Using Software to Price Your Mailer (LA 1196)

Using Software to Price Your Mailer (LA 1196)

Transcript: Steven Jack Butala:
Steve and Jill here.
Jill DeWit:
Hi.
Steven Jack Butala:
Welcome to the Land Academy Show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.
Jill DeWit:
And I’m Jill DeWitt broadcasting from sunny Southern California.
Steven Jack Butala:
Today Jill and I talk about using software to price your mailer. You want to kick this thing old school, or you want to use some easy button type software and there’s more and more and more easy stuff that supposedly makes your pricing effort or your mailing effort easier and faster?
Jill DeWit:
Well, I’ve got to say though Steven, why wouldn’t you? Because of self-driving cars are a hit.
Steven Jack Butala:
Jill and I have a list of real life analogies and comparisons of taking shortcuts and the result of that.
Jill DeWit:
Yes, like child raising.
Steven Jack Butala:
Before we get into it, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the landinvestors.com online community. It’s free.
Jill DeWit:
That would be so funny. We did an experiment. We raised one child on our own. We left the other child’s self-raise itself. Here’s the results. I think we all know how that went in. So funny. Okay. Brian wrote and the note says. This is really not a question, more of a story so you know where we’re going here.
Jill DeWit:
Hi all. I had made an offer on a property for around $2,500. The owner was trying to get more than that, and from my research, the $2,500 that I had offered wasn’t leaving enough margin for my comfort, so I certainly could not go above that. Not to mention there was trash on the property. So I respectfully and kindly told the gentleman that I really wish I could pay him. I’m guessing more than $2,500 for it, but there was just no way I could swing that. I also told him about the trash on it. It must’ve been a month or two and he reached back out, ask me if I had changed my mind. I told him, “Unfortunately, no, I still couldn’t do it.” He went silent for another month or so and then reached back out again. I told him that honestly the best I could do was $500.
Jill DeWit:
Okay, so I’m confused. He made it for $2,500, but then he said that was too high and he was … Brian was backpedaling or do you know?
Steven Jack Butala:
A few months past, a bunch of time passed. He said-
Jill DeWit:
Now, the best I could do is-
Steven Jack Butala:
The seller wanted more than 25. The offer was for 2,500. Brian was happy to pay him 2,500. The seller said, “Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.” And then …
Jill DeWit:
Okay, so then he wrote back. Then he came back and now he’s changed it. So Brian said, “All right,” I told him, “Honestly, now the best I could do is $500.” He accepted. I hired someone to clean up the trash for $100. I sold it for $4,500 a month later. Didn’t expect to get that much, but I did. Not all deals happen like this, but they’re definitely out there. I think my not needing it … I love. This is me. I’m so good at this.
Steven Jack Butala:
I’ve included this for you because I knew you were just going to get a charge out of it.
Jill DeWit:
I do. My not needing it helped with getting such a low price for it. And my patience, like Daniel explained with his example-
Steven Jack Butala:
This is a string of [inaudible 00:03:06]
Jill DeWit:
Okay, happy investing. So yeah. I think because I’ve been in this business now for years, it’s easy to … I know there’s going to be another one around the corner. When you’re new, you don’t always see that or feel it or know it. So you have a hard time letting go and saying that. But I promise you, once you get going, you get the mail out there, there’s going to be one. You’re going to open the mail tomorrow and go, “This one’s even better. Oh my gosh.”
Jill DeWit:
So that’s how I easily can say, “You know what? I’ve kind of forgot about this. This is kind of funny.” So how many months go by and the guy calls Brian back, and Brian’s like, “Oh, you’re still around? Shucks. I’ve moved on.” And he really didn’t need him now. And it’s like, “Shucks, I’ll take it off your hands for 500 because I really don’t want it.”
Steven Jack Butala:
This happens with Jill and I in the real world, in deal funding all the time. Properties come to us. Let’s say it’s $30,000. We know it’s worth 80, but 30 is a little bit of a stretch because it’s maybe some stuff that there’s some specific stuff that we don’t … So we go back to the seller and we say, “30 just doesn’t work, but 20 will work.” And the vast majority of the time they come back and say, “I got the seller to accept 20,” and now everybody’s happy, especially the manager. The seller doesn’t care. If they did, they wouldn’t have accepted the offer. And the seller in Brian’s example here doesn’t care.
Jill DeWit:
He just wanted to get rid of it.
Steven Jack Butala:
From 2,500 to 500?
Jill DeWit:
Exactly.
Steven Jack Butala:
And Brian didn’t care either. So now no one cares and a deal got done.
Jill DeWit:
Isn’t that great? So just to quote you. We haven’t said this in a long time. To quote Steven, you got to care less.
Steven Jack Butala:
You need to care a lot less about this. I say this to the kids all the time when they’re all … They’re just, they’re not so much anymore because they’re older. But when they’re just standing there in front of you bawling to the point where they can’t even breathe about some silly thing. And I said, “Why? Do you really care about this. Why?” And they’d kind of look at you like, “Yeah.” “Who the hell cares?” And they go back outside and play.
Jill DeWit:
Right. Exactly. I lost my thought. It’s okay. It’s all right.
Steven Jack Butala:
Today’s topic, Using Software to Price Your Mailer. This is the meat of the show.
Steven Jack Butala:
This show and this episode is not necessarily about pricing software, using software to price a mailer. There’s tools like this that are cropping up everywhere because after all, we’re all entrepreneurs here. We all are looking for a better way to buy and sell real estate or a faster way, or whatever it is that we’re working on. That’s just the nature of us as Americans and as human beings are to do it more efficiently and cheaper and more profitable.
Steven Jack Butala:
Because of who we attract in this group, we attract very, very bright people. And because of that, they’re in their own operations trying to find better and cheaper. So we have a lot of developers, software developers. So these tools are popping up like, “Hey Steve, did you know that there’s an easier way to do this? We can scrape this site over here. We can use this API over here. We can make this stuff very, very efficient.” To which I say, “I would love to see it because I’m all about efficient and cost-effective and faster.”
Steven Jack Butala:
Doing a mailer is not one of the things that I think I’m trying to improve on necessarily or do it faster or more efficiently. But yeah, I’ll take a look. So we schedule these times and we review these products with multiple people. And by the way, if you have a product that’s doing something faster, give me a call. I’m happy to sit down with you on Zoom or Skype or whatever and listen to what you have. But here’s been the results so far specifically on this pricing software in these sites. The data from which the software is pulling and extracting the stats to actually price a mailer isn’t robust enough.
Steven Jack Butala:
So when we price a mailer, it’s the Land Academy Show, and we price a land mailer and we go into let’s say Mojave County and look at everything that’s for sale in a certain range. And we use it. Maybe we check Land and Farm, maybe we check realtor.com. Maybe we’re lucky enough to close or complete an assessor data because the assessor’s participating in DataTree for that. So we’re pulling data from a lot of different places, and it doesn’t all necessarily line up. It’s data. It’s not perfect and it never will be.
Steven Jack Butala:
So I use my intuition and the people in our group that are very successful use their common sense, their intuition, their tests for reason to pull out the anomalies. Maybe a bunch of data got thrown in there because it’s a multiunit sale. Maybe there’s houses thrown in there because it was input wrong by the assessor or the real estate agent depending on which. So there’s just stuff that goes on.
Steven Jack Butala:
This software is a great idea. It doesn’t take into consideration any of that stuff. And when you have a dataset that only has, it’s a very small data set, let’s say it’s some county where there’s maybe 10 or 12 properties that are for sale, and maybe you have six or seven or eight over the last three years that have been sold, you’re not going to get the pricing … The software, it’s going to do its job. It’s going to take that data source and it’s going to say, “You know what? Your mailer should be X based on your parameters you put in.” But the data that it’s pulling from is completely incorrect and it defies common sense.
Steven Jack Butala:
So what happens when you use these tools? It gives you a false sense of security. So you go in and you find a county. You dump all the data in. It scrapes it. Five minutes later … No, five seconds later it says you should be offering $1,200 an acre for properties that are from five to 10 acres and that’s it. So you push the button. You sent it to offers to owners and you got, “Congratulations. Your mail went out.” Wow. That was easy. I’m going to go play with the kids. I thought Jack and Jill are constantly saying it takes like a whole Sunday to price a mailer.
Steven Jack Butala:
And so the mail goes out and every single offer you sent out gets signed. Oh, my gosh.
Jill DeWit:
Congratulations.
Steven Jack Butala:
I cracked it. This is the greatest thing ever. And you come to find out … And this is not a fictitious story. This is real. It was completely, the software that generated these offers is incorrect. The software itself is beautiful, but it was pulling on data that was just incomplete and there was no way to test it for reason.
Jill DeWit:
Right. I think of this, it’s like another example I have is ListSource. I can’t stand ListSource and these pre … It’s like do it right. That’s my whole point. Please don’t rely on this stuff and don’t rely on the ListSources. This is in this area. This is all the, whatever motivated seller lists. Hit the button. Not kidding.
Steven Jack Butala:
That’s a great example.
Jill DeWit:
It’s seriously. ListSource is famous for that. If you’re with us, you have RealQuest. You have the real robust. You can sit and check every little possible thing that you want up to like 300 something little nuances if you will. The assessed value, the exact size of the property. Do they owe any money? The zoning. There’s so many little things that you can check off in there. And then with houses it’s even more. The bedrooms, or the door is. Does it have a garage? It’s nutty. Don’t. Please don’t fall into these things because it’s really not … Like you just said in a different way. I just said it’s not doing it right. It’s taking for me the fast and easier way out. And I think you’re going to end up wasting your time and wasting your money when it comes back.
Jill DeWit:
I also look at it like … It’s like if you would say, if you got LandAcademy and hand the program over to a VA and said, “Here, learn this. Go price a mailer and let me know how it goes.” Are you going to do that? No. You don’t want to do that. Or even just kind of think you know what you’re doing and tell them, “Do these four things and price a thing for me.” I don’t want you to do that. You shouldn’t be doing that. And that’s, it’s not what the pros do.
Jill DeWit:
Let’s talk about this too. The guys in our group, the real heavy hitters are not relying on those tools. They are really careful and conscientious about the energy and the thought and the methodology. Thank you. I kept … Tripping on my own words here, of what goes into these mailers, and that’s what makes the difference.
Steven Jack Butala:
So it’s not just pricing software, but that just happens to be the title of the show. As technology progresses, a new thing’s going to come out next year that theoretically makes it easier.
Steven Jack Butala:
Let’s look at PATLive as an example. For years and years and years, I had somebody in my office, or in the very beginning I answered my own phone. I’d send all these mailers out and I would take in the hate with people calling. Everybody knows how it goes. A bunch of people are upset. Then a bunch of people sign them. Then you do a bunch of deals.
Steven Jack Butala:
So when PATLive came up, or just the notion of having somebody else answer your phone that’s outside of your office, or maybe even not in the same country, it was very leery. But we tested it. It turned out it was a great idea. It filtered out … It very effectively took out a tremendous amount of time and energy and work that didn’t directly lead to a deal anyway. So now PATLive, we are a licensed provider for them. Or not. We’re not a licensed provider, but we’re in bed with them, and heavily recommend them, and don’t get anything from that-
Jill DeWit:
We don’t get any money from them.
Steven Jack Butala:
Not even a dollar.
Jill DeWit:
We have a …
Steven Jack Butala:
We just have a great relationship with them-
Jill DeWit:
That’s it.
Steven Jack Butala:
And they do a great job for our members.
Jill DeWit:
They offer great discounts to our people for us.
Steven Jack Butala:
So that’s a great example of technology that we progressed with. We looked at it. It really works. We use it ourselves for this and for other businesses. I’m not dogging on, I’m not, I would never dog on a new way to do something faster, easier, and more efficient.
Jill DeWit:
Correct. True.
Steven Jack Butala:
I just don’t, and a software that, these pricing software modules or websites, the concept is great. You just can’t do it without testing it for reason. It’s not going to … In the end it’s giving you a false sense of, okay. That’s my concern. Because if you do your own mailer and you learn how to do your own mailer and you teach the people that are in your organization how to do a mailer, if that’s where you’re going, you’re going to win. It’s an insurance policy for sure. I don’t know why you wouldn’t. We live and die by that number, that offered dollar amount that’s on those offers that, let’s face it, you spend 50 cents to send out to see if they’re going to send it back. You want it to be right.
Jill DeWit:
I know.
Steven Jack Butala:
There’s some stuff to horse around with and improve on. Pricing mailers is not one of them.
Jill DeWit:
Yeah. There’s just some things you can’t give up control. Do you think it will ever, ever, ever, ever be there?
Steven Jack Butala:
I think that in the very end, these pricing tools may shave 10% or 20% of the time off, but you still have to go through a huge process of testing for reason, but my biggest concern … Thank you for asking. My biggest concern is not the pricing models themselves or the software. My concern is why do you want to use it? Why do you want this to be easy? Why do you want it to be faster and more simple? Why? This part of it.
Jill DeWit:
I understand.
Steven Jack Butala:
And I don’t think that saving time with something that’s so important and trusting something is … I don’t think that’s okay. I think it’s too important. When it comes to PATLive, there’s no direct relationship. Or maybe there is. Maybe I’m using PATLive and I know that if somebody else answers my phone, I might lose a deal. I might lose one deal because they didn’t answer the phone right. Somebody got frustrated with somebody’s accent, if they have one. I don’t know. I’m not sure. But I do know that after using PATLive, we get a lot of deals. The number of deals that get to us that are real deals are about the same as if we answered our own phone and we saved a ton of time. So with these pricing modules-
Jill DeWit:
And money.
Steven Jack Butala:
All the tests that I’ve run on a pricing module, when they come back, it’s like this is … And if you look at the string in land investors, everybody else says the same thing. It’s like, this pricing module picked out prices that I should send out that aren’t even anywhere relevant at all if I did my own mailer.
Jill DeWit:
Right.
Steven Jack Butala:
So can I get to that point? Yeah.
Jill DeWit:
That’s a good test. Yeah. If you want to see, go to your last mailer. Think about how much energy you put into it. Run this through it and see where it comes out and that will tell you.
Steven Jack Butala:
Wow. You just … We could have had the whole show could have been that sentence.
Jill DeWit:
I know. I tried. I tried to save you all. I really tried. Steven just had this thing he had to get out. Welcome to my world.
Jill DeWit:
Happy you could join us today. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we are right here on the Land Academy Show. Tuesdays and Thursdays we are right next door on the House Academy Show.
Steven Jack Butala:
Tomorrow the episode on the House Academy Show is called: How Much Deferred Maintenance is Too Much? You are not alone in your real estate ambition. There’s a point in a house deal. Jill and I were just watching this, really laughing to ourselves this morning on this morning news show about this falling down shack in …
Jill DeWit:
San Francisco.
Steven Jack Butala:
San Francisco that just sold for $2 million. And of course they shot all the shots of it. It’s the biggest pile of crap house there ever was. And everybody, these are news people that are anchors that don’t know anything about-
Jill DeWit:
About real estate.
Steven Jack Butala:
Certainly about real estate. And they were all laughing about it, like do you know? But everybody listening to the show, they know it’s a dirt deal. We know. There’s a point where there’s so much deferred maintenance and house’s is just in such disrepair, it needs to be bulldozed and becomes a dirt deal and valued that way. We’ll talk about that tomorrow.
Jill DeWit:
The Land Academy Show remains commercial free for you, our loyal listeners. So wherever you’re watching, wherever you’re listening, please subscribe and rate us there.
Steven & Jill:
We are Steve and Jill.
Steven Jack Butala:
Information.
Jill DeWit:
And inspiration.
Steven Jack Butala:
To buy undervalued property.

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