Ecommerce Website Perfection (CFFL 346)

Ecommerce Website Perfection

Jack Butala: Ecommerce Website Perfection. Leave us your feedback for this podcast on iTunes and get the free ebook at landacademy.com, you don’t even have to read it. Thanks for listening.

Jack Butala: Jack Butala with Jill DeWit.
Jill DeWit: Happy Monday.
Jack Butala: Welcome to our show today. In this episode, Jill and I talk about e-commerce website perfection. We talk about what you need, the type of website that you should have, to make it real simple for you to sell property. Before we get into it, though, Jill, let’s take a question from one of the members on LandAcademy.com, our online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit: Okay. Matt asks, “I’m looking to buy a piece of land where the wife passed away and the vesting deed says, “As husband and wife as joint tenants.” Is this the same as JTROS, which is joint tenants with rights of survivorshits … -ship.”
Jack Butala: Wow.
Jill DeWit: Hello.
Jack Butala: Good morning.
Jill DeWit: “Rights of survivorship.” I really said the right thing. Now, if you heard something differently, Jack …
Jack Butala: I did.
Jill DeWit: Uh huh. “Am I in the clear?” Not me, that’s part of the question.
Jack Butala: Oh.
Jill DeWit: That’s what Matt put here, not me.
Jack Butala: What do you think?
Jill DeWit: Let me back up and say when I do a deed, I always am very careful to put the full sentence. I put, “joint tenants with rights of survivorship.”
Jack Butala: Me, too.
Jill DeWit: Every time. I’m not messing around. I don’t want to leave it to chance. I don’t want anyone to have to look at this like poor Matt, going, “Is that the same thing?” I always do that. I believe it’s the same thing.
Jack Butala: I do, too.
Jill DeWit: I just don’t like that.
Jack Butala: I don’t think there’s any technical difference between the definitions of “joint tenants” and “joint tenants with rights of survivorship.” I think they’re the same thing. I think most Recorders would agree with that, but why take a chance?
Jill DeWit: Right, because if they meant “tenants in common,” which is different …
Jack Butala: Completely different.
Jill DeWit: … they would’ve put, “tenants in common” …
Jack Butala: That’s right.
Jill DeWit: … which they did not. They put “joint tenants.”
Jack Butala: Yeah, I mean, it used to be back, I don’t know, probably 10, maybe 15 years ago, up to that point there’s a saying that … My attorney still says it. “Well, the Recorder, whatever you send them … You could send them toilet paper and they’re going to record it.”
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: That’s just not the case anymore. Throughout your career in land or in any time of real estate, if you’re doing your own recording work, some stuff is going to come in. You’re going to look at other people’s deeds before you and you’re just going to laugh. You’re going to show it around the office and say, “I can’t believe that this actually got recorded in the state.”
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: You know, it’s kind of your job to clean it up when you get it.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: That’s how I look at it.
Jill DeWit: This is true. This is very true.
Jack Butala: The way that you take title, you have control over that. Or if you’re conveying it to someone else, you’ve got a lot of control.
Jill DeWit: Yeah, do it the right way. Save you and your customers and everybody down the road a favor and do it correctly.
Jack Butala: In fact, for years and years we’ve had the same person at First American kind of managing all the properties that we run through escrow, and she says, “Look, I just record everything as joint tenants, everything. If it’s three LLCs, joint tenants, unless somebody asks for something else.” This whole notion of husband and wife on a deed …
Jill DeWit: Oh, yeah.
Jack Butala: … even if you are married, it’s just so much better because then it’s got to be estated. I don’t want to get into the details, but if you just stick with joint tenants as a way to take property, regardless of marital status or anything else, it’s the best way. There’s exceptions, but that’s the basic rule.
Jill DeWit: Thank you.
Jack Butala: Hey, if you have a question or you want to be on the show, reach out to either one of us on LandAcademy.com. Today’s topic … This is the meat of the show … What is involved in your e-commerce website perfection? What does your website have to have if you’re buying and selling land, or any type of assets for that matter? What would you think? Do you want to make it hard or do you want to make it easy? Do you want to accept credit cards and just have them click on it in the middle of the night like they’re buying shoes? Or do you want to talk to every single one of your customers?
Jill DeWit: Right. Do you want to leave out a lot of pertinent information and field a lot of phone calls?
Jack Butala: Do you have a list? Do you have a list of the top three or four or five things that you think … Let’s start with our websites.
Jill DeWit: I started with the big picture. First I started … I broke it down in big picture, which is you want your customers coming to you. This is all about you selling your properties, your land, whatever it is, right off your website. First, you want them to be able to get you. You want them to believe in you. They want to trust you. You want something about you or your company or your business, and you want to convey that you’re real and transparency. I know that word is used a lot. It’s real. It’s important.
Jack Butala: Right.
Jill DeWit: The second thing is, like Jack, you want everything there. You want all the little details about your property. You don’t want to be having unnecessary phone calls. You should get a clue. If you start getting five, 10 phone calls a week, everybody asking the same question about the same property, you might want to go back and just add a little note in there …
Jack Butala: Exactly.
Jill DeWit: … saying, “Oh, by the way, here’s the tax situation.”
Jack Butala: Exactly.
Jill DeWit: Or, “By the way, here’s where the road is,” or something like that. Add a little extra. Add that in there so you don’t have to waste time on those phone calls. The third thing for me is you want to be able to, like Jack said, check out right online. Make it really easy for them.
Jack Butala: You want to have a good user experience. I’m a huge fan of putting your face, a picture of you, right on the website. Maybe it’s a family picture if that’s the kind of person you are with the dog and everything. It just makes you real. A long time ago … Jill and I were just talking about this at breakfast … A long time ago the face of Wendy’s hamburgers was Dave Thomas. He’s since passed away and he named it after his daughter. I don’t know if you know the story, but he was on all the commercials. He was the face of … and he was kind of the first one who ever really branded himself and the product, the company, that he had and he was a spokesperson. Man, it’s, to this day, one of the most successful campaigns ever. I really think that if people can associate whatever the name of your dot com is or your company name with a person and a picture I think you’re going to do much better.
Jill DeWit: I’m convinced that, you know, even with you and I, Jack, when people see our picture they know it’s us. They like the podcasts and the things like that that pop up on social media. I’m convinced. “Oh, oh, it’s them. Okay.” Right away they know who we are, our land customers.
Jack Butala: When we started this I was like, “I’m not going to get in front of a camera.”
Jill DeWit: Are you going to tell that story? Because that’s a good story, too.
Jack Butala: I always thought of it as just kind of a vanity thing like, “Nobody wants to know who I am. They want some good property and cheap and it’s easy,” and the whole thing. Well, I was wrong. I was dead wrong.
Jill DeWit: I think people thought, too, that by, “I’m going to make it look like it’s a big, massive company and there is no real face of it, because there’s a hundred of us,” or something like that. That doesn’t make a difference at all.
Jack Butala: Exactly. No, you just want to be a regular person who’s really good at buying cheap property and you want people to come back and look at it, get the information that they need, like Jill said, in consistent formatting, all right? You don’t want to do every one differently. Consistent formatting, and you want them within a few clicks to be able to get the answers that they need and to be able to make an informed decision and then check out right then.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: You know, for some properties, obviously, over a certain dollar amount … and those are my favorite properties … What you want to do is set up a situation where they do check out, but if it’s a $50,000 property or $150,000, or some of the deals that we’re doing now exceed a million dollars … You want to set the price at $600 or $500 so they check out on a credit card and then you go start down the path of closing …
Jill DeWit: Like a down payment or something.
Jack Butala: … closing through escrow.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: If you’re selling on terms that could be the down payment. If you know you’re going to go through escrow and you’re going to get financing like some of these large ranch deals that we’re doing, you still want them to make that commitment.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. Something up front to start the process.
Jack Butala: Right.
Jill DeWit: Like Jack just said, just spell it all out. Some people don’t … They think everybody gets it. Some of your customers might not. You might need to be real detailed and clear on, “By putting $500 now, this is going to start the process.”
Jack Butala: “This opens escrow,” right.
Jill DeWit: “I will contact you within 48 hours and here’s how it’s going to go,” kind of thing.
Jack Butala: We’re really lucky in general, because the buy side customers in this business and the other asset businesses that we have, they’re bright. They’re bright people. They know what they’re doing. They know what escrow is, in general. I mean, there’s always one or two, but it’s not really like an e-commerce website, so to speak, like Zappos where you’re buying shoes or Amazon where there’s a million product types.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: You want to treat them that way. Treat them with some respect. Assume that they really want to get all the information, that they’re going to spend more than three minutes making a decision to buy a piece of real estate.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: Like instead of shoes. Detailed descriptions are really necessary. The more graphics that you can put in there that’s always good. Maybe take one of the slots for the pictures. Go take a look at our land site, LandStay.com. We just renovated it, I mean, really recreated it, and it’s looking great. Take a look at that site because it implements all the stuff that we’re talking about. Maybe use one of the picture slots for your logo, or what we’re talking about … You know, wherever you’re posting it, if they don’t allow words and stuff, and Land Stay’s like that. Our members post all their property there, and it’s just hard to manage graphics with words and stuff.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: But there’s nothing stopping you from one of the footer pictures to put your logo in there or whatever message that you have, to throw that in there.
Jill DeWit: That’s perfect. That’s good.
Jack Butala: Anything that you can do to make it super simple and make yourself stand out, keep the person on the site, you’re going to do that much better.
Jill DeWit: I thought of something else, too. You want not only to see all of your available properties but your complete sales. Thank you, Jack. Jack just went, “Oh, yeah.”
Jack Butala: Yeah, that would’ve been bad if we finished the show without talking about that.
Jill DeWit: … forgot about that. You want to keep all of your past transactions there, show ‘sold’ to show what you’ve … You want to explain it, Jack?
Jack Butala: Well, it’s just so much credibility. We’ve done 15,000 deals, you know, more than 15,000. Those are on the website as ‘sold’. Is anybody going to peruse them? I hope they don’t, but it just lends a lot of credibility for us. It lends a lot of credibility for the Land Academy members who post their property on the site. It really gives the opportunity for a buyer to make a more informed decision. Let’s say they’re looking at 40 acres in southeastern California. Our website, and yours should, too, should allow you to look up all the stuff that we’ve sold in that area and for how much.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: If this is grossly priced more then it better be in the description about why it’s so much more valuable.
Jill DeWit: Why is it … exactly.
Jack Butala: If it’s way less it better be in the description. Yeah, I mean, we put some stuff in our descriptions like this, “Yeah, it’s crazy how cheap this property is. It shocks me, too, but we bought it for way less than this.” There’s nothing stopping you from getting creative a little bit in the description area of your website and tell a story.
Jill DeWit: Perfect.
Jack Butala: We have a very successful member, he says this all the time. You have to tell a story. I talk about that in our education. I’m not saying read a story book. I’m saying, just, what’s the story like? Tell a real brief story about, “Yeah, we send letters out and we purchase property this way and it’s super inexpensive, and we’re passing it on to you.”
Jill DeWit: I have one thing to say that I have had members come to me that they were very concerned about that part, Jack, because they’ve been told by other sources that if you don’t write well and write a beautiful description, your property’s not going to sell. I’m serious.
Jack Butala: Who the hell says that?
Jill DeWit: It starts with an ‘M’.
Jack Butala: Oh. ‘MP’?
Jill DeWit: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I have had people come to me and say, “I was told if I’m not a good writer my property’s not going to sell.” Hold on a moment. Your price is going to sell the property.
Jack Butala: If you’re not a good writer you will fail.
Jill DeWit: Exactly. I just wanted to let our listeners know that that’s okay. You don’t have to be a really good writer. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on this.
Jack Butala: No.
Jill DeWit: Don’t hire it out. If you put a few sentences about the property, the area, you know, whatever it is about it, that’s what’s necessary and that’s okay.
Jack Butala: You know, it’s like everything else. Please use us if you need to. Go find somebody who’s doing it right or an example of what you like. Not necessarily us, but anywhere. Copy and paste it and then make it your own. I’m not saying plagiarize in any sense, but I’m saying there’s a reason that, in our structure over the years, the acres is first. The subtitle is second. The county that it’s in is third, and on and on. We put zoning information in. There’s a reason for all that stuff.
Jill DeWit: We put in what kind of deed just because we’ve had those questions.
Jack Butala: Right.
Jill DeWit: We put all those details in there because we’ve learned over the years, you’re right. You will learn, too. As you get into this and you see how quickly people are checking out or the questions that you’re getting, you’re going to go, “Okay, I need to reword this. I need to change this a little bit.” You’ll learn.
Jack Butala: For larger properties we always include a video. It’s usually a fly over video that I narrate in Google Earth, and we screenshot it and put it up there so that you can see driving directions, you know, “You take a left here.” You literally just do it on the screen and it’s actually pretty cool. I get a lot of really positive comments on those things.
Jill DeWit: They like that.
Jack Butala: Most of the comments are from people who aren’t interested in buying land. They just like to take a little break. It’s like a little vacation.
Jill DeWit: I know, exactly.
Jack Butala: I love doing it. I think it’s cool.
Jill DeWit: It’s like, “Oh, that’s neat.”
Jack Butala: I did a video once. We had a bunch of property on the Mexican border in Chochise County, Arizona. I got so into it that I was street viewing, going through these little border towns and stuff. I had so many comments on YouTube about that like, “Man, I never knew that was there. I’ve always wondered what that city was like.” Again, I’m thinking to myself, “Well, you could go to YouTube and do this yourself,” but I don’t know. I guess it’s just easier sometimes to watch somebody else do it. I don’t know.
Jill DeWit: You’re the tour guide.
Jack Butala: Yeah, tour guide. That’s it, Jill.
Jill DeWit: That’s it.
Jack Butala: Yeah, just kick back and watch, I guess.
Jill DeWit: It’s good.
Jack Butala: Did we miss anything?
Jill DeWit: No, I think we got it all. That was good.
Jack Butala: I don’t want to make this complicated, but there’s some hard and fast stuff that it just really … What you don’t want to do, and this happens a lot and we’ve been guilty of it when some of these new offshoots start ups. “Click here for more information.”
Jill DeWit: Oh, yeah. You don’t want that.
Jack Butala: It’s an open-ended … It’s a distraction for the buyer. It’s a lot of work for you. You really want to say, “Look, we’re in this business and we just buy and sell property all the time. We’ve never been there. Every single thing we know about the property is right here in this posting. If you need more information you’re not going to get it from us, unfortunately.”
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: “You might get it from the county. You might get it from Google search like everybody else.” But you don’t want to create work. These postings should dramatically reduce work for you, not create it.
Jill DeWit: Right. The last thing you want to do is field phone calls from people saying, “Hi. My RV is 40 feet long and I want to leave it there for six months, but I’m going to be there every other month. Is that okay on this property?” You do not want to be the middle person handling those phone calls.
Jack Butala: How do you answer that? Just for fun, how do you answer that? You want to role play?
Jill DeWit: No.
Jack Butala: I’ll be the RV owner.
Jill DeWit: No. I bet you will.
Jack Butala: I will cause more problems.
Jill DeWit: Hello. I want to be the RV owner.
Jack Butala: Do you want to? We could do it.
Jill DeWit: All right. You want to role play real quick? All right.
Jack Butala: Yeah, we have like two minutes.
Jill DeWit: Okay. Ring, ring.
Jack Butala: Hi, this is Jack.
Jill DeWit: Hi, how are you?
Jack Butala: I’m fine. Do you have a question?
Jill DeWit: Hi, yeah, you know what? I’m looking at this gorgeous property. Are you there, by the way?
Jack Butala: Am I where?
Jill DeWit: Are you standing on this property that I’m looking at online?
Jack Butala: No, no, no. I’m three states over, actually.
Jill DeWit: Oh, shucks. Okay. I was hoping you were there.
Jack Butala: Do you have a specific question, miss?
Jill DeWit: Well, yeah. You know, I’ve got this camper. Well, it’s really not a camper. It’s a Class A. Do you know what that is?
Jack Butala: I do.
Jill DeWit: Okay. Here’s the deal. My husband and I spend a lot of time …
Jack Butala: Okay, listen lady. Listen. Linda, listen.
Jill DeWit: You know, and I like to put a shed next to it. I like to … Is that going to be a problem?
Jack Butala: You get the idea. You know what? I can’t say the expletives that I’m thinking.
Jill DeWit: I could go on and on and on. That’s really funny. By the way, my father’s very ill and I might want to leave him out there.
Jack Butala: That’s beautiful. Congratulations.
Jill DeWit: I’ll set up the RV.
Jack Butala: We’ve made the point.
Jill DeWit: Can I get something delivered out there?
Jack Butala: We’ve made the point. That kind of stuff, we’re not here for that. This is not that kind of operation.
Jill DeWit: I’m sorry. It’s so funny.
Jack Butala: I’ve said this before …
Jill DeWit: How’d you know my name was Linda?
Jack Butala: I’ve said this before, I don’t recommend it. For a lot of years in the beginning when we started we did not have a phone number for that reason. We just didn’t the patience or the time. Now with our higher membership levels we include someone to answer the phone and field all those calls and that. But when you’re starting out you do not want to do that.
Jill DeWit: That would be your whole time. You’re not going to be an acquisitions person. You’re not going to be a deal maker. You’re going to be just sitting there talking to … You’re going to be a counselor on the phone.
Jack Butala: Jill’s an expert at it.
Jill DeWit: And an in between person. I would send them to the county, by the way, to answer the question.
Jack Butala: Yeah. On the buy side, Jill’s an expert. Within 15 to 30 seconds she can tell whether or not the person’s going to sell the property.
Jill DeWit: Oh, yeah.
Jack Butala: What you want to do is really practice a polite way to get off the phone.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: Because you have you to make that decision. I’m going to turn this person into a buyer, or I’m just going to let it go. We’re just too far out. Sometimes it’s based on personality. If the person’s drunk off their butt …
Jill DeWit: Yeah, you don’t want to work with them anyway.
Jack Butala: … saying bad stuff, and they have the greatest real estate deal, I’m not going to sit there and do the deal.
Jill DeWit: Right.
Jack Butala: I mean, at a different point in my career I might, but, you know, crazy stuff happens.
Jill DeWit: Exactly.
Jack Butala: Join us in another episode where Jill and I discuss how to use information, that’s me …
Jill DeWit: … and role play with inspiration, that’s me …
Jack Butala: … to get just about anything you want.
Jill DeWit: We use it every day to buy property for half of what it’s worth and sell it immediately.
Jack Butala: You are not alone in your data ambition. We could’ve gone on and on for that.
Jill DeWit: Oh, I know. I was going to have fun with that.
Jack Butala: It was too open-ended.
Jill DeWit: I know.
Jack Butala: It would’ve been better if we would’ve changed roles because you actually know how to deal with that stuff.
Jill DeWit: Oh.
Jack Butala: I honestly don’t. It just makes me mad.
Jill DeWit: Oh, I got you a little off guard there. You were like a little out of your element.
Jack Butala: Exactly.
Jill DeWit: Well, that’s funny. Yeah, if the roles were reversed, I’d let you talk. Do you want to do a real quick one? Reverse it?
Jack Butala: No.
Jill DeWit: Okay. Okay. But I would let you talk just a little bit, and then I would’ve politely referred you to where you needed to go to get the information and got you the heck off the phone.
Jack Butala: Yeah, should we show them the right way really quick?
Jill DeWit: Sure.
Jack Butala: All right.
Jill DeWit: Ring, ring.
Jack Butala: This is …
Jill DeWit: Wait, wait.
Jack Butala: Oh.
Jill DeWit: Hello. This is Jill with Land Stay.
Jack Butala: This is Sally.
Jill DeWit: Hi, Sally.
Jack Butala: I smoked a lot of dope earlier.
Jill DeWit: Oh, nice.
Jack Butala: I saw your website and I’m wondering if I should give up my apartment in Manhattan and move out to the desert in Nevada.
Jill DeWit: Not a bad idea. Do you have a particular property that you’re looking … ?
Jack Butala: Okay. I’ll buy it. How much is it? I don’t care where it is.
Jill DeWit: I’ll tell you what, go look at our website. It’s LandStay.com.
Jack Butala: How do you spell that? This sounds like a good promotion for us.
Jill DeWit: L-A-N-D-S-T-A-Y dot com.
Jack Butala: I mean in Chinese. How do you spell it in Chinese?
Jill DeWit: Oh, I can show you that. What’s your email address? You know, Sally, what’s your email address? I’ll send you something.
Jack Butala: It’s [inaudible 00:20:08] at gmail.com.
Jill DeWit: Got it. SallySmokesALot@gmail.com. Click.
Jack Butala: Sally’s a liar. SallyWon’tRememberThisConversation.com.
Jill DeWit: Oh, I’ve had those. Shucks, I had a drunk guy call me a couple of times, yeah.
Jack Butala: With children, I’ve had those.
Jill DeWit: Oh, my God, yeah.
Jack Butala: “What do you mean, man? What do you mean, dad?”
Jill DeWit: It’s hilarious.
Jack Butala: I know. That’s exactly what we were talking about yesterday. Okay.
Jill DeWit: Good role play.
Jack Butala: Information and inspiration to buy undervalued property.

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