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The Top 5 Ways to Identify Real Estate Sellers – Part 5
Caroline: Hi, I’m Caroline Springer. This is the next session of Get Sellers Calling You with Beatty Carmichael. Beatty is the CEO of Master Grabber and the creator of Agent Dominator. He is also one of the top marketing experts in the real estate field. Today we are going to be talking about “The Top 5 Ways to Identify Sellers.” It’s a series we’ve been going through and this is actually our last topic, Part 5. Just a reminder for those of you who are on the call with us, we do have lines muted but we will open them up for questions and answers at the end of the call. So welcome, Beatty.
Beatty: Thank you. I’m glad to be back.
Caroline: Me too. I’m excited to finish this up. I know this has been a really informative series. We’ve really been able to dig deep into each of these topics. I know there are obviously more than 5 ways to identify sellers, but I’m excited to close this out and finish up and see where we go today.
Beatty: Well good. We may continue, not on this topic, but on the next logical topic on the next call and that is, “How do you follow up with seller leads when you get them?” Because there is an art if you want to get those leads choosing you when they actually go on the market. We might do that on the next call. But it will be good to finish up this call.
Caroline: I think that’s a great idea. I’m already interested in that. I think that will be a great follow up and a good little series to continue on from this one. I could be wrong but I believe today we are going to be talking about open houses and all of your expertise and advice on those. Do you want to do a quick refresher on what we have already talked about or do you just want to jump in?
Beatty: Let’s jump in. I think we may start going too long if we start doing too much refresher.
Caroline: Okay, that sounds great. I’ll just open up the floor for you to get started.
Beatty: Great. To kind of set the stage… there are a lot of things that you guys, as realtors, out there do that are the things that everyone does. It’s how you do your business. It’s your best practices. But one of the things that has always amazed me is how most realtors kind of miss a great opportunity because they don’t really understand what they are doing.
Here’s a true story on this. I forget all the details but I’ve got the general idea correct. A guy is out there, he is digging a gold mine. He’s following this vein of gold and it’s producing some money for him and he is making some money. You know the way that you follow a vein of gold is that you keep chipping at the rock. Wherever that vein is, you keep going after it. And that’s how you dig a gold mine.
So the vein of gold stops and he goes, “Oh my gosh, what happened?” So he’s digging all around, all around, a foot this way, three feet that way, trying to find the vein of gold. And he concludes that it must have just petered out. Well, there is no more gold in that mine so he sells the mine. The guy who buys the mine happens to be a little bit more knowledgeable on geology and he starts to access the vein of gold and rock formations and he says, “I really think it’s probably over here, like three or four feet from where the guy finished digging.” He starts digging and he picks up the vein of gold and he finds the motherlode. The motherlode is where you have this huge pile of gold. It turns into one of the most profitable gold mines ever during that timeframe. And yet the guy who had it lost it.
I think a lot of times, as realtors, that is kind of what happens. And I think that happens a lot with the open house. We go through all the activity and all the steps and we do open houses and they don’t really produce. I think that with tweaking a few things, you will find that you can make it produce a lot. So let me ask you a question, Caroline. I know you aren’t a realtor, but let me just ask. When a realtor does an open house, what do you think is the primary objective of holding the open house? To sell it or to find prospects? What do you think?
Caroline: Well, before I met you and started learning more about real estate, I thought one thing. But now I’ve discovered that there is a lot more they can do, even for their own benefit, not just for the benefit of selling that home, but also to prospect for other sellers and things like that. I think, to the general public, they do think it’s just to prospect for listings.
Beatty: Yes. I think most agents, when they hold an open house, they hold the open house with an attempt to sell it. And that rarely works. It’s a very low return on investment. Some agents hold an open house, recognizing that they are going to find people coming through that are likely thinking about selling their home and they are just looking. And that is the purpose of the open house. It is sort of like, you have to serve your clients and you have to serve your interests. The client wants you to hold an open house because they think that is how you sell it. Most agents say, “I don’t want to hold open houses. It’s a waste of my time.” So they typically get a junior agent to come sit in the house and here is what happens. They put a sign out: “Open House – Sunday 2:00 – 4:00.” They go out and stick signs at the entrance to the neighborhood: “Open House – Sunday 2:00 – 4:00.” And on Sunday from 2:00 – 4:00, they usually put some balloons out on the listing sign. Then the agent goes in and is checking their email for two hours and maybe one person comes through. Just a total waste of time. And they are going, “Why do I do this?” We do it sometimes because the homeowner wants you to do it because they think that is how you sell the house.
But if you do it smart, you can turn an open house into getting an average of 1 new listing for every open house you do if you manage it well. The key is, how do you change it? What do you do differently? You are still doing the open house, but how you promote it is the key. Let me ask another question, Caroline. Typically, when an agent sells a home, many of the good ones will send out a just sold postcard. When they send out a just sold postcard, how many homes around the home that they just sold do you think the average agent sends that postcard to?
Caroline: That’s a good question. Maybe 250 homes?
Beatty: Well, that’s a little aggressive. The average agent that I find sends to about 50 homes and the suggested amount is about 100 homes. Here’s the idea. When you sell a home and you send out a just sold postcard around that home, what you are trying to do is, you are trying to get that postcard in the hands of someone who is thinking about selling and now that you sold that home, the mindset in their mind is, “Once that home sells, I’m going to put mine on the market.” That’s the general mindset of what the realtor thinks is going on.
Frequently, within a 100 home radius, you’ve got someone else who is about to go on the market. And that is true. Just the general turnover rate would tell that you that within 100 homes, once one home sells, there is probably another home that is about to go on the market. So you have this 100 home radius. The question is then, how do you take that knowledge of the 100 home radius and the knowledge of the listing that you have and your desire to do an open house, how do you combine all of that information into one action plan that allows you to generate more sellers. What are your thoughts?
Let me pause for a moment. Even though you are not selling real estate, Caroline, if you were selling real estate you would be typically in the same spot that most realtors are. So whatever you think are probably the connecting points. It’s probably what most realtors think because most realtors don’t do what we do. So, take it from there. Even though you are not a realtor, you are probably going to think like most realtors. What are the connecting points?
Caroline: Within an area, I would assume that a lot of people that go to an open house might live in that area. I know I myself have gone to a few open houses in the neighborhood because I was interested to see. You are probably going to be sending just sold cards to the same people that you meet at an open house. To me, I would be trying to utilize as many people as I met as hot leads. And then maybe even door knocking in that area and sharing the information of that home.
Beatty: Let me go back to the first statement that you made. You went and looked at open homes because of what? You wanted to see what?
Caroline: Well, even though we are not selling. For instance, there is a house down the road that we just went to an open house recently. We went just to compare and see how much they are selling for and how many bedrooms and if it’s updated and just general curiosity. If that house sold for a bunch, I might be thinking about selling.
Beatty: Great. Real quick question. Do you plan to live the next 10 or 12 years in your house or do you think in a couple of years you might sell and move to a different house?
Caroline: I think we’ll probably be here. I don’t know about 10 to 12 years, but maybe because we’ve done some updating and we really love our house we will.
Beatty: Great. So you are merely a curiosity seeker, not a seller lead by any means, that’s good. Now let’s think for a moment though that you guys were thinking about selling your home maybe later this year and there is a home on the market and there is an open house. How likely do you think you would be to want to go to that house and check it out?
Caroline: Oh, 100%. No doubt about it. I would definitely be going just to see what they are selling for, how many bedrooms, what is your competition?
Beatty: Okay, perfect. So this thing that we start to drive on, the knowledge that there is going to be some nosey neighbors like you who want to just kind of peek their noses into someone else’s house to see what is going on. But they are also very interested and thinking about selling so what they want to do is kind of get an idea of what the competition is like. This home is going for this amount of money. How does it look on the inside? Did they do other fix ups? How do I need to set my home up so when we put it on the market we can get the most money for it? These are the things going through most homeowners’ minds.
So now, let’s connect all of the dots. Typically there is a home within a 100 home radius that is going to go on the market pretty soon after the sale that you just made. Rather than just sending out a postcard to those 100 people, hoping that the postcard is going to get it, let’s use that open house as what I call my fly capture. The fly capture is where we want to catch the flies, the seller leads that are flying around. We want to catch them and identify who they are so we can then be more likely to get them. What that means is we take a slightly different approach on how we promote the open house. Rather than just stick a couple of signs at the entrance of the neighborhood: Open House – Sunday 2:00 – 4:00. Rather than just sticking balloons on the for sale sign out front on Sundays, the most important thing to do is to actively promote that open house to the surrounding 100 homes. Because somewhere in those 100 homes there is at least one, if not two people, who are right now thinking about selling and by you actively promoting the open house, you are more likely to get them to go check out the house than if all you do is stick a sign in the ground and hope that they choose to come based on the sign. Does that make sense?
Caroline: Absolutely. I think that is really smart. You are already going to send a postcard to those 100 homes. So use that as a way to try to “fly catch” some seller leads. Why not be proactive on the front end? You are bringing them into the open house. You are actively promoting that to those 100 homes so that you can meet them face to face. What’s more impressive is the personal connection than just receiving the postcard?
Beatty: You are exactly right. So there is the power of suggestion of suggesting that they come check out the open house, especially if they are thinking about selling their home or maybe they know someone who would like to move into this neighborhood. So you are killing two birds with one stone with finding a seller and possibly finding a buyer.
Let’s talk about promoting it. The promotion is really the key to this. It’s what drives the traffic in. And if you do it right, not only will the promotion drive more traffic, more seller lead traffic, but it will also give you an initial leg up. Here is what I’m talking about. Ideally, the best way to promote is to go door knock. Go door knock on a Saturday morning. Almost everyone is home. Saturday morning / late Friday afternoon, somewhere in that timeframe. Put together some door hangers and make sure all of information is on the door hanger and the address of the home.
Here is the message we want to send when we are doing door knocking and we are leaving door hangers. The message we want is two-fold. Number one: I’m selling this home – open house. If you have friends who want to move into this neighborhood, invite them to the open house or come look at it yourself.”
Number two: If you are thinking about selling your home, this is a great opportunity to see how the home is fixed up and what causes certain things to be worth more. It’s a way to check out your competition. However you want to word it. But those are the two key points. Invite a friend or come check it out yourself and see what the competition is like before you put yours on the market.
Ideally, what you want to do is you want to door knock during a time where you can meet them face to face and actually talk to them. And why do you think you want to take the time to actually talk to all 100 people if possible?
Caroline: A personal connection and a personal face to face meeting is going to be a lot more impressive and memorable than just leaving a door hanger. Even the wording of checking out your competition. I think that was brilliant.
Beatty: So yes. Having met you, there is a trust level. In fact, a real quick statistic, those people that you met are eight to ten times more likely to do business with you than those people you haven’t met. So, if there is at least one listing within a 100 home radius, if not two, that is going to be coming on the market really soon, then the likelihood of you getting in front of them and actually meeting them means that you are going to increase your likelihood of getting that listing. So take the time to go door knock those homes. Leave the hangers on those that are not there. Give them the hanger if they are there. And then, at the open house, what happens is a couple things. They see your photo on the hanger and they come to the open house, assuming you did not meet them but just left a hanger. And now they kind of recognize you. They are like, “Oh Beatty, you are the guy on the hanger.” And if you have met them, then if they come in, you can call them, hopefully by name. “Oh hey, Lisa, it’s great to see you. Thank you for coming over.”
As you are door knocking, it gives you an opportunity to inquire if they are thinking about selling or know anyone who might be interested. Don’t expect a whole lot of feedback there, yet. But when they do come to the open house, that gives you a real opportunity to now engage with them a little bit more, professionally and subtly, but engage them nonetheless. And now you know who is thinking about selling because you are engaging with them. “Yes, we are thinking about selling our home.”
What I would suggest too is at the open house, you have some additional information, maybe even your card that you can offer them, and we talked about this on the previous call, where you can offer them some additional information, if they are interested, on how to get their home set up and fixed up to be ready to go on the market. That then gives you a higher indication of whether or not they are thinking about selling.
So door knocking is number one because it gets you face to face. By the way, a little tidbit on door hangers. Leave the door hanger on the door that they typically will use to come in and out of the house. Most people go in through the side door when they drive to their home and most people door knock on the front door. So if you leave the door hanger on the front door and they are used to going in through the side door, you are going to miss them most of the time until after the open house. So just kind of be smart on that.
So door knocking and hangers are first. The second item is a phone call. Phone calling is obviously a bit more difficult but if you can get the phone numbers of the people in the neighborhood that is great.
The third thing to do to promote an open house is a little more expensive. It doesn’t take as much time though. And that is to send out a postcard. If you are going to send out a postcard, make sure you mail it so that it arrives in the mail probably by Tuesday or Wednesday so they have enough time to get their mail, go through it all and assimilate it.
With that little bit of effort, Caroline, by getting it out there and promoting it into the neighborhood, what you are going to do is shake the bush of all of those people who are thinking about selling. They may have seen your open house sign, but it just didn’t register with them as well as or as solidly as if you had actually put something on a door hanger or done a face to face or a phone call and said come check out what the competition is doing if you are planning to sell because now you are kind of talking their language and giving them a reason why they ought to come. Do you see how that will kind of shake the bushes a little more and drive the traffic a little more to your open house?
Caroline: Oh absolutely. It’s so easy to miss a little open house sign at the corner of the neighborhood. A lot of times they are pretty small. I think it’s really easy to miss though. I know I have. I saw them later and was like oh, I missed that. And these days, a personal impression, whether it’s seeing your face on that door hanger, I know anything that is left on my door… I usually don’t get very much left on my door anyway so that’s going to be more memorable. Again, so meeting face to face, that’s definitely going to put you far ahead of any competition and people are going to remember it. I think that personal impression is what counts.
Beatty: So now let us take it one final step. Because impression / top of mind / professionalism / opportunity to meet you… all of these things have a big element in getting more business from that open house. So if we were to kind of make a short list of most important things to do to ensure that every open house you do you pick up an extra listing and leverage each open listing to another listing. It would be a couple of short things.
Number one: actively promote it. Promote it with something in writing or something face to face. That door hanger, that postcard, that face to face meeting. When you promote it, focus on checking out what the competition is doing. Also let them know that about 1/3 of the homes in any neighborhood (1/5 to a 1/3 of the homes) are sold by the homeowners that live there who have a friend who wants to move in. So if you have a friend who wants to move into this neighborhood, please invite them to the open house and have them check it out.
But then the follow up is important. And I’m not talking about just the follow up that you do with the seller leads that you identify. We’ll talk about that on another call. Once you make the sale, then be sure to go back out and send a just sold postcard to those same 100 homeowners because now they have your photo and your picture and your contact information on the door hanger or the postcard that you used to initially promote the open house. And now they see you again in the mail showing off that you just sold that house. So now you’ve gotten two bites at the apple. Two impressions. Two touches. And it just reinforces everything and it makes it much more likely that that person who is thinking about selling, even if they did not or could not make it to the open house, they’ve seen you a couple of times, they like your style and now they are more likely to at least reach out and give you a call.
One final thing on that too. On all of the stuff that you do, in marketing there is a concept known as USP, unique selling proposition. And basically the unique selling proposition is something about you that you can state in a single sentence that gives someone a reason to remember you and to choose you. In marketing, I’ll call it risk reversal a lot of times. Sometimes it’s risk reversal, sometimes it’s just a good warm feeling. But take the opportunity to have a USP and make sure you’ve got it printed on your marketing that goes out to promote the open house and printed on your just sold postcard as you’ve sold the open house. Because what this will do, in a very short synopsis, it then reinforces another reason to do business with you.
A few examples of a USP might be what I’ll call an easy exit listing. An easy exit listing basically is the statement that you put that, “I’ll let you out of my listing agreement at any time, if you don’t feel like I’ve lived up to the promise of my service.” This gives the person a reason to say, “This guy is so confident, he will let me out at any time for any reason. I like that.” That’s a risk reversal.
Another one might be, if you are really consistent with your average days on market and you are willing to be a little aggressive on how you do things, you might say something like, “Your home sold in 45 days or I’ll pay you $1,000. Call for details.” The details will say, if your home hasn’t sold in 45 days and you don’t believe I’ve done everything possible to make it sell, then just let me know and when it does sell, I’ll discount my commissions by $1,000.” Or something like that. When you put it on their burden to say that “I don’t think you did your job well enough,” most of them will never tell you that because they believe that you are working excellently.
So a friend of mine actually does something like that. He has only had to pay, and he does 80 transactions a year, he has only had to pay on that two times in the last ten years. So it’s kind of like what we call giving the shirt sleeves out of your vest. It won’t cost you anything but what it will do is bring you business, because when you have a USP and it’s a good one, then what that does is give people a reason why to call you and to reach out to you first.
So those are some things that you can do. You’ve got the open house that you are doing already. Modifying a few things, promoting it actively up front with your photo and your branding information and your USP and then inviting them to come and check out what the competition is doing is going to drive more traffic to you. And those who come are going to be most likely sellers. And just with a little bit of conversation, you can most likely identify if they are actually thinking about selling. You do that and you can take every open house and generate a new listing from it. Isn’t that cool?
Caroline: That is cool. Thank you for walking us through that, Beatty. I was telling everyone when we had our little pause that it was super important for you to share those ideas. You are such an expert at creating even just 15 words or less a great little selling proposition that will get people to call you so thank you for sharing about that and sharing your expertise on open houses.
I think we are about out of time and need to wrap it up. So Beatty, thank you so much for your time and your expertise. I do think it was a really great call. We got some really great content. So thank you for sharing.
Beatty: Real quick before we go, let me make one quick plug if I may. Because a lot of people want help in building their business. What happens a lot of times is, we give them a lot of great ideas but then executing on them sometimes on your own is difficult, so if you are out there listening to this call and you are going, “I love all of this stuff but I’m just overwhelmed with the stuff I have on my plate” then let us help you. We have a service we call Agent Dominator. You can see it at AgentDominator.net. We would actually love to do some work with you. This is how we do a lot of work with our agents, not necessarily on open houses but just in a bigger scheme of marketing.
But thanks for having me on the call.
Caroline: Thank you for joining us.