The Art Of Writing A Book: Be A Trusted Expert In Your Niche with Max Keller
Episode 420: The Art Of Writing A Book: Be A Trusted Expert In Your Niche with Max Keller
Will writing a book give you credibility in your field? In this episode, Max Keller, author, investor, and speaker, joins Mitch Stephen as they talk about positioning yourself as a trusted real estate investment expert by writing your own book. From math teacher to real estate investor, get to know Max as he shares his journey and the lessons he learned after getting his teeth kicked in. Max and Mitch dive into the special niche where Max found great success as he shares some of his own strategies and the superpower of his book. Tune in and learn how you can position yourself as a trusted and credible expert in your own niche.
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I’m here with Max Keller. We’re going to talk to you about the fine art of writing a book, making yourself the trusted expert in the topic, and getting business and leads from places that you never dreamt of. Books are amazing things. The credibility that you can get from writing your own book and being a published author is tremendous. I can speak firsthand on this. I can tell you my book series My Life & 1,000 Houses and my first book, My Life & 1,000 Houses: Failing Forward to Financial Freedom took me places that I never ever imagined I would be. I met people I never imagined I would meet and some were famous, most weren’t, but they were all uniquely perfect for my network and exploded what I was doing. I learned a lot from writing a book. I also tried to teach a lot to people who were not as far along as I was on the topic. Max, how are you doing?
I’m good. How are you doing, sir?
I’m doing great. Where are you physically sitting now?
Fort Worth, Texas.
You are going to talk to us about writing a book and you have a giveaway a little way down the road. It’s on a checklist on how to write a book or the checklist on writing a book. I’ll let you explain it. Tell us a little bit about how you got into the real estate business and then how that morphed into the niche of how to write a great book.
I was here in Fort Worth, Texas teaching math and doing well at it. I wanted to make more money and I was looking for a side job in the summertime. My friend started getting into real estate and he told me that he started buying rental properties. My original goal when I got into real estate was to buy maybe 1 or 2 rentals a year, just to keep working as a teacher because I liked it. I taught algebra at an inner-city school and it was a great job. I loved it but I want to have a little bit more. I started getting into real estate and liked it. I started to take over. I did a deal number one and then deal number two, seller finance. I kept going from there. I met some great mentors and decided to go full-time. Fast forward to 2017, I came on two things. I had a sticking point and then a new discovery and that’s where the book came in. It was 2017 I had been flipping, foreclosed to three years at that point. I was doing good. I realized that my business is only as good as the next deal that I found. I needed a lot of leads to keep up the pace that I was at. If I didn’t have enough leads, it was a big problem. I wouldn’t have deals. I noticed that my return on my marketing was going down, which was not good. I was trying to figure out what to do.
What I was doing was everything. For my marketing, I was using normal websites. I was using bandit signs, pretty much every list that I could get my hands on to, cold calling, letters, and tax delinquents. I was working every list, every neighborhood I was spread out and I was getting results here in the DFW area, but I was noticing that my results were unpredictable and I needed predictability. I felt like I was wasting a lot of time. When I got started in real estate, I felt like I hadn’t dialed in and I was using my time wisely. When the returns started going down, it felt like I was chasing deals. It didn’t take me long to figure out what the problem was. I was chasing the exact same motivated sellers that all the other investors and wholesalers were chasing. I was sending them the same message and I was like another investor in the stack, essentially.
I would get picked sometimes, which felt great. I got my marketing money back and another 5x or 6x on the marketing spend. That was good. What I was noticing in Dallas were some people who are newer to the business or landlords, they’re willing to pay a lot more loan-to-value for these properties than I was willing to do. At first, my ceiling was 70% loan-to-value and then it was 75% and then 78%. It kept creeping up. I was a math teacher so I was like, “I know this is a numbers game. I know I need to play the game in order to win, but I don’t want to overpay for deals. I don’t want to go out of business.” It started to feel like a grind. I didn’t regret going into real estate full-time, but it definitely wasn’t all that I thought it was.
It’s a job, isn’t it? It’s not as easy as they make it look like on HGTV and A&E where they just go out and in 30 minutes they’ve gone from distraught house to a $50,000 check, which by the way, 99% of the time that check isn’t even true. Ask me how I know, A&E followed me around for flip that house years ago. When I saw the insides of that, you had to fabricate a lot of stuff, the least of which was the profit. The profit on houses.
That’s what I wanted more of. What I did was I made a list of the three criteria that I wanted in an ideal deal to make it a win for me. My three criteria were, I wanted a high-profit deal. I want to make good money on my deals. I wanted deals where the seller that I was working with had minimal resistance to my offer. They weren’t fighting me and I wanted to have fun too. I wanted to work with the seller. I feel like I was adding value. At that point, I was a deal, 60% or 70%. I made a list of all my deals and I was like, “Which one of these deals fits all three of those criteria? Profit, it was easy to work with the seller and it was fun.” It was good and bad news. The bad news was that most of my deals didn’t meet all three criteria. That’s why I was frustrated. The good news was that I did identify a pattern in the ones that did meet all three. They were all senior homeowners. They were motivated sellers, but they’re all seniors. I was like, “This is the deal that I want to get here in DFW. This is the group of people that meet those criteria. Where did I get these seniors from?”
I went back and looked at what list they were on. What I found that was interesting to me was that they weren’t the typical motivated seller profile. Most of the folks that I had bought their homes from, they weren’t on the tax delinquent lists, there weren’t burnt out landlords, the house wasn’t vacant. They weren’t in foreclosure. Most of them didn’t even have a mortgage. Another thing I noticed was the senior homeowners, not only was it the highest profit deals and they had little resistance to my offer and I liked helping them. The houses were in good shape. There were like little time capsules, structurally, they were fine. They didn’t have twenty people living in them and beating the house up. It was like a little old lady living there with 1981 Sears carpet. It was a cosmetic rehab. They were smaller houses and blue-collar neighborhoods. I was selling those to my landlord cash buyers. I was doing well on them. I was like, “This is who I want to get more of. I feel like it’s a totally untapped market.
They’re not on these lists. What lists are they on?” I went and looked back at where I had gotten a hold of these people. What I noticed was most of them came by accident. Some of them found my website, some of them found my bandit sign. One lady got my postcard by accident. Another one I was trying to buy this house in Haltom City that was vacant. I went next door to talk to the neighbor and that’s how I met her. It was a lot of serendipitous, things like that. I was like, “I can’t run a business like that.” I need to figure out how to find more of these folks. I need to solve one more mystery. If I solve this mystery, I felt like I could unlock this group of motivated sellers that a lot of people aren’t talking about very much.
I called one of the sellers that sold me their house, who I know for a fact had an offer that was about $10,000 more than I was offering and I was like, “I need to figure out why these folks took my deal.” At the time, I didn’t want to ask because I was afraid it would blow up the deal. I called up, it wasn’t the lady because she was at an assisted living house. It was the son. I said, “I’m Max. Do you remember me?” He’s like, “Yeah, I remember you.” I go, “I think you told me you had a deal from someone else that was $10,000 higher. I was wondering, why did you decide to pick me?” He goes, “Great question, you were genuine. When you came to help us, you seem like you cared about us. You didn’t just want to do the deal. The other guy that we were talking to, they were like, ‘When are you going to move out? Hurry up and sign the contract.'” They said to us, “We trusted you and that trust and you genuinely caring about us.” I helped them find another place to live. I was adding a little bit more value to the deal. They were like, “That was more important to us than $10,000.”
It’s not cliché. If you go there with a servant’s heart and you’re trying to do the best you can for these people, people pick up on that, it’s karma and aura, something you radiate. The jury is out. Do hard closers miss more than they get or does it balance out in the end? One thing for sure is you have to be the person you are. If you’re not cutthroat or a hard closer guy, then you’ve got to go the other way and learn how to be the people person and enclose your fair share of the deals that way. I’ve often wondered if I’ve lost deals because I’m not a hard closer. Where would the numbers be? Would I be way up if I was a hard closer instead of a nice guy or am I way up because I’m a nice guy and I’m not a hard closer? I don’t know and I don’t care because I’m not a hard closer at heart. Why would I want to try to be something I’m not whether the numbers are higher on one end or the other?
It doesn’t matter because it’s way too stressful to try to be some other kind of closer than the closer that you are. I prefer to be an advocate for people, go in there and one of our marketing tactics is to say, “Let us help you keep your home.” We will go with all our might and try to help figure out if there’s a way with the set of circumstances that whoever called has, if we could get them to keep their home, we know that 9 out of 10 of them, there’s no way in hell a magician couldn’t help them keep their home. We’re going there to try to find if they’re 1 out of 10 and we’re going to figure it out if they are. If they are, we’re going to show them how to do it. That 1 out of 10, half of the time, they say, “I don’t want to go through all those hoops. Just buy my house.”
We have the same style. I would spot that too because I noticed that people and some of my masterminds, it seemed like it was a lot cooler or more popular and successful to be that hard closer. Being the genuine you is always going to work better. For me, I related to seniors well because I have a close relationship with my grandma. She helped take care of me when I was growing up. From age fifteen to when I was 30 or 31 when she passed away, I took care of her. I was the person who was helping her pay bills and took her to church. That’s where I met my wife. My grandma is my best friend. I felt like when I was going to meet with these motivated seniors that I was meeting like with my grandma. I bought all my homes for motivated seniors after my grandma passed away.
I felt like I was meeting with her and a lot of them didn’t have a grandson who went to business school that could be their advocate for them. My strategy was closing on a senior’s house. It’s not ever something I was going to do to someone. It was going to be something I would do for someone. That’s our mantra. I would never pressure or frighten them because I wouldn’t want somebody doing that to my grandma. What I was noticing, and this is how the book happened, because I didn’t expect this in a million years. I’m dyslexic. I didn’t find that out until I was an adult. I read seven books my whole life because it was hard to read. When I got involved in real estate and I started meeting people like you and other folks online, and then in my masterminds, I was noticing folks read a lot of books. I got diagnosed with dyslexia.
I didn’t like to read. Reading wasn’t my forte. I wasn’t good at it. Ever since I published the book, I know there are at least six English teachers rolling over in their grave.
I don’t want to spell the ending. I’ll tell you how it happened first, anything is possible and there’s a lot of leverage. What I was noticing was the premise of me having great success buying these seniors homes and it changing my business was educating first. I was noticing that when I was learning more options for these people. Helping them stay in their home, the options, and senior housing, connecting them the resources. It was putting them at ease and I was also closing more deals. By learning more and adding more value to the deal, I was separating myself from 95% of the competition but there was a downside and this is what I had to fix. The downside, I was in these folks living room sometimes for 2 to 4 hours. They’ve been in their home for 30, 40 years. They don’t know all the ways to sell their home. They don’t understand maybe how to keep up the maintenance and systems in their home. If their mobility is in trouble, they don’t know all the options in senior housing and when they find out about them, they’re overwhelmed and it’s a price tag they’re unfamiliar with. What happened was this was the big game-changer. I was buying a home in Richland Hills, Texas.
In the evening, the daughter came over there for work for the contract signing and I was there with the mom and the daughter. The daughter said, “You’ve helped our family much. We don’t know where we would have been without you. You have figured all of this out.” For a year they’d been trying to figure this out. They couldn’t figure it out. They go, “You know a lot about this. Have you ever thought about writing a book about this? You should write a book about this.” I was like, “No, I don’t think so.” We did the signing and everything and I got the contract. When I went to the car, I was like, “That’s a good idea.” In 2019, I’ve gone on a quest to figure out all this knowledge to help the people that I’ve identified as my best-motivated seller by far, it’s not even close. A book would help me go from the person who has knowledge of senior housing to the senior housing expert. What I did was I made a list of all the questions that I was getting asked in these living rooms for 2 to 4 hours, what the problems were.
I wrote what the solutions were, the pros and cons of each strategy. That was the first book Home To Home: The Step-By-Step Senior Housing Guide. I printed out about 100 copies. I started giving it away and it became a couple of things for me. It became my new ultimate business card. We’ll talk about this more when we go into the actual like, “Why this is such a superpower?” I don’t know you’ve experienced it too. I was getting instant credibility, instant trust when I was giving my motivated sellers, my prospects and my book. Being identified as the senior housing expert position made me differently when I was going on the appointment. Before I go to the appointments, I looked like everybody else in the stack of mail.
What we do still on our home buying business is, when somebody gives us a call, the first thing we do is send a copy of our book by courier to their house and say, “I’m going to come over in a couple of days to help you with your problem. I want you to read chapter three before we come over, it’s all the ways to sell your house, pros and cons of each.” Like you said, trying to help people stay in their homes. Chapter four is all about how to stay in their home. I say, “Can you read chapter three before we come over?” They’re like, “This guy wrote a book? He’s sending me an autograph copy. What’s going on here?” They’re like, “I can read it.” What happens is, they read the book, we send it over, you go over there a couple of days and three things happen. One is they stopped calling other people. Now they have this person that looks different than everybody else because most of the competition doesn’t have a book and they’re not positioned as an expert so the people are getting those deals instead of them. Two, the people that they already called or were considering, they don’t anymore because they already have the person who wrote the book on this subject. The most important, three is that when I go into the appointment, they don’t just read chapter three, they read the whole thing because they’re interested.
How long is this book?
It’s short. By pages, it’s about 130, but it’s got big spacing. It takes about four hours to go through the whole thing. What we notice is, when we show up to the folk’s houses, there are all these tabs in it and they’ve gone through it.
You answered specific questions they had the tabs on if they’re not clear.
We go through it at the beginning. I’ll go onto their home. They already know me. They feel comfortable with me. Seniors are worried about security. They’re not sure who to trust. They trust me at that point. They’ve gotten to read my story. They saw the picture of me and my grandma on her 90th birthday. They feel like I’m the person that was here to help them. It relieves pressure and stress. I’m getting a lot more exclusive deals. That’s some of the benefits and there are some more, we’ll talk about in our conversation. It’s been a huge game-changer for our home buying business by far, but it’s also been a lot of fun.
I see in the background Home To Home. There are different pictures on the covers.
The way that our system works is, we have a company that will connect you with all the contact info at the end. First of all, I wrote this book for myself. I use it for me. This is my new business card. This is my referral tool. I started to get speaking opportunities. If we have time, I’ll tell you about what that was like. Speaking at local community centers and churches and getting deals from that, it’s like, “I didn’t know any of this was going to happen.” I didn’t read a lot. I started reading more and then I started writing books. I then go to masterminds and my friends that were like, “Max, we see what you’re doing and we like it. Is there a way that we can get involved in what you’re doing here?” My home buying business is on my shirt here, that’s what I was doing. I wasn’t planning on ever doing anything publishing-related or having anything else out there. It evolved. God has a plan for everybody and it just happened that way. You want these other covers are, how that happened? What we do is, we have two different ways that we help people with our publishing company. There are two kinds of real estate investors that reach out to us. I call them the DIY and the ROI. The DIY real estate investor, they like to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty and work on the rehabs themselves sometimes.
They like to work in the business.
It takes a little longer to get your return on investment from doing that, there’s a little more trial and error, but if folks enjoy that process and it’s satisfying for them, there’s nothing wrong with that. We help that group of folks. The other type of investor that comes to us is I call them the ROI, a real estate investor. For them, time is money and they leverage a team. It’s working on the business, not in the business. They have other people that get the rehabs done. Other people do the closing stuff. They can focus on getting more deals and more dollars. For the DIY, a real estate investor, we wrote the Real Estate Investing Book Writing Checklist and it’s a book that breaks down the process.
If you’re reading this, you’re a DIY real estate investor and you’re like, “I want to write a book to my ideal niche, my ideal motivated sellers.” For the ROI real estate investors, we have licensed content that we allow people to plug into. That’s what this is. This is my original book Home To Home. This is what I give out in my home buying business and I give it to people. For some people, they don’t want to spend hundreds of hours writing their own book. This is Mike and Marissa, he’s a real estate investor in Chicago. We have some licensed content that we allow him to plug into. Instead of him investing hundreds of hours writing his own book, he doesn’t want to do that. He wants to go faster or speed. He’s already doing business and marketing and he’s already identified. If he attaches this to what he’s already doing, it’s going to make it better. We have a network of trusted experts all over the nation that we plug them into our deal flow book, which is this niche book.
We have another smaller licensed content for people who are getting started. My business partner, Brant Phillips in Houston wrote an amazing educational teaching book on private lending. People are interested in getting more money for their deals. We have some licensed content that people can plug into that teaches an ideal potential private money lender how this business works and educates them. That’s how the other faces came on there. They write a part of the book, not the whole thing because it’s a reference guide. It doesn’t change that much across the nation and it allows them to go out and be that advocate like you were saying, Mitch, that word you use is huge. A lot of folks are intimidated. They think, “I don’t have enough deals to be an expert or I’m not a celebrity. I’m not like Robert Kiyosaki.” The picture I got with him, but I got an award in 2019 at a real estate conference for the system, which was unexpected. I remember standing in line to get his book many years ago when I was trying to get into real estate. Many years after that, we get an award for the book at this real estate conference. He was there, presented the award to me and he asked me for a copy of my book. I never would have imagined any of these things ever happening.
Isn’t it great when your heroes become your friends?
It’s amazing. I feel the same way about you. I don’t even know what the word is, fandom. I know you’re a regular person too depends on who you ask. I remember watching your videos when I got started in real estate and you help a lot of people. That’s what I wanted to say is to educate and advocate. If you can look your motivated seller in the eye and say, “I wanted this to be a win-win. I want you to win in the deal too.” That’s what an expert is. It’s not about how many deals you are. It’s not about putting other people down or you being better than someone else. It’s about teaching and advocating and putting yourself out there, making yourself available to people who need help. That’s what we do.
I’ve never been in competition with anybody. I’ve seen guys that did a lot more than me and I was happy for them. Mostly, I want to know, “Congratulations, that’s quite a year you had. How did you do that? Do you mind talking to me, or do you want me to write you a check to talk to me about it? I don’t care, but I got to know how you did that one way or the other or either way.” I’ve only competed with myself. My goal had always been, how do I improve my life and my family’s life every year, year after year? For a while, the improvement was to make more money. When you read like the books, I listened to The Millionaire Next Door and you find out if you make $55,000 a year in the United States of America, you’re in the top 10% of the whole world. If you’re making $250,000, $400,000 whatever in a year and the 1% of the world or up, and you’re not happy, it’s not because of money. That was one of the biggest revelations I got from the book. I talked to my wife one day. I said, “Honey, this book clearly, if these statistics are right, which I believe they are if we’re not happy, it has nothing to do with how much money we have. It has nothing to do with that.” It then started to become about time and quality of time and quality of life.
I’ve got enough money now. Now it’s like, “How do I work on my business instead of in my business so that I can use the money that I have to experience a different caliber of living?” A higher caliber of living and being more present with the people and in the situations I value more than flipping houses. Early on wild horses couldn’t keep me from flipping houses. I don’t know why, but it was because I was money-driven and I saw the money was at the end of this trek. I could see it and I could smell it. I knew I could do it. There was a lot of money at the end of this thing and it was more than I ever even imagined. When I got there, it was more than I imagined. It becomes about quality. After a while, even when you achieve now, you’ve achieved quality. It’s always been about balance though. Finding a balance in my life has been difficult for me. How about you?
Yes. It’s a strength and weakness. It was funny. I’m in the teacher’s lounge. I love my job. Every year they say, “Do you want to teach the high achieving kids that are going to Princeton, or do you want to teach the kids that are two years behind that are struggling?” I knew that I always wanted to teach struggling kids. I love working with them and I loved helping these kids. I felt like I was the only person in the teacher’s lounge who wasn’t complaining about their job. I was the only person who ended up believing. My ability to be out of balance and hyper-focused on something and take risks and go for it is, just be 100% all-in has been what’s helped me have a lot of success in real estate. The downside is the balance. I’ve gone through a similar progression and I’ve changed the way that I buy deals. I used to try to focus on competing against other people. I wanted to win and beat everybody. I started finding that every time I go to a new group or a new mastermind, there was always somebody who had to do more deals. I started finding out that doing a lot of deals, making a lot of money, didn’t make you happy because I got to know these people in my masterminds, and find out they’re not happy. I was like, “That’s not a guaranteed deal.” I read this book, it’s a Jordan Peterson book, it’s a thick book and he said, “Don’t compete with other people, just compete with yourself from yesterday.”If you go there with a servant's heart, and you're trying to do the best for them, people pick up on that. Click To Tweet
When I started doing that, everything changed. I stopped trying to go to the groups and saying, “I’m doing 50 deals. I’m doing 60 deals.” For me, I found the niche. That’s perfect for me. It’s been an amazing niche. My profitability is 2 to 3 times what a skinny deal is. I don’t have to do as many of the deals. I only buy from our home buyer business and pretty much mid-cities, like Northeast Tarrant County, Northeast Fort Worth area. If I’m doing 2 to 3 deals a month, that are fun that I’m looking forward to and then I have my publishing stuff, that’s all I need to be happy. I’m not moving. I had all these houses that I was never happy. The day we moved into this house that we’re in, which is a top 1% world, or even US house. It’s a big blessing. It’s a lot different than our teacher’s house, but it’s still an affordable house. It’s a ’50s pier beam. I love the houses. It’s a cool big one-story pier and beam house. I remember the day we moved in, I was still messed up in the head with the mindset that I wasn’t grateful and appreciative of what I had received so far. I told the movers, “You like this house?” It’s like, “Your house is amazing.” I’m like, “When did you see the next house?” My wife’s like, “We just moved in.” Now, I don’t think like that. I’m thinking for me personally, it’s exactly what you said. I’m on that quest now to get more of my time.
There has to be a higher reason now. I don’t teach because I need the money. I’m teaching because of a higher reason. I want to help other people fire their job. Dave Ramsey does the primal screen when people get debt-free. We ring the bell over at my office when people fire their boss. When they fire their boss, that means that they’ve replaced the income and they’re in more control now. We’re never in control, but we have degrees of control. There’s a lot more control and they have 2,600 hours a year to focus on who they need to be and how to get better at the person that they want to be, which is the first step in a lot of steps because you never finished. You never get where you’re going if you’re like people like you and me. I may not have as much dyslexia as you but what I have is a tremendous amount of ADD. I’m crazy ADD.
I did notice that a little bit and I have that too. I’m with you 100%. We’re two peas in a pod when it comes to that, it’s challenging. Isn’t it pros and cons? It’s like the pros allow you to explore, be curious, inquisitive, and go out and look for new things.
You’ll overload your ass quickly. We see opportunities in everything. Every one of these things that I want to do, it can be done and they can all be big but the problem is it takes just about everything you have. I haven’t coined much, but I coined this one phrase. The hardest thing an entrepreneur will ever do is have one great idea and finish big. We keep diluting ourselves with this offshoot and that offshoot. In a way, you talk about those people that have spent 50,000 hours on that one topic. They’re the world’s best at that topic. Bodybuilders, for example, a guy named Coleman, a huge, gigantic bodybuilder. I watched a documentary on this guy.
From the minute he wakes up, what he’s eating, what he’s drinking, he doesn’t go out and he doesn’t party. He doesn’t drink for years for decades. This guy has only done this one thing. You’ve got to admire where he took that thing. I’m not so sure how healthy all this is in the end, but that’s beside the point. The man had a dream. He went to the pinnacle of that dream, became the best in the world, hands down more than a couple of years. I look at his life and go, “That life is not full enough for me. That life didn’t experience enough. Thanks for me. I would go bat shit crazy if that’s all I did for my whole life.” It’s not condescending to him because for him, it’s the right thing.
For you and me or some guys out there that are a little more ADD than that, we are not going to be satisfied with one thing for many years. I’m not happy unless there are at least four balls in the air at a time on any given minute, I’ll push that to eight balls in the air, but then I’ll start to drop balls and my flow starts messing up. I’ve got to say, “You’ve got to get her ready for 3 or 4 of these balls.” What’s more important? I keep coming back to the same four balls that I can keep in the air that just keep rolling around. That’s where I know that’s where I belong. I’m preaching like, “Why am I here with you?” Let’s give people the link to get over to the list on how to write your own book? It’s 1000Houses.com/yourbook. This is about how to write your own book, how to become an expert on the topic. From people, it’s a thick business card.
It can take you places and introduce you to people and get your business that you cannot imagine. The amount of credibility people give you when they see that you’re for sure, published author and they hold that physical book in their hand. It doesn’t work the same with a digital book. It’s the physical book that you put in their hand that has your name at the bottom. The amount of credibility that they give you is almost scary. I’ve had people send me $100,000 in the mail, like the trust level is high. I send it back to them. At one time and I said, “Does your wife know that you did this?” He’s like, “No. I’m going to tell her now.” I said, “After you tell her, call me back.” He called me back and goes, “She’s upset.” I said like, “Let me send this back because you’re not supposed to send it to me. You’re supposed to send it to a title company. You’re supposed to get a first name. It’s got to go in order. Your wife’s right for being scared because 99 out of whatever times you might’ve messed up. You just happened to get lucky with it.”
I sent it back. I said, “This is how it works and this is how you’ll do it.” I called him back the next day because I overnighted it and I said, “Did you get the check?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “Is your wife calmed down now?” He said, “Yeah.” I said, “She’s not worried anymore?” He says she’s not worried. He said, “Now, we can send it back to you if you want. She won’t be freaked out because just the act of you sending it back she has no more worries.” I said, “No. Let’s still do it the right way.” I want to ask you about this licensing. You’ve got my attention here. How much does it cost? Let’s talk about costs, but I want to preface this. Max has the right to change his prices anytime he want up or down or sideways or left and right. As this conversation is going on, I want to license all three of these books. I want a license, the one about senior living. I want to license not the starting out one, but say the private money book. Talk to me about what that costs or what that’s like.
It depends on what niche people want to target or go after, but our licensed content starts at around $1,000 and then goes up from there.
Is there a subscription? Is it per copies or is it a one-time fee and you produce as much as you want?
What we do with our members is we have a community. What we found is those business owners, which are real estate investors that come to us, they want to plug into a community, not just get a book, and they want to know how to use it. People have bought a lot of things. It’s not just the act of buying or creating something, it’s then how do you put it into action? How do you deploy it? We do two things in our business. One of them, when we’re talking about licensed content, is we plug people into our licensed content. It takes about 1 or 2 hours of their time investment. We then go and do the work behind the scenes to create their copy of the book. We send them a copy and they get a digital copy that they can share online, socially things like that. It’s like a flipbook. They also get their physical copies. The way we have our program structured is that we’re about education and advocating. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to give out as many of these books as possible. We don’t charge anything for the books. It’s just the cost price. We give our members a link.
You start as a licensed price, and then they can have as many duplicated as they want to pay for it?
Yeah. We then have a small, monthly membership that folks who choose to stay in our program do. It’s small.
For continuing education?
Yeah. What it allows them to do is we have people who have been multimillionaires for a long time. They always wanted to have a book. They don’t want to write their own. They’re sending out mail, they’re doing all these things. They understand if they put their book on it, it goes up. We have one lady who owns a bunch of REIA clubs in the Northeast. She’s in our program. She’s been doing this for a long time. She was sending out probate mail. She’d get a 1% response rate in her state. That was good enough to get a good enough return to keep doing it. When she took the same probate letter and at the bottom, put a picture of her with her new book that she coauthored at the licensed content and said, “If you’re not ready to sell your home, but you want a copy of our book, just reach out to us.” Her response rate went from 1% to 3%. The math is there. For people who are already doing deals and it’s the right niche that they want to plug into and they don’t want to do it themselves at the time, it’s usually a no-brainer. As I said, we have a weekly call with all the people in our community. We have about 60 people that licensed some of our curriculum across the country.
We all come together on this weekly call and it’s specific. We talk about how we’re using the book in our marketing and we all share ideas from each other. Folks are all over the country and they feel free to share their best-kept secrets. When our member had that probate letter that was working well, she put it in the member portal, then our other members started using it. We do that thing. That’s what our program is. We don’t publish other people’s books. That’s why we wrote the checklist. If you want to publish your own unique book, that checklist that we wrote for real estate investors is the first of its kind. You can use that if you want to plug into one of our niches to save time, and then you can do that. That’s what I do when I’m not buying houses.
I’m asking a personal question but maybe some people find it interesting. I see your cover but I have my own brand going already because I have two other books. I tried to copy Kiyosaki by using the same colors on the books all the time. The books look similar, even though they have different titles Rich Dad Poor Dad. That was his theme all the way through. I chose My Life & 1,000 Houses all the way through. He chose purple and yellow, and I chose red, black, and yellow. Can I do your books, but still keep my theme on the outside?
One of our members, Tim in Florida, he’s got one of our private lending license content, but we have some custom cover options too.
You’re going to hear from me and also, I have some young acquisition managers and we’re doing things at our office to find houses we’re doing. I like to pick one of them every now and then to say, “I am, or we are going to pay for this thing and you’re going to get this book. You’re going to get on this weekly call and you’re going to start to find your own avenue in conjunction with the things that we want you to do.” It’s like developing your own lane, expertise, and following in addition to what we do. Marketing for houses, it’s always morphing. If you read my book, My Life & 1,000 Houses: 200+ Ways to Find Bargain Properties. There are 200 ways that people will walk. What are the top ten? It says, “It depends on where you are. It depends on your market. It depends on what year it is.” Many years ago, bandit signs were killer and it’s all you ever needed. You didn’t need anything else. They then went out of style.
They came back to a certain degree. They were never as strong as they were when the house-flipping industry was relatively obscure. Everyone started putting out signs. They become horribly ineffective because there was a bunch of quite frankly, newbies that were out there muddying up the water so bad and making up such horrible mistakes and being unprofessional that those signs got tagged as, “Don’t call those signs.” Those people that have that upper full of crap and it did turn into that. After a while, it came back and it’s back right now in my city. There are also different levels of marketing, depending on how much budget you can allot for. If you’re working on a shoestring, that book starts out with marketing ideas that you can do when you’re dead broke. Everyone I know started out, dead broke that 99.9% of them. Even if they had some money, it wasn’t a lot, they had a little bit and they also had a broke mentality. Even if they had money, they were afraid to lose it, that they wouldn’t touch it. We all started out broke. That’s how that book starts out. It made more sense if you have $4,000 or $10,000 a month that you can put in a budget you can just extrapolate out and everything can be done for you. That’s a different mindset and a different thing.
What was frustrating me was where I like what I’m doing now with the book you were talking, you made some great points about following up with people and leads.
Forging your own path though. This book is unique to you. You started this. You found this little niche where people would read your book. It makes you feel good as a salesperson or an acquisition person to say, “I’m doing this one thing that hardly anybody on the planet is doing. In my region, no one’s doing.”
That’s why we created our program with the calls. Some people like you have offices, they don’t have time to come to the calls, but it’s a group call so their team goes to it. Their acquisitions people. That makes a lot of sense. One of the things I was noticing was when I was going to people’s homes that had gotten my book. One of the things that’s frustrating that I talk about in direct mail is you’re sending people stuff that they don’t want, and you have to hit the exact timing bubble because if they don’t see whatever you’re sending them is valuable, it’s junk mail, they throw it away. The goal is to be in the top drawer. With the book what’s been cool from an acquisition standpoint is, when they receive a book from the author, they’re not throwing it away. They’re not putting it in the drawer, they’re putting it on their coffee table or their bookshelf with the other autographed books from the author. One of the things that’s nice about that is when you talked about your marketing spend.
I’ve found that our marketing spend has gone down astronomically because our message is so focused. It’s getting in the hands of people who need it and resonate with it because we focus on a niche. The other thing is because of the form that it’s in. It’s in a form that is more respected and not thrown away. It’s in a form that can be passed around a lot, easier to people, and share. The first deal that we got with our book wasn’t from somebody we sent it to. We sent it to the neighbor. When I called the neighbor, I used to have a problem where people would say, “Follow up with me in 30 days from direct mail.” When I recall them, they won’t answer it and it’s because something had changed and they didn’t want to talk anymore or there was in a holding pattern. I’ve learned a little bit about this book idea from financial services folks. They’re under a lot of licensing and a lot of scrutiny with being an insecurities business. What they would do for their advertising is they would write a book and talk about the book and talk about education. That was a way to get around that. With this, it’s been the same way when I’m working with motivated sellers. Instead of talking to them just about their house or their deal, we’re talking about the book. We’re talking about education.
When we follow up with folks, we send them our book and we say, “If I send you a copy of the book, it’s normally $12.99. If I send you a copy for free, would you read?” They’re like, “Absolutely.” I’m like, “How long would it take for you to read it?” They say, “I’d be done with it in a week or two.” I said, “Here’s what we’ll do. I’ll schedule a time to follow up with you. In two weeks, you’ll read the book by then, right?” They’re like, “Yeah.” I said, “We can follow up on what you read in the book, not when you’re going to hurry up in some of your houses.” It’s nice to have stuff that’s more evergreen that people are seeing as more valuable. What’s cool is when you give people’s things that they see as more valuable, they see you as more valuable. If we go full circle on this call, it goes back to those three things that I wanted. They’re less price-sensitive because you’re adding more value to the deal. Because you’re adding more value, you’re getting paid for the value you’re adding. You’re getting more profitable deals, more profitable deals means you need less of them to make the same amount of money. There’s less resistance to the offers that you’re making because there are less people around.
You separated yourself from the pack?
What part of helping, educating, advocating people, having a smoother transaction in the process, and making more money while you’re doing it wouldn’t be fun? That’s the trifecta, it’s the profit, it’s the smooth, and it’s having fun. That’s what we’re doing. It’s cool having these other people. Mike is making some videos and he’s doing some digital marketing where he’s doing educational videos straight out of the book. Like we’re doing here, he’s teaching something out of the book and then he’s sending ads all over Facebook teaching people stuff in Chicago where he’s at. James is doing this with his stuff and all these folks are doing this. Sometimes I’m watching their videos and I’m seeing them being the local expert, teaching this curriculum, and making a difference. Their old way of marketing was an ad, “Sell me your house.” It’s a benefit statement. Now, they’re providing a whole other level of value and they’re reaching hundreds of thousands of people. It honestly makes me emotional sometimes.
There’s your higher reason. There you are having a big ripple effect and not just the students, but it’s also having a ripple effect with the seniors that have to make these decisions, which is an important time in life where they need help and attention. We have the Baby Boomers coming of age now, 10,000 a day. The demographic for the Baby Boomers is like a basketball passing through a garden hose. It’s going to change everything for a while and then it’s going to change back again just about the time you get used to it. It’s going to drop off again.
The numbers for the next twenty years were projected to add over twenty million people to the 65 and up population. For the first time in recorded history and it’s supposed to happen at about twelve years from now, the number of 65 and over population will exceed eighteen and under. I love helping these people. I love what we’re doing. I have a lot of energy and I need to do something. For the next twenty years, I’m going to be buying houses here in Northeast Tarrant County. I’m going to be helping our students do what they want to do with whatever niches they plug into. It’s like a straight climb.
I just thought about that. The advertising niche that you’re developing is in line with the populations that are going to be like. Assisted living is becoming big. Anything senior care is becoming big. If you sell hearing aids, you’re about to be into a boom time. There are things that the world is going to need because that population of over 65 is going to be big. Here you are right with a marketing niche for the ages and for the times.Being the genuine you is always going to work better. Click To Tweet
I shared a stage with Robert Kiyosaki in 2019 and Harry Dent. We had dinner afterwards and we were all talking. He wrote the book Demographic Cliff and he’s a smart guy. We were all at dinner after the conference. He said, “If you want to understand economics in a nutshell, people do predictable things as they age. If you follow the patterns, the groups of people as they age, they’re certain businesses and services that are going to be in more demand.” When we looked at the growth curve and we were trying to figure out where is the best spot to be, and there were all these notes from us, anecdotally from my experience and being my grandma doing the list of 60 deals. What about looking through the world population or the US population and the number of people? The fastest-growing demographic right now on Facebook is seniors which you would not expect. The fastest-growing population is we’re going to add the Baby Boomers and the seniors. They’re starting to hit that 65. When they go to down-sell their big home, or they start having mobility issues, what are they going to do with their house? What are they going to need? Me, for Northeast Tarrant County, and then my community are positioning ourselves as the local experts that are there to help those folks when they need that. I’m trying to stay healthy and do this for a long time and make a lot of fun.
It seems like you needed to get some affiliate relationships with 1, 2, or 3 assisted living complexes around there too because you’re going to be selling a lot of it. I would get some arrangements with them. It won’t cost the people anymore. They’ll have to pay you a referral fee or something.
We started doing that. One of our members, Ray started getting into our book system because he was already a senior real estate specialist and he wanted to get more of those people in the niche. He saw the opportunity to start a referral agency and he closed on his first two deals. He’s referring people to senior housing and he’s getting first month’s rent where he is in Maryland. It’s $5,000 or $6,000 which is a small wholesale fee and DFW. There are huge industries behind that particular niche and maybe in the future, we can talk again and talk about some of the other niches that we’re involved in because we’re involved in other ones too.
I’d like to thank everybody for stopping by to get you some Max Keller. I want you to check out the chance to license your own books. If you’re a DIY guy, then you can write your own book. If you’re an ROI guy and you want to spend a couple of hours and then tap the resources that Max has already done, then go to 1000Houses.com/yourbook. You teach some stuff, you have subscriptions on the weekly call, all that information is over there. As you know we try to fill this section with content, that’s why you come here. You don’t come here to be sold a bunch of stuff. When you find something that you’re interested in, get over to 1000Houses.com/yourbook. You’ll see everything there that Max has to offer. If you’re interested, follow up. If you’re not, no big deal, low key.
The job around here for me as far as I’m concerned is to help everyone out there figuring out where their financial freedom is. If it’s with Max, great. If it’s with Mitch, way to go. If it’s with someone else that we’ve been interviewing, I don’t care. Find your financial freedom, wherever your passion is. If I have a small part in doing that, then I’m a happy guy because we ring the bell around here at my office when people fire their boss and become in control of their own destiny, their own finances, and get to become the people that they were meant to be.
About Max Keller Max
Max Keller Max’s company, Savior Home Buyers, specializes in helping Seniors with their housing choices. Max’s inspiration, to focus on helping Seniors, was birthed out of his close relationship with his Grandmother, “Momo”. Although Momo is in a better place, Max’s mission and passion to serve Seniors and their families continue daily.
He considers it a great privilege and blessing to have been able to serve hundreds of local Seniors and continues to do so tirelessly. Max holds a BBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin and an MA in Teaching from Louisiana College. At the time of this publication, Max, his wife, and children live in Fort Worth, Texas, USA.