“It Is The Absolute Best Business Card

That You Could Possibly Have.”

For longtime Authorify member, David Allen, the instant authority his book gives him is what keeps him coming back. We recently spoke with the Indiana-based agent to talk all about how he has used his book to turn countless FSBOs into listings. Watch the full interview in the video above or check out the transcript below

Michael Walter:

I'll just kind of start out by asking a little bit about your real estate career, how long you've been in the business and where you're in the country?

David Allen:

I'm in Fishers, Indiana, which is just north of Indianapolis. I've been in real estate, gosh, I started out doing real estate appraising as an apprentice back in the 90's and then started working for a builder back around 2000 and then I've been a broker for about 17, 18 years now.

Michael Walter:

How long ago did you find Authorify?

David Allen:

It was Smart Agent back then, three or four years ago. In fact, I can tell you right where I was when I ordered my first batch of books. My client was about a half an hour late, and I was messing around with my phone, just going through email. I was out by the Pendleton Reformatory, the prison, and I was waiting in the house and the house behind it even had a deer stand back there. So, I mean, I can vividly remember, and I thought, you know, I'm gonna go ahead and order these books, it looked kind of neat. So, I went and ordered the books and that was about the same time that I was really starting to do a push on For Sale By Owners and really try to hit them. So, I ordered For Sale By Owners and then I ordered a lot of Expired books and really hit a good niche with the For Sale By Owners.

David Allen:

I mean, I could call people up, "Hey, I'll send you a book" or I'd set an appointment up just to come preview the house, drop a book off and go in with a real soft, "You know what, not really here to list your house, but if I did bring you a buyer, would you be willing to pay me?" It was amazing how many people, when you go in with that soft approach will call you back. It's just call and get the appointment to come preview the house. I would go into a house and just introduce myself, look around and when they would say, "Well, you know, the pictures are on Zillow or they're on this website or that website" I would frequently say, "Yeah, you know what? I'm a real estate agent and I know how to lie with pictures too. So, what I want to do is really come in and take a look at your house and honestly, I want to smell it." You know, and they're like, okay, I get that.

David Allen:

My most recent success, because I've ordered a whole bunch of expired listings and I just couldn't hit the mark with those things. So about a month and a half, two months ago, our Remax franchise announced to everybody that they were not going to renew their franchise. So, that kind of left a lot of us in a pickle and I ended up going to a Keller Williams brokerage here in the Carmel, Fishers area. So, I had all of these books that were branded by Remax. So I just started mailing the heck out of the them.

David Allen:

I tried to get 5 to 10 of them in the mail a day. Inside the cover of each book, I would just write a little message and I would send a copy of their MLS and write on it in real big letters, "I think I know why your house didn't sell." And I'd circle a few things on it and just pop it in the mail. And I got a phone call the other day and this guy said, "Hey, I got your note the other day. I want you to come out and sell my house." For whatever reason, I sent him this book out and he sets an appointment with me and I'm going to go out this week and to hopefully get his house listed for him.

Michael Walter:

That's great. So when you’re sending these letters with the copy of the MLS, you know, I think that's a great way to even more personalize it to their specific need and to really catch their eye. The book already is not just that blast mailing that goes out to everybody, but by putting those personal touches, you're making that even more personal.

David Allen:

Yeah. And that's the thing, and I'm a big fan of the handwritten notes. I write a lot of notes and yeah, it takes a lot more time than it does to hit print and then you've got 50 letters come out and you've got 50 stickers that come out that go on the envelope and you drop them in the mail and guess what? You look like every other piece of junk mail out there. But, if you hand write it, you hand write the address and my writing's atrocious, so I just take my time and do the best I can. But, when you get something like that, you know, it's kind of a lost art. I think you get more bang for your buck because I don't have to send out hundreds of mailers, I may send out 10 to 15 mailers and get a better response on it.

Michael Walter:

So going back to over the years that you've used the books, you said For Sale By Owners was one of your main areas that you were using this. How did using the books change your approach to dealing with the For Sale By Owners and really get them to list with you?

David Allen:

It gave me a talking point of, "Look, you know, I get it. You want to save a commission. I totally get that. So, I've had a little bit of help with a ghost writer, and I got a lot of experience selling homes. Here's a book, take a look at it. Maybe it'll give you some pointers. And, Oh, by the way, I would suggest reading the book before you go ahead and put it on the market because the National Association of Realtors says that a typical For Sale By Owner breaks several laws in the process of selling their home." Of course the main one is typically fair housing because they'll mention things that they shouldn't be talking about. So I'll give that to them and it makes me an authority on that. And then I'll say, "And also, for a fee, if you would like, I'll jump in once you find your buyer and I'll put the whole transaction together for you, and I've got a fee for that. That way, if I'm writing the paperwork up, you're covered under my errors and omissions insurance, because the worst thing that can happen is a for sale by owner is you save all this money you thought you saved in commission, and everything's fine until it's not. And then when it's not somebody sues somebody and all that money you saved for commission goes away to the attorney."

Michael Walter:

I think that approach too in itself is so much better than the typical, "Well, you know, agents make you X amount more than you would for sale by owner." I think that approach of saying, "If you had an agent you'd make another 8% or 10% on your listing price than you would." And I think everybody goes with that approach, but with yours, you're saying, "Look, here's the pitfalls that you can fall into" and statistically it shows them that For Sale By Owners have these legal issues and omissions that I can help you take care of.

David Allen:

Absolutely. And I even tell them, "If you're not going to use me, I would hire an attorney to do your paperwork." And then I followed up with, "And by the way, we both know that attorneys are pretty expensive too, right?" And just kind of laugh. But like you say, everybody can say, "Well, I'll get you more money." And the typical for sale by owners, like "Yeah, sure you will. You're not going to get me anymore." They don't buy it, especially in this market that we've had right now. That's why I think I've started having more success with the expired books because I come at it from the angle of, "Look, we've had a great market and your house didn't sell, so something's wrong. Let's fix it and get it sold."

Michael Walter:

With the expireds, I've talked to people also that are targeting those expireds that are from two years ago, before the market really exploded and they'll take ther MLS and "Say, this is what you can make now. Did you know? Because a lot of people just kind of moved on from wanting to sell and don't even really realize how much more they can make on their home now.

David Allen:

Right

Michael Walter:

Over the course of time, how did the book change your conversion rate on the For Sale By Owners? If you could put a number on it?

David Allen:

You know what, my conversion for sale by owners is extremely high because I go in in person. So, if I count just the listings alone, I would probably say I'm about 50%. Then the ones that pay me to actually do their paperwork, I may make an extra $4,000 or $5,000 a year just doing the paperwork. I say, "Here's the deal, I'm not charging you a whole bunch of money. So I'm not running all over the place, getting signatures. Everybody's going to meet in my office, buyer and seller. We're going to go through all this stuff. We're going to fill out the paperwork, we'll all sign everything.Then you have your inspection. When we back in my office, again, everybody agree upon everything. And then we'll meet a third time as the title company. We'll go ahead and close the transaction." So, you just get everybody right there in the same room, they talk it out and it's easy money. And quite honestly, you're providing a good service for people too.

Michael Walter:

Yeah and that kind of seems like that is your way of doing business. Everything you're doing is by providing that service and that help that these people need.

David Allen:

Quite frankly, you've got to do that because if you don't do it, somebody else will. You know, you've got so many, even these discount brokers out there. I think, just what I do as a full service broker, by providing the service of doing their paperwork and walking them through the entire process is much better than you get from a discount broker because I think the discount broker just, you know, they got your check and then they're like, "I don't care if it sells or not." You know?

Michael Walter:

Right. So, you've been a member for several years now, what was it that has kept you with the program for so many years?

David Allen:

Honestly, I think it is the absolute best business card that you could possibly have. I always call it my $5 business card. If you look a what you pay to buy leads from Zillow or Realtor.com a $5 business card is not too bad of a deal. It does make you look like an expert. The neat thing would be if I had actually ever read any of these books, because I've never read them. And some people say, "Hey, I read such and such in your book." I'm like, "Oh crap, I've got to go back and re-read about that said so I can at least speak to it." You know? There are a few things that over the years I've went through and I've highlighted in a book. Typically, if I'm dropping something in the mail, I'll put a couple of business cards in there. And if there's a chapter on staging, I'll always put a business card right there. So when they open it up, they're like "Staging the house. Oh yeah. I need to do that." You know.

Other Interviews

Let's go in-depth to make sure you are building processes that will continue to bring in listings.

Kristin Garnett On Using Her Books To Get Listings

Read More

How Cynthia Uses Her Book To Establish Authority With Investors

Read More

Wayne Explains His All-Encompassing Approach to Winning Listings

Read More
Insert Content Template or Symbol