EP 221 – Network Growth – One Banana At A Time Or The Whole Tree

NCS 221 | Banana Business

NCS 221 | Banana Business

A big network means access to more deals that will then translate to more money. Building a network is similar to a banana where investors are divided into those who are going for the pieces of banana and those are going for the tree. The tree is what investors should work on if they are thinking about investment. Note buying doesn’t need a lot of expensive marketing to help profit lines grow, because this is similar to network growth one banana at a time when the target should be the whole banana tree network instead. Learn how to grow your network in Facebook, LinkedIn and MeetUp by simply getting yourself in the system through videos and posts.

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Network Growth – One Banana At A Time Or The Whole Tree

Our topic is based on something I read and watched over the holiday season. I don’t know about you, but I am a fan of bananas. Every morning, I eat a couple of bananas because they’re good in potassium and it’s healthy. It’s something I get ready for as I do my afternoon workout. I usually go through three or four. Many of you go to the grocery store, you pick up a couple of bananas, and you’re excited about it; easy thing in that. There’s a quote that I read that I thought I’d share with you because I think it’s really, really valuable with what we all focus on. It was on LinkedIn. It was a quote that’ said by Jack Ma, the richest man in China, “If you put bananas and money in front of monkeys, monkeys will choose bananas because monkeys do not know that money can buy a lot of bananas.” In reality, if you offer job and a business to people, they would choose the job because most people do not know business can bring more money than wages. Profit is better than wages for wages can make you a living, but profits can bring you a fortune. Think investment. That’s a big thing out there. A lot of us initially are working through things and we take a job because we want that income, “What’s my salary going to be? What’s my hourly going to be? Am I getting benefits on different things?” That’s great when we’re first getting started especially out of college, you’re brand new, you want to get some work history you’re going to need to get. As you get older in life, oftentimes an entrepreneurial bug starts to bite you and you start figuring out, “Am I just sloping hours of my life for hourly?” I remember being a kid mowing lawns at $3 an hour. It’s big money though thirty years ago when I was ten, but that was before. I used that money and I went and bought stuff with it, and I would go back and mow lawns the next weekend. 

NCS 221 | Banana Business

Banana Business: Don’t wait to do it until everything is perfect because nothing’s going to be perfect.

A lot of people struggle with making that initial jump. I get it, it’s difficult. Sometimes people are holding onto their rail of security of having a job or they’ve got to have so many bills paid. They don’t have the belief in themselves totally in what they can do. This is why I’m a big believer to start your side hustle now. If you’re doing something on the side or thinking about doing it, don’t wait to do it until everything is perfect because nothing’s going to be perfect. One banana represents probably a thousand bananas that didn’t make it to market. If you don’t know about bananas, they have a banana tree and they only basically last for one season. They grow up these bunches of bananas, and literally if they don’t meet specifications where it’s so long or so thick or whatever, it gets chopped off. Does that mean it’s a bad banana? Does it mean it’s unhealthy? No, a little small banana would be good to have. I think it’d be great. It gets chopped off at the market before it goes on a banana boat, before it goes on with the fruit carrier that comes to the United States. It’s got to be a specific size and everything like that.

I think that’s the big mistake that a lot of people make, especially coming into the New Year. We all have resolutions we want to accomplish. We all want to have our business grow so big, we want to close and make deals, we want to make so much money, or it’s like this, “I want to lose weight. I want to pay off my credit cards. I want to get out of debt.” We focus on the initial thing. For most people that want anything about making money, it means they’ve got to work harder. It means I have to work 80 hours a week versus 40 hours a week. We all know that’s the trade but it’s hard to get off of. “I want to close more deals this year.” What does that mean? Does that mean you’re just going to keep doing the things you’ve been doing to see deals come your way or are you going to do different things in your business to get rock and rolling? Are you just going to focus on the low-hanging fruit of the bananas that hedge fund guys give you some of the list, or are you going to go out and literally say, “Heck no,” and go to the source?

I’m not going to jump on a boat or a plane and fly off to wherever they grow bananas and buy bananas directly. It’s not what I meant. For business, especially in the note business world, you have the opportunity to do that here without really having to have a lot of expensive marketing and a lot of overhead to really help grow your profit line or your bottom line to help you either close more deals and make more money. That’s really what it all comes down to is getting directly connected. If you’re going to close more deals, you should be making more money. If you want to make more money, you’ve got to close more deals. What does that take though to finding more deals? It means you’ve got to market more. That means, “Do I still do the same things that I’ve been doing for years? Do I drop out 1,000 post cards? Do I drop out 5,000 postcards? Do I go door-knocking? Do I write yellow letters? Do I send foreclosures to foreclosure lists?” The answer to that is you have to work smarter in today’s market, not harder. 

How do you work smarter? The best way you can do is wherever you can exponentially grow yourself or exponentially get the word out or exponentially market yourself. The smartest way to do that is to build networks, building a network of people that you don’t have to do it all yourself. Building a network of people that can send you deals or a network of asset managers that you can reach out to on a regular basis. I love it because I’ve seen people going out there and saying, “I’m reaching out to asset managers this week. I’m going to drop out emails this week.” It’s great to have a network and build a list of networks, but you have to work smarter. It’s good that you’re building those. You just have to use it. Building a network is one thing; building a list is another thing. Then also using it, instilling it or putting that list to work is the magical key to making sure that your message is actually read and seen and people can respond to it. If you send out an email on New Year’s Day, most people aren’t going to see it. They’re going to see Happy New Year and they delete it off because they can bombard you with a hundred others. The thing to keep in mind is, are you treating your business like a banana where it’s one at a time or are you trying to go back to the tree? 

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Getting back to the banana, a lot of us are monkeys. Initially a lot of us are like, “I got a banana.” We all get excited we’re eating a banana and we’re like, “Where’s the next banana?” We wait for somebody to bring us a banana. The idea is you want to build a network versus just one source or two sources. That way you have an abundance of bananas coming your way versus you trying to go out and have to do it all yourself. How do you accomplish that in the New Year? A couple of things. One is starting networks. Where do you find the best networks? There are three major places that I would say are the best places to find network. The first one is Facebook. Facebook is going to have a great network facility, especially if you’re part of a group. I joined two networks on Facebook that are podcast networks. One was 180,000, 110,000 other podcasters. I’m like, “That’s one of the great ways to do it. I want to go out and network.” Sure enough, I’ve already been invited to go to a podcast conference in July in Philadelphia, which is great. I’m looking forward to that. It’s what I was looking for.

Another thing, we have a friend fly in who’s very big and active in the comics, in the Marvel space. He’s wanting to start his own collectibles business because he’s big into that. I was like, “Don’t go out and buy a store. That’s the old way of doing business; going out and getting a store front and hiring people and having to pay rent and all that stuff. Go online. Once you jump online, utilize some of the online networks and the fan networks.” He’s like, “Yeah,” so he joined three Facebook groups that were over basically 300,000 people. He’s got a phenomenal network there now to deliver up his collectibles, if he chooses to do so. Facebook is a great place to reach out and to find a lot of other business owners who have bananas for you. 

NCS 221 | Banana Business

Banana Business: Facebook is a great place to reach out and to find a lot of other business owners who have bananas for you.

Another place that’s really great to go is Meetup.com. A great group to go and there’s a lot of great groups on there, especially if you’re in the real estate industry. Finding real estate investment clubs in every major city helps you expand your network exponentially with the local experts. Let’s face it, as note investors when we’re building our team, especially when you’re diving into a new community, one of the biggest question I get from people is, “How do I build my team in different cities?” What would you do in the city that you’re at? If you’re in Austin and if I needed somebody to go look at the property, first thing I do is I’d hire a realtor. I’d jump on to find a realtor or find a real estate investment club to go network at. The third thing I would do is I’d be asking the president of the club or the realtor if they had any rehab crews or people that were interested that can help me out with clean-outs and things like that. That’s the thing I would be using as my focal point in building a network in a different city, Meetup groups, real estate investment clubs. If you’re going to deal with other investors that want to buy your assets or that you want to sell your assets to or potentially find, that’s the thing that I would do. I’d be going and joining your Meetup groups in the cities that you’re a big part of. 

Let’s face it, whether you believe me or not, January and February are always going to be the most active months of real estate investment clubs for the most part. It’s because people are setting up their New Year’s resolutions. That’s why the gym is going to be packed this week and then dead the next week, because the people were going gangbusters trying to get fit overnight and they’d be too sore to do anything else. One of the great things that we all can do is build your network, but realize it’s going to take some time. You can show up January or February at your local real estate club, but you’re not going to build a network overnight like that for the most part. You’ve got to work your network. You’ve got to be an active member of that network. Real estate investment clubs always crack me up because I see people from January and February looking around like crazy. They’re running around but come March, April, they’re nowhere to be found or they’ve gotten dragged back into life. Instead of going and building a network of bananas, they’re happy to go just buy one banana at a time again. They get so used to it because they need that fast instant gratification. Instead of taking time to build a network to get deals sent to them, they go for the lowest hanging fruit. They’re like the rest of the monkeys trying to chase the foreclosures or trying to chase sub-to deals or something like that and they’re getting overbid. 

The third group that I like to use for more specific groups would be LinkedIn. LinkedIn has so many large groups out there, some are very active and some are very docile, not very active but they have huge member list. There are two categories, the big not so active or the list that are active but may not be the biggest groups. I like active groups but I also like leveraging a list in building a network. I’ll give you an example. I’m a part of a couple of big groups, 100,000 plus people. If there’s only 1% of people that are actually doing that, that’s still a good chunk. At 180,000, that’s still 180 people that are doing stuff on a regular basis. It doesn’t mean that the others aren’t watching or they’re just not communicating, they may still see it, they may get my emails, they may get to see the posts in the discussion boards. Those are still important to be a part of and that’s a great way to use that.

Once you join LinkedIn groups and you connect with other members, if you can grow your network that way and your followers or your connections, then it’s become maybe a third connection or a secondary connection become a first degree connection, and then you have them in your database. It’s easier to build a network on LinkedIn than I think it is on Meetup because the fact is in LinkedIn, once you connect with somebody you get their email address. Meetup is going to keep you from getting their email address unless the managing member has either asked the question, “What’s your email? What’s your phone number?” and you post it to your profile. Not every Meetup runner or managing member does that. They just usually will cycle through Meetup. Meetup doesn’t always share emails, which is frustrating for a tool like that but I can understand that.

The other network that I’ve really been big for the most part when I didn’t really like the website beforehand is BiggerPockets. BiggerPockets is very focused on real estate investors. What’s nice is based on your zip code, you can find local people around you, which is phenomenal or people in different markets by typing the zip code of cities. It’s very active. You can see who’s active the most on there, who’s sharing comments. It’s a great way to raise capital because a lot of people going on there, “I’ve got $50,000. I’ve got $300,000. I have $700,000. I’ve got $100,000. What can I do with it?” They basically open themselves up to people like, “Maybe you should do this, maybe you should do that.” That’s fine, an easy way to find investors. A lot of people, including myself, have used it to raise capital. What’s always funny is there are a few people on there that bash that but I’m like, “You’re not buying anything. Why are you bashing the people that are doing what you should probably be doing?” You still have the Debbie Downers there. It still gives you the opportunity to share, educate, repost, and ask questions. I think it’s a great network tool to really expand your network on that now. It’s not going to grow as rapidly as your Facebook or your LinkedIn, but I still think it’s a great way to ask questions, see who’s answering and be able to watch from afar if you need to and then comment as you need to.

NCS 221 | Banana Business

Banana Business: The bigger the network is, the more deals you close, the more money you raise, the more things will get done in building your network.

Back to the banana; do you want to go out and talk with people one at a time, one-on-one or do you want to reach out and have one message that goes out to your entire group or your entire network? The bigger the network is, the more deals you close, the more money you raise, the more things will get done in building your network. A very, very valuable resource that all of you should be utilizing more this year than any other time in the past is video, using your cellphone, using your webcams, using your Instagram stories or your Facebook Lives. You all have those features available to you to record information. One of the best things that you can do is there are basically a few videos that I would do if you’re starting off that are very key integral videos to help you get the word out initially of what you’re doing, especially if you’ve never done videos before. The one that I highly recommend is a short About You video. What’s your history? What are you focused on? Where are you going? That kind of video and it doesn’t have to be long. We’re talking like three minutes, “I’m Scott Carson. I’m known as the Note Guy. I’m buying and selling defaulted notes. I’m Johnny Smith. I’m a local real estate investor in Memphis that specializes in rentals here. I also love defaulted notes and buying distressed debt, and bought and flipped 100 properties. I’ve got twelve real properties.” Something which is your basic bio About You video. That’s the first thing. 

Second thing, you should probably do a couple of case studies. These will be deals that have closed or deals that you’re working on currently. If you’re working on it currently, I don’t think I would list the address. We don’t want that to happen. If you’ve got somebody listing an address of a property and they may not own it yet, it was a workout deal; not a good thing. You could talk about the case study. Instead of saying, “123 Main Street,” I can say, “This is an asset in Fort Lauderdale, Florida we’re working on,” and go through the specifics and say, “More to come once we’ve closed out this deal.” A couple of case studies are great things to do. Any other videos, Nichole, that you recommend for people, the About Yous, some simple case studies, maybe talking about their team is a good thing?

It’s good if they have personal assistants or anybody else that’s helping them. That’s a good one.

Versus being a one-man show, they’ve got people involved. What I’m trying to get at is why these videos? If you post these videos and they’re part of your profile on Meetup or LinkedIn or BiggerPockets or Facebook, it becomes your greeting. It becomes your ability to be able to communicate that story a thousand times. One of the great things that we have done I love about the podcast is we have turned our FAQs into basically our episodes. When I get questions, we often turn it into an episode. It’s a great way for me to be able to communicate that question, that story, the answers to that problem 1,000-plus times instead of me having a 1,000-plus conversations. If I have a conversation once, it leads to that message being distributed 1,000 times on Facebook Live, 1,000-plus times on the podcast, and then it goes on to YouTube and Vimeo and gets viewed exponentially from there as well. It goes on to Google Plus and all those others through Nichole’s magic using Buffer and all that good stuff out there as well. We get the word out. The right people that need to hear it, hear it. Those that respond, thank you for responding. I responded to a couple of posts of people on the first few episodes of some things which is great, asking for the due diligence checklist and things like that from one of the episodes, which is always phenomenal. I just want to thank those people for listening. 

What I’m getting at is your 2018 should not be about the banana, it should be about the banana network. It should be about building that network. We’ve got a pretty good little growing group on Facebook, The WCN Crew. We’re growing over 600 members, which we’re honored and excited to have. We’ve got this closed group. It’s not open just to anybody. It’s got to be somebody who’s a student who has gone through one of our workshops. It’s become a very good network with people sharing, posting ideas, posting what they’re working on, and people responding going back and forth. That’s the power of the network. If you go to a big network and nobody uses it, it’s basically worthless. It’s like AT&T or Verizon building a network of cell phone towers, but nobody has cell phones.

You have to realize that you’re in the 21st century. Scotty came along and beam you up so far, you’ve got to do the rest of sharing your message, sharing what’s going on. I love posts. I love it when people are saying, “I’m doing this or doing that.” That’s great but the biggest bang for your buck is to start doing things and get outside. If you’re inside your comfort level, you are not going to grow in 2018. If you want to grow this year, and you’ve never done video before and never shared, that’s going to be your biggest strength, to get the message out. Instead of just having banana, have banana TV. Trust me, when you start sharing what’s going on and getting the word out and people can see who you are, you’re going to start building rapport or you start building and becoming an expert in your field or whatever niche you’re in, people are just going to send you bananas at that point. That’s ultimately what we always want. We don’t want to get one banana. We want to get cases of bananas sent to us. 

I was thinking back to some of the people that I have not had in the podcast that we have down as guests. One of those is my buddy Jack Krupey. Jack is out at New York, runs a big $100-million plus fund that focuses specifically on BK Chapter 13s. I originally met Jack about ten years ago off of a YouTube video. It is a long time ago, especially when you start thinking about YouTube back at the time. I bought a note on a condo here in Austin from Doug Roberts who’s been a guest on here local DSRE. I went out and took a video of the property using this little flip camera that Doug used to provide. A little flip video camera, plug it right in, uploaded all the softwares. I used it for years and upload it to YouTube. It’s me just showing my face, talking about the complex. It’s like 110 degrees outside and so I got sweat running down my face. I shared. I walked around and took pictures of the pool complex. I was buying unit 101 on a tape. About two months afterwards, I see a list of Texas assets and there are two condos that were in this complex I was buying. The one note on that, I saw these two notes and I was like, “I would like to try to buy those.” The whole tape got bought up before I could get my offers in. I knew the unit numbers. They were units 103 and 105, which is really right across from my unit.

NCS 221 | Banana Business

Banana Business: It all came from me taking the time to film a three-minute slay-ass close video that the hedge fund saw.

I didn’t think of anything of it. About a month goes by or a couple of weeks go by, my phone rings. It’s a New York number and it’s a guy on the line that asked me about the Burton condos here in Austin and what I know about it. I’m like, “What are you talking about?” He said, “I did a search and your video is the only thing that popped up about that complex.” I go, “Really?” I saw the New York fund and I said, “You wouldn’t be calling about unit 103 and 105, are you?” He’s like, “Actually, I am.” I’m like, “Really?” He goes, “How the hell did you know that?” I said, “I buy distressed debt. I saw a tape that had these two units in there. I saw a New York number and figured it might be a New York fund that bought the assets. That’s what I heard that a company up in New York bought it. I just took a wild guess.” He’s like, “Actually, I did. I bought the whole Texas tape.” I made a relationship right there. I ended up buying the two assets from Jack over the phone and closing a week later. It’s built a relationship now for ten years. I bought a lot of assets from Jack, done a lot of stuff with him. Actually, I was his officiant at his wedding at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. That’s the thing. It all came from me taking the time to film a three-minute slay-ass close video that the hedge fund saw. You never know when it’s going to happen. That’s led to Jack calling me on a lot of deals, he helped move a lot of deals over the years. I bought a lot from Jack over the years. I haven’t bought anything from him recently. The point that I’m trying to get at is that’s a network that hasn’t gone away. It’s a network that still works. 

I’ve got an email from another hedge fund that I did some videos for on a property in the neighborhood. They called me about another note that they had down the street. They were interested if I wanted to buy it. Yes, those things have happened. Yes, I’m Scott and I’m on a different level than most people are, but there are still things, there are still so many neighborhoods, there are still so many markets. There are still many areas across the country that I’m not the expert at those markets. I’m in Austin, Texas. I know my few markets that I love to buy and I’m good. There are still so many out there and so many assets available for those that are interested in making something happen. You just have to do the work to build your network. It doesn’t take that hard to do it. I have given you four websites to go out to. All you’ve got to do is go out and start connecting with people, start communicating in a fashion that makes sense. A fashion that makes sense isn’t just posting something, “I’m doing this at 3:00 in the morning.” It’s all about what am I doing on a regular basis and sharing that through video. Videos are going to be the biggest bang for the buck. YouTube is the second largest search engine out there. You’d be silly not to do that. 

I get invited to a lot of big groups on Facebook and I turn down a big chunk of them because the first thing I do is I go and look to see how active they are. If they’re not active, it usually is one or two things. One, it’s a pseudo network where maybe the person who started the group is inviting a lot of people but they’re not actually communicating. There’s another note group that’s been around for a while, about 2,000 members. It’s gone quiet like crickets. There’s hardly anybody that communicates in there anymore. I post on a regular basis. There are three others posting in there but it’s not many people at all. That’s become a network that I’m toying with the idea that I might as well leave it. If I’m not seeing anything from that network, I need to make sure and put my time and my energy into finding bigger bananas instead of a small little banana.

Your best bet for this year is going to build your network and focus on video. Those are the two biggest things you can possibly do. You’re going to be doing a lot better than those that are just literally, “I’m going to buy a list and send out a foreclosures list.” Here in Austin, Texas, Travis County, somebody asked the question about the Austin market on a group. I responded, “It’s less than three months of inventory. I think we have a total of 40 properties with the foreclosure list this month down from 900 at the peak.” There’s a very active real estate market here, very active list of investors here. If you are looking for just local properties, they’re fighting each other for 40 distressed assets. That’s a tough, tough place to be in. I don’t want to play in that. I want to deal in markets where there’s not a lot of competition but there’s a lot of inventory. That’s why I went to notes ten years ago and that’s why I’m still happy when I’m doing notes in a variety of states. My fates have changed when markets have changed. I haven’t bought that much in Florida in the last few years. I have moved my focus to where the assets are and making things happen in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, those areas.

Your first videos are going to suck because you’re figuring it out. You’re going to be like, “Is that working fine? The lighting’s horrible.” I don’t like myself on video. I don’t like the way I look on video, but it’s okay. I’m beyond affected. I’ve got a little extra double chin that pops up and things like that. I realize that the stuff coming out of my mouth is what’s the valuable aspect. People aren’t tuning in for the Playboy channel. You did a great job on your first video. You’re going to be exponentially better the second, third, fourth, fifth, tenth time you’ve done something. One person who’s done a really good job as he’d done more and more videos is our buddy Bill Griesmer. Bill’s doing a great job with his videos. I have not seen a lot from Karen and Stacey Wall, but they send out emails more and more. They’ve done a good job building a network, but video is good.

NCS 221 | Banana Business

Banana Business: Go out there, leverage your time, take the 30 minutes to film a video and talk about a deal instead of just posting it on there.

I want to implore you, don’t go out just chasing bananas and fight everybody for the banana. Go out there, leverage your time, take the 30 minutes to film a video and talk about a deal instead of just posting it on there. Take a few minutes to talk about the deal that you’re working on. It doesn’t have to be notes. If you’re working on terms or foreclosure or a turnkey property, take a few minutes to discuss the video, and make it about the deal. It’s not about you. Share what you’re working on. You can be generic in terms. I’ll give an example. At the last Virtual Workshop, I did a short two-minute video. I did a Facebook Live on it during a class. I didn’t give an address. I gave fictional numbers. I had 30 people that called me or texted me within 48 hours, “I want to fund the deal.” Yes, I’ve got a pretty good network. That’s the value of a network. If you’re starting off, you’re not going to have 30 people contact you but you may have one or two and that’s a start. As long as you’re getting one person to see your deal, that’s better than zero. The only thing you guarantee by not doing or trying is failure aspect of things that are not going better than if you did something and got better at it each time. As I like to say, fail forward. Make it a priority in 2018 to expand your network. Do more videos, go out there and network, expand your database and work smarter, not harder. Our Episode 221 is in the book. Thank you to everybody once again that listened in 2017. We look forward to even better 2018 here on The Note Closers Show podcast. Go out and make something happen. We’ll see you all at the top.

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