Over the past nine months, I attended over 140 open houses. After a few months, I noticed several trends. One jolting trend is the number of real estate agents that still use the antiquated method of obtaining contact information. Sign-in sheets! Out of the 140 open houses, only three agents used an automated method to collect the contact information of those attending the open house. Yes, that is 3 out of 140, or 2.1 percent. This low percentage was unexpected.
So, for the agents that manually collected contact information, they had to go home and enter the information into a spreadsheet or customer relationship management (CRM) application. Of course, manual data entry takes time and is error prone. That is, provided they entered the information at all. Many times, I was told that the sign-in sheet was more for the seller’s edification, not necessarily for the agent to follow up.
Speaking of following up, all three of those using automation immediately followed up with me either through e-mail or text. Only about 10 percent of the agents that manually collected contact information followed up with me. Do you see something wrong with this picture?
Technology can be Complex
I get it. Technology is complex and can be confusing. Most agents, who do not use any form of automation, shared with me that they are overwhelmed with the prospect of using technology.
To complicate matters, social media platforms like Facebook and adware software applications scour the internet to identify you as an agent. Once you are flagged as an agent, you are inundated in your news feed from every coach on the planet. If you are like me, I have more ads from real estate coaches appearing in my news feed than I have posts from my friends.
Before you say that I must not have very many friends, I have over 340 friends on Facebook. I know that by many standards 340 is not that many, but it is certainly enough for their posts to outpace the number of ads that I get. However, ads far outpace posts by friends.
Expensive Automation Methods
Technology can also be expensive. The three agents that used an automated form of collecting the contact information from the open house attendees took advantage of a comprehensive lead generation system. The system typically incorporated several sub-applications.
Some of those applications included a CRM, an open house app, a Word Press website integrated with an internet data exchange (IDX) from their local multiple listing service (MLS), and an email or text autoresponder campaign app. Unless the broker or team leader is paying for or subsiding these applications, you are looking at spending several hundred dollars a month for this automation.
Free Automation Methods
The great thing about the internet is there are multiple ways that you can automate your open house leads for free or for very little cost per month. Image 1 below depicts an example of different applications that can be used. You can configure these applications as an automated open house lead collection and follow up system for little or no cost.
Each of the above applications include a free and premium version. I will only be describing the free features as they exist at the writing of this blog. The free features tend to change over time. At the very least, you will gain a starting point. Again please note that these features are subject to change without notice.
QR Code Generated by ManyChat
ManyChat is a chatbot that integrates with Facebook’s Messenger. ManyChat has both a free version and a paid version. You will need a Facebook Business Page, which is also free. You add ManyChat as the chatbot to Facebook Messenger . Check out my previous blog Chatbots for Real Estate Agents to gain further insights on chatbots.
ManyChat defines its subscription building features as Growth Tools. One of its Growth Tools is QRCode. You can find more information about generating a QR code from ManyChat in their blog post.
Attendee Captures QR Code with Smart Phone
There are many blog posts that detail how QR codes are captured either by an Android cell phone or an Apple iPhone. If you are unfamiliar with how to capture the QR code, ASoft Clicks provides a post for Android Phones. Apple’s support page shows detailed information on how to capture the QR code on an iPhone.
Image 2 below is an active QR code that was generated by ManyChat. You may test it out. Before you do, please note that you will open a session in Facebook Messenger and be subscribing to my ManyChat account to receive additional information.
Attendee Subscribes to your ManyChat Account
Once the QR Code is captured by the attendee’s phone, they are taken to your pre-defined flow in ManyChat. The is flow should be designed to ask questions about the open house such as their email address and phone number. Since Facebook already knows their email address and possibly their phone number, these fields can be pre-populated. The attendee can also enter a different email address and phone number if they chose. The email and phone fields are Custom Fields in ManyChat. You can find out more information on Custom Fields here.
Email Address Sent to Google Sheets
Google Sheets is a free feature that comes with your Google Email Account. ManyChat has a great explanation on how to how to send data to Google Sheets.
Google Sheets to Zapier to MailChimp
Zapier is an automated task management program that facilitates data interchange between different systems. In this case, when a new row in Google Sheets is generated, Zapier takes over and then sends the data to MailChip. A more in-depth description on how that is done is detailed on Zapier’s website.
Zapier has a free version and a premium version. You can have up to five tasks with the free version. The Google Sheets to MailChimp connection is considered one task.
MailChimp Open House Campaign
MailChimp also has a free version and a premium version. The free version allows for one audience and up to 2,000 contacts. MailChimp campaign features can be found at their website.
The above information may seem complex and include many applications. The intent is to provide a lead generation flow that is inexpensive, if not free. Once you have it setup, your open house automation is in place.