Securing the deal by following up after the open house

Promptly after the open house, send hand-written thank you notes to every single person who provided you with contact information. In today's world of e-mail and computer-generated correspondence, the power of a hand-written note is multiplied many times over.

When following up, don't assume that your event was the only open house your prospect attended. I guarantee you that this isn't the case. Realize that you're in a competition with other agents, and one way to prevail is to prove that you're the one most skilled at lead follow up. Once your hand-written note is received by your prospects, take the following steps:

ยก^ If the prospect requested additional information, or you offered to provide specific information, send it promptly. But send it separately from and following your hand-written note.

Keeping low-cost contact with "iffy" prospects

Sometimes you want to maintain relationships with moderately motivated prospects, in hopes that they choose to work with you when they're finally ready to buy or sell.

A good, low-cost way to stay in touch with these contacts is to send an e-mail version of your real estate newsletter or some other form of cyber-correspondence that costs you nothing for delivery or printing. (See Chapter 6 for advice on creating and distributing your newsletters.)

Don't expect a high percentage of these long-term prospects to convert into listings or sales based on this contact technique, but your cost is almost non-existent, so any success is nearly pure profit. However, be reasonable with your expectations. If you achieve a 3 percent return, consider yourself fortunate.

1 On the afternoon or evening of the day that your hand-written note is expected to arrive in the mail, place a phone call to the prospect. If the open house was on a Sunday, your hand-written note should be in the mail on Monday, and you should make your phone call the next day, usually on Tuesday. The objective of the call is to book a buyer presentation appointment in your office. If the note hasn't arrived when you call, don't sweat it. Proceed with your questioning and appointment-setting focus. Your note will arrive the next day to the surprise of the prospect.

1 Later that same week, probably on Thursday or Friday, phone again.

This time, tell the prospect that you've found a property that is similar to what he or she is looking for in a home. Explain that you would like to meet to evaluate its suitability. Aim to have the meeting take place in your office. Remember, you're in competition with other agents. Whoever gets the prospect into their office first dramatically improves the odds of acquiring a commission check.

1 Repeat the previous step weekly for a few weeks. If you're unable to get the prospect into your office within a few weeks, the quality of the prospect is probably lower than first thought. It's probably time to cut loose and move on to more motivated buyers.

kBEfl When you prospect at open houses, among the leads you acquire are people who hope to move but never will. I call these hope-to prospects rather than have-to prospects, and it's your job as an agent to determine which prospects fall into which category. That way you can turn your time, attention, and talent to the needs of the more motivated prospect group.

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