As you may know I like to make the beta reading of my book open sourced so the community that will be using them can actually gain the information and request changes or additional information to be added as the book is being written.
This post is One Chapter of my coming book, “GET THE DEAL”. Which the idea has it’s origins from the live training with the same name that I have taught to thousands of real estate investors all across the country and have had time to refine the information to answer the questions most asked at those trainings. Without further ado I want to encourage you to read this chapter and leave your suggestions in the comments below!
How Do You Get The Deal? (Paid Strategies)
“I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come indirectly through accident, except the phonograph. No, when I have fully decided that a result is worth getting, I go about it, and make trial after trial, until it comes.”
– Thomas Edison
Finding the next deal is always running through our minds as investors. It happens almost instantaneously right after you put your last one under contract for experienced investors. Just like Thomas Edison we spend most of our time seeking results, but the campaigns we run are not always successful at first.
Once my business started to really take off it and we were able to take on more deals at a time, we ran into the same issue you may be facing. The properties that were available online were starting to get priced higher and higher. We started having a harder time finding deals that worked.
I started attending marketing seminars all over the country that were run by the top marketing professionals in our industry. I even started taking courses and reading books by marketers outside of our industry. I was looking for any strategy or tactic that could out me face to face with motivated sellers before a real estate agent or other investor got there.
During this time I signed up for any company that even hinted that they could generate motivated seller leads in my market. You may recognize many of them later in the chapter. I was finally at a point where I was willing to start paying for leads. I started with a monthly budget of $5k which seemed reasonable because at the time my real estate businesses were generating $15k per month.
As I started spending money and connecting my team into these incoming leads. I noticed something very interesting. The quality of the leads were all different and so was the cost of the leads. More importantly, there seemed to be no rhythm or reason to why a lead cost more or less, because the conversion rate all seemed to be the same. We were only converting about 4% of the online leads regardless of the company that produced them; 10% on the mailing campaigns regardless of the mailers and .05% on the lists we were cold-calling.
After 3 months of trial and error I was able to cut out 80% of the companies and programs we were using and focused the entire marketing budget on the systems that were giving us the highest ROI (Return On Investment). This doubled the amount of appointments our team was on and we quickly ran into the new problem of having too many leads.
Before we discuss how to solve the problem of too many leads, I want to first walk through some of the strategies and tactics that are available to you. This way you can experience the high quality problem of having too many leads.
Why It Makes Sense To Pay For Marketing
In the last chapter we spoke about the many strategies you can use to find motivated sellers that cost little to nothing. In this chapter we’re going to discuss the marketing strategies that you can pay for to scale very quickly .
As you continue to grow your business you may realize that even though free is working, it is taking a lot of your precious time. If you want to get some of your time back, but haven’t reached your financial goals yet. It may be time to start thinking outside the realm of free and start venturing into paid lead generation.
Paying for lead generation will increase your deal-flow and decrease the amount of your time spent on lead generation activities. Done properly these paid strategies will allow you to scale much faster. This next chapter shows the many strategies that I came across as I started paying for lead generation. Many of which we are actively implementing in our businesses.
Ringless Voicemail Drops
Ringless voicemail drops (RVM) are a tactic that allows you to leave a voicemail on a potential sellers phone without having to call and leave the message manually. Basically this highly scalable tactic will allow you to save time by going directly to their voicemail, drop a message that is pre-recorded. The benefits are many, but the first that comes to mind is that you can send 1 or 100 RVM drops in less time than it takes to call a single phone number.
Another less obvious benefit is that you can take the time to record the perfect highly converting voicemail message and test multiple recordings to see which is most effective. Once you have identified a recording that is converting the best you can send it to your entire list and any future list as your company expands.
Because you are just leaving a voicemail you will likely only be receiving hot leads that return your voicemail with a phone call or text message. You only get people who are motivated to have a conversation with you. You get two types of people, one who is frustrated and called to ask to be removed from your list. The other calls will be sellers who are actually considering selling their home. Either way, RVM’s responses are extremely polarized. You will very quickly know where to spend more time following up and the rest can be left in a more passive drip campaign.
These are people who are either clearly going to work with you, or clearly not going to work with you. It’s a great marketing tactic for people who have a hard time cold-calling, but still want the results or if you just want to be able to scale your current activity.
According to the many investors I have interviewed across the country RVM is a controversial topic. Many agree that it is legal in most states still, you will want to check with the service provider you are using for your RVM’s and ask what is required to be in compliance with your state regulations.
Starting a Facebook Messenger Campaign
Everyone is on Facebook and the open rate for Facebook messenger is 98%. Compare that to the industry average open rates of emails at 11% and dropping annually. Facebook Messenger is going to be the fastest way for you to get in touch with a seller who isn’t responding to your calls and you haven’t been able to get a response back from the mailers.
Once you’ve added them on Facebook, you can now send them a private message that says, “Hi, I’ve been trying to contact you. I am interested in buying houses like yours in the area.” Wait a few minutes and if you don’t see a response at this point you can send the second message, “Who do you know that might be interested in selling?”
Once they’ve either responded back or ignored you, there is a good chance they will start following you on Facebook and be seeing your value add campaign every week. This is where you’re letting your followers know little tips to make their properties worth or minor improvements they can do that will help the sale of property.
You can also use Facebook Messenger as a way to pull them back to your page by sharing valuable information with them about the community. You can start with a sentence like, “Hi, I just thought of you. There’s a change in the in the water department right now. They’re shutting down the water this week and I wanted to make sure you know in advance”.
Here is another example, “There’s a parade running in town next week. I wanted to let you know, just thought of you and I thought it would be a good information in case you are trying to get anywhere. Many of the streets will be closed.” Basically you are going to Keep them up to date with things that are happening in the town and becoming their friend via Messenger.
Make sure you’re liking their pictures, liking their posts, anything that they’re doing on Facebook but Messenger is where you have the real true conversation with them. Eventually, every so often, once a month, make sure you hit them with the call to action, “Hello again, I hope you are having a great week. I am back to looking for another house to buy. Who do you know that might be interested in selling?
These are the next most effective thing you can use as a real estate investor once you decide you want to keep scaling your lead generation with follow up text message, drip campaigns and funnels. Now, here’s the deal with texting, mass texting can be illegal if you are selling something and it is called broadcasting. You want to make sure you’re not doing that.
Once you’ve communicated with somebody one time, that counts as having a relationship with that person and no longer constitutes as broadcasting. This is a controversial form of marketing and you should check your local broadcasting laws before entering into this form of marketing.
So now that you have a relationship you can text them. Texting is super easy to do, and you’re able to hit a large amount of people in a very quick manner. Some of the most effective texts I have sent down have been as simple as, ”Hey, how are you? We spoke last week about selling your house. Have you considered my offer?”
Other great text follow-ups could be, “Are you still interested in selling?”, “Hey, how are you? Are you still interested in selling me your property?”, “Would you like to book an appointment this week so I can take a look your property?” and “I would like to schedule an appointment so we can take a look at your house, and give you an offer.”
Depending on the level of connection you have with your leads you can send out texts to a hundred people, 200, or 300 people all at once. Then for the rest of the day you just respond back to everybody cordially having a conversation. If someone says they are interested in getting your offer, then schedule a time to jump on the phone or just schedule an appointment at the house via text.
When you are sending a text message once a week, and doing it consistently, you will build a relationship with your sellers. This is what gets you to the next level. Some people, once they see a text from you, they may not respond that day, may not respond the next day, but they’ll respond two or three days later.
Sometimes you text somebody two, or three, or four, or five or ten times and they don’t respond. Keep at it, because eventually they will call you saying, “Hey, you’ve been texting me for a while. Sorry I’ve been ignoring you. I’ve been busy. Yes, when would you like to come down take a look at the property?”
It’s some way for you to get into a person’s house, into their minds, their cell phone, without them having to actually pick up the phone and have a conversation with you.
A short little text that seems personal will get the conversation warmed up. Here are a few that really work, “I’m interested in buying your home”, “Hey, I’m still interested in buying your home, when is it a good time for your to book an appointment?” “Hey, are you able to jump on a call real quick?”
These little texts, are so valuable in your arsenal just to send out to anybody who you perceive as possibly being a motivated seller. Even if they told you they’re never going to sell, sending out this text is going to create an opportunity for you.
This is something you want to do every single week and every single month. Make sure you’re consistently reaching out to your database. Reaching out to the list of people who own property in the area that you want to buy.
Facebook has become so huge in our industry, and in every industry for that matter. In real estate specifically we know exactly where people are in the country, we know where they live, we know they’re on their phone and if you can catch them at Facebook, this is one more way to get their attention.
I know many real estate investors have told me “Oh, I’m not on Facebook, it’s not my thing.” I get that, but understand your sellers are there, your sellers are sitting there right on their phones reading and seeing all the feeds, and when your ad shows up with, “4 new tips to increase the value of your home”, they’re going to click. You can then offer to give a free value of their house or ask if they would be interested in receiving an investment offer.
Having your Facebook feed full of great tips and information for local homeowners is also going to improve you Facebook Messaging campaign we discussed earlier. These platforms are very powerful and they can not be ignored. Especially if you are looking to build a larger team of investor friendly contractors and other professionals.
Finding a seller on Facebook is very easy. You simply type their name in from your list, search your target area to find. Them make sure they’re in your area, make sure the age range is about the same as your list says and that is probably the right person. You can then send them a message to verify that they own the property you are interested in.
Another way to find sellers on Facebook is to upload your email and phone number list into the Facebook ad campaigns section and create a custom audience based on this list. Facebook is a relatively new marketing tool and it is evolving all the time becoming more involved in a persons day to day activity. We hinted earlier that we know where home owners live. Let’s discuss the marketing campaign that brings you right into their mailbox.
Mailing Motivated Sellers.
This is a strategy that is extremely effective, but can become expensive if not done properly. It’s one of the most expensive forms of marketing, but it is still the most effective. As a real estate investor, when you’re looking for a seller the reason we mail them, is because we know for sure they’re in that home. Even if this is a rental property with an absentee landlord, we know for sure where they live, or at least where their main mailing address is.
Home owner addresses are all in the public records and can be found easily. Because it is so easy to pull this information, mailing is so effective. Typically when you send out a mailer, within three days of that mailer landing, you’re getting phone calls. Now the first wave of mailers are not always the best wave of responses. In fact, sometimes after you’ve mailed something the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth time to the same address, that’s when you’re finally going to get the call back.
The most effective mailing campaigns include six individual mailers. These are sent out over the course of 2 months. A good campaign strategy would be to start with your:
- First mailer going out once you’ve identified the address
- Three days later, another mailer goes out.
- One week later another mailer goes out.
- Wait two weeks, and another mailer goes out.
- Wait another two weeks to send the next mailer.
- Then after 60 days has past from the first mailer you can send the final warning mailer that this is your last attempt.
So in total you’ve got out six mailers in a short period/consistent amount of time. Those first six mailings are going to be the most effective. After that, investors tend to get diminished returns. Understand, you have to stick to a 6 mailer schedule, because if you just send one mailer out you’re not getting the people who would have taken you seriously after two, three, four, five, six of them.
When initially starting out with mailing campaigns, I typically suggest you start with a smaller list, a 200-300 person list and mail them six times. Budget for the full 1,200-1,800 mailers that will be sent for this campaign to be effective. At the time of this recording, mailers typically cost us between fifty cents to a dollar to send out. So if you’re assuming you’re going to send out 200 mailers for $.50 cents, that wave of mailers will cost $100.
Since your going to send out six times, that’s a $600 budget. If you double the size of your list to 400, now your budget has to be $1,200. Many beginner investors make the mistake of building a list of 1,000 and then only mailing it once or twice because they blew their budget, but were not able to finish the full campaign which would have cost between $6k-$12k to do effectively.
This is why you are better off with a smaller, more condensed list. Drive the area and make sure you know exactly the property types that you want. Hit your lists with other cheaper forms of marketing first, then add this mailing tactic to your over- all marketing strategy. Be effective, do it right. Speaking of your over-all marketing strategy, here is a page taken out of your local politicians book.
These are the dark horse in real estate investing, but they are so effective and any politician will tell you, the candidate with more signs usually has more votes. If your marketing with bandit signs, let me tell me first admit that I’ve never personally used bandit sign. I know how effective they are because a lot of real estate investors do use them and have shared their results with me. I have had many of my close friends in the community tell me that it’s a very consistent form of lead flow for their business.
So when doing bandit signs, you have to understand that most towns and cities have rules and regulations around public solicitation. Please make sure you put them up right so that are not falling all over the place. If you have a bent sign just toss it out and if your signs are faded, replace them.
If you are nailing your signs to telephone poles make sure that you have the corrugated plastic running horizontal instead of vertical. This way the signs don’t end up bending on a windy day. Also roofing nails have the wider head which is more likely to prevent nail from going straight through the sign. These are some of the tips that I’ve learned from other investors in my area who have used bandit signs.
If you have the signs that stick in the ground, make sure you get them rooted well so they don’t tip over on a windy day. Give them the old slap test and hit the sign full force with your open palm. If the sign is still standing you should be fine. If it topples over get a hammer or find a better place to drop the sign.
Again, please be respectful in putting these up in your town and do be aware that if the town calls you, they’re probably going to ask you to take them down. So it does make sense to have them sent to a Google Voice, or something that isn’t going to be directly tracked to you. Again, I’m not suggesting using them, but if you are going to do it. Do it the right way. Wink, wink.
Online lead generating
There are so many companies out there right now who are looking to sell you leads. There are some very effective ones, there are some that just don’t seem to deliver the return on investment. I’ve used many companies and unfortunately I can only speak to my isolated experience which could have been effected by any number of factors.
At the end of the day, you can generate your own or you can pay somebody else to do it for you. At the time of writing this book, Zillow is a big competitor, Realtor.com, BoldLeads.com, Offers.com, RealGeeks.com, there’s a lot of different websites that you can go and generate leads. I’ve used them all. There’s a lot of different companies, they all work. And if you want to generate your own leads then you just a landing page and a great understand of google, youtube or facebook ads.
You can create a landing page, or a simple application form, that just says “We buy houses” or Fill out the information to get a free valuation on your home. Those are the 2 landing pages I’ve seen work. The idea is simple. You’re just getting 2 or 3 pieces of information from the person, name, number, email, so now you reach out and contact them again. You can then implement this landing page into your email, texting, Facebook and messenger campaigns.
Speaking of using landing pages on your other forms of digital marketing. Hooks are a great way to pull someone to click on your landing page.
Creating Hooks For Your Lead Generation Online
A hook is the video, text or image that hooks a persons attention from one platform and brings them onto your landing page. So an example of a hook would be a, “We buy houses” infographic on why it makes sense to sell to an investor posted right on Facebook. Hooks can go right in your feed so people will see them and be drawn in!
Another solution or another hook would be the, “Get a free home valuation”, “Click now to get your valuation”, “See what your home is worth”. These are hooks that you can put out onto a social media platform, where people are going to click on the link, and be drawn to your landing page.
Once they fill all the information in, that information is then forwarded to you. The “value delivered”, or the strength of your hook will dictate the amount of conversion you’re getting on your lead funnel.
So make sure that you’re putting out really good hooks. Tweak them, change them. Sometimes videos work better, sometimes pictures work better. Different pictures are going to be more effective than others. Sometimes text is all you need. Make sure you’re changing and adjusting as you go. Understand the value of a hook, because once you got them hooked you can add them to your email and automated drip campaigns.
You’ve probably heard mix opinions on whether email is an effective manner for getting lead generation. We’re going to tell you that if you’re marketing with MailChimp or another similar company, RealGeeks, and Bold Leads, they all have built in CRMs now which have an email marketing campaign built into them, you just need your list and an effective email strategy.
So you want to do both, you want to buy the emails when you’re purchasing your list and you also want to start aiming in pulling people in through different forms of online forms, to get those emails to be accurate. Once you’ve gotten them you want to be emailing once a week, just with a simple value add email campaign of the 52 weeks of the year. Every once per month make sure you hit the list with a call to action to get an offer on their house. Here is an example, “Hello are you interested in selling your house?
Value Add Email ideas include, things that are posted in the local newspaper, tips for home ownership, home improvement ideas, etc… At the end of your emails you can change your signature to say the following, “Hey, by the way, if you’re interested in selling…”, When you’re interested in selling…, Who do you know…, putting at the bottom I’m always looking to buy property in your area, Just as your signature, always sitting there ready to bring them in.
Action Step: Choose just one of the marketing strategies mentioned above and implement it in your business for 1 full month before looking at or implementing any of the other systems. Do this each month, only adding one new strategy to your business at a time.
Spending money on marketing can be the best investment in your business and will return the highest dividends as long as you consistently track your results and are always willing to try something new. Be willing to revisit old marketing strategies because they still work!
As Thomas Edison stated, when you have fully decided that a result is worth getting, go about it, and make trial after trial, until you get the desired results.