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Go Deep, Not Wide Part 2 (A New Economy Approach to Marketing)

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Erik StarkHey Moguls…we got such excellent feedback from y’all about Part 1 of Mr. Erik Stark’s “Go Deep, Not Wide” lesson that we decided to invite this smart dude back for more helpful info.

Erik is most definitely a market expert who knows a ton about deal-getting. He and his business partner, Steve, are at the helm of the Michigan Property Superstore – the most successful real estate flipping business just north of Detroit. They’ve flipped hundreds and hundreds of homes and easily earn in a month more than most people do in a year. Erik has also taught local hobbyists to flip on a professional level and currently teaches in an REI coaching program.

We think it’d be a good idea to listen to what he has to say. Others already know how awesome Erik’s advice can be…

Here’s what one Mogul member had to say about Part 1, which you should definitely go check out:

“LOVE THIS!! It fits with similar advice I’ve heard, ‘Fish where everyone else isn’t,’ and ‘Head in the direction the herd is running away from.’ In my area, one General Contractor has a contract with the city to board up all the vacant houses.... Guess whose office I visit every two weeks? :-)”

I bet now you wanna hear more from the master deal-getter, huh?

Well here we go, let’s let Erik take it away…

Follow me down the rabbit hole.

Today, I’m going to dig in and share a few more of our go deep not wide strategies.

This is a rather deep rabbit hole and I want to give you the essential ingredients that tie all these strategies together – the one thing that gives flavor to all this mumbo jumbo…

Quite honestly, you just have to devote the time to uncover and implement the strategies that create the real estate success stories.

These strategies are available to everyone and rarely are they anything new. We still use all of the same methods of marketing and acquisition as we did when we first started. We’ve just improved the way those messages are communicated and processed

So here is the biggest secret I could ever give to anyone looking to succeed in real estate:

Become a pig-headed-but-pleasant, surprisingly persistent, unashamedly relentless, take no prisoners action taker.

We have a motto in our office and it goes like this: “Where most stop, we just get started.” The fact is, a good handful of our deals come from situations that we just flat out never gave up on. 

This is how Sam Walton (ya know, Walmart’s founder) explained the secret to his success: “I just never gave up. When I got knocked down, I got back up.”

Think about that. I mean, really let it sink in for a minute. Do you have that kind of attitude? About anything? You need to.

Well, here are a few more of our favorite key strategies that get us healthy results in our real estate business.

Write more personal letters. 

Have you seen the videos on Facebook that show how connected, yet disconnected we are in today's world? I heard a quote a few weeks back and it struck a nerve with me: “I’m well-known but nobody knows me." WOW. Sounds like my Facebook life.

I want to encourage you to get in the habit of carrying with you a yellow pad of paper, a box of envelopes and 100 stamps. And use them

directmailPeople LOVE to be recognized. As humans, we yearn for personal connection. It’s what makes us want to engage with people. That’s what direct mail is all about – engaging.

One of the ways we do that is to write handwritten letters. Don't spend your whole day doing it… but when you get a gut feeling, have an awesome meeting, stumble on a fruitful lead or get introduced to an outstanding relationship, write them a personal note.

A coaching student of mine once said to me that had difficulty writing letters because they are so used to just quickly typing something on a computer…

Let me be clear here – stop brain vomiting on your relationships. Slooooow down. Become genuine.

I send personal notes to a handful of sellers and my personal mentors. I send these same people postcards when I travel; it lets them know that even though I am out enjoying life, I’m still thinking of them and cherish the relationship.

I usually write a note a day, but every other Saturday I do 10 notes. I get up early, grab my coffee and begin writing. Most people just can't ignore that level of persistence forever. Picture your handwritten, hand addressed letter arriving next to a yellow, pre-printed, mail merged postcard. Which is more authentic?

How clean are your lists?

listsNot only do we obtain our lists from sources that very few people know about, but I personally am a freak about managing my lists. I clean every one myself, study the names (especially repeated ones) and get very personal with them.

At times, I'm not so sure I like being as close to them but I do see and reap the benefits. Talk with any internet marketer and they will tell you, the money is in the list.

This is no different than your mailing. Maintain your lists and keep them clean by asking the following questions:

  • How are you handling return mailers?
  • Does each caller get removed?
  • Does each caller get placed into a follow-up schedule?
  • Are you still mailing people you have already bought their houses from?
  • Are you mailing one landlord 10 postcards?

Make sure you clearly understand what happens in your business when a seller contacts you. Know how returned mailers are handled. Success is found right here in these situations...

Think of how many investors are too busy to discover why postcards get returned. I would personally rather work 100 returned postcards than 1000 absentee owners. Know why? Very few, if any, are doing it. We’re all too busy fitting in with the rest of our industry and well, just being busy in general.

Are you marketing or prospecting?

In today’s market, you must know the difference and have an active workable plan for both marketing and prospecting.

For us, our marketing is set up and operating in-house quite efficiently. Prospecting is always something we are doing… very few things take precedence over a good lead.

After a lead becomes a deal, it gets placed onto a conveyer belt and processed: start escrow, open title, verify values, confirm bid quotes, rental rates. Keep and rehab, keep and rent, live in it or wholesale it.

It's the part that leads up to signing that is different every time. All sellers have different situations and different needs and it’s hard for me to leave most anyone in charge other than myself. This is just my personal preference but also rather critical. The rest, however, is a teachable, manageable process.

mailFor marketing, build yourself a true mailing schedule. Go through one campaign in its entirety on a calendar and know the dates it's getting fulfilled, getting dropped, when to expect calls, how many went out, postcards or letters, cost for both stamps and fulfillment and then do the next list.

Mail 4+ times per year. Stats show that the fifth mailer returns up to 80% while everything below never achieves 7%.

Make sure all your lists operate on a schedule. Leave someone in charge of that. But…

  • Check the operations often.
  • Have your returns followed-up on.
  • Know what day your probates are pulled, printed, fulfilled and mailed.
  • Know when your code violations come out.
  • Know what happens when a random lead comes to you.

This is a deep rabbit hole, yet you have to create a process for your campaigns so your marketing is truly done for you and essentially by you, without being directly done  by you.

I focus on prospecting the better part of 3 hours a day. I enjoy a Monday driving all day putting leads into a funnel to make a prosperous week ahead.

Make sure you have a way to "touch" people or houses you come in contract with. Be as indirect as possible in your ability to buy their property and you'll score some of the best leads you can get from any market.

Leaving handwritten yellow letters is sure to get you a call rather than using a door hanger flyer or postcard. Tape it to their front door to be sure your message is effective

Prospecting is all about you being the message people need to respond to… it takes a lot of your time, but if you’re doing deals on a budget, you can definitely use time instead of money to get results.

Lead your market with marketing.

And the best way to lead is to serve

When you mail, regardless of our thoughts on it, it looks desperate. Cash for homes. Cash in 3 days. We buy houses.

In its own sense, most people have become numb to marketing as it can be perceived with a negative connotation.

Some great seeds get planted in marketing indirectly. Some of the best marketing you can do is when it's informative or beneficial to the area.

If you just purchased a property in an area, why not tell your list? Let them know what you bought, where and how much. Tell them that they can get involved by coming to see what you plan on doing in their immediate neighborhood. Let them know it will be rehabbed and you'd love to show it to them.

Do you ever host an open house neighborhood BBQ? It’s a great way to let people know you've already done good and you’re not asking them for anything. You’re telling them to come experience why you do this – to give back. Order a bounce house and put up signs all over inviting everyone in the neighborhood. This builds a brand and is the exact opposite of the ‘We Buy Houses’ messaging...

By doing this, when someone on your list is talking with a friend or neighbor about selling, they’ll say: “Hey, call these guys. I saw their project the other day and man, they really are doing good for the area. And they are good people.”

signWe have put these 3’ x 4’ signs at EVERY property we have bought in the past two years. Even if we wholesale or assign it, we put it in the yard for 7 days to let people know. After a while, you notice the presence this has on your market. You bump into someone or meet a realtor who says: “Oh, you're the guy with the signs all over.”

Bonus Round

I hesitate releasing this as I know how much leverage this has given us in our market…

Build a swipe file of other people’s marketing.

A few hundred deals ago, we did a deal with a seller who mentioned they had received multiple notices from people who wanted to buy the property. After I built some rapport with the seller, I asked why he chose us…

He simply said, “I called every one of them and you’re the only one who answered.”

mailersWe got to talk about how common it is for people to send mailers about buying a house and then never respond to the seller. That led us to talk about all the promises made on the mailers and so on. Eventually, I asked if I could see the mailers he was talking about and he handed over every mailer he received.

From that day forward, I made it a point to ask every seller if they would be willing to let me have the other mailers. One of my mentors is a landlord in town for a bunch of properties and literally sends me huge envelopes every month with every mailer he receives.

I cannot tell you how powerful this is and how much it has improved our ability to buy more properties in our marketplace. Start gathering your mailers from your closed deals and study them.

Holla at us

So that wraps up part 2 of this series. Was it helpful? Got any more follow-up questions for me? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.


Do It To It! Immediate Action Steps

Learn the strategies that make REI successful and implement them.

Never give up. If you get knocked down, pick yourself back up.

Write handwritten, personal notes to your sellers and mentors letting them know you value them.

Maintain your list and keep them clean and organized.

Know the difference between marketing and prospecting and have an actionable plan for both.

Use indirect marketing to provide helpful, beneficial information to neighbors in an area you’re doing business in.

Collect other mailers and use them to your advantage.

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