Growing your investment means growing your network. In this episode, Scott Carson breaks down some of the easier ways to build and grow an investor database when you are starting from scratch. Putting forward the importance of going to networking events and meeting many significant individuals, he shares some systems that you can use in managing your lists and connections. Seize those opportunities and keep the people you meet because everyone is of value to you in one way or another.
Listen to the podcast here:
Building & Growing An Investor Database
Our topic is a very critical aspect of every type of real estate investor. Whether you’re a wholesaler, a fix and flipper, a landlord, an apartment investor, a private lender, a note investor, no matter what type of real estate investing or any type of sales for the most part, we’re all in sales. The biggest thing I can tell you is we all have databases. We all are growing our database in a variety of way. The thing you got to keep in mind is you can get all the learning you want. You can get all the knowledge that you want, but the thing to keep in mind is that most people when they’re doing something, they’re like, “I don’t want to reach out. I don’t want to talk to anybody.”
That’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a note investor. That’s one of the three biggest mistakes I see note and real estate investors make is they don’t immediately start building their list. What do I mean by list? Do I mean that you’re going to make a list of everybody that you know like you are in a multilevel marketing thing where you’re going to reach out to everybody and have them buy soap on a rope or vitamins or shakes or things like that? No, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about building the list. It’s important to realize that as you’re out networking, as you’re out going to events, every person you come in contact with falls into one of the three categories: a buyer, a seller or a funding source for you.
Don’t Be A Wallflower
One of the things that you have to do is you can’t be a wallflower. If you’re going to an expo or you’re going to a summit or going to a class, you’re going to your local real estate club or you’re out at closing or whatever. As you’re out doing things, the most important thing you can do is get that person’s contact. Everybody has value to you, even those that aren’t in your neck of the woods or aren’t in your niche are still valuable. What do I mean by that? Oftentimes, we’ll go to an event and there will be local investors here or let’s say in Austin that are in real estate. We don’t buy a lot of notes in Austin. We don’t buy a lot of notes in Texas. Does it mean that person at some point, if you’re looking for a deal, maybe outside of Austin, may be a funding source or may be a referral source for you? A very important thing is that people you’d come in contact with, no matter who they are, I would put them in your database.
You collect a business card or you’re sponsoring it and you get a list of contacts, stuff like that from your database, but the most important thing you can do is besides putting it in your database is setting up a follow-up email. It’s to say, “Thanks, it was nice meeting you at the event this last night or the last week.” Follow up, tell them a little bit about what you’re doing and what one of the things that we have already prewritten. I only have to tweak a little bit, so it makes it easier for us is a pre-written email that goes out, “It was great meeting at the last event. You did a great job.” It’s a little nugget there but it talks about, “Here’s what I do. I’m a real estate investor focused on notes, here’s a little bit about some of the things that we do. Here’s my eBook if you’d like to get a copy if you can click on a link to download it. Here’s about the podcast.”
It’s three or four things and it’s got all the social media links at the bottom of the email, but all I have to do is if I add them into my database, they get that email out to them. Are people going to unsubscribe? They’re going to unsubscribe. That does me a big favor if they don’t want to be a part of anything that we’re doing, by all means, that is totally okay. It’s totally fine to do that. It’s totally fine to say, “I don’t want to be part of it. They don’t get any email. That’s fine. Thank you. Have a great day.”
Know Where They Are At
One of the most important things you can do with your database though, as you’re adding these people, is understanding where they’re looking at it and pay attention. Where are they investing? What state are they in officially? If you’re going to an event like a conference in an out of state, what are their three favorite states? One of the things I like to do when I get a business card is to write something initial on the back of the card. It’s something I have known about them, something with the three states they’re in. I like it when people put a face on the card, their actual picture on a card.
At the end of the event, you get all these business cards and you’re like, “Who’s this person?” I had too many Manhattans or I had too many beers or too many Crowns. Having a face with a name helps you recognize because one of the things that I like to do, this is a very easy thing for you, is you can use Evernote on your cell phone. Take a quick screenshot. That’s one of the things I like to do. I’ll take a picture of the card and I upload it to my CRM, which I use Infusionsoft. I’ve also used MailChimp in the past. It automatically uploads their information. It takes a picture and saves it in the profile. When I go back and send an email out or somebody sends me an email, I’m like, “Who is this person? Who was this guy?” I can pull up a photo and see who they are.
The most valuable thing is knowing where they’re at. They give you three states that are not in their home state and you now know what. They probably invest in four states, their home state plus three other states, which is common in the note business for people invested in that state. You have four states. It’s important to have those states leveraged in their profile with different in MailChimp. Infusionsoft has done this for years. They use a thing called tags. You can tag them specifically. If somebody tells me that they invest in Alabama, I will tag them in my system as an Alabama investor. I have a tag for 40 states that we see deals in. They get tagged on all investors. They may have three or four of these different tags depending on how they registered. That’s one of the things that are valuable to me as I get deals. As you are starting off, as you’re reaching out to banks and asset managers and doing those things, you’re going to get the list sent to you that maybe aren’t what you want to buy for yourself. You’re diving into due diligence, but you may know like, “I got a list of Alabama assets in. Who do I know that buys now Alabama?”
If you’ve got a list of people, you can go to Alabama, send an email, “Are you looking for deals? Here’s what I got.” You need to be careful about that. You don’t want to be a daisy chain or joker broker. It’s easier if you’ve got the list yourself like, “I’ve got a list of assets all across the country.” We’re sending emails out to people. You get some stuff in Illinois and we got some stuff in Indiana. You can paint the picture like, “I’ve got a deal. You buy in the state. Do you want to look at it?” That speeds up the sales process. It speeds up the closing process. Many people don’t do that. A lot of people have them built a list. It used to be easier to build the list if you use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great resource for everybody to use. It used to allow you to export your contacts.
In Thanksgiving of 2018, they did away with that aspect where you can export your contacts and the emails will be shown. They changed one little button that if you didn’t approve for your email to post, it won’t export it for you. That has hurt a lot of people especially those that were starting off and haven’t grown in on LinkedIn. Luckily for me, we got over 16,000 contacts on LinkedIn. We would export that list, upload it into our Infusionsoft or MailChimp and we send an email out to people. Now, one of the things too, if you’ve got a database, you don’t know what states they want to be invest in, don’t freak out. It’s still easy to help your audience make the decision. It’s the one thing that I like. You can create with both Infusionsoft or MailChimp or to the bigger ones.
There aren’t any CRM. You can create a custom list where it’s a form, but they click on a specific link. You’re going to ask specific questions like what we’ve done with our website. If you go to WeCloseNotes.com, you’ll see three tabs for the very first part. One is about buying notes. One is about classes and one about the Note Mastermind. If you click on buying notes, that takes you to auto-form where I asked you to fill out your information and your top three states. What three states are you looking for? That way when we get deals in those states, we’ll pull the list of those that have their market one, market two or market three as say Alabama and I get the list. I also have a big list of my contacts that have gone through different workshops.
This is one of the things that if you’ve ever attended one of the note conventions that we’ve done a lot are online note or commercial note, we always ask people to fill out a survey if they don’t mind. We usually get about 30% to 40% of people to fill out a survey, but one of the things I ask is what are their top three states? It tells me their email, their name, their address. They will fill that out in their top three states. What I do is at the end of the event or when I close down on the survey a couple of days afterward, one of the things that I do is I’ll take that full master list. One master list is emails and you’ll have duplicate emails because people are registering different states. Take list one, market one, market two, market three. It’s a huge master list. I can break that out by states. If they have 30 people in Alabama, five people in Arkansas, I can then upload those lists individually and tag them or add the tag as we’ve done in any other mail chimp or Infusionsoft, what you want to use and say, “Here are the Arkansas investors, here’s the Alabama, here’s the Illinois, here’s the Florida investors,” to add in that list.
The beautiful thing is that with a button or two you can clean up and it will merge people. If somebody registered four times for four different states, you don’t have four contacts. You can hit a button to merge data. It takes that same email and instead of four contacts, they have four tags. If somebody is invested in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, they’re tagged in my system four times. If I’m going to send a list out, they may get the email four times, “Are you investing in Alabama? Have you registered in Alabama buyer? Take a look at these.” This comes in handy. When you get lists from other funds, other asset managers, things like that, as you’re reaching out to banks and they send you links to something that maybe you’re not interested in, I would ask them because we did a lot of this early on in our note business like, “I’m not interested in this specific asset, but I know somebody who might be interested. Do you mind if I email it to them or email them the details and they respond back? We’ll have them sign a nondisclosure agreement.”
That’s a good thing that you can be doing. You can have an automatic nondisclosure agreement with a link that they can click. They can download it, sign it and email to you, make it an automated system for you for the most part. That comes in handy with your list. Now here’s a thing where you’re like, “Scott, I’m starting off. I don’t have a list. I don’t want to email my friends, families and coworkers. I’m still working at it. I’m trying to hide my side gig.” I understand that. The last thing you want to do if you’re working full time has your boss get an email from you and wonder what the heck you’re doing and have that long walk with a box. I totally understand that. What can you do? You can still utilize LinkedIn. LinkedIn is still a great source to connect, make connections, but you’re going to have to do something a little bit different. You’re going to have to jump in and look at people’s profiles and see if they’ve got their email listed there, someone in a message or I like to use Leadfuze. It’s is a good source. One of the things I’ve done over the years is I’ll go on to LinkedIn and type in real estate investor or another investor and it will pull up. You’ll search for that and then pull up a bunch of people. You can add and narrow down by states if you’d like to do that too.
LeadFuze is $97 a month. It’s a service that will help you scrub LinkedIn for people and their contact. You pick up their social media profiles or they have their email. I did the same thing of running a list using LeadFuze. I would have asked and said, “We’re going to list real estate investors and make sure that their email is visible. I can download it. It will be done with 500 to 1,000 new contacts each month. It is valuable because now you’ve got an email. Sometimes you’ll have a social media like a Twitter or Facebook handle or a website. That comes in handy now. What you would do when you download the list the same thing, “I wanted to reach out.”
I would go to connect with all those people. The thing is you can then re-upload that email list into LinkedIn and it’ll go out and try to connect with those people. I would send an email and I’ll say, “I want to touch base with you. I shot you a LinkedIn invite. I’m a local investor looking for deals. On your profile, you’re real estate investor. I don’t want to bother you. If you’re looking for deals, I would love to find out what your top three states are. If you’re interested, click on this link to fill out your three states. If we have stuff available, we’ll go from there.” With email, what’s going to happen? You probably going to get about 20%. You’re going to want to follow up with that list too. You’re going to have some people that opt-out and people will unsubscribe. That’s okay. Move on and realize that the most valuable thing you can do with your list is grow it on a daily basis. Grow it on a weekly basis. Grow it on a monthly basis.
A Different List For Every Social Media Account
I know a lot of the things we’ve done in the past that some people are doing is they create a different list for every different social media account. If they have a different opt-in list, they will send the link for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and for the different social media groups. That way if somebody opts in a list, they know exactly where it came from. It was posted on Instagram. They opted in on their home page and there was a Twitter following, stuff like that and go from there. Twitter, while it’s one of the things that is probably slowing down a little bit, is still a great place to build a list of contacts. It’s still a great place to connect with people on there on an individual basis. You’re still doing a keyword search, you can jump into conversations that people are doing, either real estate investing or a fix and flip or landlord or notes, whatever.
You can look to see what people are saying, what conversations are going and reach out to people. It’s easy to see that. One thing is you want to make sure you do is don’t post a fake profile. Don’t put a picture up then put some generic name. You can see they have no followers, no friends. Those are our people you’re not going to want to follow because they’re usually fake profiles. The important thing to do is reach out to people, talk with people.
Reach Out To Magazines Or Start Meetup Groups
Some things too, if you don’t have a list and you’ve got some deals, you might want to reach out to a magazine or a group like Realty 411 or other periodicals or websites. They maybe offer up an email service where they’ll do an email blast out to their database for you for $1,000 or $2,000. That can come in handy as well because now you are not just marketing to your list, but you’re also marketing to their list and you want to make sure it’s a well-written email. Make sure you’ve got your links in there that work.
That goes out to the list and that’s a great way to find buyers. You may want to pay a wholesale fee if you’re selling an asset, whereas if they send you a buyer or somebody from their list becomes a buyer, you’re paying them a referral fee. Bird dog fee is what we call it. That’s still a great way to do that out there. Other things, you may join memberships. I’ll give you an example. One of the things that we did that’s worked out pretty well is we had our note camp convention on a commercial side and Scott Myers, who’s a legend in the self-storage industry got on and talked about that. I jumped on the Texas Self -Storage Owners Association and it’s got a searchable thing by name on there. If you search by name on their website, it will pull up a couple of thousand owners of self-storage units. What do we do? We jumped on there and copied it over, dropped the list and we have in the name of the unit, the name of the company, their address and their phone number and an email address button 90% of the time to whoever the owner was or the gentleman email.
What did we do to that list? We uploaded the list into Infusionsoft, 2,700 names in Texas alone. We sent an email blast out, “I’m looking to buy self-storage units.” We sent just one email out and we ended up getting five phone calls and five emails back. That’s a pretty low rate of return, 1% of 2,500. We got 25 phone calls. We got two-tenths of 1%, but the five that responded were motivated and were in phone calls and discussions back and forth on what they’ve got available and what they’re trying to move. It was for free for about an hour, hour-and-a-half and taking the time to pull that information and doing searches A through Z and export the list and write an email. It can be very effective, but now I’ve got a list of 2,700 self-storage owners and three people responded saying, “We’re looking to buy as well. If you come across anything that you don’t want, we would love to take a look at it.”
That’s the thing, keep track of it. Your list is one of the most valuable things you can work on a daily basis. I’m laughing, thinking about the story here when I was a younger kid and everybody here, younger entrepreneurs, a lot of people have gone through multilevel things and things like that where they always want you to meet twenty new people a day or 50 new people a day and it’ll get you where you need to be. No, I would not necessarily say that, but with the use of LinkedIn and other social media websites, you can pull a list pretty easily and create a new list. There are some big groups on Facebook that you can go on and say, “Is anybody interested in buying in this neck of the woods? I have deals that I would love to visit with you.” LinkedIn is a great place to see that as well. People will post, “I got deals,” and you’ll have 50 to 100 and 200 people go on there and comment their name, email and phone number. Maybe people are saying, “Aren’t you spamming them? Aren’t you violating the Spam Can Act?”
Yes and no. I’ll send an email out once to them for the most part. If they don’t respond, they’ll be tagged a couple of things. They may get an email once in a blue moon. For the most part, I’m fine with them unsubscribing and I don’t send a million emails a day. I may send one a week, one a month to different lists out there, but that’s what everybody has to do. If you’re going to provide something valuable where it says, “I do have deals,” or “I’m not going to be a joker broker. I do have something of value to give you,” then that’s a good thing that you can be doing on a regular basis. If you run a group, you can invite people to your group. That’s a good thing too. If you’re building a group online, you can do that, but you still don’t end up with their emails. Some people will start meetup groups online, which is a great place for building your list. If you’re going to be doing a local meetup, one of the things that you want to do is they’ll go into that meetup group and set the settings that you’re a part of. You have to own the group. You can’t go onto somebody else’s group and do it but change the settings.
Require them to answer a couple of questions. What’s the best cell phone number? What’s the best email address for you? Make those questions required. If they don’t fill them out, they don’t join the group because you’re doing a favor. If you’re running a group and bringing content in each week or trying to drive engagement, it’s worth them giving up their email address.
One of the things that we did have done is and still continue to do is webinars. We’ll do a webinar in Latin America. We’ll do different note funding league where I have different deals available for sale as well as advertising. Say, “We’ve got a Webinar we’re doing on this week,” and that’s helped us build a list over the last couple of years. When you get 6,000 plus registrants, think about that. Over 50 weeks, that’s getting 120 new people on average. That’s a lot of valuable things. The first webinar we did years ago when I first started doing this in 2011, 25 people show up out of 50 people who RSVP-ed, but 50 people RSVP-ed.
That was a valuable thing. I added 50 people to my database and they opted into my webinars so they want more information so I send them a replay. We post the email or do we redo the webinar in the next week for the following information. Some people like that we’ll do a webinar once. They’ll have it evergreen when they’re advertising it and people have to opt into it. That’s a great list building source. It’s going to cost a few funds for people to register and having that on autoplay on either Facebook or other places like the website that you lead to. It still got to drive traffic to get people to opt-in. Webinars are a great way to build lists because depending on what they registered for, you can identify their hot points.
One of the things that we’ve done over the years is what was the topic? How many people registered? How many people showed up? How many people watched the Facebook live? How many people watched on YouTube? How many people watched the replay the week after? We do that. I know how many people are listening. How many people showed up to a webinar? How many people opt-in? On webinars that had a lower attendance ratio or lower RSVP, it tells me that’s not a hot topic. The ones with the hotter topics are this, this and this. We need to focus more on that content and that’ll help you out tremendously as well. Another thing you can do, I’m a big fan of Mobit or your text message marketing. Infusionsoft offers one called Fix Your Funnel. Mobit is a separate entity but it does link in with Infusionsoft. Maybe text the word Notes to 72000 or text the word deals to 72000. You don’t send me back a text message, but the minute you sent that text, it captures your phone number. I should opt in the opt-in. “I’ll send you a link to 80 hours of videos or here’s a link to my PowerPoint slides or text deals and here’s a link free to register your top three states.”
Now, I’ve got valuable information. I buy four to 5,000 texts a time for messages out for $195. It cost me about $0.5 a text credit or less, but it’s a valuable thing because now that somebody’s opted into it, as long as they stay opted in, I get a text message back out to them. In 201, about 1,000 people have opted in. It’s a good high open rate, 75% to 85%, sometimes 90% open rate. When we send a text message out with a link, we can see the people go to the link and click on the link. That’s a valuable thing. I know that they’re very reactive versus sending an email out to that database where maybe you only get 20% open rate. When I get a 70% to 80%, I will take 400% increase in opt-ins or opens included in that conversation, getting the conversation to grow, getting that conversation for them to respond. If anyone subscribed, by all means, it’s great. It saves me money in the long run.
I’m fine to do that, but it’s all about continuing the conversation in the list. If you’re building a list, I’m going to reiterate this again, you need to communicate. Taking a box of business cards that you never give out or that you’ve taken a bunch back to your house or your office and it’s sitting in a shoebox you never reach out to, it’s a waste of time and waste of money we spent. A lot of people’s emails will change every six to eight months and the value of an email address increases dramatically after 30 to 60 days if you don’t respond to them almost immediately, the first day or two, but also on a regular basis. We’ve run different polls and see that over 50%, 60% of our audience doesn’t email up on a weekly or even by a monthly basis or even a monthly basis to their database. That’s an unfortunate thing and that’s where you see a lot of the lack of success because they’re not doing the marketing aspect.
Send Out Email Blasts
Somebody gets excited about looking at real estate, looking at deals but when it comes out sending an email blast out to the database, they often get intimidated and won’t send the damn emails we like to say because that’s the way to get it out. Get the word out, share what you’re doing and share what’s going on. Share the deals that you’re working through. That’s the thing about the aim of database. Not only does it make sense to have a huge database. It only makes sense though if you’re going to communicate on a regular basis. If you have a list and you’re not communicating, you’re only hurting your own business. You’re only hurting yourself. That’s an unfortunate thing. You don’t want to do that. Take the time, build your database, do it organically with meetups, real estate clubs and collecting cards yourself.
Over time as you grow the database, you don’t realize that one at a time is great and we still see that, but be smart about your time so you’re not traveling and going there. That’s one of the things that we have valued ourselves. We don’t have to travel as much as we do. We use smart tools that are available. We don’t have to travel a lot. We can stay relatively close to home for most of our marketing and still be able to grow a large database, add new people to our database on a regular basis, continue to market and work so that we constantly get people. Oftentimes, I had five or six people out note funding where they opted into buying notes or they signed up for something. We were out of Austin. If you are interested in talking about that, feel free to shoot me a text message, (512) 585-3810 or shoot me an email at Scott@WeCloseNotes.com. I would love to visit with you with a one-on-one and talk about some different ways that you can market to make things rock and rolling for you. Other than that, go out and take some action, make something happen. We’ll see you at the top.
- Note Mastermind
- Realty 411
- Fix Your Funnel