18: Why Open Houses Still Trump Internet Leads – Mark Allan Bua

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“Internet buyers don’t exist until you meet them.”  Learn how Mark’s team updated their approach to bridge internet leads with old school techniques.

Mark Allan Bua real estate agentProfile

Agent:   Mark Allan Bua

Market:  Los Angeles, California area

Steal His Ideas:

  • “Meeting” internet buyers
  • Open houses
  • Expired listings
  • Phone prospecting
  • Following up

18 - mark allan bua



Mark’s team initially betted too big on the internet.  But, with an adjustment to not count on them too heavily, they returned to more traditional approaches such as open houses.

They also evaluate the market to see where they can capitalize.  For example, his local market currently is in a position where prices rose too quickly.  As a result, there are many more expireds on the market.  So, they work expireds hard to get new business.  And, for their own clients, they work hard to make sure they keep their prices in line with where the market really is.

To find expired listings, they do research to find phone numbers, emails, and any other source of contact information they can find.  They then make presentations to discuss what they’d do differently.  They often find that the problem is not just price.

As a Keller Williams member, they follow their prescribed principles of lead generation such as shooting for 2 hours a day of prospecting.  They have no problem picking up the phone asking “who do you know?” that would be interested in their listings.

To try and keep people engaged, they use “mirroring” to emulate the emotions and demeanor of the person on the other end of the phone.

Of course, the key to all of this is to keep following up with people, such as the “33 touch” program.  Without follow up, you won’t close many deals.

Lightning Round

What’s the worst marketing you’ve done that others should avoid:  Non-targeted advertising

What keeps you motivated:  Giving back to other agents and the community at large

You have 30 days and $1000, what do you do:  Put on some good walking shoes and start knocking on doors.  Sit an open house in the neighborhood where you want to concentrate.  You don’t need the $1000.  All you need is the motivation.

How You Can Do What He’s Done

Don’t rely too much on the internet.  Don’t be afraid to fail.  Just go out there and start talking to people.

You have to meet people before they can become your clients.

Stick to the basics of open houses, door knocking, and cold calling and you’ll get to contact people who may end up being your clients.


Mark Allan Bua, The Home Front Group

7: [TOOLBOX] My Favorite Open House Visitor Gift Idea

charles shaw two buck chuckWhat do you think is the best open house gift idea?

When you do open houses, what do you do to welcome visitors and encourage them to stay?  What do you do to sell yourself and to make home buyers feel comfortable in the home?

For example, here are the more popular ideas that I typically encounter:

  • cookies or other treats to give out
  • adjusting the temperature to a very cool setting on super-hot days
  • small sandwiches from the local sub shop
  • canned drinks
  • branded marketing materials like pens, note pads, etc.
  • salads, pastas, or finger foods from the local deli or caterer
  • running contests or drawings to win a prize

These are all fine and good.  But the one that I’ve had the most overall success is…

A Free Bottle Of Wine.  Specifically, Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw variety (commonly referred to as “Two-Buck Chuck”).

Now, am I the only real estate agent in the history of the world to offer a free bottle of wine?  Of course not.  And I’m not saying it’s any better or worse than any of the ideas I’ve mentioned above.

But here’s why I love using this as my go-to open house gift strategy.

It Impresses People

You want to make a great impression as a real estate agent, right?  Sure you do.  So, what makes a better impression: a can of pop or a bottle of wine?  A plate of pasta salad or a bottle of wine?  A one-out-of-15 chance to win a $10 Starbucks gift card or a guaranteed bottle of wine?

Again, I have nothing against these other ideas I’m comparing to.  It’s just that I’ve found that the free bottle of wine make people think “wow, this is pretty nice” more than those other items.

Proof:  it’s common for people to give me a questioning look when I give them their free bottle.  It’s common for people to say something to the effect of “really?  I can take this?”  or “no thanks, I couldn’t possibly take this as I’m not a serious buyer right now” or “thank you very much.”

It’s Cheap…And Good

Am I a total wine snob?  Nope.  I really couldn’t tell you the difference between this wine and a $40 bottle of something else.  Luckily, most of your buyers also couldn’t tell the difference.  So, this one, in my humble opinion, certainly tastes good enough to hand out to people and be confident that they’ll actually like it.

I personally think these bottles taste just fine.  Even pretty dang good, especially considering the price.  Further, this line has garnered a few wine awards, so there are at least a few fancy-pants wine people that like it, too.  And, with 800 million bottles sold, there’s some social proof that it’s good stuff.

And, like I said, this stuff is cheap.  Like, $3 cheap.  Roll out of your local Trader Joe’s with a case for about $40 including tax.  That’s a pretty good value.

It’s Reusable

When your open house is over, what do you do with all those extra cookies left over?  Or the pasta salad?  Or the sandwiches?  They probably go into the garbage if they’ve been sitting out or you can’t find enough mouths to feed them to.

But with an unopened bottle of wine, just pack it back up and store it until the next open house.

If 10 people come, it’s cost you about $30 (10 X $3/bottle) to do that open house.  And, if no one comes, your open house was free.  You didn’t have to spend and waste money on food that no one came and ate.

It’s A Marketing Tool

Attach your business card to the bottle so when people go to open it later on, they’ll see your name…again.

Let People Leave On A High Note

Don’t mention the free bottle until they are about to leave.  If they liked the house, it’s a great extra add-on to their positive experience.  If they didn’t like the house, it’s a great lasting impression for you.

Where You Can Get Two-Buck Chuck

You can get Charles Shaw wine at any Trader Joe’s location.

My personal favorites are the Merlot and Shiraz varieties.

What else do you do for your open house guests?  Leave us a comment below.

4: This Is How You Sell $1.5 Billion In Real Estate – Michael Edlen


michael edlen, real estate agentWhat does it take to sell $1.5 Billion in real estate?  Well, Michael Edlen spills the beans on how he’s done it.


Agent:  Michael Edlen

Market: Western Los Angeles, California

Steal His Ideas:

  • Open houses
  • Continual follow up and prospecting
  • Hiring a team of specialists
  • Complete 5 important tasks a day
  • Advertising of your listings and your business
  • Offering amazing service
  • Energetically look for and claim opportunities
  • Assume to have abundance in all areas of your life


Sure, it helps a bunch to get to $1.5 billion in real estate sales if you live in a higher-end market.  But, no matter the price point, you don’t get there without dedication, focus, a business-owner mentality, and loving your job and looking at it as “play” instead of “work.”

Before Michael was selling gazillions worth of homes, he started out simple…and continues a lot of that simplicity in his business today.  One of his favorite strategies he started with back in 1986 (and still does today) is open houses.

His focus was and is on providing amazing service and being truly interested in the client and not the potential outcome of the deal.

Although he doesn’t time-block parts of his day, he does plan the prior evening to complete 5 essential tasks the following day.  He feels that being extremely focused is a key to getting a lot done in a little time.

Another key area where he accomplished a lot is simply by having a team of 6 people that help him.  Each person has a designated job to do.  Michael treats his business as a company with employees that each have specific roles.  So, he doesn’t do paperwork or marketing activities. He focuses on the high-value activities of prospecting, listings, and negotiations.

On the seller side, they put a lot of time into marketing listings not only for the benefit of selling the house, but also for brand exposure for his services.

On the buyer side of the business, Michael has online lead generation sources like Zillow and Tigerleads to bring in various levels of quality leads.  One thing he says he’d do differently if he had it to do over would be to make more systems and processes to create more accountability in how those leads are followed up on.

Lightning Round

What’s the worst marketing you’ve done that others should avoid:  Committing to a new type of advertising without much proof of its success.  He encourages a free trial or limited paid trial before committing too many dollars to something that may not work.

What keeps you motivated:  Enthusiasm to be of service to people.

You’ve got 30 days and $1000, what do you do:  Get 10 personalized open house signs and work open houses like crazy.  He feels that this is least costly way to effectively meet people and start building a database.

How You Can Do What He’s Done

Start with open houses.  Build your database person by person.  Extend your team by hiring people with specific duties.  Branch into paid advertising for your listings as well as buyer leads, but always be cautious about how much you’re spending and evaluate the return.


Michael Edlen Real Estate




3: Goal Achieved, How This Agent Made The 30 Under 30 List: Casselyn Feinstein

Casselyn Feinstein real estate agentSummary

Casselyn Feinstein started in real estate at age 23.  At the time, she put a “30 Under 30” article on her fridge and set a goal to someday be on that list.  Well, she made it with time to spare.  Learn how she attained her level of success at such a young age.


Agent:  Casselyn Feinstein

Market: Southwest Chicago suburbs

Steal Her Ideas:

  • Use listings to get new buyers
  • Utilize floor time
  • Facebook page to create engagement
  • Advertise in local community media


Casselyn is a great example of someone who committed to real estate from day one.  She was willing to work hard and take the business no one else wanted so that she could learn and get any experience she could.

She says she was known around her agency as the person who would close down the office and open it back up because she was so willing to take up anyone’s floor time and get in front of as many people as she could.

Along with floor, she did open houses as much as she could and toured homes in the area so she could understand the inventory.

Casselyn’s facebook page is another way she gets business.  Starting with listings, she posts all her activity to create engagement with all the people she knows.

Beyond facebook, she advertises in a local community lifestyle magazine.  She says there’s a big benefit in exposure because so many people in the community see it.

Her website is also a great place for her clients and prospects to know more about her.  She has a nice mix of personal information, buyer/seller info, home listings, and more.  An important aspect of her site is that the feel and look of the site reflects her own personality.  It was very deliberate that her site “feels” light, fun, and engaging.

There’s a focus on her digital footprint because many of her clients in their 20’s and 30’s more highly value her facebook page and website than older demographic clients because, with the younger crowd, these tools help create a more intimate relationship and a higher level of trust.

She makes a great point that she doesn’t use any of these tools to be too “salesy.”  She goes on to say that there’s no connection between being good at sales and being good at real estate because real estate is all about trust and relationships, not just selling homes.

Lightning Round

What’s the worst marketing you’ve done that others should avoid:  Online lead generation portals.

What keeps you motivated:  To be the best I can be and always be succeeding.

You’ve got 30 days and $1000, what do you do:  Sit floor (it’s the best free activity you can do), take any clients that come your way, and mentor under a top agent.

How You Can Do What She’s Done

Dive in and volunteer to sit floor and open houses.  Find opportunities to get in front of people wherever possible.  Make it known throughout your office that, if another agent needs help, that you’ll volunteer to be there for them.

Make an effort to utilize facebook and your personal website to show people you’re not only active in real estate, but also a “real” person that is knowledgeable and trustworthy.


Casselyn Feinstein’s Website