Excerpts of an email to a Seller Client in July 2007.

"Executive summary version below.  I'll forward a copy of
 the report from NAR via separate email with all the facts.  
(open houses only sell houses less than 1% of the time
 - worse than the 3% I remembered)  The agents,
the internet, mls listing services, and 
yard signs are The Way!
Highlights of the report
Information SOURCES buyers use to get info 
(not the reason they buy)
Exhibit 3-4
85% use an agent
80% use the internet
63% use the yard signs
55% use the news paper
47% use open houses (half use open houses, 
but it isn't the reason they buy)
34% home magazines (1/3rd use, but only 1% 
found their home in a home magazine
26% home builders (applies to new homes)
11% television
9% billboards
I interpret this as meaning that buyers use 
lots of sources, but only
certain activities actually get them to buy - see below.
Usefulness of info sources to buyers
Exhibit 3-5
73% internet
69% agent
31% yard sign
22% open house (half of the buyers use 
open houses, but half of the buyers
that attended open houses rated them as 
"not useful", and less than 1% bought a house 
from an open house - They rarely sell a house)
20% newspaper (half of the newspaper users 
also rated them as "not useful")
Internet use
Exhibit 3-6
59% frequently
21% occasionally
20% not at all  (2% of the "don't use the 
internet users found their home
on the internet", Exhibit 3-17 - interesting statistic!
Internet use trends by buyers
Exhibit 3-9
71% used it in 2003
80% used it in 2006
Actions taken by Buyers after gathering info online
Exhibit 3-10
74% drove by the house
61% walked through
23% found the agent they used to buy a home
This next section is critical!!!!
Where the Buyer found the home they purchased 
(open houses less than 1%)
Exhibit 3-11
2006 statistics
36% agent
24% internet
15% yard sign
8% friend or relative
8% builder (new homes)
5% newspaper
3% knew the seller
1% home books/magazines
less than 1% (other sources which total less than 1%)
Please note:  OPEN HOUSES sell less than 1%
100% Total % of above
1997 statistics
50% agent
2% internet
17% yard sign
9% friend or relative
3% builder (new homes)
8% newspaper
4% knew the seller
3% home books/magazines
less than 1% (other sources which total only 4%)
100% Total % of above
Buyers who found their home on the internet 
increased from 2% in 1997 to
24% in 2006 (Exhibit 3-17).  A 1200% increase.  
We started beefing up our
Internet exposure/personal web sites, and 
SEO efforts in 2001.  We spend
$1,000's of dollars and 100's of hours improving 
our sites each year.  I
just purchased the url of http://www.ga-crs.com 
yesterday and have it directed to
one of our active sites.
I'm really glad we had last night's conversation 
and I offered to analyze
our own marketing effectiveness and report to you.  
After reviewing the
NAR statistics, it let me know our marketing activities are
Super-focused on the critical components that 
gets buyers and avoids old
methods that aren't working well in today's market.  
The internet created a
paradigm shift in how people buy real estate.  
We used to print thick
"listing books" and distribute them every week 
or so.  The internet made
them useless!!!!  Caravans were never mentioned 
in the response as reasons
buyers bought a house.  It makes sense.  
They're invitations for agents,
not Real Buyers to take 2-3 hours out of their 
busy schedule to go look at
a house that they could see from their desk 
on the internet in a few
minutes.  All the top agents we know don't 
do them unless the seller
demands it.  Sometimes it's easier to "humor" 
your seller than explain
what works and what doesn't work to them.  
Old marketing habits die slowly
sometimes.  Even Flyers weren't mentioned 
as reasons people buy houses.  I
asked our Regional Owner who over sees 
the activities of 400 plus agents
at Keller Williams if he knew anyone who 
was having success in finding
buyers (using flyers) for their seller's properties.  He thought 
for a few seconds and
said he didn't know anyone. He did agree that 
people think they're "neat",
but mostly just let neighbors who aren't buying 
find out what someone is
asking for their house.  It's more about curiosity 
rather than attracting
a buyer.  The only reason I like the Flyers 
because they (sometimes) generate leads for
buyers, and Sellers still like them.  Even though 
the report shows they
don't generate sales.  Flyers are a good way 
for agents to "show off" to
other prospective seller's in the neighborhood 
and potentially get another
listing.  We belive the best way to get other 
seller to hire us is to SELL
the house!"