I’ve been to a lot of open houses lately.  Only one was using iBeacons as part of the process.

I’ve also looked at nearly three dozen homes for sale.  And that was just the week before last.  Crazy, eh?

You’re probably wondering what sort of madness would cause an ordinary person to do such a thing, and if you guessed quality control for work purposes, you guessed wrong!  When we moved the corporation to Phoenix (and some of the partners as well), we rented for a year to make sure it was going to be a good move – it’s not everywhere that turns up at 117 degrees in the summer and not everyone who can deal with it…  although the best way of dealing with it is to leave town, in truth.

Good morning!  Oh, and get out…

So we were stunned, shocked, gobsmacked, flabbergasted, you name it, when our landlord emailed us to “give us some extra time to start looking for a new place” since he had decided to put our house on the market.  Two weeks isn’t really extra time if you think about it, especially not when your next move is purchasing a home instead of renting for another year.

[RELATED: Hazel recaps the Hempfest adventure during the Seattle heat wave]

Anyway, long story short, we were at an open house on the Sunday of Hempfest (I had to bail early and get back here to work on this little personal problem), and the property was listed by a broker client of ours.  I didn’t realize that they were using the iBeacon until we pulled up to the property and I got the notice on my phone.

Very well done, really – “3/2 golf prop – 1781 sf – reduced to $387k”.  How much more succinct can you be with a single headline on the lock screen?  The home was, indeed, a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, coming in at 1781 square feet on the golf course, with a recent price reduction bringing the ask down to $387,000.

Immediate, pertinent information available to me without even setting foot in the structure.  Awesome.  Had the broker wanted to register the foot traffic (strange, they do it all the time in California but not so much here in Arizona), offering an opportunity for the individual to add the ‘interest’ pass to their phone would have been an easy close.

How did they do that?

I keep a copy of at least one pass from each of our clients in one of the wallets on one of my phones; in case there’s a question or a problem, I’ve got a live version ready to test in my purse.   In this case, the broker hadn’t created a single property listing pass for the home, but instead had tied the brokerage “business card” pass to the iBeacon, and set the message up specifically for the iBeacon.

What does this mean?

Anyone who happened to have the brokerage’s digital business card in their phone, who also happened to stop by the open house, got the greeting upon arrival.   If a prospect went to a different open house, they’d be greeted by another message, that was dependent upon THAT iBeacon that was assigned to the other open house.  And so on for each open house that day.

I don’t follow…

Super simple – rather than relying on a prospect to have enough interest in the specific property that was for sale, the broker decided to ping all the prospects who might be at any of the open houses.  It’s a marvelous little system, really – it changes the grouping from a very specific one to a very loose one that casts a wider net.

[RELATED: Setting up iBeacons to effectively work with the mobile wallet pass]

Why does this matter?  Well, I’ll go back to my specific case.  We started our frantic house hunt (since only we would decide to try to find a house, get it under contract, and close the deal with financing in these crazy TRID-ridden days, all in less than 30 days) with the idea that we’d be looking for a patio home, condo or maybe a townhouse (not in love with the two story idea, but willing to bend to find something ASAP) in two particular parts of the metro area – Scottsdale and Tapatio Cliffs.

We’d already had enough arguments about Arcadia several months ago when we first started talking about buying, and Biltmore wasn’t turning up anything in our self imposed budget and size limits; at least not anything that didn’t need a full gut and remodel.

Ok, so then what happened?

Well, what happened was this – we rolled through our preferred areas, finding nothing that would work.  Rather than backtracking and finding another rental, we plowed on, moving from one area of town to another and ditching the patio home idea for a detached with a pool.  Yeah, go figure.  Absolutely nothing like what we thought we’d buy when we started.

So the loose grouping based on the digital business card turned out to be more helpful to us in the end than a property listing pass for a 3/2 golf townhome would have, since we weren’t in the townhome category any more.

Can’t iBeacons work for more than one listing pass or digital business card?

Oh yes – absolutely!  If the property had been one that we had saved, AND the brokers card had also been one that we had saved, we would have gotten two messages from the iBeacon trigger.

In that case we’d recommend that the broker push out two slightly different messages so a prospect who did have both pieces of collateral wouldn’t be confused and thinking they were getting a duplicate message and decide to delete one of the pass cards.

So why is this important?

It’s important for you – real estate agents and brokers – to illustrate the multiple ways that you can arrange your digital business cards, mobile wallet passes, property listing passes, and brokerage cards – to connect with prospects at open houses, in your office, at home and garden shows, etc – in order to make the connection and engage with your prospects in a manner that provides THEM with something rather than YOU with something first.

[RELATED: Listen to the podcast episode – How Mobile Affects the Shoppers Journey]

After all, that’s the kind of marketing that will keep you ahead of the game in the world today – it’s truly a shoppers market, and if we don’t learn to treat them not only with respect, but to respect the technology that helps them find us (especially in the case of the 35 and under crowd), then our competition will walk off with their business.