Using The Right Mailing Lists to Locate Motivated Sellers (Part 1)

By Kathy Kennebrook “The Marketing Magic Lady”

Implementing the right list and using the right letter when creating your direct mail campaigns to locate motivated sellers is crucial to your success as a Real Estate Investor. There are lots of different ways to find these lists and lots of different types of lists to choose from.

The easiest way I suggest to locate a list to use for mailings is to simply go to your property appraiser’s office or auditor’s office and have them create it for you. There are many different parameters you can use to create these lists.

Some of the lists you could create might be directed at out of town owners, deed transfers, zip codes ranges, sale dates, estates, evictions, delinquent taxes or pre-foreclosures. These can all be good lead sources for you to use to find motivated sellers and these are lists that I use in my business on a daily basis in addition to several others.

Sometimes these records are available on CD and sometimes they are available as a paper copy. Every county differs in how they distribute this information. I suggest going down to the property appraiser’s office and speaking with someone there directly. Do not call. You may get someone on the phone who doesn’t understand what it is you need and you will not get the lists you need. Since you will be using this list for several months to do repeat mailings, it would behoove you to get the right list the first time.

There are also mailing list services that provide this service for you and usually you can locate them online by searching mailing lists or mailing services. Just be sure that whatever list source you are using has a list that has current information. Otherwise you are wasting your time and money on list that will net you zero results. I suggest getting a small list of around 100 pieces to send a sample mailing in order to test the list before spending a lot of money on this resource.

There are a lot of good internet resources to use to find excellent lists for finding motivated sellers using specific parameters. Once again, make sure you check the age of the list and the reliability of the company before making a long-term commitment.

Another way to find lists of motivated sellers is to go to the courthouse and check property records. One of the lists you can create is notices of default or lis pendens. These are people who are in pre-foreclosure. There are also probate and bankruptcy filings you can find at the courthouse that will provide a resource for leads.

When you invest in my Marketing Magic System I provide the letters for you to use along with resources for all the mailing lists you will ever need to create successful direct mail campaigns.

For more information on mailing lists to use in you Real Estate Investing Business check out part 2 of this article. In the meantime, check out my website at Marketingmagiclady.com for all the tools you need for you Real Estate Investing business including all the resources and letters you need to create successful direct mail campaigns for your real estate investing business.


Kathy Kennebrook

Kathy Kennebrook is the ultimate success story. She spent over 20 years in the banking industry before discovering the world of real estate. After attending some real estate seminars this 4 foot 11 mother of two got really excited and before you know it she’d bought and sold hundreds of properties using none of her own money or credit.

Kathy holds a degree in finance and has co-authored the books- The Venus Approach to Real Estate Investing, Walking With the Wise Real Estate Investor, and Walking With the Wise Entrepreneur which also includes real estate experts Suze Orman, Robert Kiyosaki, and Dr. Wayne Dyer.

She is the nation’s leading expert at finding highly qualified, motivated sellers, buyers and lenders using many types of direct mail marketing. She is known throughout the United States and Canada as the Marketing Magic Lady. She has put together a simple step-by-step system that anyone can follow to duplicate her success.

Kathy has been speaking throughout the country and across Canada for over 14 years and has shared the stage with Ron LeGrand, Dr. Phil, Dan Kennedy, Mark Victor Hansen, Ted Thomas and Suze Orman to name a few.

Kathy is going to share with you how she generates a seven figure income by mailing a handful of letters throughout the year to highly selected targets by knowing exactly what to send them, who to send them to and exactly how to deliver her message. She will teach you the secrets of pre-screening and automating your marketing and follow up systems to put your entire Real Estate business on auto-pilot.

 

Choosing the Road to Wealth

By Kathy Kennebrook (The Marketing Magic Lady)

More people are becoming millionaires today than ever before in the real estate business. So what makes these wealthy entrepreneurs so different? They chose the road to wealth and real estate as the vehicle to get there.

When choosing the road to wealth, there are some important distinctions that set the truly successful folks apart from everyone else. Some of those include the ability to visualize a specific outcome, pursuit of a dream, constant motion and a relentless determination to reach the goal. Giving up is not an option. Like the saying goes, “Quitters never win; winners never quit!”

I have found in the real estate business that there are two kinds of people, the “doers” and the “wannabes”.  There are truly focused folks who get up every morning with a clear and defined direction who want to make their business work no matter what it takes. They pursue their dream relentlessly and continue to grow on a daily basis, garnering all the education they can along the way to take them even further along in their business.

Then there are the people who go to seminars or buy books and tapes and do absolutely nothing with them once they get them home. I have personally witnessed this over and over again.  They have one excuse after another why they can’t do this business.  For them, the status quo is the easy way in any situation.

I used to be one of those people who did absolutely nothing. I continued to work day after day at a job I hated, and I had every excuse there was for not getting started in the real estate business.  So I can relate. You could say, “I’ve been there, done that.”

There were three main things that held me back:

  1. Lack of focus.
  2. A true desire.
  3. Abundance of fear.

You can absolutely tame all three. I am living proof that you can. The biggest change that occurred for me finally was the desire to succeed.  An even greater desire was to get back all the money I had spent on courses and seminars.  As I always say, “Whatever it takes to make you move forward!”

I discovered there were some very easy ways to get focused and get on track.  One was to define the specific reason I wanted to succeed.  For me it was to get back the money I had already spent on educational materials and to get rid of a job I hated.  At the time, my job entailed being on the road for long periods each week which resulted in my not being home much, something I very much wanted to change.  I spent many years in a “dead-end job” making a lot of money for other people.

For you, it may be putting money away for your kid’s education, taking a trip you’ve always wanted to take or maybe becoming involved in charities you want to support. Whatever that reason is for you, commit it to paper and out loud to those around you. There is nothing I know that will force you to take action more than committing to a goal out loud. Become persistent in the realization of your dream. Use the knowledge you already have and move forward from that point.

Visualize your success!  Every extraordinary, successful person has visualized their success in their mind and then on paper first.  Their dreams were put into action, resulting in a reality of success.  Bottom line, this is the outline of the road to wealth.  Unfortunately, most people get stuck in the “dreams” part of that road to wealth.

Enlist the help of your local real estate club or a mentor to stay on track. If there isn’t a real estate club where you live, contact other investors in your area and form your own group. This is a great way to network and get the support you need. I had a mentor early on in my business and I attended meetings of our local real estate club on a regular basis. I found this to be a great way to stay focused and excited about the real estate business.  I continued to work with other investors in my area who were already doing the business.

If people around you are telling you it won’t work, don’t let them “steal your dreams”. Only you can make the decision to be financially free. I know that lots of my friends and family members thought I was crazy to want to do this business. I’m glad I didn’t listen! Hang around with like-minded people, wherever you can find them. Learn from people more successful than you.  Hang around with people who make more money than you do. Decide what it is you want to do for your business on a daily basis and implement a plan of attack.

Enlist the help and support of your spouse and children or a partner while growing your real estate business. There are lots of things they can do to help and you’ll achieve a feeling of team work which will keep you moving forward. Write a specific list of goals you want to achieve, no matter how small. Set goals for tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. This is one way to create a road map you can follow toward attaining your goals and growing your real estate business.

Do whatever it is you need to do to keep moving in a positive, forward direction. Don’t let the “naysayers” get you down. They just want to keep you where they are. Don’t take advice from anyone who makes less money than you do. You have a right to live the kind of life you want, so be willing to do what it takes to attain it.

Real estate is one of the best ways I know to grow wealth quickly. If you believe you can’t change your attitude about the opportunity to create wealth through real estate, I assure you that you can. You just have to make the decision to choose the road to wealth.

That road to wealth is to stay focused and to never give up.  Success can be yours…today!

For more information on Kathy Kennebrook’s systems for the Real Estate Investor be sure and visit her website at www.marketingmagiclady.com. While you are there be sure and sign up for Kathy’s FREE monthly newsletter and received $149.00 of real estate tools absolutely FREE!!

Say Cheese! One Reason Your Brand Isn’t a Thing (Yet)

By Sharon Vornholt

A lot of people would rather have a root canal than actually have a professional photoshoot, but it is one of the top reasons your brand isn’t a thing (yet).  It’s time to schedule that professional photoshoot.

Remember that your brand is the way people feel about you. Pictures tell a story.

Good or bad, they tell a story.  Pictures are one of the most powerful things of all when it comes to telling your story and building your brand. People get to experience how it would feel to work with you through those images.

Before someone makes the decision to work with you, they first want to get to know you.  Great photos on your website and other marketing materials give these folks some insight into who you are. They also help set you apart from your competition.

Quality branding photos are essential for building your brand and the market perception that you are the authority in your marketplace. Perception is almost 100% responsible for how people view you, and it’s up to you to create your brand and that perception.

Remember that your brand is the way people feel about you.

Be Authentic When Creating your Brand

Pictures should always be authentic and show the real you when it comes your brand.  You’ve heard the saying, “You need to be yourself; everyone else is already taken”.

Here’s an example.

Let’s imagine for just a minute you are a laid back, jeans and boots type of guy (or gal).  You might put a jacket on for a meeting or event, but your “MO” is casual 100% of the time. You might put your “dress boots” on for the Christmas party, but that’s about as dressed up as you’re going to get.  Let’s call this person Jordan.

Jordan always shows up as this laid back, casual, very approachable person.  Imagine if Jordan suddenly shows with branding photographs in a suit and tie (or suit and heels). Can you imagine the reaction of everyone that sees those photographs?

They would be saying, “Who the heck is that”?

So just be yourself in all of your branding efforts.

Why Hire a Pro?

This one is easy.  Because you’ll look so much better than if you try to do it yourself.

You’re not just hiring someone with a better camera, but you’re hiring someone that can make you look awesome.  A good branding photographer also has the ability to take your version of you and mold it into something that speaks to your brand.  They will edit and retouch your photos and in most cases, they will be able to shoot you so your flaws are less obvious.  (We all worry about our flaws don’t we?)

Your New Look

Once you have your new photos, it time for a “makeover” of all your sites.  Add your new photos to your website and your social media sites as well as any marketing materials. When done properly, these new branding photo’s will help show people what it feels like to work with you.

Great branding photos will help you be seen.  

Here are Some Tips for the Photoshoot

Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in. This is really important.  You just can’t be relaxed for your photoshoot if you’re wearing something that doesn’t feel good.

Wear solid colors.  Black works well on the bottom. They style of your clothes should your brand personality.

You might want to use an interesting backdrop.  I love brick walls. (Go figure)

This one is for the gals.  Always show up in “daytime” hair and make-up.   (Think back to those old glamour shots). Yuck! No one really looks like that.

Do you have a prop that would make people say “Yes, that’s him or her”?

Think coffee cup, wine glass, golf club, or maybe your signature book.

What about your dog you talk about all the time on social media and always take with you?  Grab a shot with your pooch.

You get the idea.  Props are great for building a solid brand when they are part of who you are.  The most important thing is just to get it done.

 

 

Don’t Leave Thousands on the Table at Closing

By Kathy Kennebrook (The Marketing Magic Lady)

One of the things that never ceases to amaze me in the real estate business is how many investors leave hundreds or thousands of dollars on the table at closing due to errors in the closing documents. This is an area where many investors need to be educated. Many times investors get excited about the bottom line and forget to check the figures on the documents.

It is a mistake to assume that the HUD or closing statement is correct or that the closing documents are correct. The person preparing the closing statement can make mistakes. In addition, the person preparing the closing statement and documents is using figures that they have acquired from other people who could also make mistakes, such as the insurance company, the Realtors, the lender, home inspection service, or the surveyor.

You need to take the time to read all the documents carefully before closing on any deal. I have personally seen errors on the HUD at almost every closing I have ever been part of. Many investors only look at the bottom line and think “yes that’s enough money” but they fail to look at the whole closing statement, and in doing so possibly leave thousands at the table. I just had a closing take place recently where there was a mistake of a thousand dollars on the HUD. They put one of the buyer’s expenses on my side of the closing statement. I don’t know about you, but I think a thousand dollars is a lot of money to leave behind when you are entitled to it.

If you are looking at a closing statement and you aren’t sure why a figure is there, ASK the closing agent or attorney what it is and why it’s on the closing statement. It’s their job to make sure things are done correctly and all the figures are on the right side of the statements at a closing. Until I thoroughly learned the real estate business, I questioned every closing statement I looked at to make sure there were no mistakes.

There are some areas in particular that should be checked thoroughly. If there is a Realtor fee, make sure the percentages are correct and the payment amount to each Realtor is correct if more than one Realtor was involved in the deal.

Make sure you check the per diem interest to make sure this figure is calculated correctly. There are programs online that can help you with these calculations. I recently had a deal where I was the lender and my borrower was paying me off with the sale of the property to a buyer. When I received my check for the payoff on my note, I had been overpaid by $750.00. The per diem interest and pre-payment penalty had been calculated incorrectly. Had I not caught the error and written a check to my borrower, he would never have known there was an error. His mind was on nothing but the bottom line and he left at least $750.00 at the closing table. Compared to big checks, these may seem like small amounts, but multiply these amounts by how many closings you will do over a period of just a year and it adds up quickly! If it’s your money, you are entitled to it.

Make sure that the figures on the HUD from the insurance company, termite inspection, home inspection, survey, realtors or any other fee that should be carried to the HUD are correct. There have been many times when these figures were either incorrect or there were fees on the HUD that I had already paid out of pocket before the closing. If there are home owner association fees, make sure the pro-rated amounts on these are correct. If there is a home warranty to be paid for the buyer, make sure it shows up on the closing statement. These are all errors I have personally experienced on closing statements.

Check to make sure that the pro-rated property tax figures are correct on the HUD and appear on the correct side of the HUD. If you are due pro-rated taxes from your seller, make sure they show up as a credit on your side of the HUD. If you owe pro-rated taxes to a buyer, make sure these show up as a credit on the buyer’s side of the HUD. If there is a new loan amount or a payoff figure from a lender make sure these figures are correct. Make sure that any pre-payment penalties have been properly credited or charged. If you are paying off a mortgage, also make sure you are not charged a pre-payment penalty when none is due. This is another error I recently encountered on a closing statement.

There are other areas where I have frequently found errors so make sure you check your documents carefully before the closing. It’s much easier to deal with problems at the closing table than have them show up later and have to be corrected. If you are assisting a buyer with closing costs, make sure they don’t charge you more money in closing costs than they are entitled to. If you are assisting a buyer with closing costs and you see a big pay day on their side of the HUD, you need to open your mouth and protest it. Most lenders will not allow a buyer to take any more than 500.00 away from the closing table, especially when it is your money. If there is money left over from seller assisted closing costs, it should be credited to the seller who assisted with closing costs. It shouldn’t result in a big payday for the buyer.

Make sure you also check loan documents carefully. Check the interest rate, the balloon date and amount, and the amount of the note. I had a note and mortgage just recently where I was funding the deal for the buyer and the payee of the note and mortgage was the seller instead of me. They also had the balloon date wrong on the note. It showed a ten year balloon instead of a one year balloon because someone accidentally added a zero.

If there is an interest only payment to be made each month, make sure this is clearly stated in the note and mortgage. Also make sure that terms for late fees are clearly stated if you are the person holding a note for your buyer. Make sure names and addresses are correct and spelled correctly. Make sure you get an amortization schedule whether you are the mortgagor or the mortgagee. This is the best way to track a loan.

All of these are important points to check before any closing occurs. Don’t assume the title agent or attorney will catch the errors. They do many closings each day and they usually are unable to catch every mistake. In addition, very often the title agent or attorney is transferring figures they got from other people such as the Realtor, the lender or the insurance agent so they my not be aware that these figures are incorrect. It’s your deal and your closing, make sure the documents are correct so you don’t leave thousands at the closing table or create title problems later that could have been solved at the time of the closing of the deal.

Make sure all the documents that are to be signed and notarized are done properly. Make sure social security numbers or Tax ID numbers are correct on the 1099 so you are taxed correctly. I just recently had a closing where they put my social security number on the 1099 instead of the corporation that was supposed to absorb the income from the sale of the property. These are all real errors that occur all the time. Make sure you protect your interests when closing on properties whether you are buying or selling or simply holding a note so you don’t leave thousands on the table at the closing.

For more information on all the tools you need to find deals and automate your real estate investing business, visit my website at www.marketingmagiclady.com. While you are there be sure and sign up for my free monthly newsletter.

 

Should New Real Estate Investors Attend Local REIA Meetings?

By Lex Levinrad

Find the local Real Estate Investment Club in your area and go to the meetings. Attend each meeting religiously. Get involved, become a member and make new friends with other investors who want to learn about real estate as much as you do. Network with rehabbers, wholesalers, investors, mortgage brokers, title companies and realtors at these meetings. If you have very little money to get started investing then know that there are partners, private lenders and hard money lenders at these meetings that will help you. Don’t bring a friend who is not interested in real estate. They will want to leave or they will bring their own opinions which will influence yours. Do bring a friend who is as passionate as you are about learning about investing in real estate. If you are a realtor keep in mind that there are many new concepts that you will learn about that you may have not been aware of previously. Be open to that and also be open to new ideas.

Network effectively. Make sure you have a business card with a photo. Your card should describe exactly what you do and who you are. Your website on your card should match what you do and who you are. If it doesn’t you will not be taken seriously. If you are a wholesaler then have a card that says that. Make sure that you get a good quality business card and don’t go for the cheapest option. Get a professional logo and picture taken and use a thicker card stock and pay someone to design your business card (you can do this on www.upwork.com). Do not act like a know it all at meetings or make like you know more than you do. You are there to learn, and you learn best by listening to others. Find out the smart people who are having meaningful conversations and introduce yourself and listen.  If you don’t understand something ask. Most investors are more than willing to help new investors.

Do not rush to shove your business card into everyone’s face at every opportunity. Instead make the conversation about the other person (amazing concept). Ask them questions about what they do and be interested. Have one or two meaningful conversations at every meeting with someone new. After a few meetings you will begin to recognize the familiar faces. You will also notice the newbies that show up at every meeting. Those are your potential bird dogs. Don’t skip meetings. That is what newbies do. They show up once or twice and then they don’t come back. If you want to wholesale or fix and flip houses you will need to put in a lot of effort. Start by attending meetings religiously and look at it as a work obligation like an important appointment you can’t miss. Some meetings will not be great and you will question why you bothered going (especially if is raining or the weather is bad). Other meetings will be amazing and you will learn new things and make new connections with other investors.

Remember, you need to know people and they need to know you. The way you do that is by showing up every month at the meeting regardless of how small it is or how many people attend. Attend more than one REIA meeting if you can and there are multiple meetings in an area. Yes, there will be speakers presenting at these meetings and they will often end their presentation with a sales pitch. Look past that. Learn from the one-hour presentation.

Remember you don’t have to sign up for every item that is presented to you (beginners pay attention). Avoid the shiny new object syndrome where every week or month you are on to a new strategy or technique that you heard about. There are no shortcuts. Learn and focus on one thing. Become good at that. Then move on to the next thing. Be wary of charlatans. Every REIA has them. If you are the beginner in the room then as Warren Buffett says, “if you don’t know who the sucker is then it’s you”. So be cautious of the scam artists out there (especially the guys promising you low interest hard money loans with upfront fees).

As a beginner your job is to listen and to learn and network and to educate yourself. Only work with people that have referrals and that other members say good things about. The good people will be easy to spot. They will always show up, will have lots of people who have done business with them, and will have many people who say good things about them. Use your bullshit detector radar. Scam artists are quite easy to spot. Go with your gut feeling about a person. 9 out of 10 times you will be spot on.  

 

Feeling a Little Lost? How to Get Your Groove Back

By Sharon Vornholt

Do you ever feel a little lost? Like you just can’t get your groove back?

That’s not too surprising. The world is full of amazing opportunities. There are so many ways to make money in real estate investing, it’s easy for us to jump from one thing to another. Generally speaking, shiny object syndrome is not your friend when it comes to business.

However, know that you’re not expected to have it all figured out right out of the gate.

If you’re like most people, you will go down a lot of different paths before you figure out your investing strategy, and how to be your best and most authentic “you” and that’s OK. It’s all part of the process. When you’re finally in the place where you belong; the place that’s right for you, you will know it. That’s when you get your groove back, and you’re ready to rock and roll.

How to Get Your Groove Back

So how do you find the right balance between jumping from one thing to another while you’re finding your way, and staying on your predetermined path? (The path you decided was right for you.)

You slow down a look at the big picture as you begin the adventure of building a business.  This is a little like following a map to get from place A to B.   When we take a trip, we almost always take little side trips along the way.  When we look back when the trip is finished, there’s rarely any regret over these detours and unplanned stops.  It’s all part of the process in travel and in business, and it makes for a much more interesting trip when it’s all said and done.

Building a Business and a Brand that Stands Out

You’re probably wondering, “What does this have to do with building your business and your brand”? 

A lot more than you think. 

It’s important for your potential customers AKA motivated sellers, to see authenticity in your brand.  All of these little detours and side trips you make along the way while you’re growing your business, influence who you ultimately become. That person you become will be the face of your business going forward.

This is the time that the collection of experiences you had along the way begin to pay off. It’s also one of the ways you become different from your competition.

Be Bold

My advice to you is to be bold when it comes to chasing your dreams.  Take risks along the way.  Dare to be different.  Go out on a limb when you need to take a stand.

Remember the movie, “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”? Let’s just say Stella had to really go out on a limb to find it.  She had to get way out of her comfort zone.

What will happen when you do this, is you will start to build your tribe. People will be attracted to your authentic self. These are the people that will follow you along on your journey. They will be your best cheerleaders, and they will refer people to your business.

Remember, you won’t be a fit for everybody.

This confidence you’ve gained will shine through when you talk to motivated sellers, and people will trust you to help them get where they need to be. They will feel confident that you are the one to help them with their problem.  When you can’t seem get your groove back, it’s almost always because you aren’t being your authentic self.

I love this line from the book Fascinate by Sally Hogshead.

“Different is better than better”. – Sally Hogshead.

Dare to be different.

How Will You Be Remembered?

According to Brendan Burchard, there are only 3 things anyone will ultimately be remembered for:

Character, relationships and contribution, so let’s talk about these a little bit.

Character

There is little to say about character that hasn’t already been sad a million times.  Your character will determine your long term failure or success in this business. You will be quickly found out if you’re not an ethical business person. You will become invisible to people that should be part of your tribe.

Relationships

Real estate is a relationship business. Whether we are taking about other investors, contractors or motivated sellers, this business is all about relationships. It’s about having conversations that build rapport with people you do business with.

If you’re one of those folks that struggle with this particular thing, contrary to what you may believe, this is something that you can get better at with practice.  Full disclosure here: you’re going to need to be prepared to spend a lot of time outside your comfort zone in the beginning.

Contribution

When I think about contribution I immediately think about giving back. How can we make the world a better place? There are so many ways.

  • We can do volunteer work for someone like Habitat for Humanity or other charity
  • I know an investor that wrote a book and donated the proceeds to charity
  • If you are a rehabber, maybe your mission is to revitalize neighborhoods
  • How about sharing your expertise with others?

Contribution isn’t just about money.  It’s finding a way to leave the world a better place when you’re gone.  It’s how you will be remembered, and it’s up to you to decide how you will be remembered.

Giving back could be as simple as mentoring folks just getting started in this business. Be bold, get involved, take a stand and get your groove back in the process!

 

Marketing.

Why You Need to Create a Customer Plan for Your REI Business

By Sharon Vornholt

Today I want to talk about why you need to create a customer plan for your real estate investing business (in addition to a marketing plan) and exactly what a customer plan is. This is a new concept for real estate investors, but it’s something savvy businesses have been doing for a while.

What’s the Difference Between a Marketing Plan and a Customer Plan?

Simply put, a marketing plan is used to get leads. It’s used to attract motivated sellers.

Your customer plan details your process or what you do to keep those leads. The goal should be to have a repeatable process for nurturing the people that come into your business as leads.

Let’s Look At Your Marketing Plan

One of the first things you probably learned when you started your investing business was that your #1 job is marketing. You won’t be in business very long if you don’t have a steady stream of leads coming in the door. There are a lot of things you can put off but marketing isn’t one of them.

In order to effectively market your real estate business so that you always have leads, you must have a marketing plan.

Once you have implemented your marketing plan, it’s time to move on to your customer plan.

Exactly What Is a Customer Plan and Why Do You Need One?

A customer plan is a document that you create for your specific business. The customer plan for a real estate business would look much different than one a doctor created for their medical practice.

If you look at most businesses, they spend a lot of time writing business plans and marketing plans that attract customers. However, almost no one has a plan for keeping those customers (AKA motivated sellers) once you have gotten them to call you. Real estate is no different from any other business; it’s all about the customer. In our business they just happen to be folks that want or need to sell a property.

Your customer plan should be a detailed document that outlines everything needed to create a remarkable customer experience. This is the time for innovation; the time to think outside the box. If you really want to be the standout company in your marketplace, you need to find a way to reinvent the way you do business and deliver that exceptional customer experience.

Once you have created your customer plan, it also serves as a roadmap for making your company the absolute best company in your market.

Companies that got it Right

When you talk about companies that disrupted their markets, the first two companies that immediately come to mind are Uber and Airbnb. These companies “reimagined” the taxi business and the hotel business.

Uber changed the model of taxi business forever. People everywhere like riding in a regular automobile much more than a stinky taxi. Airbnb is another company that completely changed the customer experience. They reinvented the way customers choose accommodations when they travel. They are definitely giving hotels a run for their money.

What about cameras and voice recorders? Smart phones have pretty much replaced the need for both of these devices. They forever changed the way we take pictures on the go.

When I think back to the company that changed the way real estate commissions were traditionally paid, RE/MAX was responsible for that major change. Agents no longer had to share their commissions with the broker/office. If you are a RE/MAX agent, you pay a fee for everything; office space, copies etc. but you don’t share your commission. They reimagined the way Realtors get paid.

So the next question is …. how can you create a customer experience that is so different than what people are used to that you become “the one” they all want to work with?

It All Starts with the Customer

The first step is to know your potential customers. Don’t worry about your competition; worry about your customers. Once you know who your ideal customer is, then it’s time to create the best customer experience possible. Focus on creating the experience and the rest will take care of itself.

Of course ultimately this is about getting the deal. But more than that, it’s about creating raving fans that result in referrals, testimonials and repeat business.

Nurturing Your Leads

It’s easier (and cheaper) to nurture a lead than get another one. That’s a fact. Now don’t mistake this for trying to make a deal work that really isn’t a deal. That’s not what I’m talking about. This is about creating an experience for the seller at every touch point that is remarkable.

Anatomy of the Average Real Estate Deal

This is a very basic overview of the way a real estate deal goes from start to finish.

  1. You spend a lot of time and money generating leads
  2. Your marketing results in the seller contacting you about the property
  3. At some point you will have a phone conversation with the seller
  4. The next step is to look at the property if the initial screening call went well
  5. You inspect the property and decide whether or not to make an offer on the property
  6. After negotiations that offer is accepted or rejected
  7. If the offer is accepted you will proceed to the closing/settlement (and get a testimonial)

If you look at the process it’s all pretty mundane. Ask yourself this; looking at these steps, is there anything there that would create a remarkable customer experience? I don’t think so.

So let me ask you this:

  • If nothing were off limits, what could you do?
  • What would you change?
  • Is there a way to “reinvent” the way this process evolves?
  • Where can you innovate?

Let’s Do a Little Brainstorming Here

Let’s start with #1 which is lead generation and look at how you might reinvent the direct mail process.

If everyone is sending the same direct mail pieces; letters and postcards, what can you do differently? How about sending out a newsletter with helpful homeowner tips as your first mail piece? Instead of starting with a letter or postcard that says “I want to buy your house”, you begin your relationship with “Hi I’m Sharon, and I have some helpful tips for you today”. The point is to make a different first impression than everyone else.

Think of it this way; send the sellers something they will enjoy reading and in the process they will be introduced to you as a person rather than a business that wants something from them (their house). By doing this, over time you become the trusted resource in your market. At the bottom of your newsletter let them know that you buy houses and share your contact information.

Taking this thought one step further, why not replace one letter or postcard every quarter with something that would be useful to the sellers like a quarterly newsletter or market update? Information to create these information pieces is readily available on the internet, so it’s really pretty easy.

Doesn’t that make a whole different impression than a “we buy houses” letter or a postcard that’s all about you and your company? You bet it does.

Final Tips

I would like to challenge you to look at each one of those steps in the average real estate deal and think of a way you can “reimagine” the way you do business. Find ways that you can be remarkable in this crowded marketplace of real estate investing.

 

Sharon Vornholt

Louisville Gals Real Estate Blog