“Thank you for coming to the open house!” The enthusiasm of the well dressed Realtor overpowered the aroma of fresh baked cookies. I want the cookies; she wants me to sign in. “Please sign in on the registration card. The owner wants to know who came through the house today.” I see the owner wants my address, phone number and email to go along with my name. I don’t know this owner but this owner has the same inquiring mind as the rest of the owners who have their houses open today. I live in Madison, been here since 1983 so I’ve learned to be cynical. I’ll bet you my Recall Walker bumper stickers that the owners are never going to see these registration sheets. On top of that, I’ll bet my Prius that four out of four of these Realtors will send me an email offering me buyer agency service by Monday morning. Is this fib any way to start a relationship?
Full disclosure before I go too far, I rarely meet a person at an open house who wants to run away and be my lawfully wedded buyer client. I always feel shame when I get caught in a fib, and I don’t feel much better when I know I told some version of the truth. At the end of the day, my feelings matter A LOT and if my feelings matter, I should guess that other people care about how they feel when they pull the covers up to their chin(s). Imagine being in the Birkenstocks of the open house visitor: It’s 3:00 on Sunday and you’ve spent two or three hours running the gauntlet of Realtors (who’s enthusiasm is cooling with the cookies in the kitchen) and you hear one more direction to sign in so the owner knows who to suspect for walking off with the keys to the cottage they hid where no one, even they, can find them. I see myself, turning to the Realtor and asking, “What does the owner do with these names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails? What are you going to do with this information? If you requested it for the owner but you use the information to solicit business, didn’t you just lie…even a little? Anything else you wanna say that’s not entirely true?”
Now, lots of people have more restraint of tongue than me, but most of those kind of folks don’t get their mail in Madison, Wisconsin. Around here, if we don’t call out a person on a fib, we think it. And, we think it enough to make a decision to distance ourselves from the fibbers. What’s more, we distance ourselves from the whole lot of fibbers. You know what I’m saying? If I fib, it looks bad on you if you’re a member of the same association as me. If I change and quit doing stupid, you may look smarter too. Here’s an idea:
Starting this Sunday, leave the sign- in, registration, log, form at the office. Go to your open house without it. Maybe take a small notebook and a pen. When you meet someone who feels you’re a refreshing change from the band of thieves who tried to pick their pockets of their identity, ask them for permission—-but only after they share what they consider important, to follow up in a manner that suits them. Resist at all costs to scare them into the buyer agent handcuffs. Be yourself. Be natural. Be sincere.You can do it! You are so talented and caring that people want to work with you and you show it by being more interested in giving of yourself than getting their private information under false pretenses. Really. You are that good. After you’ve given this your best, let me know if you feel different at the end of the day…and if your results are different, tell a fellow Realtor you have a new way to start a relationship. Actually, this isn’t new, honesty is always the best policy.
With all this said, I know there are Realtors with successful careers who will disagree with me. That’s great. This is just my opinion, I’d like to hear yours.