Kevin Johnson: the agent who shut the door on open houses
Like most home sellers, the client of real estate agent Kevin Johnson wondered when he planned to host an open house for her property.
“I won’t be doing an open house,” he told her. It wasn’t the first time he’d surprised someone with this answer.
Kevin is an agent in Celebration, Florida. And while he’s a veteran of the professional world, he’s relatively new to real estate. And he had some very specific ideas about what he would — and wouldn’t — do as a real estate agent.
From hotels to houses
“I know how to put the customer first,” he told us. Kevin spent 17 years in the hospitality industry, which lives and dies by how it treats its guests. And real estate is no different. “Open houses don’t put your customer first. Ask any agent how many buyers have they found for the house they are holding the open house for, and they’ll say very few. They like making new contacts and getting buyer leads for other listings, but that’s not focusing on the seller you are working for in that moment.”
He is also taking a cue from the new buyers in the market: millennials. They don’t go to open houses. They live online, so that’s where Kevin’s marketing efforts are focused.
Kevin also feels that open houses are more of a safety risk than selling benefit. When meeting a buyer and going out to look at homes, agents are encouraged by NAR to meet at their offices and get a photo ID. But absolutely anyone can walk into an open house. And there have been several incidents in the news where agents were personally at risk. That makes open houses an open and shut case.
Building a brand. Capturing mindshare.
This marketing approach hasn’t hindered Kevin’s success one bit. While many first year agents celebrate upwards of three sides, Kevin had 53 sides in his rookie year.
One of Kevin’s favorite methods for finding new business and promoting listings is what he calls “mindshare,” or brand awareness. “It’s not lead generation,” he clarified. “It’s about being in front of my target customer at every opportunity — so they can’t get away from me!”
Kevin uses Adwerx digital advertising for brand awareness with online ads focused on his personal brand and online listing ads to promote specific properties. And he’s proven to be a savvy marketer, experimenting with colors and layout in his agent ads. And his sellers like Adwerx, too, enjoying their daily report of activity.
“I believe in this product,” Kevin told us. “I love the ease of this product. It is so simple!”
Oh, and remember that client who asked for the open house? In the end, she completely agreed with Kevin. No open house necessary, and her house sold in 11 days!