David has been a real estate agent for 15 years and just got his broker’s license, a requirement in his state. He works on residential properties, as well as light commercial properties, including churches and warehouses. With a background in construction, David also works with a lot of new construction.
We talked with David last year and were curious to see how things are going for him now. David generously agreed to give us an update about his work.
- Length of time using the books: about 1 year
- Number of books given away: about 40
- Biggest benefit of using the books: "I think the book — it gets me a foot in the door. It just differentiates. It’s a nice product, and it really sets you up."
Katie did an interview with David. Here are some of the highlights:
David gives the books to everyone. He often sends it before he has his first meeting with potential clients, sometimes gives it to them face-to-face, and also gives it to repeat clients.
Here’s a great story about an FSBO conversion success:
"This guy was an attorney. So I went to talk to him a little bit…He was bound and determined he was going to sell it on his own, so I said, 'Well, that’s fine. Let me take some pictures because I’ve some investors…You’ve got some pictures, and I don’t want to be rude or anything, but they’re not the best.' We do HDR photography. All of our agents are trained on how to do that…So I go up there and take some nice HDR pictures, and in the process, I got to talk to the guy…I left one of the books off and probably about 3-4 days later, he said, 'You know what, as an attorney, I’m always open to new information.”'And he used that term 'new information' a lot. He said, 'After I went through your book, I was provided with new information that I didn’t realize, and now that I’ve got this new information, let’s talk about you listing my home.' So I went back out, we chatted for a bit and got his home on the market. He’d interviewed another agent in the meantime who told him he thought I was crazy for what I thought I could get for the house. I stood by my numbers, and we listed it, sold it for what I told him I could sell it for, and he was a super happy camper. There have been two others that same summer — that same FSBO book order.”
In addition, David gives out his Buyer's Book at wedding shows. He signs copies and writes down his phone number on the inside cover, making it easy for potential clients to contact him.
[It’ll] run you $700-800 a booth for the day, but as a Realtor, you only need one. And the nice thing is, we get a database. So now, I’ve got from my last wedding show I did January, I’ve got a database of probably 200-300 phone numbers.
David is a RE/MAX agent in a big office, and sometimes, he’s up against his coworkers. They all have the standard listing presentation, which is great, but only David uses books, as well. He finds it differentiates him from everyone else. Not only that, but he believes the books help him get his high FSBO conversion rate of about 40 percent!
David recently began a new marketing strategy: he loads phone numbers of FSBO prospects into a database. That database sends selected prospects a message that goes directly to their voicemail at whatever time David schedules. The whole process only takes about 15 minutes to set up each morning (and David’s getting faster at it the more he does it). David says it’s absolutely worth the time and effort:
"The response has been phenomenal. People are calling back. I’m right at about 55 percent call back right now. It’s amazing!"
The message he leaves is conversational and clearly compelling. In it, he mentions he has a free book he’d like to give them. When people call him back, sometimes they ask about the book, but often, they forget. So, as a final measure at the end of the conversation, David asks if they’d like him to send them a copy, and they enthusiastically say yes.
David plans on adding those hundreds of phone numbers he gets from wedding shows into his voicemail system, but he has to be strategic about using them so he’s not inundated with so many calls that he can’t handle them in a timely manner — a great problem to have!
Another new thing David is going to try in the near future is branding his title company that does co-op on his next round of books.
For new or struggling agents, David has some great advice:
"Find your market. You’ve gotta come up with some kind of a plan. You’ve gotta know who you’re gonna go after…As a new agent, I marketed heavily to buyers and apartment complexes because 1/12 of every apartment complex has their lease come up (theoretically, at least) for renewal a month. So if you’ve got 500 people in an apartment complex, 1/12 of that are ready to move. You know, you could do direct mail pieces there, and that worked well for us."
Here’s how David gets his listings:
#1. David reaches out to FSBOs over the phone or via voicemail and offers to send them a book. In other cases, he hand-delivers a book, including at wedding shows. People are always impressed when they see his face on the cover. (Sometimes, he tells them he used a ghostwriter, but that never mitigates the good impression the book makes.)
#2. The prospective clients invite him for a meeting. Because they already have the book, they know he’s an expert — and what he looks like, which makes them more comfortable and confident.
#3. When trying to close the deal, he makes sure to take his time and finds common ground with the potential client. He says you can’t do a hard sale like car salespeople do. You’ve got to build value in yourself to be able to charge your commission.
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