Maybe (hopefully) you’ve started doing some marketing to potentially motivated sellers to see if they would like to sell their house. As I’ve mentioned before, this is one of the best ways to get real estate investment deals that nobody else knows about. And what’s great about that? I’m glad you asked. Without much competition you are much more likely to be able to buy the house at a price that makes sense to you for an investment. Seems logical.
If you’ve just started doing some of this ‘we buy houses‘ type marketing or are planning on doing it, you might find yourself up against a tough situation most new investors find themselves in. It’s a dreadful and lonely place. I was there and most of the investors I know have been there. You will likely find yourself there.
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The place I am talking about is on a long stretch of road that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. So many people have told you there is a fabulous, heaven-like destination called financial freedom down that road but you just can’t see it yet. You haven’t gotten down the road far enough. Your concern becomes greater and greater the longer you are on the road as you watch your gas guage slowly fall backwards to left. You’re afraid of running out of gas before you even catch a glimpse of your destination.
You don’t want to start sinking a ton of money (gas) into getting to this place that seems so far away, especially if you are not seeing a returns yet. This is where a lot of people decide to go ahead and turn around and head back to where they were in life.
It can be very difficult when you don’t have much money to start marketing and barely get any calls or leads. You’ve got to push through that and just let it be a way for you to focus on what works for you and eliminate what doesn’t. Don’t give up. Try new things. Market to different people. Change your message. Don’t just do a couple things and give up because they didn’t ‘seem’ to work.
One of the coolest things about marketing to find these great house deals to flip, is that it only takes ONE phone call to land an awesome deal. You might get 2 or 3 dud calls where the person is not motivated in the least and either owes more than the house is worth or is asking for more than the house is worth. BUT, the very next call could be a home run!
Once you get that first one under your belt, you’ll have a full tank of gas and you could very well have a couple of 55 gallon drums worth of gas to spare from the profits that first deal generates.
So as you come to this place where you are unsure whether you want to spend another hundred dollars on an ad in the newspaper or whatever other kinds of motivated seller marketing you are doing, you might want to hang on a second and analyze what you are doing and what results you are getting. You will have some trial and error. Make sure you are doing the trial part and not just the error part!
Here are 5 things to look at if you don’t think your marketing is working as well as you feel it should.
Beware of not using a big enough ‘test’ size. What I mean by this is not sending out enough letters before determining that the list or letter is no good. Honestly I feel you should send out at least 250-500 letters before trying to determine whether or not it worked. Many times it really is about WHO you are sending them to (see below).
This also relates to not using enough different marketing methods. Don’t just put up some bandit signs once or twice and stick some doorhangers on 100 houses and wonder why it’s not working for you.
Here are some super rough ideas of how many pieces should go out to get a good idea of whether it is working or not:
The driving for dollars letters require less than the absentee owner list letters because they are more targeted (if you are truly just writing down the addresses to the houses that are likely vacant and in bad shape). Same thing for code compliance letters.
This one goes for things like bandit signs that may come down too fast (within a day of putting them out). If the signs stay up for 5 days or more, you are doing pretty good.
This also pertains to having ads in the paper. You really want to give it at least 3 months or more before deciding whether to continue. Look at the paper every week and see if someone else’s ad is catching your eye and is standing out more than your ad. Look at major newspapers in other parts of the country. Who has the best ads?
Give it time. Don’t pull the plug after one month. Many times it takes someone seeing your ad several times (most people say 7 times) before they will take action and call you.
This is the one that I feel is probably most important.
Many times your message doesn’t matter as much as who you are getting your message in front of.
REALLY LET THAT SOAK IN. READ IT AGAIN.
Motivated sellers will feel that you are a lifesaver. They NEED you at that certain point in their life and just need to KNOW about you. You have to get your message in front of them. They are out there…everywhere. There are usually ways to find people that are more motivated. They usually live in certain areas, end up in the same situations (e.g., having to evict people and they don’t even want to be a landlord, inherited house and would rather have cash, getting a divorce and want to be completely free of the other person, etc.).
Some examples of not reaching the right audiece are: putting signs in the wrong areas (upper crust areas), driving for dollars in wrong areas (same upper crusters), sending letters to the wrong people (people that have not reason to be motivated).
This one I don’t think matters as much but could be a problem. I’ve seen some horrible ads before. 🙂
Some people don’t have others look at their copy or ads before committing to use them. Sometimes the message is so unclear that people stop reading after 2 seconds of looking at it.
MAKE YOUR MESSAGE STAND OUT AND VERY CLEAR AND VERY TO THE POINT!
Don’t worry. It gets easier. In fact, it gets much easier after you’ve found a deal and are looking for the next one. This is because it’s much easier to have FAITH. Many people struggle with having faith when they haven’t ever received a call from a motivated seller that is begging for them to take their house off their hands. You have to have faith and use that faith to keep up head up and smiling knowing that IT WILL HAPPEN FOR YOU. I just can’t promise you how soon. You can increase your odds by doing more and more marketing.
Have fun with it too. I found it fun to try and come up with new ways of finding motivated sellers. Who needs Luminosity?
Many people have super high expectations when they start a marketing campaign. I did. When I put out that first batch of 25 bandit signs, I though my phone would be rining off the hook 24/7. It didn’t happen. I think I got 1 or 2 calls and they were probably from contractors looking for work.
Understand that it doesn’t take a million calls, just a handful and hopefully at least one that can turn into a deal before you run out of gas.
Next: 3 Biggest Mistakes Investors Make With Lead Generating Websites
Great post Danny! I see this happen all the time! Kind of like the whole 3 feet from gold analogy! They quit or “run out of gas” right when they are so close and like you said “head back to where they came from” their “comfort zone”
Love the content you are putting out here and looking forward to interviewing you next week for my podcast! Keep it up!
Thanks, Justin. So much of getting past that tough part is having faith that it will pay off.
I always enjoy your blog Danny. I think #5 is the most important. There are plenty of ways to market on a budget as the examples in the link in your post suggests. One just needs to keep at it. Heck, I get frustrated if I go 30 days with out doing a deal.
When I wasn’t getting enough calls, I would get anxious and my mind wouldn’t stop trying to think of other ways to do more marketing. Just have to do what it takes to get the phone ringing. If I had just done a little marketing and sat there hoping, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.
good info as always Danny! – I recently heard a spot you did on Bigger Pokcets and you were talking about some of the more effective yellow letters / postcards that you have seen and some that you have developed on your own. would you mind sharing some of those with us so we can see them? I am subscribed in your video blog Freedom by Flipping and this is one of the only missing pieces of the puzzle for me. by the way – thanks to your blog and encouragement, we got into our first flip house last month – hopefully will repot a profitable sale soon. Now were trying to find some more motivated sellers!
thanks in advance
Awesome to hear that you got your first flip house!
As far as the yellow letter goes, I think the ones that short and straight to the point work best. We always just said something to the effect of:
“My name is Danny. My wife and I saw your house at 123 Main St and wanted to see if you’d be interesting in selling. We can pay cash.” Then sign it. Simple and to the point.
Regarding the postcards, I will try to upload some of them to the Freedom By Flipping membership area (hopefully today).
I just remembered I had written a post about this not to long ago. You can find it here: http://www.flippingjunkie.com/2012/3-little-known-postcard-ideas-for-house-flippers
Great Post, lots of great info!
I was curious about the population size of the markets you deal in. I live in a rural/suburban area with about 20,000-50,000 people. Is that large enough or should I branch out into more populated areas?
Love reading the blog and what you do with this website, thanks!
I’m in San Antonio, TX. Huge population and some of my marketing (website) targets the whole city. That’s almost 1.4 million people. I say that because I will give you and answer but understand that it’s just my opinion and not from experience in working in smaller areas.
I do know people that work in towns just a little bigger than that and do pretty well. If I were you, I’d market the heck out of the area and try to brand it with your name or something so that everyone knows you buy houses. That’s much easier to do in a smaller town than a big city. Once you do that and are generating some good profits, spread out a little if needed.
I like this post. Good info for all the newbies!!!
Bandit sings is by far the best marketing i could do. I’m glad you listed it here as an option. Know the laws in your city, though, as fines could get pretty expensive.. In Philadelphia there is $75 fine per sign.. Ouch.. 100×70?
I second the know your laws recommendation. Thanks, Fred. Some places, like San Antonio, allow you to buy permits for signs. Something to look into.
Awesome article, I’m going to save it and maybe print it to use it as a reference. I do have a question, how do you know where you can put bandit signs without getting fines? I see areas where bandit signs are without the little sticker and other areas where they do. I am going to put some bandit signs up, just don’t want to get hit with fines!
I’m thinking of putting up at least 50, and I know exactly where I want to invest, but don’t know if it’s against city ordinance in those places.
Hey Aroldo. Good to see you posting to the blog.
Signs in most places now are illegal. Investors still put them out though. The ones without the sticker could get in trouble but that’s really up to the city to go after them. Disclaimer: Do this only at your own risk. You could try to put up a handful in that area (maybe 10) and see if the city takes them down immediately or not. They will likely give you a warning before actually fining you. This is based on past experience but that’s not to say it’s changed.
Great post sir. Marketing strategy is the point where many businessmen lack. You have mentioned worth using points for marketing.
Nice post and very informative.Great content and really enjoyed going through it 🙂
Regarding your example of 1000 for mailers…
Would that be one mailing to 1000 people, or something like 3 mailings to 300 people?
The think the example was 500+ for mailing letters and that would be to 500 different people. If you are talking about the 1000 flyers/doorhangers, that would also be 1000 different people (not multiple touches).
Again this is just a VERY rough idea to what I’ve experienced. Of course, someone could theoretically put out 20 doorhangers and get lucky, but the odds are pretty darn slim.