So you're holding an open house this weekend. You're likely to meet anywhere from a few to several qualified buyers who are ready to buy a new house now or in the next few months. How do you convert a house full of qualified buyers into a portfolio of your own qualified leads you can call on to sell your next listing?
Here are four effective ways to convert visitors into qualified leads and get their contact information immediately. I'll start with the most familiar (and least effective) ways first and progress to the two most advanced (and most effective) ways available today.
The old fashioned sign-up sheet. You've seen these and you've tried them, probably with your very first open house, and with very unimpressive results. You print out a sign-up sheet with columns and rows, probably just on white copy paper with your firm's logo at the top. It asks visitors to print their names, address and phone numbers and maybe the price range they're looking to buy in. These signup sheets convince almost no one to fill them out. Occasionally some visitors will, but most will not. Who wants more phone calls and more unsolicited mail?
Hold a prize drawing. Arrange all your marketing materials and a stack of business cards on a table near the entryway. Have a custom centerpiece made by a local flower shop, something very attractive with fresh flowers or a seasonal design. Place a jar there and blank pieces of paper and a sign asking visitors to write down their names and contact information to enter them into a drawing to win the centerpiece. It's more attractive for the visitors than the signup sheet, certainly. But it's still a gimmick and doesn't make you look professional at all.
Use a text message marketing service. Almost everyone who attends your open house will have a mobile phone with them. Now imagine when they walk in that you have a sign displayed or a special card to hand to them. The sign or card tells them to text a keyword, such as "Homes" to a special number, such as "46873" which spells "HOUSE" on a phone dialer. Tell them that when they do so they will immediately receive a text message sent directly to their mobile phones with all the pertinent details for that house. That's how text message marketing services work. You can easily configure a service to do this, with no programming skills whatsoever. And the service will keep these phone numbers for your exclusive use in the future. When you get a new listing you will use the service to quickly text the price, address and details of the listing to all mobile phone numbers on your list in one mass text message. It's as simple as that, and an entirely opt-in service. When a prospect eventually buys a house or, for any reason, wants to stop receiving your messages, they will simply text back a reply containing the word "Stop" to your number and they won't receive any more messages from you. Your list grows each time you host an open house and collect numbers, and it stays fresh on its own as prospects remove their own numbers when they need to.
Get a branded mobile app. Most effective, and more useful than even text message marketing, a mobile phone app made for your real estate business can help you reach contact qualified buyers in the same way as a text messaging service, but gives you a much better presentation to show them. In the same way as with a text message marketing service, you will invite visitors to download and install your (free) mobile app on their phones. Your app can show them, first, all the details of the house you’re selling now, along with pictures, but the same useful information for ALL your listings now and in the future. If you have your mobile app built right, it can allow you to send messages right to their mobile phones and show them pictures, location, asking price and even turn-by-turn driving directions to your newest listings when you get them. In the same way as with text messaging above, visitors will sign up when you invite them and opt-out when they've bought a new house or no longer want the messages for any reason. Think of a branded mobile app as an electronic version of the local homes guide that resides on their mobile phones whenever they need it, and shows only your listings and none of your competition. Isn't that a big advantage for you?