a home as a result of a connection made at an open house. Source: Inman Select Special Report on Open Houses
Ever wonder how some agents get dozens of people lined up at the door before an open house?
It’s not hard to see how open houses like that are a powerful marketing tool—the trick, is to know how they work.
Jay and Monica’s number-crushing open house strategy boils down to three key ingredients:
That last one should not be overlooked. According to Monica, “Your attitude around an open house matters. If you act like it’s an inconvenience, you’re going to take that to the open house as well.”
No truer words. Let’s take a closer look at how it all breaks down.
(Or view the full 1-hour masterclass here.)
In this day and age, there is no shortage of ways to promote your open houses.
And while traditional sign-in-the-yard methods still work (more on that in a minute), the real difference for rainmakers like Jay and Monica is Facebook ads. “There’s a lot of different ways to drive traffic to your Facebook ads. But first, you need to focus on targeting the right audience,” says Jay.
According to Jay and Monica, it’s the surefire way to:
But if you’re like most agents, you dread the idea of spending a minute more of your precious time tinkering around in the ads manager. Lucky for you, Jay’s been doing custom audience targeting on Facebook since before most people even knew what it was.
Step 1 – Nail your demographics
Pro tip: Using the example of $75,000 – $99,999, make sure to select the income brackets above those amounts so that you’re truly capturing people who earn $75K or more. Otherwise, you’ll just be targeting people solely in that bracket.
You may also want to check with your lender to find out the minimum income allowed in your market based on loan amount and purchase price.
Step 2 – Segment for behavior
Step 3 – Tailor your ad copy
What about price?
It’s a question A LOT of people ask. According to Jay, it’s up for debate. The idea behind not showing the price on the landing page is that you increase engagement to your ads, as leads will need to click through to find out more.
But some say you lose your tire kickers that way. In the end, it’s up to you. Think about what works for your unique market, listing and audience — then test and find out whether price or no price gets you the best results.
Jay and Monica also point out that there are plenty of tools and services that will do landing pages and Facebook ads for you, including:
Jay and Monica use Curaytor due to their specific expertise in custom targeting, but there many different options that’ll do the job.
(Already a Follow Up Boss user? You can easily integrate Curaytor and get up and running asap.)
A few caveats
According to Jay, targeting on Facebook takes 12 -18 months to truly see an ROI. For many business owners, that’s hard to digest.
But if you want to be in the game of Facebook marketing, you need to be in it for the long haul. And as Jay mentioned, it’s worth it.
If you can’t afford to wait that long, try out a couple of the less expensive tools first. According to Jay, it’s better to go with a pro than try to troubleshoot your own ads but again, it’s all about your personal priorities (and of course, marketing budget).
Just know that as with all things real estate, success on Facebook won’t come overnight.
Now that you know how to promote the heck out of your open houses on Facebook, here’s how to make sure it’s a success on the actual day.
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many agents miss this one.
Make sure you’re enthusiastic about your open house. Prepare your mindset the night before. Instead of asking yourself why you have to do this, do what Monica does and tell yourself: “Awesome! I wonder who I’m going to meet today!”
These transformational mindset moments were a gamechanger for Monica’s career.
Let people know the party’s on.
On the day of the event, Monica wakes up at 6am and puts signs all over the neighborhood along with the open house schedule. She posts about 30 or more within a 1.5 mile radius of the open house. This way, people can plan ahead and you don’t miss out on any potential leads or customers.
Leverage other things that are going on in the neighborhood around the same time you’re holding the event.
Monica suggests setting the time of the event around the same time a service ends if the house is located near a church, for example. It’s all about knowing how to use the environment at your advantage.
Position yourself on every search engine possible long before the open house date.
Jay’s advice is if you’re gonna have an open house on a Saturday and Sunday you must enter it into the MLS no later than 3pm on Tuesday afternoon. That’s because the major websites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com are slow to index your updates.
Make sure your ad has the longest exposure possible.
According to Forbes, “A visit to the neighbors with beautiful brochures in hand will create some buzz and get them talking to friends who might want to move into the neighborhood.”
Meeting the neighbors and starting conversations early is a great way to build word of mouth. Do it one or two days before the open house to start building the buzz and maximize your chances of bringing as many offers to the table as possible.
There’s nothing worse than arriving at an open house sweaty and stressed out.
Make sure you get there early, turn on the lights and get your mind right way before the first visitors arrive. Remember, this is about you being ready to close a deal (and generate a ton of leads in the process).
If you follow the above rules, you’ll definitely end up with more people than you can handle yourself.
It’s a champagne trouble for sure, but to avoid situations where you’re overwhelmed by the number of people coming in, enlist a team of agents and/or your lender to help keep a manageable flow. Your lender can even help pre-qualify leads on the spot.
A little extra help not only makes your open house visitors feel welcome, it also makes you look like an ace professional.
This is a big one for a couple of reasons.
As Jay points out, “You don’t want strangers coming into your home without a way of tracking them — safety first.” Just let people know that the seller requires them to sign in.
Of course, this is also a great way to get extra names into your CRM.
According to Jay and Monica, if you aren’t capturing every single potential prospect for remarketing later, you’re wasting your time.
Position a kiosk stand at the door along with a tablet and a helper in charge of taking visitors’ details that they’ll later add to your CRM. Jay and Monica use Spacio — the paperless open house app — to capture contacts and instantly sync them straight into Follow Up Boss.
No matter which tech tools you use, this business is all about personal connections.
Make a genuine effort to find out what visitors are looking for and, if possible, show them why your home fits those requirements. If this isn’t the one for them, take notes and follow up later with suitable options.
As Jay puts it, “Every person you meet in an open house is a potential client. If they’re not in the buying process, they might be in the selling process. Or, at some point, they’ll know somebody who will be doing one of the two.”
Ready to rock your open houses? Download the exact checklist Jay and Monica use here.
There’s no better way to say it.
You need a place and plan for all these new leads. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost people’s data and not followed up because of not having a better process,” says Monica.
After every open house, Jay makes a note on the profiles for any leads who specifically asked him to get back in touch. Everyone else gets placed on a personalized follow up list.
Jay and Monica use Smart Lists to organize and prioritize all their open house leads. They then filter the list to see who has and hasn’t been followed up with and make sure everyone who needs a call gets one.
For leads with a longer buying timeline, they use drip campaigns to keep them engaged. You can access Jay and Monica’s entire 10-email drip campaign for open house buyers here. Every time a lead engages with their content, the team gets notified in Follow Up Boss so they can immediately reach out with the right information.
And at $300 million in volume, it’s obviously an approach that works.
Open houses might just be the most undervalued tool in your marketing arsenal. But with the right mindset, plan and system, they can definitely help take your business to the next level.