- Number of books given away: 13
- Listings achieved with the help of the books: 8-9
- Biggest benefit of using the books: It helps me out the most probably from a confidence level, I think … like the nail in the coffin when you're having a listing presentation. I think it also adds that little extra vote of confidence in that I'm leaving a piece of myself behind. When I've gone to a listing presentation and I've left a book behind, it has a different feeling than leaving a business card, right? I can see business cards get tossed in the trash. They get thrown in the junk drawer or a junk basket of sort, and this is the catch-all area. That's where the cards end up. I think that leaving the book behind and having that is like leaving yourself behind a little bit in that people don't throw books away.
Ben Curry did an interview with Tom about his success. Here are some of the highlights:
- Because of the strong seller's market in his area, some people are putting their homes on the market for too much money, leading to an overabundance of expired listings. The books are a way for Tom to educate these buyers about pricing and marketing.
- The books also help him have conversations with other clients about what they need to do to their home to get top dollar. He says the book helps them “understand it so much sooner, and it makes my job so much easier.”
- The books help Tom stand out in a market oversaturated with real estate agents.
- He gives most of his books to people he’s already had contact with. The rest go to old expireds. He only gives his book to people he knows will get value from it.
- Three of his listings came from people he didn’t have previous contact with, and two were from other countries. Those people both mentioned things from the book, so Tom knows it helped land these clients!
Here’s how Tom gets his listings:
#1. He sets up a meeting with the clients and starts building a relationship.
#2. If the client commits quickly, he doesn’t hand out the book. Instead, he gives the book to people who aren’t sure as a way to put the nail in the coffin. When he does that, he makes sure to let them know he understands their hesitation because it’s such a big decision.
#3. He explains that the book will walk them through the whole process and says he’ll follow up with them in a week.
(Note: He did this with one couple who was on the fence, and after they saw the book, they agreed to list with him on the spot—without even reading it!)
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 Tom:
Ben: I just watched your video a minute ago. I know Colorado. Supposedly, the market's really hot. Are there actually expireds there?
Tom: Yes. As a matter of fact, it's crazy. There are some expireds here. There's not a lot of them, but they are here, and the expireds that I'm finding here in the Springs, it's people that are testing the market. This boom that's going on here in this city, it's kind of ... I mean, I've been here my entire life. I'm in my 40s now, and I left for a little while in my teens and 20s to go get my degree in Texas, but boomeranged right back here, so I've seen this city go from 250,000 people when I graduated high school to ... we're a couple years away from being at the million.
Ben: Oh, wow.
Tom: This city has ... yeah. It's like a California boom out here, which, literally, we have a lot of California and a lot of Texas that are relocating. Just, this city is just growing like crazy.
Tom: The expireds that are here are people that are in the market and are like, "You know what, I've lived here or a long time. I've owned my house, and I'm seeing the house down the road from me sell for half a million dollars, or for three quarters of a million dollars. I'm going, 'What?' Can I get that for my house, or maybe even more? I'd sell my house for $800,000." So, they put their house on the market. It's not priced appropriately, so it's not driving in the right clientele. The people that are looking for those types of homes, they see anything above $400,000 that have a ... are a little bit more particular about ensuring that they're getting the value for their dollar, right? Because what we're seeing in the Springs right now, anything under $400,000? Does not matter what the value is, they're gonna pay it because there's no inventory. The house appraises at $320,000? I'll pay $340,000 and I'll give you $20,000 out of pocket. Wow, this market is nuts.
That's naturally driving the market up, as well, because now, they're starting to pay over value for homes. The few expireds I've talked to, that's exactly what's going on, is they're really just testing the market. They're not really educated about what's going on, and so I've been able to use the book in conversation with these expireds, with a few of them, to help educate them on the process and help educate them on what the value is, pricing your home the right way, getting it on the market and getting it off the market sold quickly, especially when inventory's like it is right now. You know what? I've gotten a couple that have worked out. They're going to be in the pipeline; They're not necessarily something that I thought about the turnaround on, but they're definitely pipeliners, and they're ...
What I am really finding value in is I'm taking these pipelines and taking them from pipeline leads to then joining my D-list and moving up into my C-list, and then my B, and eventually my A. I've got one that they've made leaps and bounds. They're already in my C, working well into my B-list. I'm getting them involved in the community and getting involved with them and building that relationship that I'll get referrals from them later on down the road.
Ben: Yeah. Awesome, OK. Even in a hot market, I guess, like Colorado, how many expireds are you seeing on a monthly basis come across the MLS?
Tom: I would have to pull a report for the entire MLS if I speak, because I focus in on a specific area. The city has grown so big that I'm on the north end in kind of a 400-plus neighborhood. What I'm seeing up here, maybe one or two a month. The thing is is that anything that happens that you find within that month timeframe, is not ... I haven't even found any value in making contact with those people yet. Kinda like throwing salt on a wound that hasn't quite healed all the way. They've gone through testing the market, they're not happy with what the result was, they thought they were gonna get more, better results than what they did, and they didn't have the greatest experience with the last person they worked with, and now, they're getting blown up. I mean, it's ridiculous. Here's a statistic for Colorado Springs: Last month we had over 5000 agents. We only had 1100 listings.
Ben: Oh, wow. OK. So, just Realtors out the wazoo. Every street corner has a Realtor.
Tom: Every street corner has a Realtor, and this is the thing: So, I'll give you kind of a little bit of background for my story because I think that has a lot to play with how I even got into real estate. I flipped homes back in the early 2000s when you just had to have a pulse to get a loan. I went through, and I was flipping some homes and I was making money doing that, and that was my side job. My background was an Operations Manager for the fifth-largest cable company in the nation, so I was with them for about 15 years, and kinda built my wealth and built my platform to be able to flip homes, earn extra money, put stuff aside, invest really well, so that at the end of my 15 years at that company, I was able to get a nice severance package and walk away and go, "OK, now what do I really wanna do?" Flipping homes and being involved in that process was what I always had passion for, so naturally, real estate was the avenue I was going.
Well, kind of like everybody else in the Springs, because there's 5000 now, and I'm a new agent, how do I win a listing, or how do I win anything over? It was really having to build off my knowledge from what I did as a flipper to bring my business to light now, because there are so many people that are just getting into real estate that have no idea how real estate transactions work. They're just simply seeing the dollar signs on what the potential is on getting a closing: "Oh my goodness, I can close a $500,000 house, and I can get $15,000 out of it" — not realizing the business expense and cost and everything else that goes with it. The struggle right now is really educating people around what your value is as an agent, and what you do differently than what the other 4999 agents in the city do.
Ben: Yeah. Mkay.
Tom: This book has really brought to light, because I think it has some to do with personality, because I'm not the kind of agent that cold calls. I can't sit there and cold call 500 people in a day so that I can make five appointments so I can get four rejections and land that one listing appointment I'm competing with four other agents on to hopefully get that listing, right?
Ben: Yeah, I understand.
Tom: That's the grind. There's easily 3000 agents out here right now that are grinding away at it, and I commend them for it. Go for it, do your due diligence and get on it, but it almost has a desperate feeling to it. The way that I manage my business is a very similar way that I managed my operations when I was with the corporate world, was really based on relationships. What better way to build a relationship with someone than to share knowledge? This book is a great way to share knowledge. I've had several people that have said to me, "Well, you're handing me a book here, and it's gonna tell me how I can sell my house by myself?" And I'm like, "Absolutely." My job is to help your experience go smoothly and well. If this is gonna set the foundation so that you understand what the experience is to tell a home ...
Because it's not peaches and cream every day. It doesn't go smoothly all the time. There are a lot of moving parts to a transaction, and if you have a good, whole service agent that understands the A to Z in how to get you there smoothly, that transaction can be a wondrous thing, and it can help you invest and be more in your life than what you thought it could be. Or, it could be something you hate doing, and you move into your next home, and you go, "I'm never doing this again." Statistically saying, that happens a lot, because people sit in their homes for seven to nine years before they move again.
Ben: Yeah, that's interesting. Let me ask you some questions about the book. It's cool if I record this?
Tom: Yeah, yeah. Go ahead.
Ben: OK. How many books do you think you've given away so far?
Tom: I started with 28, and I'm down to 15. So what is that, 12 ... 13 books?
Ben: Oh, wow. I thought you've given away more. OK.
Tom: No. The slow approach that I'm trying to take here is that everybody knows I've been in this community for 40 years, so I went to the same district my kids are going to. I know some of the teachers, and people know me here. I think when you're brand new and you can come into the business, you could blanket your book all over the place. People will be like, "Oh, you wrote a book?" And not second guess you one bit, but I'm a staple here and people know me, and even when I was an operations manager for the cable business, everybody knew me as: This is the last corporation I'm ever gonna work for. I will be self-employed, and I will not work for another corporation after this one. I love this company to death and I'm gonna give it all my heart, but this is the last corporation I'm ever gonna work for. I'm not moving when this company moves to another cable company or something else. I'm just not doing it. I'm going into my business for myself.
That was what my short-term goals coming out of college were, to get to my 40s, was: Build your wealth so that you can be self-employed and have some sustainability going into your retirement years. Being that staple in the community, people know that that's who I am, and that I haven't been talking about, "Hey, over the last couple years, I've been working on writing this book, and I put it out." If I just went out and blanketed the area with this book, people would, I think, have a question about, "What have you been doing with your time? All of a sudden, you write this book and nobody's heard about it."
Ben: Yeah, I see what you're saying.
Tom: When I first got the book, so it's first eight, was I worked with people that I didn't know. I gave them the approach that, "Hey, I'm testing out these books because I've been working with a ghost writer, and I'm really trying to help educate people on how the sale of a house goes, what the process looks like, and all the difficulties around it." And even expireds, that I reached out to them and I'm like, "Hey, I just wanna understand what your experience was, so I'd maybe be able to use some of that information in my book." Not knowing the book's already written, right? They would give me all kinds of information. I'd start building a relationship. I've got one guy out in Oregon that I've been going back and forth with now for a year that I've sent the book out. He loved it up and down, and he has a property here in [inaudible 00:12:15] that he tells all his neighbors about it, so I'm expecting some referrals to come in here pretty soon.
The way that I approached it was, "I'm working on writing a book." Now that it's been a year or so, I've had the book now for I think about six months, and I've given some out, I'm like, "I've written a book." I've spent some of this downtime in between leaving the company and working 60 hours a week to now just focusing on my own business and getting to manage my own time to focus on getting this information out there that now, I'm starting to put together some programs. I'm gonna put some Facebook ads together for the area as far as, "Hey, you're looking to sell your home. You want some information? Here's a free book." And start giving more of them out, but I felt like I had to kind of build a runway to having the book, versus just dropping the book on everybody's lap. That make sense?
Ben: Yeah, I get what you're saying. Interesting. OK. So far, you've given away 12 of them. How many listings do you think you've gotten from the books you've given away?
Tom: Eight? Nine?
Ben: Oh, wow. Eight or nine listings, OK. Now, the book didn't do 100 percent of the work. I mean, the book was part of the work. You called or followed up or did what you needed to do to get the listing. It wasn't just send out a book and people were like, "Hey, come list my house." Not at those numbers.
Tom: Right, yeah. No, absolutely right, because the one that I just sent out to people, like the expireds, those are the ones that are starting to build relationships, but I have not received a listing from. The ones that I got listings from, I'd have to say it's kind of like a nail in a coffin. I've been able to have a meeting with them, start building a relationship, and get this sense for the client, because I'm not gonna give my book to a client that's like, "Hey man, come list my house." OK. I'm gonna come list your house, I'm not gonna give you a book and do a whole big, giant presentation and spend the time if I know the individual doesn't even need that kind of attention, right? Feeling the clients out, I get through a little bit of it, and then I use the book as either a nail in the coffin ...
Tom: One of the listing presentations, you just kind of seal the deal at the end of the presentation. I had one of those that really flung it. I had gone through the presentation. It was one of my earlier ones, where I was still refining my presentation. Got through it, and you can hear that reluctancy in their voice. They're showing the body language that they kinda want to, but they're not all the way there yet. I said, "You know what, guys? I know this is a really big decision. You guys are selling a $350,000 home. This is a lot of profit for you. Your net key shows that you guys are gonna walk away with a ton of money. You're gonna be able to move down to Florida and have exactly the kind of lifestyle that you're wanting, but there's a lot of decisions to make. Let me leave this presentation ...
Oh and by the way, I wrote a book that helps you through this process. Let me leave that with you as well. It's a really quick and easy read. You can go through that. It gives you some ideas on what you might be able to even do to help increase the value of the home, because there are a few things you might be able to spend a few dollars here and there, and we might be able to increase it. Get 360 out of your home, and that's even more value to be able to take down to Florida. You guys take that away and you give me a call. I'll follow up with you next week if I don't hear from you soon." Before I walked out the door, they're like, "OK, let's do this. We're ready to move."
Ben: Wow. OK. OK. What kind of leads have you given the book to? Have you given them to people that were already in your lead follow-up? You already knew a little bit?
Tom: Yeah. Out of the 12, 13, 14 books I've given away, nine of them were leads that I had contact with. The listings that I won were all leads that I'd had face-to-face meetings, contact with at some point.
Ben: How many of those, you said?
Tom: Well, I'm at 28, then down to 15. So what is that? 13, 14 books?
Ben: 13, yeah.
Tom: 13 books. The remaining four books that I gave out, those were to expireds. One, I actually never even heard bad on. One book went out, never got anything back on. The other three, I actually ... two of them I heard back about between the seven- and 10-day mark, probably. The other one was actually pretty quick, and that's the one that's moving at my C. They responded pretty fast, and they're always calling me with questions: "Hey, we're thinking about doing this to the house. We wanna do this. What do you think that's gonna do to our CMA?" I worked up their CMA real quick and do some numbers for them and tell, "Yeah, you know what? Don't spend the money on that right now." Or, "Go ahead, yeah. Do that. That's gonna be great value for you."
Ben: Yeah. OK. Out of the books you sent out, eight or nine were sent to people you'd already had in your pipeline, and then you sent four to expireds?
Ben: OK. On the ones to the expireds ... I watched your video. You mentioned old expireds going back three to six months, 12 months. Were the majority of them older ones, or are they brand-new ones?
Tom: All of them were old.
Ben: OK. That's a good way to go, I just —
Tom: Yeah. The market wouldn't allow me to do the new ones. I tried to reach out to new ones, and it did not take me long to figure out that was gonna be a sinking hole. I didn't find the value to invest in the book to give to those people necessarily. I thought it might be something they throw in the corner, toss, because, I mean, you have no idea ... A house goes on the market ... My house isn't even on the market, and on a daily basis, I have five to six fliers in the mail about real estate. It's ...
Ben: Wow. OK.
Tom: Every single day. Yeah. I don't even market my own neighborhood. I don't paper market at all anymore. I completely eliminated it out of my equation, because A, we're putting solar panels and doing the whole Tesla thing and going green, but B, people are overwhelmed. There's too much paper for them to look at right now, especially here. When you're seeing five or six different faces every single day, I mean, it's just ridiculous.
Ben: That sounds crazy. With these old expireds, what was the process you went through to list them?
Tom: You mean to get them in my book and to go ahead and choose them as someone I was gonna market?
Ben: No, how did your convert those old expireds? You decided, "I wanna market to this one." What did you do? You sent them the book, you called ... What was the process you went through to convert them into a listing?
Tom: There was a lot of research that had to go into the front end of the expireds that I send to. A lot of digging. Through the MLS, I had to go through and do a lot of research to find out which ones were expired and which ones were still available to be marketed to, because that's a big deal. When you look at six-month-old expireds, there's a large percentage of them that they still figure it out. Their agent either talks them into it and figures out what they actually needed, and 30 days later they're relisted and they ended up selling and it's gone off market, so it's not a valid expired.
I think that's why I only got four is because the whole entire area that I'm in to find four that were ... they were all six months old, was extremely difficult. But when I finally got to them and I got the conversations out of them, that's where I realized they weren't really the, "I need to sell it and get out of this place right now. I need the money right now. We're relocating right now," kind of people, they're testing the market and going, "Well, if I can sell it for this much, then I'll sell the house and I'll move to my retirement community," or, "I'll relocate to here." Or whatever the case may be.
Once I got all the way through the digging and finding those individuals, it took a dorm hanger of my book and the marketing material that I put together. I had gone through and kinda used some of the ideas that you guys have in your free presentations and whatnot, the FAQs and things like that. I'm with Coldwell Banker. I don't know if you know anything about Coldwell Banker, but being the largest real estate company in the world, they certainly have a lot of information available to us as agents at our fingertips that we could redesign and use, so I was able to brand it to my own company, my own format, the way that I do things with my own presentation style, and just kind of leave that door hanger for them, and then follow up with some phone calls after the fact.
One of them ... I know the one that was the least returned, they ended up turning it into a rental. The information didn't come out of it, but what I'm hoping for the lead is coming from is that the people that are renting it got my information and now wanna buy a book. I took what would be a listing into now a buyer.
Ben: OK. Out of those four, how many did you end up listing?
Tom: None of them actually listed yet. There's three of them that it's one that was negated. No contact. Couldn't get anything out of them. The other three, one is a buyer that I'm working with, and they forwarded my book and information off to the homeowner, but it's a rental and a contract now, so that won't be for another six months. The other two are in the process of going through the book and doing some updates to their homes, doing some work ... One's ripping some carpet out of the bathroom and repainting. Another one's doing some landscaping in the backyard. Little things so that they can add some value so that we can get full back and for the best dollar, because they're not in a hurry.
When I bought the books, I don't know if you can see the orders, I only got two. I got the Truth About Selling Your Homes for Top Dollar with the white cover and the home in the background, and the other one was another one that was similar to it, but more about selling your home on your own. Those four I kind of tested with friends and family and people around, and the home selling for top dollar, by far, won out, so I really take advantage of helping a client ensure their home is prepped all the way to the point that we're gonna get the best photos so we can show in 5280 Magazine.
And you're gonna have your own commercial, because we don't wanna put that together when you got carpet stains and holes in the walls and paint that needs to be touched up. Because it shows out now in high definition. In those high-definition photos, that stuff is clear as day. When I list a home, I really wanna work with my client to ensure, "Hey, at best, you're gonna get top dollar, but I can tell you right now that when your home is clean and it's staged and a person can walk into it and go, 'Oh, wow. This home smells great. It has a warm, open feel to it. I really want to be here.' It sells in hours and you get well over listing price every single time.
But a home that's not prepped like that, sometimes, you'll get asking price. Sometimes, you'll get asking price and then they ask for $5000 in concessions. You need to understand that that means you're not really getting asking price, you're getting $5000 less than asking price because you're gonna give $5000 back to them in closing."
Ben: Yeah, I know what you're saying.
Tom: I use the book to really have that kind of a conversation with my clients, build that relationship so that they're comfortable when they put their house on the market. We get everything buttoned up, and it's nice and tight so that I can keep the statistic that I have now that all of my listings ... I haven't had a listing in the last two years that has been on the market more than six days. I haven't had a listing that has been on the market in those six days that hasn't closed for more than at least $5000 over the asking price — most of them higher than that. But it's because of what we do and say in this book that get us to that point.
Ben: Yep. I see what you're saying. Interesting. OK. Out of the listings you've gotten, the majority of them have come from people you already had in your pipeline. It's just been an additional tool to help close more of the leads in your pipeline.
Tom: Well, so some of them weren't necessarily pipeline leads, or they were leads that got into my pipeline. The way that I spent the last year giving out books is based on the relationship I have with that individual. I've kind of felt everybody out that I've given the book to on if they're going to be an A-lister. Are they going to be a B-lister? Am I gonna get value out of giving this book to them? It's a two-fold question, right? Because you're looking at it both sides, and the way I had to start it was, "Are they gonna get value out of me giving them this book?" Because if they get value out of this book, that means I'm gonna get value out of giving them this book. But if they're not gonna get value out of it, then I don't wanna give them the book.
Ben: Yeah, I see what you're saying.
Tom: Right? All of the nine, three of them weren't even here in [inaudible 00:26:39]. I had no relation with them whatsoever. Two of them were out of the country. One was from Russia, another one's from Germany. I had no relation with them whatsoever. I do a lot of business with military and whatnot, so word of mouth gets around, and I have a conversation, it ends up coming about, they get my number, I talk to them, they have some information for me, and I'm like, "Hey you know what, let me get my packet. I'll get my information. I'll mail everything out to you so you have a hard copy of this stuff."
Tom: I sent both of them my book and like I said, I think the book is kind of a nail in the coffin because both of them referenced items coming back to the book. Both of them will reference items in negotiation, or they'll ... I've had them reference finding the right comparables. Because I had one that I didn't give the book to when I went to the listing presentation, and it's actually ... If you got a minute, I'll tell you this story, because it's kind of an interesting one, and it actually makes or breaks my career.
Ben: OK, yeah. Interested.
Tom: Yeah, so what it is is I go out to this home and I meet with a wife. She is the dominant one in the relationship. She's so dominant she's kicked the entire family out of the house, and she's gonna interview 15 agents.
Ben: 15 agents?
Tom: 15 agents, and I am Agent Number One. I'm like, "All right, so I've gotta close this deal now, or it's c'est la vie." I go in, and I've built the relationship. I think everything's going great, and it comes down to what we're gonna talk about. She's one of these hard-hitters, wanting to ... "Are you gonna reduce your commission? Are you gonna make things cheaper for me? Blah, blah, blah." Have that conversation, get over all those obstacles, and then it comes down to, "Well, what are you gonna list my house at? What do you think the value of my house is gonna be?" I'm like, "You know what? Let's pull up the CMA." We go through the presentation, and I tell her, "I would list your house at $289.9, maybe $290, but I would hover right there. I would make sure that everything is gonna be clean, pristine ... You've got a really nice home, but that's where I would list it at."
She goes, "Well, I think you're missing it by a long shot." I'm like, "Wow, OK. What would you list it at?" "$330." I go, "Holy cow." I'm like, "OK, so where do you come up with this $330,000 number?" "Well, the house down the road from me." I'm like, "OK. I know which house you're talking about. Five houses down." I'm like, "You understand that you can't actually use that as a comparable? That an appraiser will not use that as a comparable? There's nobody that would use it. It's a three-car garage you don't have. They have a finished basement you don't have. They are six bedrooms; You are three." The list went on and on. I mean, a $40,000 difference, and it was pretty clear why there was a $40,000 difference.
I'm getting ready to give her the book to kind of help educate her, and she gets very ... what's the best word? Aggressive in that her knowledge of the market is far superior than mine, and she doesn't believe that this is gonna work out, but really thanks me for my time, and I get to move on with my day. What's interesting about this is that the reason I got this lead is that my wife and I own a salon in town, and my wife is actually the owner and operator of it, so this lead came from the husband who gets his hair done by my wife. I get to meet with his wife for the lead for the real estate side. Neither one of us had ever met each other in any way, and my wife doesn't know his wife, so it's kind of a pretty roundabout lead.
But, I end up leaving. I monitor the house, and I'm like, "OK, let's see who ends up getting this listing." It ends up going to a local high-name company in town that's notorious for just kinda telling customers, "Yes." What do they list at? $330,000. I'm like, "Holy cow. They actually did it." I monitor it. They're on the market for about 28 days, I believe it was, and they go under contract. I call the agent. I'm like, "Wow, you went under contract. Do you mind? Are you able to share any kind of details, because I've got another home in that area. This could really swing what's happening with the market and the price if it ends up going through."
She's like, "Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely. I'm really surprised that we got the offer, and that we're moving forward." I'm like, "OK, well let me know." It was a full-price offer. No concessions. Moving forward. All right. What is it? Three and a half weeks later, I follow up with her and I'm like, "Hey, how are things going? You're three weeks in. You should be getting ready to close here in about two or three weeks." She's like, "Yeah, we just got the appraisal back, and we've got a problem." I'm like, "Really? What's the issue that you got?" She goes, "It came in at $292."
Ben: Oh, wow.
Tom: I'm like, "Wow. You guys missed it by a big chunk of cash there, huh?" "Yeah, and the seller is super aggressive and wants to do an appeal, so we're going through the process and spending all the money to do an appeal." So I'm like, "Well, good luck with that. C'est la vie." That was a make or break. Had I landed that and I listed her for that, I end up quitting real estate. Like, "You gotta be kidding me. I just threw all this money at this lady to try to get this listing. This thing is gonna go to hell in a handbasket." Five months later, the husband decided he wants to get his hair cut again by my wife. They kinda disappeared for a while.
He ends up showing up to get his hair cut by my wife again, and he's like, "We're still in town, obviously, and we really screwed up. We're in the process of finishing the basement and making all the updates that your husband said we needed to have in order to get to $330,000. We're expected to have those updates done by the end of July, so we'll be giving him a call. Hopefully, he can list our house."
Ben: Wow. You think they'll be calling you?
You know what? They are on my list that I'm actually going out to drop them off a book just after the fourth of July.
Ben: Oh, good for you. That is how real estate works. Sometimes, you talk to someone, they go down a foolish road for six months, and they call you eight months later. I've seen that happen multiple times. That is interesting.
Tom: Yeah. All too uncommon practice.
Ben: No kidding. It's interesting. The people you're giving the book to, they're actually reading it, they're talking to you about pricing, preparation, staging, comps, et cetera, just off of reading the book?
Ben: Wow. Interesting.
Tom: Yeah, because that's how I'm positioning it. I'm using that book as part of that, as part of my CMA, because while I've got some good marketing material and stuff in there, the book talks to them on a more personal level, I think.
Ben: Yeah, that's true.
Tom: Because it talks with them, not at them, if that makes sense.
Ben: Yeah, that makes complete sense.
Tom: Some marketing material, it's really difficult to get across that, "We really need to clean the carpet." Or, "We need to patch some holes in the walls or paint things up." Me having that conversation with them, I'm telling them they need to do this stuff. If they're reading it in a book, then it's me advising them that these are the things that, in my practice and through real estate practices across the nation, we see happen every day that have an impact on what's gonna happen when your home sells. Changes the way they receive the information, and that helps me keep that moving forward in a positive manner versus getting hung up in the, "Well, I don't wanna spend $100 to go get new fire detector in the house, because I don't think I need to do it." "Well, it's gonna come up in inspection, and you're gonna need to do it then, so which one you wanna do? Now or then?"
Ben: Yeah, it's true.
Tom: Me having this conversation one way. The book? They get it. They understand it so much sooner, and it makes my job so much easier.
Ben: It's like that, what? The ninja way to get people to do what they need to do, I guess you could say?
Tom: Yeah. You know what? That's funny you say that, because I am a ninja. Have you heard of ninja selling?
Ben: I have not. No, I've heard of it, but I've never actually ... I don't know much about it.
Tom: Yeah, it's a very relationship-building selling program. If you ever get the chance to read the book, it's a fantastic read. It's super quick and easy, but it changes the way that you manage your business. Not just real estate. We've implemented this in our salon business as well. It's the way that you manage your relationships with people and you stay in contact with people and you stay in front of them that they know who you are. I don't tell them to do that, but my engagement with them and what I do with them on a regular basis tells their psyche to tell them that. Tells their subconscious to tell them that.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah. I know what you're saying.
Tom: It's interesting that you said that, because I use that book in that ninja process. That's very much the direction that I take the use of these books.
Ben: Mkay. What do you feel is the biggest benefit of using the books?
Tom: Simply making my life easier when I have clients that are wanting to get that top dollar out of their home and not able to. I've got one client that I gave a book to, and he read it and didn't do it, and now he's reading the benefits of it. What is the funniest thing? I mean, it's funny to the fact that there's so much truth, but so detrimental to their financial situation. I've got a client that I met with at the beginning of this year, so it would have been in January, and he was in the middle of remodeling his home and he's going through doing all this stuff to his house. Like, "I got this new flooring going in. I'm doing all this new trim work. It's gonna be oversized. It's gonna make the vaulted ceilings look even bigger than they are. We're gonna clean everything up. It's gonna be all new paint. It's gonna be fantastic. This place is gonna be a half a million dollar home."
I'm like, "The way that you're talking and everything you got going on, you're absolutely right this is gonna be a half a million dollar home. Let me give you my book, and this is gonna help you with the ideas and focus your energies in the right spots so you make sure you get that half a million dollars the right way." His wife was all gung-ho, they're all gung-ho. I'm like, "You guys get after it." They hit me up in May because that's when their kid is graduating and they need to move because they're headed out of the country, and ... Well, they hit me up in April, and they're like, "OK, I think we're getting ready. We're still so far away from having all the construction done and getting everything squared away, but we know we have to list soon, so why don't you come out and take a look at it?"
I go out and take a look at it, and I'm like, "Wow, you guys haven't done anything since I saw it in January. It is literally the same kind of fiasco and mess it was then. You still haven't put baseboards down in the house. What are you guys doing? We're not anywhere near listing. Did you guys read my book?" The husband's like, "No. She read it. I didn't read it." Well, she is already overseas and already doing her job over there. She's not over here, overseeing the job that needs to be done. She ends up coming back in May for the graduation, and he pushes for what we're gonna list at, and I'm like, "We're gonna list it at that price. I'm gonna tell you right now. This is just screaming 'failure,' guys. You didn't read my book. You didn't listen to my presentation. You have not listened to the words of advice that I have given you through the process. I'm telling you, this is how it's gonna come out. Even though, we're gonna list it and see what happens."
All right, so we list there. Tons of showings. 40 showings in the first two days. Not one offer. Everybody, everybody complained about the house. Everything needed work on it. Everything was, "I can see it was homeowner-done." Everything was, "This house is way overpriced." The wife obviously has come back and is willing to take over control, and she's like, "All right. Drop it." We're dropping it 30 grand. She's like, "I've read your book. We didn't do what you said. It's not there. Had we done these things, that's where the value was at, and we did not do them, so we need to take the value out of it." Great, that's where it's making my life easier. We dropped it 30 grand, and before noon that day ... We dropped it at 9 o'clock that morning. By noon that day, we had three offers.
Ben: What price point is this?
Tom: $500 is what initially they thought it was gonna be. When I got to the home and I talked them into reality up to the highest possible number the husband could think of, we left it at $450
Ben: $450. OK. And it ended up —
Tom: $450. And then we dropped it down to $427.
Tom: That was with the help of the book. The $427 is the high number that I would have listed it at in the initial conversation with them to begin with. I actually would have listed the house at $419.9.
Ben: But when you got to $427, it finally sold, you're saying?
Tom: We got three contracts. It has not sold.
Ben: Well, three contracts, still ... In other words, rather than you having to do all this discussions and comps and objection handling and tie downs to get them to reduce the price, you gave them the book, and that did the work for you? It's not a direct confrontation, it's an indirect confrontation, but it gets the job done.
Tom: Absolutely. It's an additional tool that helps them be educated about what we're talking about, because the husband ... I mean, I wish I could have video taped them and they would have let me use this, because it was a great example of one person not reading the book and not paying attention to anything that went on in the presentation, and the other person paying attention to everything, and the interactions that went on between the two of them. He didn't pay attention to anything. He was in his own la la world of thinking he can get it all done and that he's this big contractor and he's never ... You've never flipped a home before. You don't know what ... We're talking about a 4500 square foot home. This is a huge house. This is not a single man and his son who's graduating high school to get this all done.
The wife, she understood that, but she kind of lets him do his own ... "If you think you can do it, then do it." As soon as she walked in to the house and she saw it at $450, she went ... She just yells at him: "Why were you doing it ... this is not it. We lost all of our momentum on the initial weekend because of that price point. Had we been at the right price point that weekend, we probably would have seen more offers, and we probably would be in a stronger position than we are now." Don't get me wrong, we eventually got to the point where we're looking at closing here within the next two weeks, but it took us a lot more to get there, and I attribute it all to had he read the book and actually paid attention, they could have gotten $500,000 out of this house. They easily could have gotten another $75 to $80, $90,000 out of this house than they did, yet because they just didn't pay attention to the details.
Ben: That is true. Now, they're in a much more motivated spot, they're more emotionally exhausted, they're not as willing to hold out for their price, et cetera. They lost money as a result.
Tom: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, the husband was a deflated balloon. As soon as the price point hit, it became a, "I don't care, just get it sold. I don't care, just get it sold."
Ben: That is how it works.
Tom: It's good that I get the support with the wife, because the wife has a solid head on her shoulders, but he has finally just given up. He's like, "You know what? I didn't achieve my goal. I failed at whatever I was talking about doing, and I didn't get it done. I don't wanna deal with it anymore." The wife is like, "We still have a situation to deal with. We still have profits that we have to manage in order to get a house in Texas, so there's still ... " That's the thing. She's taken that book and she's using it for her transaction that she's buying a house in another state.
Ben: Wow. That's true.
Tom: The biggest thing is that I tell people when I give them this book is that my whole thing is that even if you don't list your house with me, that I helped you through your transaction, and that you were able to have a smooth transaction, because that's all that matters. I love throwing out the statistic to people that they don't realize that your retirement ... 80 percent of people that retire, 90 percent of that money comes from their home.
Ben: Yeah, it's true.
Tom: This is a big deal. You should have value in your home. You should take care of your home. It's an investment that will pay dividends in the future, more than your salary. You don't get pensions. This is not 1950. Your pension is your home.
Ben: Yeah, that is true. For the majority of people that is very true. That's their biggest asset. I know somebody that put $300,000 into their house a couple years before they retired, and then they decided to move. They took a house that was probably worth $250, they put $300,000 into a huge remodel ... Or, I don't know. Maybe not $300,000. Maybe $200,000. It was probably worth $300, and they turned a $300,000 house into a $350,000 house. Basically, turned $200,000 in cash that they'd inherited and turned it into $50,000 bucks or less. It's just like, "OK."
Tom: Yep. If my wife would've let me, the house that I had listed, I would have bought it. I would have bought the house from my client because what he messed up, I know I could fix. I mean, I could have easily bought that house for what it was, and being an agent, I make even more than what I did when I was flipping homes not as an agent.
Ben: Yeah, it's true.
Tom: I'm saving the commission. I could have easily turned around and put $25,000 into that house and made $75,000 on it.
Ben: Yeah, that's true. Interesting. Mkay. I think I've got all my questions answered. For your business, what do you feel has been the biggest breakthrough from using the books? How has it helped out the most?
Tom: How has it helped me out the most? I think it helps me out the most probably from a confidence level, I think … like the nail in the coffin when you're having a listing presentation. I think it also adds that little extra vote of confidence in that I'm leaving a piece of myself behind. When I've gone to a listing presentation and I've left a book behind, it has a different feeling than leaving a business card, right? I can see business cards get tossed in the trash. They get thrown in the junk drawer or a junk basket of sort, and this is the catch-all area. That's where the cards end up. I think that leaving the book behind and having that is like leaving yourself behind a little bit in that people don't throw books away.
I helped a client just two weeks ago empty out a garage, and as we're clearing everything out, books that he had, you don't throw those away. Those get donated. "Save those. I'm gonna give those out to the kids. I know some people down the street that want these books." Everybody I give a book to, I say, "If you know anybody who needs this ... Whether they call me or not, it doesn't matter, but if you know anyone who needs this, you're paying it forward. Pay it forward. Give someone else the book." I think that's the confidence and the joy that I get from using these books that my face is out there paying it forward. I'm still helping people. Even though it's an indirect help, they're still helped.
I know too many people who have been screwed over, or who have not had great real estate transactions. I'm still not in my 50s, I've still lived quite a while to know I've seen two stock market crashes that have cost me more money than I ever care to talk about again. But real estate, even when the market crashed and we had all the foreclosures, the foreclosures happen because of poor money management. The real estate still had value, and it still owned value today. Even those that depreciated, you still had the right value there, and if you took care of the home the right way, it bounced back even faster.
Tom: But still, real estate is, to me, better than the stock market, better than ... The only other thing it would compare to is actually having gold in hand.
Ben: Yeah. I get what you're saying.
Tom: The confidence and the joy that I get from helping people with their real estate, I think, is the biggest thing I get from the book. I don't see stopping it anytime soon. I think the books are gonna be part of just kind of what I do. As I get to more closings and more revenue, I build my business like I do a corporate business on an annual budget and whatnot. I think once next year comes around, I do your videos and whatnot ... I get the free ones and this and that, but once next year comes around, buying 500 books and just having case of books in the house all the time.
Ben: Yeah, OK. All right, one last question, and then I'll let you go. What would you say to somebody, maybe, who's a Realtor, maybe they're newer but they're not brand new, and they're really struggling to get listings, it seems like nothing's working. What would you recommend to that person to do to achieve success in real estate?
Tom: Wow, that's a great question. That's a really good question, because I think it kind of varies. It depends on the person, right? I've met some people that are in that same boat that are kind of struggling, and they're a year or two years in, and it's that crucial make or break point where you've realized, "I may have to jump out of real estate because I can't make enough money to survive every year." I've met people that are struggling because it's their personality. They can't talk to people the way that they need to for real estate. They can't engage and have the kind of relationships with people. They really need to focus on how they manage the relationship.
If there's anything I can tell any agent, whether new, old, this business is all about communication. If you can't communicate, this is going to be a problem for you because you're gonna have to have difficult conversations. You're gonna have to have great, joyous conversations. You're gonna have to be on your toes that maybe one of those conversations is gonna have to happen while you just got the worst news of your life, but it's great news for your client. Or it could be the opposite. Vice versa that. You're gonna have to be able to manage that so that your clients don't know what's going on. You have to be on all the time.
Ben: That is true.
Tom: That's really difficult for people. I hear from my listings, every time I've been at a closing, these are reviews that I try to get internal from other agents, is that they look for my listings because they know once they get listed, they have open communication with me from there to the end of the transaction, with no problems. I answer my phone every single time.