On this episode, Scott discusses the importance of networking and how to correctly leverage your time and money at an event.
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Today’s episode is all about effective networking. I see a lot of people who do a lot of watching. They watch a lot of videos. They watch a lot of our stuff from Vimeo. WeCloseNotes.tv is where you can go to catch all of our video replays. It’s a new little handle we put together, a new website that we have to help make it a little bit easier for people to actually be able to tap into our videos. I see people struggle with effective networking. I see people that go to events and they are all the “This is one of the best things that we’ve done or have gone to,” but then I never see any follow up from them. I never see people communicate. It drives me bonkers. The way I used to leverage my time, not only my time but my money when I was brand new. I know many people are brand new out there. You often have shoe-string budgets when it comes to marketing. Going to a major event once or twice a year is a big expense, and I get that. I respect that. That’s part of the reason we created Note CAMP. We want to make it affordable but still bring that networking and that content base to you.
Today’s subject is all about how to leverage your time, whether it’s a virtual event or an in-person event. One of the most important things that you can have is you’ve got to take the time to connect with people. This doesn’t mean going into a room and just sitting there waiting for the speaker to begin. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think that’s great. If you’re going to an event like Note Expo or Distressed Mortgage Expo or Paper Source or anything like that in the last month or in the future or Note Camp, one of the big things you want to try to grab is as many contacts as possible. That’s the only way to really help you monetize your time and event, going and connecting with many people.
There are a variety of different things that we can do. One is you’ve got business cards. You’ve got to have a business card. If you don’t have a business card or have ordered them and they haven’t showed up in time for an event, oftentimes when you’ve created one and sent one then they give you a proof or a sample of one online. Take a picture of that in your phone and leave it in your phone. As you’re meeting people and you’re supposed to exchange business cards, take their business cards and say, “I ran out of business cards. I’m going to go ahead and text you a copy of my business card. In that way, I’m in your phone.” Really effective way to get your information and also grab other people’s cards without you having one. When you don’t have a business card, you’re not really in business. That’s the way I look at it. You don’t have a business card? Then you’re not really in business. Business cards are the first thing you should do. It takes 30 minutes to go to Vistaprint or somewhere else, FedEx online and create something. It’s well-worth the $4.99 that you pay Vistaprint or whatever to get you 500 business cards or $10. Taking a picture of the card is important, and then texting it out, that’s one way. Now you’ve got people on your phone, now you’ve got their business cards or you’re in people’s phones and you have their business cards. Collecting as many business cards as you possibly can, go ahead and talking to people.
Paying attention is important too; asking questions in the audience. One of the best things that I did earlier on was I paid attention and I asked questions at a Noteworthy event where 800 people are at. Those that were asking questions that were relevant, that I knew that they knew something, I would go up to them afterwards and try to collect their business cards or meet them out in the hallway, or find someone somewhere, go up to them and shake their hand. I still do that today. I still do that. We came back from LA a few weeks ago for content curation and something also like a Distressed Mortgage Expo. It’s a little bit different with Distressed Mortgage Expo because most people knew who I was there. I take pictures of people’s business cards. I do the same thing with snapping a picture of my business card if I’m traveling and I forget, because I run out of cards pretty fast a lot of times. If I go to a place where I’m known, it won’t take as many, but for those that want a business card, I’ll do the whole text thing because I like answering my phone when people are responding to me.
Another thing that is effective to do is if there are speakers or there are panel members, try to go up and collect their business cards afterwards, after the event or after their panel or the discussion. Great place to literally get some business cards. Go hang out the nearest bar. If you’re bored with the speaking subject or something like that, go hang out and wait to see where people go to. A lot of people head to the local bar in the hotel or the bar in convention center and hang out there. That’s a great place just to go networking. Just go listen in, go talk to people, make connections. If it’s a big event or a very expensive event and you can’t afford to scratch for a ticket, you can either drive to the event and go hang out at the bar there or the lobby. Dress appropriately. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to make some connections by just running to the bar table; a whole lot cheaper than a $1500 or $2000 ticket. Great place to make connections. After a day or two, people will start recognizing that you maybe belong and then usually you’ll just, “Can I sneak out into the event for day two?” I have done that earlier on.
Sometimes it’s easier to divide and conquer. If you go with two people, you go to one in the room, you go to another room and have the same philosophy. Try to collect as many business cards. I’ve even gone before, I like going around to the vendors getting business cards from the vendors because you never know who you’re going to need somebody to reach out to. It’s always good to get business cards from vendors because they’re connected to a lot of people, a lot of cards. You reach out to them and say, “John, who do you know who’s selling notes right now? Would you mind talking? Could you share the contact? Do you have anybody at your firm that can help me out?” Those are simple things that you can do.
The most important thing that you can do the day after the event or the night of the event is take those business cards and those connections and put them in a spreadsheet or put them in your MailChimp account. Then send an email out immediately. Don’t wait 48 hours. Don’t wait a week to do it. Send it out within the first 24 hours of the event. It’s important to stay fresh in somebody’s mind. Plus, make sure you put a picture, your face, on the email, not your company logo, but your stinking face. It’s okay to have your company name or your logo further down, but make sure that your face is relevant, “Great to meet you this weekend. Great to meet you yesterday at such and such.” The reason you want to get that up is because nobody does that. Very few people will send an email out, “It was great to meet you,” and those that do are serious.
Our VP of Operations, Stephanie Goodman, can vouch for the fact that when we travel, usually she’s the person that’s taking the connections, whether we have a booth and we have somebody fill out an opt-in sheet where we get a database from the event, and we send out a follow-up email, “It was great to meet you. Thanks for stopping by our booth. Thanks for being a part of the event.” Whatever it is, she knows I am religious about this. I go bonkers within 24 to 48 hours if it’s not done. It’s one of the big things that I think that has helped separate us from the rest of the pack. It can help separate you too if you’re doing the same thing. Many people, they take business cards and will stack them up and then won’t do anything, and then they’re basically not getting anything done.
You want to send an email out, not the “blah-blah-blah,” but one that’s, “This is what I do,” a quick recap, “It was great talking to you about what’s going on or what you’re doing in business.” A little nice secret is if you’ve got somebody’s business card and you talk about something specifically, write a note on the back, “This is the guy that has this dog, or this guy who was wearing the yellow jacket, or this is the guy that we’ve talked about investing in his IRA.” Those little things can help you identify, plus those work really good if you import them into MailChimp or into Infusionsoft. You can have a tab that says “Notes” in the facet so that when you go back and look at your contacts, “This is who this guy was. This is who this person was. I remember I met him here.” That’s the big thing, taking your list of contacts in a spreadsheet and uploading them and also saving that list or creating a list in MailChimp or a tag in Infusionsoft will be very, very helpful for you later on, because let’s face it, you’re not going to remember everybody.
People are amazed at the things that I remember of people but it’s because I use those little comments honestly. People are like, “You remember me?” “Yeah, I remember you.” When I pull up a name in Infusionsoft or MailChimp real fast, I’ll see the quotes on the side, “They’ve got three kids. They’re an ex-military or a helicopter pilot, or wearing yellow loud jacket.” Little things I post in there as notes help me retain, makes me look really smart. I am not the smartest tool in the shed. Steph will vouch for that.
What I’m getting at is those little things help you leverage your time and experience at an event. They also make it well-worth your time. It also gives you a list of people that you know have like-minded, either investors or buyers or funding sources that you can reach out to afterwards when you have a deal. You’ve already broken the ice with them. They already know you because, “This is the guy I met at Noteworthy or at Note Expo or Note CAMP. I want to follow up what they’re doing. We have something in common,” versus never sending an email out in a month when you need to raise capital for a deal. You send out an email and they’re like, “Who’s this guy? I don’t know who this guy is. Unsubscribe. Delete.” This is why going to events and networking is important when you’re brand new because it helps you grow that database.
Another thing that you want to do is once you put everybody in a database, two things. One, you can take that list and upload the list into LinkedIn to find those connections, and now you can connect with them on LinkedIn. You can also take that list and just take the email list or the cell phone numbers part of your spreadsheet, and on your spread sheet is their first name and last name, email address, cell phone, and then their full address. I used that to put the person’s full address put the city and state, so I can see if there’s any deal that I can market out to them because I’m not really mailing out a lot of stuff. Now I take a hint put the full list on there. Upload, just either create a list, which is the person’s emails and/or their cell phone, and so you have two lists. Now, you can go into Facebook and create a custom audience and upload that list. Now you have a list that you can market to on Facebook directly just for those individuals; same thing by having their list in LinkedIn. You can also go to Twitter, see if anybody has a Twitter account with that email address and connect with them. That’s one beautiful way and a very inexpensive way to connect with people or to market to people online.
One of the great things that you can do as well, you start building up big enough database. Let’s say you upload a list of 2,000 people, 2,000 emails. Facebook will take a look at the characteristics of those 2,000 contacts and you can say “Market to this list” and do another add and market to a similar list, a mirror list, friends of these people or similar contacts that have the same things in common. That’s getting really sneaky. Now you have something in common, now you can see those things and really knock things out of the park for people. That’s the beautiful thing when it comes down to marketing at an event. It’s one thing that you definitely want to do. You want to knock it out. You want to really be proactive about your marketing after an event.
Those are some really great things to do, very easy to do, it doesn’t cost you a lot of money. You’ve paid money to be there. You’ve paid money taking time out of your night, your week, your weekend, time away from your friends, families, your hobbies, time away from college football or the NFL, whatever. What I’m trying to say to that is it becomes very, very helpful when you’re doing that kind of stuff. It’s all important to try to connect with as many people because that’s really the name of the game; it’s building your list, building your database. You want to do that at events to really knock things out of the park for you.
I am a big proponent that you should be sending out an email to your database at least once a week is good, once a month on a bare minimum. If you do it once a quarter, you really should shoot yourself on the foot. A lot of people will change email addresses, they’ll change jobs, and they’re not going to keep that email, they’re not going to connect with you on a regular basis. Plus they can start following you and people love action takers. If you’re in that 5% of action takers, people who are actually doing something versus nothing, that will separate you dramatically from the pack. It’s one of the greatest things you can do is just sharing your struggles. I know some people send email out once a week, which is great. I think it’s at least a minimum of what you do, sending out either Sunday night or Monday morning, and then following up with an email to those that didn’t open their email the first time on, say, the following Wednesday or Thursday, and send it at different times. If you sent it at night, send it in the morning. If you sent it in the morning, send it in the afternoon. You probably get somewhere between 12% and 20% open rate on your emails, which is pretty normal for being in the real estate industry. If you get more than that, great, especially the smaller list of people you’re more connected to, you’re going to have a higher open rate.
Honestly, when you build an audience and you communicate with them on a constant basis, they don’t opt out as fast as they would than those once a month thing. You’ve all probably heard me say that the magic of raising capital is doing things on a regular basis, and 80% of your contacts or 80% of businesses are made after the fifth contact. It still holds true today. It holds very true to this afternoon or this morning, whatever you’re focused on.
People are going to unsubscribe no matter what you say and what you do. Don’t be upset when you get one person, “Don’t spam me.” “Okay, unsubscribe.” That’s the one magical button that I love using. If people say, “Unsubscribe me. Don’t spam me,” that’s fine. I’ll hit unsubscribe. Not a problem at all. If you’re going to be ugly and mean to me, unsubscribe. I had somebody called and complained after I sent out an email about the Columbus Day sale. We did run a Columbus Day special for Note Camp. He sent me an email, ugly and he took the time to call me which was like, “You probably shouldn’t align yourself with Columbus.” I’m like, “Really? Come on, it’s a marketing thing.” No offense, if you could go back in time to find something negative about every society, Columbus did some atrocities. A lot of people did atrocities. I can blame everybody, it’s German for that. It’s from the South about the confederacy and things like that, we can’t blame that. I’m not going to do that. It was a marketing thing. It wasn’t ugly. It wasn’t anything at all. I thought people are taking more offense to the two blondes with the banners advertising versus a simple Columbus Day special, charging $149.20 versus $197. You’re going to have some ugly people like that, that’s great. Thank you, unsubscribe or I’m going to remove from my list. You’re going to have a small portion of your audience who just are haters. They’re going to be ugly, they’re going to find something wrong, and they’re just going to be mean. That’s what you’ve got to keep in mind with everybody. It’s not always going to be pretty.
That’s what I’m trying to share with you. Go out and network with people. Go out and make things happen. One of the great things you can also do is you can do voice drops if you wanted to. If you’ve got a list of cell phone numbers from business cards, you can go to Slydial. Slydial’s a great way that we use called voice drop, in which you upload a list of phone numbers and you go online. For $50 for 400 voicemails, you create one voice message, record it and you can send it where it picks the phone number you want for caller ID to show and it sends a voicemail to all those cell phone numbers. It will ring once and then drops it straight into their voicemail. They listen to voicemail, you can do, “I’ve got a great deal. I’d love for you to find out information. I know that you’re in California looking for California deals.” That’s a great way to sort your list, “I see that you’re in Arizona. I’ve got an Arizona deal.” Great little thing plus they could hit redial and dials your number back and say, “I just missed a phone call from you.” ” Listen to the voicemail, we’ve got an Arizona note deal in your backyard. Thought you might be interested. Here are the details.” You only get charged for the ones that are delivered effectively or successfully. The ones where the emails and the numbers changed or they don’t have a voice or cell phones, they don’t charge you for it. It’s a phenomenal easy cheap tool to get the word out to a lot of people relatively quickly.
There are so many cool things that you can use to network. Email is just one part of it. Email is the most effective, I think, but then you add in the facets of uploading a list to LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook, and then marketing to those lists. It’s a great way to have a multi-touch approach. It’s a very simple way to have the content spider really work in your favor where the contact, the email or your introduction is really the first basic thing, your email or phone number, and then what you share across the different platforms. Sharing to Facebook, “I got a deal that we’re working on. Here’s another deal. Great meeting you at Distressed Mortgage Expo at Anaheim. I’d love for you to get on my note buyer’s list or if you want to get involved with my funded, if you’re looking for JV deals.” Those are phenomenal things.
One cool thing that we do at Note CAMP, which I don’t know of any other event that does this. I don’t know of a single event that does this. This is what’s so cool about what we do especially in the note industry. We offer up a survey, and we really like everybody to fill out the survey because it provides a lot of content to everybody. It helps us identify opportunities for everybody involved besides the whole, “What’s your first name, last name, email address? What’s your LinkedIn profile, email link so we can connect with you? What’s your focus first, seconds, non-performing, whatever? Do you have an IRA? Who’s it with? Are you looking to joint venture with people? Yes, no, maybe? What are your top five markets? What’s your biggest need? What’s your biggest goal business-wise and personal-wise for 2018? Do you have an entity? Yes, no, I need a new one? Do you have a website? Yes, no, I need one? What could we do better?”
Basically it’s 26 questions. You can get a lot of information from somebody answering these 26 questions. We’re not asking for the last four of their Social, their dog’s name or their high school mascot or any of those basic questions. We take the database. That helps us identify the model of our note investor, and we take that information. If you fill out the survey information, we will provide that survey answers of everybody who filled out to those that survey. It’s a great way to help expand your database, expand your knowledge, expand your investors. The last time we did it, there were over 200 private investors on there that were looking to joint venture. Actually 67% of those that filled out the survey wanted to joint venture with somebody. There are 190 people that had self-directed IRAs. Phenomenal opportunity to raise capital and network with people all from a survey. We take that information, it helps us leverage our business and we provide that to our attendees. I don’t know of anybody else that does that. I don’t know anybody else that’s willing to give that much information out about their event basically included with the ticket price.
Taking that information and now you have people’s top five stage, know which investments and how to target them, you know who’s looking for funding and who’s looking for firsts, seconds, performing, non-performing. That kind of stuff can tailor-fit your note business going forward. It’s a phenomenal thing to leverage yourself and we’re proud that we offer that up at Note CAMP. I don’t know anybody else that does that. That alone is worth the price of admission. I don’t care if you didn’t watch a single video, if you weren’t live, as long as you go online and fill out the survey, you’ve got a lot of information. You’ve got the value in being there, that’s worth the $197 ticket price. Only those that fill out the survey get the whole contact list. If you don’t fill out the survey, if you fill your name and don’t fill the rest of the information out, we’re not going to give you this survey. You’ve got to fill out your information if you want to share and network. If you don’t want to fill out the survey, that’s completely fine. We’re not going to force you to. You’re just not going to get an extra perk. You can go to Basecamp and download everybody’s information from there too if you wanted to, but we’re not going to provide you the list because you’re not playing nice. We want you to play with everybody.
One thing I have always kept in mind is what can I do to help you, those that are attending the events, to succeed? I think networking is one of the biggest things that you have to do, but not everybody is good at it. Nobody else teaches it. Sometimes you’re not downright comfortable going out and talking to somebody face to face trying to send an email to them, which I get. I totally understand that, not a problem with that. Go on, check it out at NoteCAMP.live. If you’re listening on the podcast afterwards, you can go and still get signed up and purchase the replays if you’d like to do that. We’ll extend that for the week after Note CAMP for you to be able to purchase the replays along for the same ticket price.
That’s all I’ve got for today. I want to thank all of you once again. If you’ve enjoyed this, feel free to share this with people, and as always feel free to leave a review on iTunes, Stitcher, or any of the podcast platforms. Until we meet again, have a great day. We’ll see you all at the top.