Wallflower or social butterfly Meeting and greeting during the open house

Your primary objective during the open house is to meet guests and sell guests on meeting with you. Your measurement for success is how many appointments you book for after-the-open-house buyer interviews, which are meetings during which you determine the prospect's motivation, time frame, wants, and needs, and the prospect learns how you work and what services you provide.

Successful buyer interviews conclude with a prospect commitment, which takes the form of a signed buyer-agency agreement. This agreement is a contract to exclusively represent the buyer. At its core, the buyer-agency agreement is like a listing agreement where your compensation is guaranteed if the buyer buys. If the buyer buys any home (one that is listed and on the MLS or that is an FSBO) you'll be compensated for your time, effort, and energy. The single best way to obtain a buyer interview is to convince the prospect when you're face to face at the open house that you're the best real estate resource based on:

1 Your superb knowledge of the marketplace

1 Your high level of professional service

1 Your ability to deliver a buyer advantage in the marketplace

1 Your ability to facilitate the best lender arrangements and the smoothest closing transaction

1 Your experience saving buyers' money in the short run via lower sales prices or initial down payments, or in the long run via reduced payments

1 Your commitment to delivering the quality representation that the prospect truly deserves

Most agents who host open houses are too interested in obtaining contact information so they can initiate rounds of mailings and follow-up activity. Don't let your objective get off-track. Your aim is to get an appointment (not just contact info) so that you can make a personal presentation.

The big difference between highly and marginally successful agents can be measured by the number of appointments they schedule and conduct daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. When you host an open house, keep your eye on the prize, which is the chance to sit down following the event in a quality one-to-one appointment with the most valuable asset your business can acquire: a quality prospect.

As you work to develop prospects, consider these tips:

1 Invite attendees to sign the open house guest book or sign-in sheet.

Many guests may be reluctant, at first, to provide you with the information you want and need — which includes their names, addresses, e-mail addresses, and work, home, and cell phone numbers. However, the longer you visit with the guests and the more they see that you can provide them with valuable information, the more willing they are to provide the information.

1 Present your business card to introduce yourself and create a professional impression. Use the simple act of transferring your card to open the dialogue door with the prospect. Then, once you get a conversation going, begin getting the information that you can use as you convert the guest to a buyer or seller prospect. Use the following tips:

• Ask the prospect a time-frame question. How long have you been looking? Have you seen anything you've liked? How soon are you hoping to be into a new home? The answers tell you not only about the prospect's time frame, but also about her motivation. If a couple says that they've been looking for six months, you know that they're not very motivated buyers or that they're slow to make a decision. Either one is not a good answer.

• Ask the prospect a dream question. What are you looking for in your new home over your present home? What features do you want in your new home? Describe your perfect new home for me. By getting the prospects to share what they want, you open up the dialogue. You also show that you care and are there to help them.

• Don't be a tree. In other words, don't be rooted in the kitchen or family room. Wander the house and stay close to the prospects without hovering around them. You have a secondary responsibility to protect the home and the property of the seller. If the open house guests are in the master bedroom and you are in the kitchen, they could be in the jewelry box and you wouldn't even know it. Make sure that you're in the general area of your guests at all times. If the bedrooms are at one end, meander down the hallway and ask a question, simultaneously checking on the whereabouts and interests of your guests.

• Ask the prospect to buy. Before open house guests leave, ask them to buy the home. If you've not yet secured their information, you have nothing to lose. If they're not interested, ask them what about the home causes them to feel it's not right for them. Doing so opens up the opportunity for you to share information on other listings.

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Dead Organized

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