It’s Showtime!

If there’s one opportunity to make an impression on buyers and sellers, it’s at an ‘open for inspection.’ It’s your stage and your audience is ready to judge your performance – but have you prepared to impress them? Jim Midgley shares some tips on how to make the sale and win future sellers.

Open for inspections are when we, as salespeople, are most visible to the public and therefore offer us a great opportunity to impress and win future business. It is like the curtain raising on a performance and we are the actors for all to see and judge, so this is when we must shine. I believe if your focus is on conducting the best open home you can possibly do for the clients and customers, then you will surely impress future clients to use you. Remember you don’t have to conduct the world’s best open for inspection, just the best in your area, otherwise you are giving your opposition an advantage.

Most people who attend an open home are either buyers, sellers or both. Whilst it may vary from area to area it seems about 40% of open for inspection attendees have a property to sell, so if you had 30 people through your opens on a weekend, you would have 12 future sellers on your books who have met you. Did you impress them enough to use you to sell their property? Good food for thought!

The best ‘open for inspection’
Let’s think about what we could do to have the best open for inspection in our area. Firstly it would be helpful to find out what our competition do at their opens and then decide what we will improve to make ours superior. I find most people want information about the property, market and what else is for sale. They may also want information about you and your company, recent sales and information on how to buy and sell property. Here is a list of a few things you could leave on the kitchen table for them to pick up.

  • Brochure – with professional photography and a floor plan.
  • Property guide – as impressive as possible.
  • Recent sales – list with photos preferably.
  • Owners’ comments – what the current owners have loved about the property and area.
  • Local market research – lots of recent statistics and graphs.
  • How to buy at auction – explaining all the possible scenarios.
  • How to sell your property – should be a booklet covering all scenarios.
  • Your personal profile – include testimonials.
  • Your company’s profile – include testimonials.
  • A contract – in case they want to sign up then and there.
  • A SOLD sticker – with a note saying “Would you like to put this on the sign?”

Now let’s look at ourselves: do we look worthy of a $10,000+ consultancy fee? Make sure you are well groomed and wearing your best business outfit on these important days. Your car and signs should be immaculate and most importantly you MUST be on time. I have often witnessed salespeople arriving late for an open – can you imagine how unimpressed the owners are and what the possible future clients must think? Being on time is critical so why not work out a way to ensure your punctuality. Maybe do 30 minute opens on the hour so you have 30 minutes to pack up and travel to the next one. This method allows for people who arrive at the last minute and also makes your day less stressful. Another way is to have an assistant on the day and they can open and close the properties for you so you can focus on the people. Finally, be sure to have a big smile and be helpful to all attendees – it sounds basic but remember you only get one chance at a first impression. During the open allow people to explore and enjoy the property themselves, don’t try to follow them. They will ask you questions at the end if they are interested. I always liked to ask them “Do you want to buy it?” with a big smile as this seemed to break the ice with most people. I would generally ask all my questions later on the phone with my follow-up.

Effective phone follow-up.
The telephone follow-up of attendees is where we are able to find out all the information we need to help these people with their next step. “I found that the best time to follow-up was the afternoon or evening after the open, as the property and I were still fresh in their minds.” Now I know most people follow-up on Mondays or Tuesdays but luckily my area was extremely competitive and if I waited until Monday I would have missed out on any appraisals or listings. My clients also received better feedback as the attendees still remembered the property and were still in real estate mode.

The true key to success in follow-up is to have a consistent script to ask all the necessary questions. I heard a great set of questions from James Tostevin once and then I tweaked it to suit me. Maybe you could do the same as I achieved great results with this.

  • Are you interested in the property?
  • What budget are you working to?
  • Compared with what you have seen, what do you think this will sell for?
  • Would you pay that for it?
  • What price would you pay?
  • Is there any price you would buy it at?
  • Tell me, where are you in the buying cycle, do you have a property to sell or are you currently renting?
  • If they do have a property to sell then I would continue to qualify them as buyer and at the end of the conversation I would see if I could “pop in” to see their property.

The real key to success is to have three priorities in this process.

  1. Sell them the property they came through.
  2. Sell them another property.
  3. List their property for sale, if they have one.

Luckily I was taught, when I first started in real estate, that all the names on my ‘open for inspection lists’ had to go into my ‘buyers list’, my ‘future sellers list’ or both. This way no one was missed and all were now in another follow-up system or event trail. Remember that success in this business is not talent but discipline. I hope these simple ideas will help you to impress more future clients and customers and you will enjoy a long and prosperous career in this wonderful industry.

Jim Midgley was one of Brisbane’s leading salespeople for six years before becoming managing director and a 50% stakeholder of one of Brisbane’s largest real estate offices. In February 2009 Jim was asked to be National Director of PRDnationwide Australia and was promoted to the top position of Managing Director in October 2009.

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