Start with a one year plan.

What do you want to accomplish? Write down your goals. Don’t be negative nor use negative words when stating your goals. It’s absolutely possible to buy one house per month. So make buying 12 houses over the next 12 months a goal. Do it… Set it as a goal.

Starting with a positive mindset is paramount. Then follow through. Change your mind frame and change the words you use to describe yourself to you. Think positively by using positive words. Remember how you think about your success matters and a seller will notice determination and they will notice failure. It is up to you which one they notice.

Pick a business name that describes what you do. Your business name tells people what you do and it lets people know who you are. A seller shouldn’t have to figure it out on their own. Your business name sets the tone for all professional relationships. There’s nothing vague about a name like, “I Buy Houses.” It opens up an immediate dialogue about what you do. And it WORKS.
As soon as you make the choice to become a real estate investor, establish a business phone number. You can use many methods to track your calls. You can go through an answering system like Ring Central, Google or simply get a cell phone or business number devoted solely to your new business. I use RingCentral.com and have several telephone numbers so that I can have a different telephone number on each type of marketing that I do. Having multiple numbers allows me the ability to track results and determine which marketing is performing the best. It is inexpensive and more importantly responsible to your business.

The most important aspect of your business phone number is monitoring your calls. If a serious buyer leaves a voicemail, return the call with urgency. Remember, the longer you wait to return that call, the more opportunities the seller has to find someone else to buy their property. Don’t waste opportunity by being lazy. Call the seller back!
You will need a mailing address to build your company profile. You will use it on all kinds of marketing pieces from business cards to mail. Do not use your home address. Even brokers and current real estate agents need a separate office address. Check out post offices and shipping businesses such as the UPS store.

So, you have set your goals, you have a business name, address and phone number. Now it’s time to get your business cards printed. You should do some research on marketing and color theory to find the right look for your cards. Red and yellow are great high contrast colors. Start with 1,000 cards. You will be surprised how well they work when you hand them out. SO hand them out. Reordering business cards is cool… Be cool! Give 10 a day away to strangers and by the end of your card stack, you will have bought a house.
While you are at it, buy a few polo shirts and get your logo embroidered. You don’t have to say a word, people will come to you. These polo shirts will help you walk the walk and talk the talk. When a prospect approaches you hand them a business card after that first handshake. Making a professional impression goes a long way. You might even make a deal right there. Be prepared.

As a real estate investor you need to have a contract on hand at all times. Always be prepared for an opportunity. In the beginning, you probably won’t know the specifics of what your contract should include. Look online for various contract templates outlining how to buy a house. Do not rely on a handshake agreement. This is serious legal business. Get a contract before any deals are made.

Once you have done your research and have a contract and a professional look for yourself, think about who you know. Write down everyone you know including family, friends, neighbors- even the cashier at your favorite market. Ask who they know. Utilize these relationships to grow your business. Hand out a stack of cards to each contact with their own name on the back. Tell your contacts about your exciting new career as a real estate investor and offer to share a cash bonus for any referrals they send your way.

Once the referrals start coming in, make sure you know what you want to say before you start your pitch. Write an elevator speech and practice, practice, practice. Get in the right mindset. You are no longer a teacher or an office manager- you are a real estate investor! State your name, business name and what conveniences you offer to the seller such as paying cash for their property, taking care of closing costs, home repairs and any commission, fees or taxes incurred.

After you have formed the perfect elevator speech, it’s time to start buying houses. Make some cold calls or cold greets. These cold opportunities are simple and concise. Get to the point and sell the benefit of your services. Get comfortable with talking to people. Think purses shoes and sports and massive success will come.

So what do purses, shoes and sports have in common? And what the heck do they have to do with buying houses?

Imagine being in line at the grocery store waiting for the grocery clerk to scan the customers groceries in front of you. Do you just stand there and wait your turn or, better yet, do you start up a conversation with those people either behind you or in front of you and talk real estate?

But yuck… talking to strangers… Who has time for that? You do, you’re in line waiting… Start a conversation.

I know that there are two topics / items women love talking about more than most any other topics… And I know one topic most men love talking about more than most anything else…
Care to guess? Women love Purses and Shoes and men love Sports.

The next time you’re in line waiting for a sub sandwich, at the bank, or anywhere and you have enough time to say to a female who is in line with you “Cool Purse” or “Nice Shoes” do it. After all there isn’t a female alive that would wear a pair of ugly shoes or carry an ugly handbag. Now it might be ugly but it isn’t to her.

Use purses and shoes as intros into your real estate conversation. Then proceed to repeat your elevator speech. Ask them about what they do, ask for a business card if they’re a professional and most importantly ask them who they know who may need to buy or sell a house. If it is a guy bring up a sporting event. Which is why I listen to sports radio every morning for 15 to 30 minutes. Listening gives me the “HOT” topics of the day which give me the ammunition I need to strike up a conversation.

Become the walking talking real estate professional and be prepared to buy houses. Being prepared takes a little work however this one exercise will produce outstanding results if you just implement it on purpose. Don’t be afraid to fail or look foolish.

Did you spy a “For Sale by Owner” sign in a front yard? Go knock on that door. You already know they are in the market to sell a home. Check out Open Houses, too. This is another great opportunity to make connections with people who are selling their property.

Let’s talk marketing for a minute.

 

One of the fastest methods for stepping up your marketing and increasing your bottom line is to focus on your prospects qualifications. In Short do they qualify to be marketed to?

The push to faster success will come when someone focuses their list for the highest likelihood of success. And in my humble opinion that means that they should only buy lists which qualify for a primary group and a sub group.

The primary group would be, in general, homeowners who have a high equity base in their property. There are additional filters like length of ownership, type or property, value of property, number of bedrooms and the like which make up a perfect equity list.

However tying a sub group to a primary group will reap huge rewards.

As an example currently there are 151 SFR in Los Angeles County which entered NOD status within the last 90 days. 18 of them are Absentee. In the entire state of California there are 533 and 80 of them are absentee. All of these homes have an equity base of 50% or greater and are valued between 1.00 and 300,000. Making them prime prospects. This list is GOLD!

The other group which would be powerful is the expired list as it compares to the equity list. Which means that when you receive the expired hot sheet your first step is to determine who on the list is also on your equity list and market to that person hard… VERY HARD, LIKE go KNOCK on their home residence door.

Another group is the active “OLD” listings. Grab a hot sheet of properties that are active listings at 85 DOM (Days on Market), 115 DOM, and 175 DOM and compare them to the equity list. Again if they are on both lists market to them. On this group be careful to word your letters correctly.

Also join a FSBO site and have them send to you daily-weekly list of active FSBO’s and market to the equity folks. The issue with this list is that Realtors and Agents are hitting it very hard via cold calling so your campaign will have the least traction of all groups.

A better group is active For Rent prospects. You can find them on some for rent sites, newspaper, driving, and sites like CL. This is a great list for motivated prospects.

A better absentee prospect can be found by using an attorney legal service to extract for you lists from the courthouse for Unlawful Detainers. These are absentee homeowners who are evicting their tenant. Remember to only market to the addresses that have equity. Unless you are a Short Sale investor; then market to over encumbered prospects as well.
That same attorney legal service can also pull probates and once confirmation of real property is present and that they have an equity position hit them hard. Be very understanding of the function of Probate and what to look for.

But what do you send to these prospects?

Direct mail of course! But how and what?

IMHO when marketing it is vital that you deliver your message in a fashion which attracts as much opportunity as it can. In other words you want the largest volume of customers per dollar spent.

Solution. Create a Marketing Cluster.

Marketing Cluster – which almost sounds counter intuitive. However business clustering has been around for years and research supports the idea that like businesses that cluster will outperform those which don’t. Think about all of the different types of Business Clusters.

On opposite corners of an intersection are different gas stations, Heck I have even seen the same brand on opposite corners. Then it is hard to find just one fast food Company on a street or corner. If there is a McDonalds then typically you will find a few others as well. It seems that Home Depot and Lowes build almost next door to each other. Auto Dealers have been clustering for years. In fact Cerritos Auto Square in California, the world’s largest, has 29 different brands of automobiles.

Crazy but not. And what about Shopping Malls? How can a Hundred Clothing Stores make more money being in the same building then separate buildings?
The answer is simple… Consumers want choice.

So one must ask why Coca-Cola needs to sell six different brands of water. Last time I checked water is water no one can make it. Couldn’t Coca-Cola just have a single brand and save millions on marketing and tooling of production facilities? Or did Coca-Cola figure out that multiple brands of the same product are better than one independent brand?
Much like Business Clusters. Hum.

So the question is which matters more, the mail pieces or mail consistency?

Since we are all consumers let me answer that question with a question. Which is better, Choice or No Choice? And in the world of marketing when utilizing direct mail choice wins. But don’t take my opinion for it ask yourself this question.

If you were motivated to sell your home and you received six pieces of mail offering to buy your home and let’s say that the mail pieces were six different types. You received a yellow letter, Text Postcard, Pictorial Postcard, Professional Letter, ZipLetter, and Greeting Card.

Which sender would you decide was the best one to call upon? Maybe the most professional looking mail piece or the one that was handwritten, even the nice greeting card with a personal message was attractive to you. Gosh but the postcard was direct and to the point and that Zipletter offered a check that was really cool.

All you have to do is decide. Who would you call? And this isn’t a trick question and there are no wrong answers. You can call just one or you can call them all. It doesn’t matter to me…
But why doesn’t it matter?

Because like Coca-Cola who owns 112 beverages I use all six to my advantage. I let the consumer choose who they think has presented to them the best message in the most appropriate delivery vehicle.

So here they sit on the day they decide to call and talk to a stranger about selling their home.

They have 6 different types of mail from me all with different telephone numbers and a couple more pieces from two other people. This means that I have a 6:8 chance of getting that call when in reality my chance should have only been 1:3. I have increased my odds tremendously. Cluster marketing works.

Lastly, don’t be too proud to ask for help. When you begin your career as a real estate investor, search for a coach. These veterans of the industry can help guide you through drawing up a contract, how to find more business contacts and most importantly, offer support and encouragement with the tales of their experience.

Don’t be afraid of what you don’t know. Every day you second guess your decision to become a real estate investor you are missing out on an opportunity.

Go buy some houses by reminding sellers that you buy and solve problems. Now go buy some problems.

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