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Feed Those Agents Well

When we put our northeast home up for sale a few years ago, I remember the day that the real estate agent caravan stopped our home on agent Open House day.  There isn't much to say here about that day, as it was an uneventful experience.  The agents came, and then they went. So last month when Paulia Kennedy asked me to flag her internet sites to indicate that one of her listing properties was to have an Open House the following week, I didn't think much of her request.  I soon learned that this was not going to be a ho-hum event.

Paulia explained that everyone on The Kennedy Team pitches in for Open House activities to create a rather tasty smorgasbord for the invitees. Paulia wrote, "Our Realtor® Open Houses are Open to all, (the public and the real estate community) but we focus on having the event when it is convenient for the Realtors to come."  Paulia found that after holding a number of Open Houses, her team noticed better attendance on Wednesdays or Thursdays at lunchtime.  She added, "Then we cater the lunch and of course the free food gets them!"

Open House Spiral Ham

I inquired about more details on the 'free food concept' and Paulia answered, "I've got the lunches mastered with a really good spiral-cut honey glazed ham from Wal-Mart that I bake for about 2 hours - cost is $23 and it feeds about 60 people." Paulia enlightens this conversation in her endearing southern vernacular by emphasizing, "...and everybody brags on it."  The menu does not stop at a glazed ham.  "Then we get rolls from the deli to make sandwiches and sometimes pick up potato salad. Debi (Jones) buys Kroger's great chicken salad that everyone loves and adds additional items and drinks.  Jeff  takes care of loading the drink coolers and putting out the signs.  Even John Watson, our resident handyman helps out with toting and stocking the coolers and then stops in to socialize with us."

I had not heard of such attention paid to an Open House menu.  But, then Paulia explained to me that, "All of the other Realtors rely on the Title Companies and Banks to cater their own Open Houses but we felt like that was misuse of those vendors.  So we do our own catering by ourselves."  Apparently, as Paulia clarified, "It seems that after we provided all the fixings for a few Open Houses, the local banks and title companies have now put their foot down on it with the other Realtors and as a result they [banks and title companies] appreciate that our Team is not constantly calling on them for food donations."

"We also invite the vendors to bring their own clients and occasionally I send out postcards to the neighbors to come; so we do try to welcome everybody.  Normally, we don't get many of the regular folks to come (other than the curious neighbors wanting to compare to their own home).  But we offer plenty of food to everyone.  We rarely do regular public Open Houses, as we've found that they aren't very effective."

I squirreled this conversation in the back of my head until I came upon an article yesterday from Realtor Magazine entitled, "Feed Them Well and the Associates Will Sell".   The article states, "Rather than provide a dish of candies or a pot of coffee, associates are finding that omelets, salads, and pastry bars, among other treats, are necessary to generate interest. Some realty professionals are going as far as offering homemade cookies in personalized tins to draw crowds, and a menu often is advertised alongside a listing's asking price and other features on materials circulated within real estate circles.

While some real estate pros would rather shell out cash on advertising, others are willing to serve lunch if that is what it takes to sell the home."

Yet again, The Kennedy Team is ahead of the real estate game...in a tasty way!

Janine Gregor
Virtual Assistant to Paulia Kennedy

Posted: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 12:34 PM by Jeff and Paulia Kennedy

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