Many brokerages and their agents recognize the lead generation and branding opportunities open houses present, but many remain stuck in the pen-and-paper world. This hampers opportunities to efficiently and accurately measure open house marketing and follow-up.
Jack Miller of T3 Sixty joins us to discuss how two large brokerages have improved their open house strategies by bringing them into the digital age.
T3 Sixty helps real estate brokerages, technology companies, and franchises evaluate what they’re doing now, and how they can do it better. It was also founded by Stefan Swanepoel, who is also the author of the Swanepoel Trends Report.
As the trend goes, there is a lot of change happening in the US market and there’s a ton of capital coming into the industry. There’s been a big trend towards the enhanced use of digital tools in brokerage, which is great news as brokerages have underinvested in the area compared to newer entrants.
A tale of two brokerages
In a case study conducted by T3 Sixty, two large brokerages leveraged software by Homespotter to improve their open house strategies. These were Howard Hanna and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
Homespotter is a US based company based in Minneapolis that provides a suite of technology products for brokerages and agents. The product used by the two brokerages was Spacio.
Just to give us an idea of their size, Jack Miller shared that Howard Hanna has 8,700 agents and is the sixth-largest brokerage firm in the United States. It has a pretty big footprint in six or seven states, hundreds of offices, and a fairly diverse mix of agents. A firm of such size has so many factors in it, that you really can’t ignore the results they can get from a tool.
In the other corner is Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. It is a 1,700 agent firm with 25 offices and is also a significant player in its markets. T3 Sixty chose this firm because its size is more relatable to the majority of brokerages, compared to the giant Howard Hanna.
Howard Hanna reported more early adopters of the tool, while Berkshire Hathaway reported a higher adoption rate of the product itself. A good explanation for this is that the Berkshire brand motivates their agents to approach and understand technology, so they’ve pushed their agents more. Also, as they’re a smaller company, there are less people to talk to and less procedures that need to be done. So we think that’s also a contributing factor.
For want of a system…
There’s a lot of wastage in the industry with leads that we spend so much time and money generating. Jack Miller says it’s a problem of efficiency and tracking.
“...it's a problem of efficiency and tracking, that actually being able to track how inefficient the tracking is, poses some real challenges. But we know anecdotally, and from interviewing brokers and talking to our clients that, you know, really the biggest challenge most agents have is implementing best practices in a repeatable way.
Without a tool or a platform or a system in place that we know it's just a mess. It doesn't happen very consistently, because agents are busy. And even at an open house, they're busy. They're they've got people coming and going there, they're engaged with one person, other people walk in, they may not have a chance to break away.
And then we're relying on them to take that data and manually enter it into a system later for follow up. Yeah, that's madness. We know that's not going to happen for most agents. So if you don't have a system, we know there's an enormous waste there. It could be I mean, it could be as high as 50%. It could be higher.”
So how does Spacio come into play?
Spacio is an open house lead capture system. It captures the consumer as they come in with a beautiful landing page. It has information about the home, the agent and the brokerage has some control over the information gathered, and the information is captured. Now, some agents can say that all of that can be easily accomplished with a form. And they’re right.
But the magic happens after the information is gathered.
Once Spacio has been integrated into the brokerages system, it will flow the data through to CRM, email marketing, and other tools that the agent uses. It also has its own built-in automated follow up.
Plus, the brokerage owner or the broker him/herself can actually track how efficient they are with converting leads.
In fact, in the Howard Hanna study, 12% of the consumers who went into the open house wanted to be contacted by a mortgage person. Howard Hanna did not know that number, so it’s a possible loss.
Learn how your consumers find you
Aside from seeing the value in using software like Spacio, there were also some takeaways from the study in the fields of sales and marketing.
At the open house, agents asked questions like “What brought you to the open house?” and they learned that many of their consumers were finding them through Zillow, a national portal in the US. So that caused them to reevaluate their relationship with the company and give it more attention.
Many customers also found them through signages, but when the agents asked, they found out which signages were especially effective. They learned that tall feather signages worked much better than just directional signages.
“Both of the companies saw a lift in their open house activity. Implementing a tool like this, and having a company-wide initiative, saying “Hey, we're going to help you generate leads, we're going to help you do three open houses,” got their agents excited.
Berkshire Hathaway moved from doing between 200 and 250 open houses a month in 2017, to between 300 and 350. So added about 100 open houses a month in activity. That is 100 more opportunities for an agent to be in the room with people that are potentially buying and selling, it's more personal one on one contact with real people.It’s not an internet lead or somebody who just typed into a form.
This is a person that walked into a house.
So, they created 100 more sets... 1200 more opportunities for agents to do business with people that are coming in who may need to buy, sell or refinance, whatever, right?
Howard Hannah similarly saw a lift since they started using the program, they've hosted more than 10,000 open houses, and captured 32,000 instant leads. Keep in mind that 12% of those visitor leads requested contact from a mortgage professional.
It’s a pretty significant lift for both of these companies in adopting a strategy and using a product that helps them do it.”
Learn more about the complete study on their website.