I have been doing direct mail for a little over 20 years now and hands down, it has always been my best source of leads. That is true for current real estate investing business and also my previous business which was a home inspection company.
I had a competitor (who really didn’t like direct mail) say to me once, “you can send out direct mail pieces till the cows come home, but there is nothing like face to face contact with your client or customer”.
That’s absolutely true!
But here’s the big thing. You first have to get in front of the customer in order to earn their trust and a chance to do business with them. Direct mail has always been not only my best source of leads, but the thing that got me the opportunity to be in front of the customer.
You need a plan.
If you plan on doing direct mail campaigns effectively, you need a plan. Not just any plan, but a marketing plan. A good marketing plan will spell out things like the frequency of your marketing efforts and the desired results. And then, you have to diligently work the plan. If you are using a good list and you mail with the correct frequency you will get leads … guaranteed.
Now the real work begins.
When you start getting the calls and the leads start pouring in, you need to be ready for them and you need to act on those leads quickly. I am always stymied by those investors that say they call folks back “within a few days”. Guess what guys; a lot of times those motivated sellers have already called someone else by the time you get around to making that phone call.
If you’re not calling them back right away and the reason is you’re new at this, you just need to put that saying “fake it until you make it” into play. What’s the worst that is going to happen? They don’t sell you the house? If you never make the calls, you’ll never get any better at talking to sellers. Thinking about making the call is usually worse than actually going ahead and making the call anyway.
If you are working a full time job while doing real estate investing, then I have a suggestion for you. Don’t send out 300 letters at one time. Send out 10 or 20 each day. Make it a manageable amount so that you can return those calls each day when you get home from work. If there is a delay in getting back to them, always let that person know that you are sorry for the delay.
What’s the real secret?
Provide exceptional customer service, and do business in an ethical and honest way. These rules will never let you down.
When you come to one of those times when you are just not able to help someone, let them know that you’re not their best bet and make a referral to someone that can help them. As a full time wholesaler, there are times I tell the seller that they need to list the house with a Realtor; typically because the house should be a retail deal.
There will inevitably be those times when you just can’t reach an agreement on the terms or the price. Shake hands and leave the door open for them to come back to you at a later date. You will be pleasantly surprised how often that will happen. I always keep these people on my list until the house has sold.
The cemetery house
I got a call today from someone I spoke with about 6 months ago. Her house is located across the street and about a half block from a cemetery. I spoke with this elderly lady for about 20 or 30 minutes not only about the house, but about her sister that had lived in the house before passing away.
During the conversation, I talked to her about all of the challenges with this house. There was the location which would obviously be a problem for some people. The house also needed to be reconfigured to make it more functional. I told her that my offer would have to be the same as it was before. She thanked me and said she would speak to the other heirs. This particular person was the hold out before when the other heirs were willing to sell. I guess we will just have to see what happens. My bottom line is, this house has to be a “smoking hot deal” or I don’t want the hassle of the cemetery. I know I can wholesale the house, but only at the right price.