- Number of books given away: Around 30
- Listings received with the help of the books: 3 (soon 4)
- Biggest benefit of using the books: "Well, I think it gives me more confidence when I go into presentations. And I look like a real professional. It's different when you go in, and so many people go into these listing presentations without even a presentation… [The books] just give you instant credibility. Instant. And so that should provide [buyers and sellers] with instant excitement and a professionalism that says, “Here. I wrote this book for you. Here's a copy of my book. I'm not gonna try and badger you, but I want you to take a look at this, and it can show you, ‘Here's what I'm gonna do for you.’”
Ben did an interview with Bruce. Here are some of the highlights:
- The books helped unsure sellers decide to sell because they learned how to maximize their value.
- The books played a big part in the decision because they helped sellers see Bruce in a new way—with more authority.
- Bruce also gives books to people who can refer him.
- He had one client who dropped him for another agent who discounted her commission. However, the client read the book, realized she made a huge mistake, and is going to cancel the listing and give it back to Bruce.
- He’s had to compete with many agents who discount their commission, but people are starting to realize those agents aren’t effective. He’s planning on sending out more books to expireds as the market changes.
- He highlighted two of the books in a video that will be on YouTube and social media sites.
- Bruce’s advice for new or struggling agents: hold weekend open houses and bring the books.
Here’s how Bruce gets his listings:
#1. He gives books to potential sellers he’s been talking to for months who are unsure about selling. (The inventory is low, so they’re not sure where they’ll move to.)
#2. He tells them it’s the right time to sell because the price points are high, but they’re starting to decline.
#3. He gives them the books, which give them more confidence, so they finally feel comfortable and can make the decision to sell.
#4. Bruce includes the books in a package along with other recommendations, his bio, his marketing strategy, and how he works.
#5. He always uses the books in listing presentations. Of the two listings he’s gotten from listing appointments, both happened when he used the books.
Listen to the Interview Audios below for more details on exactly how he does it.
Here are the highlights of the Audio Interview:
Here is a transcript of the interview with Ben Curry and Bruce:
Ben: I've heard Colorado has a really hot market, but you've actually got listings.
Bruce: Very hot. Yes.
Ben: How many listings have you gotten from using the books?
Bruce: I contribute at least three.
Bruce: And then, I give the buyer book, how to find the right house. I forget now the title of it. I don't have it in front of me.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I know what you're talking about.
Bruce: The buyer book: I give that out, and then, I haven't used ... I haven't used the expired book yet. I've got several of them, but that's going to be my next objective because there weren't that many expireds at the beginning of the year, but now, there's more and more. The market here is changing a little bit, so I think it's prime territory for expired campaigns.
Ben: Yeah. The second half of the year, there's always going to be more expireds, because it slows down.
Ben: The higher price ranges, even in hot markets, the high price ranges don't sell as fast.
Bruce: Correct, and then the time on market is expanding from what it used to be. It used to be three to seven days. Now, it's 20. In the higher price ranges, it's 40 to 70-80. So, the mindset of the seller is still, "Well, how come my house didn't sell this weekend?" And it's just not happening like it used to, even six months ago.
So, there is a slight change. The number of showings are down and the offers. We were experiencing multiple offer situations, and 50 showings in two days, and 20 offers, and that's pretty much really slowed down, quite a bit.
Ben: Oh, wow. Interesting. OK. So, tell me a little bit about the three listings you got from the book. How do you get those listings?
Bruce: Well, they were people that I already knew that were unsure. They go, "Well, I don't know where I'm going to go. I don't know what I'm going to do," because there's very low inventory. Used to be, a few years ago, there was 25-30,000 listings. Now, there's like 4,000, and so for the whole market. For all of Denver Metro, and so there's very few listings.
So, if somebody wants ... let's say someone wants to sell their house for $500,000, we'll go to a $650,000. It's hard to find the right one at $650,000. And so because they just aren't ... there's maybe two or three in the neighborhood they want to be in. And so, it's difficult, and people are struggling with making that choice. And so what I've done is give them that book and say, where this marketplace is at right now, you need to maximize your investments at this point in time because those higher price points, I'm noticing that their prices are declining. So you should be able to get maximum value out of your house here at this price point, and then, you maximize your purchase on the higher price point because the prices are coming down on those higher ones.
Ben: So these were seller leads you already had, or they were cold leads based on the books you already had?
Bruce: They were people that were on the same thing. We'd been talking to them for months about selling their house, and they just didn't wanna do anything. I gave them the books to show them how to maximize their value, and it did really change their mind.
Ben: So the book helped get them off the fence, I guess you could say.
Bruce: Correct, yes exactly right. Yep.
Ben: Do you think the book was responsible for a big percentage ... what percentage of getting them off the fence do you think the book was responsible for?
Bruce: Oh, I'd say at least 50% because they knew me, but they had a different way of looking at me when I gave them the book because they saw me with much more authority.
Ben: Wow, interesting. OK.
Ben: I mean, I believe in the books because I've used them myself, but a lot of people are skeptical and they think, oh well, they got off the fence, it wasn't books.
Bruce: Yeah, I think it was a big part of it.
Ben: It is interesting, I mean a lot of the real estate stuff is ... a lot of people don't believe that there is a huge difference between Realtors. They believe there's some difference but, when you go through the books and you actually look at some of the stuff in there, there is a genuine difference between ... if you do stuff that actually matters and actually works, it's not just ... everything's not just a roll of the dice. Your house looks better and it's more likely to sell. Your house shows well, it's staged, you have good pictures. Those things make a difference. It's not all smoke and mirrors.
Bruce: See, if you people used to think here, and it may have been a little bit true in some of the price points that all you do is put a sign in your yard and your house could look like crap and you still sell it for $20,000 more than it's listed for. And maybe that was going on a year ago and even six, eight months ago, but it's just not happening now. So what'll these guys that are saying, I'll sell your house for 2%, 3%, 4%, blah blah blah. Their houses are sitting, and the whole concept I think is gonna be not destroyed. It's always there. But, it's gonna be minimized to the point where there's real value in me with professional photography and a talking sign and all the other stuff that we do. Fancy brochures and everything, that you have to ... I had a ... I walked through this thing, I gave her the book and lost everything to someone who discounted her commission. And she just calls me and says, I made a huge mistake. I mean, she just called me.
Bruce: And I said well, you had some ... maximum marketing is so important now and really great photography. People are on the internet. If they don't see nice pictures, they're going to the next one. And it's just the way it is. And so, I'm gonna get that listing, she's gonna cancel the listing if she can in a couple of weeks and I get the listing back again.
Ben: So, this was a seller that you know. You gave her the book, she listed with a discount broker for houses that's selling, and now, she wants to cancel that and list with you?
Ben: Wow, what was their commission? 2% or something ridiculous?
Bruce: It was a Remax agent, they did it for four. And I usually charge six. So, but it was like unbelievable value. I had to buy a warranty and measure the house, and there's buyers warranty and all this other stuff that hardly anybody else offers. So once you add on things, it increases the value that I'm trying to provide, and people didn't see as much of a value as they do now because things are changing, so.
Ben: Yeah. I see what you're saying, interesting. Cool. How many books do you think you've given away so far?
Bruce: Oh, man. Probably 30.
Ben: That's pretty good. That's good numbers, giving away free books and it's pushed ... it sounds like maybe even a fourth listing now.
Bruce: Yeah, that's right. And I've had ... most of the books I have are expired 'cause I thought I was gonna give you the expired ones. Some of them I am, but now in the next couple of weeks, I'm not gonna ramp up that campaign. So I'll get rid of those expired books. I did send out probably 10 or 12 expired books day of. They called me, and I had a chance to give them a little phone pitch, and the next question was, “What's your commission?” and I said here's what I get if I get a guy to give 3 or 4%. So I mean, I've lost a couple because of these discounters, but some of those expireds are still on the market.
Bruce: So, I can cross the sign, you know what I mean?
Ben: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Bruce: But I'm gonna ... some of them expired. I'm gonna go after them and say, “Hey, let's do something good now.”
Ben: I see what you're saying. Interesting, OK. So, did you give any of the books to leads that were not already acquainted with you or all of them were —
Bruce: Yeah, yeah. All the expireds. I put out probably 10 or 15 books to expireds early on, maybe a month ago. All those guys either decide to not sell 'cause they couldn't find the house that they wanted or they went with a discounted offer. There's a couple or three guys here that are advertising, “We'll sell your house for 1%, and we'll sell it for 2%.” So there's a lot of activity here in Denver with the discounters, and they're pretty active. So it's been a bit of a struggle to go against those guys, but that whole model is kind of being discovered as not very effective.
Ben: Yeah, I mean when the market changes, you get what you pay for. You go with the cheapskate, pathetic Realtor ... or not, you know. You go with the discounter you're gonna get discount service — that's just the way it works.
Ben: Yeah. OK, so you've given them two expireds and two people you knew. What else did you do besides give them the book? Did you do any follow up or —
Bruce: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I included with the good a courier package of recommendations. I included a one-page bio, “Here's what I've done. I've got these CRFs and I'm this, I've got all this training, blah blah blah.” There's a one-page thing on what I've done and how I can perform against what I'm saying, why I'm doing what I'm doing. I've been here 18 years. It's not my first rodeo. And then, I also gave them a brief, two-page event on how I go to market, and all the different things like professional photography, property website, fancy brochures and all the other stuff that I do. It's pretty clearly stated on one page and then another page on ... I've got a 42-page listing package, but I didn't give them all that. I just gave them a few select pages, kind of show them how I would go to market. And I gave that with the book.
Ben: Oh, wow.
Bruce: And then, for the buyers, I have a different buyer presentation that I do, and it's kind of basically the same thing except it's on the buyers side. And I would include that with the book if I gave it to a buyer. So the only expireds on my package with the book, and then all the three, four or five listings ... four, three listings that I've done and the two others that I hope to get all got the book and that package as well.
Ben: Wow, OK.
Bruce: Based upon what you guys recommend, I mean you guys recommend, “Here, you put this in the envelope and this, and I'll send it over.” So that's what I've been trying to kind of follow your plan.
Ben: Yeah, that is what we've recommended. It sounds like it's paid off. What about ... have you gotten any business from using the buyer books?
Bruce: Well, but again, I've got ... showed this one guy 60 houses, and he didn't like any of them. So I kind of let into the rent. And then, I have a couple other guys that ... actually four other buyers that we showed maybe 10 or 15 houses each to, that they didn't see the ones that they were looking for. They're just on inventory. And then, the ones that we didn't put up ... maybe the lower levels, maybe the low $500s, we did put in a couple offers, but we got outbid, and then, the buyer’s just frustrated. They just go, “Screw this. I'm gonna wait.” But that's what happened.
Ben: It is frustrating, it's true. Have you used the books on any of your listing presentations?
Bruce: Absolutely, every one.
Ben: How does that —
Bruce: I get —
Ben: What does that do for you?
Bruce: I get real occasionally from the company.
Bruce: So, every listing appointment that they ask me to go on, I use the book on that, and that's been pretty effective. Usually, I'm going against another agent or two, so I don't get too many of those leads 'cause there's 1200 agents here and everybody — I’m Coldwell Banker here — and everybody gets a little taste every now and then. But on the one or two that I've gotten, I've got both listings from the book.
Bruce: You'd have to choose me or somebody else. They have no choice because it's a relocation. So maybe they like my haircut better, I don't know. But the book was definitely a separator.
Ben: OK, so definitely separated you. What do you feel is the biggest benefit you get from using the books?
Bruce: Well, I think it gives me more confidence when I go into presentations. And I look like a real professional. It's different when you go in, and so many people go into these listing presentations without even a presentation.
Ben: Yeah, that's true.
Bruce: And they take their pictures on their cellphone. So what I relate to that is, I said I can predict everybody that liked their presentation. They've already looked on the internet for other houses in their neighborhood or where they wanna move to. Everything. And so I said, “When you're looking on the internet for your future home, when you see crummy pictures, do you look at that house?” They go, “No.” And I said, “Nobody does either.” Buyers here don't look at those houses. They just look at the next one. And so what I wanna demonstrate is I am a true professional, and a part of that demonstration is I've written these books. I get credit for them.
So, I'm giving them out to other people who could possibly refer me, and so I'm just cultivating some other potential leads through referral too.
Ben: I see what you're saying. OK, interesting. Wow, OK. What do you feel has been the biggest breakthrough you've gotten from using the books?
Bruce: Well, the company did a campaign they want us to use videos more, which I agree with, I just haven't done it very often. And so they gave us the opportunity to have a video made. And in that video, I featured the two books, the expired book and the book on how to sell your house for the most money, I think was the one it was. So that video could be available in maybe a week or two, it's gotta be edited and all that stuff. Maybe another week or two. So I'm anxious to see what that looks like. I don't know what it's gonna look like. 'Cause it took me a 10-minute take, and so I don't know what's gonna cut out or what's gonna add or delete or whatever.
So, I'm anxious to see what that looks like. If it comes out the way I think it's gonna, I'll send you that video and you guys can maybe use it for some other people.
Ben: Yeah, we'd definitely be interested in doing that. That sounds exciting. OK, interesting.
Bruce: So that video will be on YouTube, and we'll put it on Facebook and LinkedIn, and it'll go directly to my sphere, 375 people on that list. It would be ... you know. So I'll broadcast it as well as it could be with my list. And I've got three different Facebook pages and all different pages. So go on that and LinkedIn and Twitter.
Ben: Oh, cool. Alright. Excellent. One last question and then I'll let you go. Obviously, it sounds like you're doing pretty well, but sometimes, we run into Realtors who maybe they're just starting out or maybe they don't have a lot of confidence. What would you recommend to somebody who's really struggling to get listings or maybe even to get their first listing and it seems like nothing is working?
Bruce: Yeah. Well, I think there's a lot of people in the office who are in the same situation as new people. I would do two things. I would hold an open house every single weekend. At least one on the weekend, and have the books available. And that just gives you instant credibility. Instant. And so that should provide them with instant excitement and a professionalism that says, “Here. I wrote this book for you. Here's a copy of my book. I'm not gonna try and badger you, but I want you to take a look at this, and it can show you, ‘Here's what I'm gonna do for you.’”
So I would do open houses every single week. And the other thing is, I'd start farming an area. That's really coming back now. It didn't work for a while. Now, it's really coming back. People want a neighborhood expert. What better could you say than a neighborhood expert than, “Here's the book I wrote.” It's just perfect.
Ben: So, open houses. That's a really good idea. A lot of people, it takes work to get going in real estate, but once you're going, you're going. Harvesting is getting traction.
Bruce: Nobody has any money so you want to do the free stuff. So, free stuff is open house. You don't have a listing, use somebody else's listing. And the other thing is start walking in the neighborhood. It's free. There's no cost.
Ben: What would you recommend they do walking around the neighborhoods?
Bruce: Well, I mean, you wanna identify the neighborhoods to live, and become that neighborhood. So with your book, extend out, here's what happened in the last six months in our neighborhood. Here's a one-pager on what happened. Here's your county record, and here's what they say your house is worth, and I could give you a more detailed opinion if you let me into the house.
Ben: Exactly. OK. That's really good ideas. Yeah, open houses is good. I talked to a Realtor the other day in Indiana who said she hosts about one open house per week, so once a week. She's not doing anything crazy. And she does about 8-10 signs, she doesn't have any issues with sign Nazis shutting her down or getting on her case and does it that way, and she's not selling 80 homes a year, but she's selling 15, 20 homes a year. Just the consistency of one open house every weekend and finding the right balance where she's not getting a lot of hate from the sign Nazis and it's working for her. She's built a good sized business just off of that.
Bruce: That's the way to do it.