How to Handle Calls from Old Mailers (LA 1263)

How to Handle Calls from Old Mailers (LA 1263)

Steven Butala:
Steven and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:
Happy Friday.

Steven Butala:
Welcome to the Land Academy Show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala.

Jill DeWit:
And I’m Jill DeWit, broadcasting from sunny southern California.

Steven Butala:
Today, Jill and I talk about how to handle calls from old mailers.

Jill DeWit:
And old people.

Steven Butala:
Right now, in this market, and it always happens in downturn, everybody’s, you send all these old offers out, and a pretty material percentage of people stick them in a file somewhere and they just keep them for a rainy day. They don’t respond, they don’t do anything, they just keep them there. Stuff happens. Maybe they pass away, maybe they’re-

Jill DeWit:
Maybe a virus hits and they lost their job.

Steven Butala:
Yeah, maybe a virus hits. And they say, you know what, there’s a property-

Jill DeWit:
Maybe they’re sick of where they are.

Steven Butala:
I think I got offered 14 grand from those people a couple years ago, I don’t know what I did with it. I’m going to go dig for that. They keep it in the same files they keep their tax bills. We’re never going to use this property, we bought it 10 years ago, Dad bought it 25 years ago, let’s just turn it into cash.

Jill DeWit:
Yep.

Steven Butala:
That’s what this is all about. Jill’s an expert at converting these old mailers into money.

Jill DeWit:
I’m getting these calls every day.

Steven Butala:
Yep.

Jill DeWit:
It’s awesome.

Steven Butala:
Before we get into it, though, let’s take a question posted by one of our members on the LandInvestors.com online community, it’s free.

Jill DeWit:
Joey wrote, “Hello all pro members. We have a seller that needs to sell several thousand properties. We have years and years of experience in single family, but don’t have the transactional experience or capital for this, and are looking to partner with someone who does a lot of volume and has extensive experience and a team in place to make it happen. The properties are in different entities in different counties in X state. Hit me up if you’ve got what it takes, and love to work together to make this a win-win for us. Joey.”

Steven Butala:
There’s no question here, and I already responded to this person.

Jill DeWit:
Cool.

Steven Butala:
Because this is right up our alley.

Jill DeWit:
Call Jill, she’s got time.

Steven Butala:
[crosstalk 00:02:00] I’ll review the deal first before it gets to you.

Jill DeWit:
Okay, cool.

Steven Butala:
Because it’s going to be a lot of work.

Jill DeWit:
Okay.

Steven Butala:
This can take days, to analyze these deals, and again-

Jill DeWit:
But it’s profitable.

Steven Butala:
I’m hardwired to set up for this stuff. So there’s no question here, my point is this: this is what happens. In the land business, you can hit home runs like this. This is a home run. I can guarantee it right now, we will make an offer on this, and it will be a win-win for everybody involved, specifically Joey here and us.

Jill DeWit:
Yep.

Steven Butala:
This seller’s just, he’s exactly the situation we just described. This virus hit, they need some dough.

Jill DeWit:
Exactly.

Steven Butala:
And where these properties are located is a very new and interesting place for us, it’s not the same old, same old out on the West Coast.

Jill DeWit:
I’m familiar with that part of the country right now.

Steven Butala:
I know you are.

Jill DeWit:
So that’s good.

Steven Butala:
So this is what’s possible, that’s my point. It’s very, very likely that at some point, I’ve done probably eight or 10 deals in my career like this, all of them we netted well over one or two million bucks on each deal.

Jill DeWit:
And it can tie up for a long time, which is … nothing with that.

Steven Butala:
Yep.

Jill DeWit:
Cool.

Steven Butala:
Today’s topic, how to handle calls from old mailers, this is the meat of the show.

Jill DeWit:
Many of our members have been with us since we started this whole Land Academy back in 2015. You started this in the ’90s, I came along years later, and we are now … and they are getting calls, so our members are getting calls from, what, five years ago. I frequently get calls from 10 or more years ago, and just like you said … are you looking at a mailer right now?

Steven Butala:
Yeah, while you’re talking I’m going to show people. Go ahead.

Jill DeWit:
You have one. Cool. That’s very sweet. Sorry, I got distracted there.

Steven Butala:
This is a return letter.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Butala:
With two cabin properties in California, they just want to get rid of them.

Jill DeWit:
Cool.

Steven Butala:
I didn’t mean to interrupt you. It’s probably distracting.

Jill DeWit:
No, not at all.

Steven Butala:
Plus, what I just did is awesome on an audio-only podcast.

Jill DeWit:
Yes, this is great.

Steven Butala:
It’s real helpful for everyone.

Jill DeWit:
Okay. As I was saying, as Steven alluded to, they get our offers, they’re either interested or they’re not, and there’s a healthy amount of people that they see our offers, they recognize how … they look us up and it’s professional, they’re not ready to sell, but they put it in their file for a rainy day. Well, guess what? Now more than ever-

Steven Butala:
It’s raining.

Jill DeWit:
It is, it’s raining. And they don’t want the property, they don’t need the property, they need the cash, things happen, things change. So here we are. Now, what do you do when these guys are calling you back from a mailer that, by the way, that reference number, you don’t even remember what it was, good luck finding it. They’re calling you now going, hi, you sent me an offer back in 2007, or 2015, it doesn’t matter, I want to sell.

Jill DeWit:
How do I handle those? Well, here’s what you do. Number one, they know your offer price is probably going to be different. And I do, just in my conversations, kind of remind them of that, just to make sure we’re on the same page. I’m like, wow, you’ve got a letter from when? Boy, we were mailing that part of the country back in 2005. I’m sure you know what I was offering back then might be a little different today, but let’s take a look at that. So that’s pretty much how I get that out of the way.

Jill DeWit:
Number two, remember that your time is super-valuable, especially right now. I’ve got my normal mailers going out, now I’ve got these coming back? I really got to be on it and make some quick decisions. So in a perfect world, you always have something open or available, have your laptop around if you’re traveling, or maybe, hopefully you’re at your office and you can quickly … I want you to, right now, if you’re not good at it, I want you to get good at it. The guy’s calling up, he gives you a reference number, we all know that you can’t find it because it’s from so long ago, it doesn’t matter. You can just ask them about the property. What state is it in, what’s the county, what’s the parcel number, do you see on there something that says APN? Do you have a tax record nearby? Something you can look at that we can get the parcel number?

Jill DeWit:
I want you to be looking it up, be comfortable talking to them on the phone for a few minutes while you look it up. You can do this in just seconds, really. Another tip too, by the way, if you really are in trouble and they can’t find it, I will quickly jump into Title Pro as a Land Academy or House Academy member. You have access to Title Pro 24/7, that’s my favorite, to go in there real quick and search by owner name. I can put in the owner name and the county and zero it down. Usually, I’ll have a list of 20 properties that I can go, oh, there it is. And they go, yeah, that’s it. Now I’m looking at it, and I take the parcel number from Title Pro and I pop it into Neighbor Scoop real quick, and now I’m looking at it the map and I have all my details as normal.

Jill DeWit:
I want you to be picky. If you’re not buying in that area anymore, it’s okay to say … we have a few areas that, these mailers are so old that it might be a little teeny lot that, back in the day, we would spend a couple hundred dollars for them and sell them for a thousand. And right now, gosh, it’s really not worth my time, and it’s okay to say that. You might even want to just pass it off to somebody else. If you have the time or the manpower, the energy, you want to spread the love and give it to a new Land Academy member that’s starting out, you could jot it down and just say, hey, I’ll see if someone else is interested and they’ll give you a call, kind of thing. That would be a nice thing to do.

Jill DeWit:
No matter what, I want you to look at the property, spend a few minutes, talk to the person and try to make a quick decision-

Steven Butala:
That’s right.

Jill DeWit:
-while they’re on the phone right there. At the very same time, so here’s how I want it to go. “Mr. Smith, thank you so much, I appreciate you hung onto my letter. You know what, I am still interested in this property.” As I’m looking at it right now and I’m toggling over here, what you’re doing is you’re looking at it on Neighbor Scoop, you’re probably looking at it on Google Earth, seeing what’s what down the area. You also just threw it into, I don’t know, Land Watch, Land and Farm, Realtor, somewhere that you’re looking at it just to kind of get an idea of what’s for sale in the area, what’s moving now.

Jill DeWit:
And you can quickly, we do this all the time on our weekly member calls, say here’s what I would offer. And make it a number that feels really good to you. I want you to offer something a little bit nutty that, if he says yes to it, you got to buy it. And you’re going to say, you know what, I know I offered $8,995.32 for it back in 2015. Here’s what I’m willing to do right now: $5,000 cash net to you, and I can have a notary out there next week. Does that work? And they’re going to go, shucks, really? And I’m going to go, yeah. And they’re going to go, okay.

Steven Butala:
They’re going to say okay.

Jill DeWit:
That’s a lot of how it happens.

Steven Butala:
90% of the time, they’re going to say okay.

Jill DeWit:
Then I want you to go, while we’re all still on the phone, I want you to go, awesome. What’s the best place for them to come on, and start writing down the details and make it happen right now. What day, give me a couple days next week that are good for you, and I’ll make a notary happen. So that way, you’ve made the deal, you’ve got all their information, you’re staring at ownership. You’ve got all these questions figured out right now on the same phone call, and you’re putting the deal together.

Jill DeWit:
And so all you’re going to end up doing, by the time you hang up the phone with Mr. Smith right here, is hooking up a notary, and you’ve got two windows, you know he’s available Thursday afternoons and Fridays before 2:00. All you got to do is find a notary that works at that time, and the only phone call you’re going to call back is in a couple hours or the next day saying, all right, here’s the deal, this notary’s going to come to your house, here’s when he’s coming, they’ll have the deed ready to go, I’m just confirming you want the cashier’s check in this name, and I’ll take care of the rest.

Steven Butala:
Here’s what you don’t want to do: “Oh, hi, Mr. Smith, thanks for calling. What’s the APN? Okay, let me find something in my purse to write it down. One second, I’m in the grocery store right now. Okay, I’m going to take a look. Can you email it to me? I’m really busy and I’m going to call you tomorrow and let you know if we want to do the deal.” If you’re in a situation where you can’t write anything down, which is all of us all the time, or you’re in the car, whatever. Have a canned speech that goes like this, I’m a huge fan of these canned speeches.

Steven Butala:
“Thank you so much for calling, Mr. Smith. I do remember sending that letter to you in 2005. We’ve sent a lot of letters out and I appreciate you calling me back. We want to buy a property, or I wouldn’t have sent you a letter. It’s just a matter of price now, because as you know, the markets have changed and I need to confirm the … what was the price that we offered you again? I don’t remember. Oh, it was $8,000? Okay. That sounds reasonable. As soon as I get back to my office in a couple hours I’m going to check the price. What’s the best place to call you? We’ll try to wrap this up today.”

Steven Butala:
You want to have confidence, you want to … this is a huge issue with brand-new people that I can’t, please listen if you’re serious about this. As fast as you can start talking about price, that’s as fast as you’re going to get the deal done, or you’re going to find out it doesn’t work. I’ve seen new people, new person after new person after new person fail at this for the beginning part of their career because they just don’t want to talk about money.

Jill DeWit:
They spend of hours of due diligence for nothing. [crosstalk 00:12:15]

Steven Butala:
-if it’s because of how they were raised, I don’t know. But I know that, in that very first, at least, minute, maybe two minutes of talking to the person, you want to say some version of, “Does the price still work for you on the letter that we sent?” They’re going to say, oh my God, no. You sent a letter for $4,000, I need 40,000. Okay, thanks very much, have a great day. And it’s over. So you don’t waste your time, like Jill said. Or you get them to a point where they’re at that $4,000 number, whatever it ends up being.

Steven Butala:
So price, price, price when you get to talk to these people, number one. And number two, if they identify with you, everybody identifies with Jill, which is why she’s so good at this. I did this for years myself on my coffee table, so I know what works and what doesn’t. I just don’t happen to enjoy it at this point in my life, like Jill does. I like to do the data piece. But I know what they respond to. They want confidence, they want to know that you’re going to follow through with what you say, and price, in almost all cases, is not their primary goal. Their primary goal is to just get it out of their life and get some cash. $12,000, at that point, or $4,000 to them is probably not going to matter as much as you think.

Jill DeWit:
It’s true.

Steven Butala:
Which is your profit margin in a lot of cases. And they want it to be easy and they want to trust you, and so you need to practice, practice, practice, practice, I think, in a mirror or with your spouse.

Jill DeWit:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:
Role-playing. Jill and I have done this.

Jill DeWit:
Or with other members.

Steven Butala:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jill DeWit:
Do it with other members, do it with each other. We’ve done it before on our calls, like role-play. We’ve done it here, we’ve role-played.

Steven Butala:
I just did it.

Jill DeWit:
Sure.

Steven Butala:
We spend so much time talking about data and pricing and all that, and probably not enough time talking about the Jill side of this, which is how to talk to these people. Actually, it was Jill’s idea.

Jill DeWit:
Thank you.

Steven Butala:
It’s imperative.

Jill DeWit:
Yeah, I brought up the show on purpose because I’m feeling it now, so I’m sure if you’ve been with us for more than five minutes, you are too. And you know what’s funny? This is … I’ll end on this. It’s funny people think like, oh, that mailer didn’t work out, I didn’t get anything out of it. Guess what? Now it’s working out, because the mailer you sent three years ago that you think you goofed up, they’re calling you back. How do you track that? Because it happens. It’s good.

Steven Butala:
Yeah. That’s never hit our statistics, there’s no way to track it.

Jill DeWit:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s happening. So just be ready and make quick decisions, that’s my best thing, too. Happy you could join us today. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, we are right here on the Land Academy Show. Join us Tuesdays and Thursdays over on the House Academy show.

Steven Butala:
Next week, join us on a Land Academy Show for another interesting episode. You are not alone in your real estate ambition.

Steven Butala:
Craziest two months of my life.

Jill DeWit:
Which … oh, the last ones? Yeah.

Steven Butala:
With the SARS and the looting. What’s next? Are aliens going to land?

Jill DeWit:
I think zombies.

Steven Butala:
Zombies.

Jill DeWit:
I’m voting zombies, that’s what I think is coming.

Steven Butala:
What if there’s a third stage. You get the SARS, then you get the COVID, then you become a zombie, only certain percentage of people.

Jill DeWit:
Right. See, it could happen. They’re testing for zombies. Right now.

Steven Butala:
We have to make light of this. It’s a very, very serious thing.

Jill DeWit:
I know.

Steven Butala:
We’re not insensitive people, but we are joking around a little bit. We don’t mean any harm to anyone.

Jill DeWit:
No, we really don’t. It’s our way of coping. The Land Academy Show remains commercial-free for you, our loyal listener. So wherever you’re watching, wherever you’re listening, please subscribe and rate us there. We’re Steve and Jill.

Steven Butala:
We’re Steve and Jill. Information-

Jill DeWit:
-and inspiration.

Steven Butala:
To buy under-valued property.

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