“The house that James Bond would live in” is the perfect example of storytelling for anything and everything you sell with video marketing.

A Video Marketer is Born

An Army captain, leading troops in the first Gulf War, John knew that the Army would not be his career, but he did not know what his next step would be. 

“One of my first meetings was instructive,” Engel recalled. “I met a guy who ran one of the major Wall Street banks. He asked what I want to be, and he said there are only three answers.”

Manager, specialist, or salesman 

Managers, his mentor explained, get paid to manage more and get bigger. You begin with modest resources, and you get paid based on your efficient management of the resources. You get more resources when you get bigger.

Specialists – such as doctors, lawyers, engineers or programmers – make more money when they become better at their specialties

Salesmen’s wages are completely elastic. Their pay has nothing to do with the amount of training they have, or with the number of people under them. Sales wages have nothing to do with the number of hours you work.

Any one of these types can become CEO, but Engel’s mentor pointed out that a disproportionately high percentage of chief executives come out of the sales track. 

“So I got comfortable with the fact that I am fundamentally a salesman, which meant I had to go find a product to sell,” Engel explained.

And he did – paper, huge, commercial websites and real estate. Engel hired managers to grow the businesses and specialists who executed the plans. For Engel, the rest is keeping the company’s vision and telling the stories that sell the product.


A Good Video Changes the Conversation

“People essentially come in with your story and use that as the framework when they evaluate a house,” Engel said. 

The video for a 1927 Mediterranean-style home had two elements: an electric blue 1929 Rolls Royce convertible and a silent film. Not a word was spoken in this story. 

The two-and-a-half-minute film opens with Engel riding up the driveway. Exiting the Rolls Royce, he looks up and sees his wife, Melissa, in the balcony, who doesn’t see him as she goes back into the house. 

“I try to convey a certain style,” Engel points out.

Viewers get a tour of the house as John moves from room to room looking for Melissa, but they keep missing each other. Spoiler alert: They find each other in the last scene at a waterfall.

This video captured 30,000 organic views in the first two weeks.


John and his team sold 40+ homes last year,

The House James Bond would live in.

The video touted it as the house James Bond would live in. 

“I had been unable to sell this house for years,” John Engel, Engel Team told Publio CEO Keith Reynolds on the Publio Podcast. “This was an incredibly difficult property.” 

Click here to listen.

John Engel S1 E12A beautiful, contemporary home. Well lit. People just had to see it, and they came. A realtor’s dream, right?

“When they got there,” Engel recalled, “they’re like, ‘oh my God, it’s a confusing house. It’s not like the others. Why has it been on the market so long?’”

It was a challenging house. The Engel Team needed a fresh visual for the video that emphasized the property’s cool factor. For John Engel, cool is James Bond.  “We had to start thinking about painting a visual picture,” Engel recalled. 

The tuxedoed Engel showed up on the property with Susan, his mother and business partner, equally dolled up. The crew rolled the video, and John talked about James Bond while standing on one of  the porches with Susan. “Then she starts riffing on the fabulous parties at that house,” John recalled. “I didn’t know she was going there but we went with it and it worked.”

This spontaneity, wrapped around two or three ideas that they wanted the video to capture, counted as the script. Spontaneity and a good story sold this house.


John also cohosts a podcast where he discusses the greater New York real estate market and publishes a series of local market reports. In this episode, he shares his ideas on why he uses storytelling to build a sales funnel and how he makes this all work.

Don’t miss out on this master salesman’s insights.

Editor’s Note

One additional feature of this podcast: Our team member, Lorna Bondoc, joined us on the call. John introduced Keith and Lorna 18 years ago. The two were thrilled to host John as a bit of a homecoming. You can see the energy and the vibrance in the video. 

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