Welcome back to our latest session of Brilliant Talks, and if this is your first time, we do a free coaching session for real estate agents every Tuesday at 1 PM (PST).

Today, Mark and I are joined by Dale Archdekin, the founder of Smart Inside Sales. Dale coaches ISAs, and they have a course called Conversion University.

We continue where we left off on dialogues. For the last two weeks, we’ve gone over how to talk to leads coming in from different places: online leads, past clients and sphere, just listed/just sold, and expireds. This week we talked about open houses.

Coming in

When it comes to open houses, you’ll get people coming in that are either from the neighborhood, saw the signs, heard about an event going on, or decided to drop by. Sometimes you also get people coming in who are looking to buy a house, and they want to know if this is one that they would love to own or not. Or they are planning to sell their house and want to see how this house compares to theirs, and sort of see what price they could possibly get for their house.

So, when they come in and you welcome them to your open house, you’ll probably greet them something like this:

Agent: Hey! Welcome. Come on in. I am ________. I am the host of this open house/the listing agent for this property. Are you a neighbor, or are you looking to potentially buy a house?

Be warm, be friendly, and pay attention to your tone and energy.

Let them look around, but make them come back to you.

These people will want to look around the house, and you probably won’t be able to follow them around the entire time, because you will have other people coming in that you need to greet as well. Plus, a lot of them probably won’t be comfortable having you hovering as they look around—they might find it hard to talk about what they think of the house if they feel like you might hear.

Let them look around the house at their leisure, then chat them up after they have looked at their fill.

Dale offers a wonderful playbook to make sure that after your guest looks around the property, they’ll get back to you and not just slip out without saying a word.

Agent: Well, come in, take a look at the home. The sellers have asked me to give them specific feedback from each person who walks through here, if they will.

Agent: So, I want you to take a look on your own, check out the home. Would you be willing to stop and talk with me on the way out just to give me feedback for the sellers?

The key is to get them to give you a verbal agreement that, yes, after they look around, they will stop by and talk to you and give you feedback. If it is a super busy open house, you can add...

Agent: Fantastic. I really appreciate that. Listen, if I'm talking to somebody else, just hang out for a few minutes and I'll get to you. It's super important to the sellers, OK?

This serves two to three purposes. First, you have specific feedback to give to the seller if you are their listing agent. The second is discovery—you get to find out what these guests are looking for in a home specifically. And third, you get to have a conversation with them that could either lead to a close, maybe a follow-up appointment, or more importantly, a long-term relationship.

Discovery

When they come back after looking around, this is when you go for the discovery: What are these guests' names? What do they think of the property? What are they looking for in a house? Are they looking to buy or sell a house sometime soon, or are they just looking around for some ideas on how to renovate their house? What did they need that they felt compelled to go to in this open house? 

And, the most important piece is What can you provide them that will help satisfy this need?

This is the part where you listen intently. Mark set a great example on that one. While I was role-playing as a neighbor, not interested in buying a house but just taking a look for some ideas to renovate, he caught on to that and offered to connect me with a couple of vendors that gave really good prices.

He even went the extra mile.

Agent: Also, would you like to know a bit about the open house whenever we kind of go into escrow? [Maybe know how much this house sells for once it's sold]?

Lead: Yeah, I would love to know that information because I'd want to know where prices are going... I'm hearing prices are dropping a lot, you know.

What if they are potential homebuyers, but they “already have an agent”?

Sometimes, your guests are actively looking for a house to buy, but they will say they have an agent. It might be true, or they might be lying because they want to look around for homes in peace until they are ready to commit to it.

Dale tells us four things to say when your lead says “I already have an agent,” or something along those lines: Paraphrase, Committed, Signed, Benefit.

Your guest might not tell you outright, “I have an agent.” They will probably use phrases like “Oh, there’s this guy who is showing us some properties.”

Ask them explicitly, “Oh, so you already have an agent? That’s awesome.”

Then find out whether they are committed to working with this agent, whether they have signed anything formally, and ask them, “What are the benefits you have of working with this agent?”

You have a choice whether to follow a lead who already has someone they are thinking of working with or not, but if you do, asking these things will help you figure out how you can compete.

Getting a close (or at least an appointment)

The best way to get a close, or at least an appointment, is to give your guest what they need, and most of the time (if they are looking to buy a house), it is real estate. You’ve figured out what they like and don’t like based on their feedback about this property. Now it is time to do your job as a real estate agent and find properties that suit their needs.

You will have to overcome several objections, and the most common is “I’m still mostly just looking,” or “I am still looking online.” Your biggest opportunity is in off-market properties, or if you are part of a brokerage, access to specific properties before they go live on the MLS. Sometimes, potential homebuyers are unaware that there are more homes that they wouldn’t have access to online, or if they have an agent, that their agent doesn’t have access to at the moment.

By giving them that value, you have more opportunities for follow-up.

What I personally like to do when I tell them I might have some properties that fit their needs, I encourage them to send me feedback whenever I send them one. Like, “this one you got right, this one you missed,” etc. Make them comfortable communicating directly with you, and make sure you pay attention to their feedback. Don’t give them properties they won’t be interested in.

Another great tip that Dale taught us is to invite them to go window-shopping for homes “in real life.” That extra service and attention, reminding them that sometimes the pictures might not be quite the same as they are in real life, and telling them, “I am willing to make time for you to make sure the home you get is what you are looking for. We can walk through a house together, get a feel for it, and 'take it out for a test-drive’,” which makes your clients feel that you actually put priority on their needs.

Plus, you get to book showing appointments with them.

Don’t forget the most important thing.

We’ve stressed this out plenty of times, but we will stress it out again. The most important piece of this is building relationships, and you get to do that through the follow-up.

Real estate relationships will feel transactional at first, but as you go through the process with your clients, you get to build more meaningful connections with them. But you won’t get that if you don’t have a follow-up process in place.

Get their contact information during the open house. A sign-up sheet will do, but it is more relational to do it while you are chatting with them and providing value.

The reason why most agents feel like open houses are a waste of time is that they fail on the follow-up.

At the end of the day, all businesses are “people businesses,” and trust and relationships are what help us thrive in any shifting market.

Thanks for reading A Brilliant Tribe!