Today I want to share a sneaky little deal-getting trick from my buddy, Joe McCall. And seriously, you’re gonna love this.
You remember Joe, right?
He’s the guy who filleted open the world of wholesaling lease options for the rest of us. Here’s the post where he first walked through it all…
But here’s a fact: Among all the investors I’ve ever met – past, present or future (you heard me) – Joe is the Dark Wizard of Badassium in the magical realm of generating heaps of leads that yield piles of deals.
The guy’s in multiple markets simultaneously, has a veritable army of virtual assistants doing his bidding (basically running his business for him) and easily flips a couple or three houses a week with just his pinky. All while globe-trotting who-knows-where with his family at any given time.
Joe and I end up getting together 2 or 3 times a year to mastermind and horse around, and I just never cease to be impressed all over again. So let’s turn this over to Joe and let him unveil his sneaky little trick for you…
The Landlord Sneak Attack
By Joe McCall
I realized early-on that marketing is the most important part of our business. We’re not in the real estate investment business, we’re in the marketing business.
Leads are the lifeblood this business. It just can’t be over-emphasized: If you aren’t doing enough marketing consistently and regularly every day, then your business is going to die a slow and miserable death.
So you’ve got to be committed to doing marketing and doing a lot of it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to spend a ton of money on it.
I mean yes, letters and postcards work great in my business, but you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars a month on postcards. There’s actually plenty of solid marketing out there that you could do for free or cheap that works really well if you know what you’re doing.
One of my favorite forms of free but powerfully effective marketing has always been (and probably always will be) Craigslist.
And no, I’m not talking about posting ads on Craigslist or spamming people with 1000 emails a day. I’m talking about strategically contacting individuals who have listed their house for rent on Craigslist.
The gold standard we’re looking for is a vacant house, right?
Well, think about it: There’s a gazillion vacant houses right under our noses that are being advertised every day for rent on Craigslist. These are people who had a tenant paying rent, but now they don’t. It probably took them 2 or 3 months to get the tenant out, then another month to get it cleaned out and rent ready again – and now they’re advertising it again.
Many of these people are unwitting landlords who inherited Grammy’s house and tried renting it out, or tired, frazzled landlords who’s just rather not deal with tenants anymore. But a lot of times they just assume it would be a pain to try and sell, so they go for trying to rent it out again. And that’s where we come in and shift their paradigm.
Here’s How It Works…
What we do in essence is reach out to these CL landlords and one way or another just ask them very sophisticated and complicated questions, like,
“Hey, would you consider selling your house instead of renting it?”
…or maybe even…
“Would you be open to maybe doing a lease-to-purchase or rent-to-own if you had the right buyer?”
Pretty sophisticated and complicated, eh? (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)
But seriously, in my experience it seems that no one else is doing this. About every time we ask a Craigslist landlord these questions, it’s the first time they’ve even been asked. Talk about low hanging fruit!
Here’s My Basic Approach…
I always use my 1-2-3 punch — aptly named because I send these 3 things to every lead if possible:
- Text message
- Voice message
Some people’s ads include a number but no email, while others are email only. We just blitz them from as many angles as possible.
We’ll typically find anywhere from 50 to 100 fresh landlord ads every day, depending on the city or cities we’re focusing in. We hit them with the old 1-2-3 punch, then we get around a 15% response rate on average.
So that’s 10 –15% percent of the people we contact, calling us back or responding to a text message or email, interested in talking with us about selling their house. And yes, that’s a pretty good number.
On the nicer homes — like homes in my hometown of Saint Louis that rent for over $1500 a month — my approach is typically to ask if they’ll consider doing a lease purchase or if they’d consider renting their house for a year or two and then selling it. Then I’ll look at it as a possible lease option I can wholesale.
On the cheaper homes — Dealing with tenant-buyers in lower-end homes can be far more of a headache than it’s worth however. So if it’s a cheaper home, I’ll just ask them outright if they just want to sell it, and look at it more as a regular wholesale deal.
But regardless, one thing you need to keep in mind is to…
Make It Personal
Think about your audience here. The people you’re contacting are most often your average Joe or Jane, posting an ad on Craigslist to rent their house. They’re expecting to get calls from other regular folks who want to rent it from them, not from slick investors or professional house buying companies. You want to posture yourself to be as congruent as possible with what they’re expecting, or you’ll risk turning them off right from the start.
For this reason all of my marketing to these landlords seems very personal — it sounds like it’s coming from an individual and not a company or professional investor. I want them to see me as someone who’s really interested in their house. So I don’t show off my real estate expertise, or try “sell them on me”, or give them a list of benefits they’ll get from working with me.
Nope, just keep it simple and real. My aim is to literally just find out from them:
- Are you interested in maybe selling your house instead of renting it?
- Are you interested in doing something like a lease purchase if you have the right person?
Why I Love Technology
Deploying the right technology here not only make this process extremely efficient, but also much easier to outsource – more on that in a minute.
If the ad has a phone number, I send them a text message through my Google Voice account, which is free and ridiculously easy. I get a local Google Voice number in the same area code as the leads I’m targeting.
Another option: You can also use a service called Vumber that, like Google Voice, lets you buy virtual phone numbers local to whatever area(s) you want. And just like Google, when they call back that local number, it gets re-routed to my main phone number.
The main advantage to Vumber over Google Voice is that with Google, I can only have one number per Google account, but with Vumber I can add and remove any number of phone numbers to/from my account willy nilly. I can even have 20 different Vumber numbers out there that all re-route back to one central number, or it can go to voice mail – however you want to set it up.
I also send the CL landlord a voice message through Slydial — another free service, but this one actually bypasses the ringing of a cell phone and goes straight into their voice mail. This way I can easily just leave a message and the landlords that are interested in doing business can call me back.
When leaving a voice mail to CL landlords, my script kind of goes like this,
“Hey, my name is Joe and I saw your property on Craigslist. I’m an investor and I’m looking to buy another property in the area. You’re probably not interested in selling your property – but if you are – I’d like to talk to you. Give me a call. Here’s my phone number.”
Side benefit: A lot of times when I do end up talking to other investors or Realtors instead of a mom and pop landlord, they may not want to sell their house, but they may be a buyer looking to buy more houses. So as a fringe benefit, this can be a great ancillary way to build up your cash buyers list also.
When I come up with marketing systems, I’m always thinking about what can be outsourced to my virtual assistants or to my local “boots-on-the-ground” people. And this approach is perfect for this.
You can easily follow my lead and have a VA do most of this for you, and it’ll still seem like it’s coming from you personally. You can pre-record a voice message for your VA to send, have them send your text messages for you from your Google Voice account, etc. Super easy.
Talk to me…
So there ya go! Special thanks to my buddy Joe for the awesomeness here. Watch for an awesome follow-up from Joe in the near future.
Got questions? Comments? Insults? Fire away. Extra points if you notice and comment on my sneaky little easter eggs hidden in this post. Did you notice ’em?