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The #1 Key to a Successful Off-Market Marketing Strategy

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Most real estate investors who do off-market marketing ask the question, “what type of marketing will generate the most leads at the lowest cost?” Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, ask a different and better question: “which form of marketing is most authentic to me, and fits the types of buying situations I want to have?” In this episode, Jeff explains the process of “finding your voice” as a real estate entrepreneur, and importance of having a marketing strategy that is authentically aligned with who you truly are as a person and investor.

Episode Transcript

When people get started marketing for off market seller leads, the question they ask themselves is, what form of marketing is going to be most effective and is going to generate leads for me at the lowest cost. But I’m here to tell you, and in today’s episode we’re going to discuss that that is the wrong question. the right question is, what marketing strategy fits with me and the types of deals I want to do? And when you answer that question correctly, everything changes and it gets so much better and so much easier. Let’s cue up the theme song we’re gonna dive right in.

Welcome to Racking Up Rentals, a show about how regular people, those of us without huge war chest of capital or insider connections, can build lasting wealth acquiring a portfolio of buy and hold real estate. But we don’t just go mainstream looking at what’s on the market and asking banks for loans, nor are we posting We Buy Houses signs or just looking for quote “motivated sellers” to make lowball offers to. You see, we are people-oriented dealmakers, we sit down directly with sellers to work out win-win deals without agents or any other obstacles, and buy properties nobody else even knows are for sale. I’m Jeff from a Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneur. If you’re the kind of real estate investor who wants long term wealth, not get rich quick gimmicks or pictures of yourself holding fat checks on social media. This show is for you. Join me and quietly become the wealthiest person on your block. Now let’s go rack up a rental portfolio.

Hey, thank you so much for joining me for another episode of Racking Up Rentals. Show Notes for this episode, including a transcript can be found at thoughtfulre.com/e53 for Episode 53. Please do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button now in your podcast app. It really sends a message back to the platforms that tell people that you like the show. And it helps them want to share the show with other people like you who are fellow thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs. All right onward.

I remember having this conversation with my wife when we first were getting started with real estate investing in a non-traditional way. Our first property was very, very conventional. It was listed property. It was a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage that we qualified but we wanted to get into some more like off market stuff. And we thought okay, you know, all the podcasts, were listening to the stuff we’re reading bandit signs, alright, so we ordered some bandit signs, big box of bandit signs arrives at our house. And we look at each other like Okay, let’s go put up the bandit signs, and really show when should we do this? And we were both thinking the same thing. We kind of looked at each other and said, Yeah, let’s do it after dark. Because you know, this is kind of embarrassing. This is a little sketchy. This is little sleazy. Let’s do it after dark when Yeah, we’re not gonna be seen or recognize, thankfully, we had a black car as well.

Fast forward a couple years, the bandit signs hadn’t worked for us. We weren’t feeling good about that. And we are now ordering yellow letters off of the Internet, and customizing the language and yellow letters a little bit. And they’re going out from this yellow letter mailing service with a list that we bought. And a guy calls one day from one of the letters he says, Yeah, hey, I’m just responding to the letter you sent me. You know, it’s one of those ones that’s printed on a printer. But it’s made to look like real handwriting. And it’s made to look like it’s actually on a legal pad. But we both know it’s not Yeah, anyway; I’m calling you back from that. And at that moment, I just, I was like, I can’t do this. This is so disingenuous, it’s so not authentic to me, it’s probably not really going to come as a major surprise to you to hear that when you’re doing things that aren’t really authentic to who you are, your personality, your value set your morals, your ethics, and how you normally conduct yourself in daily life, you’re not gonna get great results, because there is a massive, massive disconnect with that. And I found that massive disconnect with so many different traditional real estate investing, marketing channels, like the bandit signs, like the yellow letters, like having a seller’s website, like postcards, like all these different things that are so common. And here’s a really important point, it’s when you are the salesperson. And in this case, you are right, because when the phone rings from the seller calls, you’re the one answering it when you are the salesperson, the marketing has to be authentic. It has to be a fit to you if it’s going to work. And this really actually comes back to a topic of branding.

You know, if you talk to somebody about branding, or you read a book or listen to a presentation, people use this term, brand consistency and they say you know your brand has to be consistent across all your different channels. And after a couple decades of being in the marketing and branding consulting business myself, I have a slightly different perspective on that. Which is that it’s not about brand consistency, it’s about brand congruency. Because brand consistency sort of says, Hey, you know, if you’re going to have your logo be these colors, then you want to make sure that’s exactly the same colors, and all these different media. And if you’re using fonts, you have to make sure you use exactly the same fonts here and there. And what we actually mean though, is, the experience that somebody has, when they are on the receiving end of your marketing, or your sales, communications of any type have to be congruent. And even though the letter that you send them perhaps, is a different medium and has a different sort of contextual situation that a phone call with you has the feeling of the experience they have with you has to be congruent in both of those experiences. And when you don’t do that you cause a major disconnect for yourself and for the person on the other end of the phone. So, the really obvious but dangerous, dangerous question that people ask themselves all the time when they get started in off market, real estate lead generation is they ask themselves the question, what is going to generate the most leads? What is going to generate the most leads at the least cost? What is my cost per lead? and things like that? And what that leads you to do when you ask yourself that question is it leads you to do anything that you think will work best, which is really kind of out of an act of desperation? Instead of asking yourself the better question. And that’s really what we are focused on here today in this episode, the better question I would say is really an intersection of two questions a and b. a is what will generate the type of leads and the type of dynamic that I want to have? What will generate the type of leads that I would want to buy and the type of buying dynamic that I would like to have with the seller? And be? What will feel authentic to who I really am? Okay, so the right question, we ask ourselves, these two things, what will generate the type of leads I want, and the type of selling or buying dynamic that I want to have? And what will feel authentic to who I really am?

Let’s step back and talk about what a buying dynamic is. If you generate a lead from a Facebook ad, for instance, from an ad that says, you know, get a quick quote, for an all cash offer on your house, or something like that, the buying dynamic that you have right there, and that is set up by that ad. And by that a whole context of that situation, is one in which you have to shoot a number at somebody, and then they get to say yes or no, that’s one type of buying dynamic. As a thoughtful real estate entrepreneur, I do not ever, ever, ever want that buying dynamic, it is extremely one dimensional. It is extremely devoid of any type of relational component, any ability for me to use my skills in rapport building, and listening, and creative problem solving, and stuff like that. So, the buying dynamic is really, really important. In many ways. We want to start with the end in mind, what are the types of properties we want to buy? Who are the types of people we want to buy them from? And then we kind of work backwards, we start with that end in mind, and we reverse engineer back the whole process back to the question that’s going to ask, what type of marketing is going to lead to those types of conversations with those types of people in a way that is going to feel authentic to me, where I’m actually being myself, and the seller on the other end can absolutely tell. Now, I actually called this process, finding your voice as a real estate entrepreneur, you know, and it’s hard to find your voice at the very, very beginning of your journey. Because there’s so much information out there about real estate investing, there’s so many different ways of doing things. Yet, you’re kind of led to believe there’s one right or wrong way, but you’re seeing all this these different things and different ideas and different voices. And pretty soon, you start trying to mix and match all these different approaches that maybe really are not all that compatible. And you’re just feeling frustrated. And you’re feeling like you’re not getting anywhere because you’re actually not really honing in on one overall approach. And so this process is finding your voice as a real estate entrepreneur and such a big part of finding your voice as a real estate entrepreneur is figuring out what is authentic to you and just comes across so naturally when it comes to generating these leads.

So I want to talk with you about a couple elements of what it means to find your voice. The first element is just simply authenticity. When you are being authentic to who you really are. That makes you comfortable. Okay, so why is comfortable, important? Well, when you We’re comfortable in what you’re doing. That gives you a level of confidence. And your confidence matters so much in this process of generating leads and initially talking with sellers, that confidence really, really, really comes through, or it really doesn’t come through. When I was in my previous career when real estate was still just a part time endeavor. For me, I had a marketing agency, and my marketing agency specialized in working with banks and credit unions, like community sized banks and credit unions, not big national ones, but community banks and credit unions. And I was invited to go to their conferences as a paid speaker. So I’d show up, I’d be paid to deliver a presentation that was, you know, an hour, two hours talking about branding for banks and credit unions. I know that sounds super exciting, probably to most of you. But when I started doing that, I was nervous, right. I hadn’t done a lot of speaking before that. And I was nervous; I have like a little bit of stage fright. But after a few times of doing it, I had an amazing realization that changed everything for me, I realized that I was asked and being paid to show up and speak to the Jeff Stephens perspective on branding for banks and credit unions. And there was literally nobody in the world who is more qualified and expert in the Jeff Stephens perspective on branding for banks and credit unions than I was. And once I realized that all the pressure kind of went away. I wasn’t there to just speak about branding in general and be tested on whether I knew the right answers or the wrong answers. I was being asked to share my voice. And I was the world’s foremost authority on my voice in that way. And as soon as I realized that I just had this incredible confidence. And I didn’t worry that I wasn’t getting the answers, right, because the whole topic was my perspective. And nobody knew my perspective like me. Now the same thing is true. And I’ve experienced it myself actually had very much the same journey, as a real estate entrepreneur, as I had as a speaker, that once I found my voice that was authentic, and I got comfortable executing in, you know, my own natural, genuine way, I had a complete level of confidence. Because I didn’t have to remember a script, I didn’t have to pretend to be somebody I wasn’t, I didn’t have to remember the best practices or the right way, the wrong way to do things I could just do me just show up and do me. And that gave me so much confidence. So that’s why authenticity matters. So much authenticity leads to comfort, comfort leads to confidence, and that confidence shines through or doesn’t with sellers.

Secondly, is the idea I mentioned before congruency of experience, when you find your voice, you can make sure that that voice comes through in a congruent manner from the second that they see your letter in their mailbox, all the way to the second, you’re sitting at the closing table, because you are being yourself, and you have a single singular voice that you are conveying to them throughout that whole process. So another way of saying that says, when they see the envelope in the mailbox, it feels the same way as when they open the envelope and read the letter. And that feels the same way as when they call you. And maybe they leave a voicemail and what your voicemail message sounds like. And that feels the same way as what it’s like to actually talk to you. And that feels the same way as what it’s like when you show up on their doorstep and walk into their living room. And that feels the same way as it feels when you ultimately deliver a proposal. And that feels the same way. As you know, it feels when they’re meeting you at the closing table. The whole process, while it’s lots of different steps is congruent in their experience, because you are being authentic to who you are throughout the whole thing. And you have found your voice. So as you’re listening to this right now, if you are already doing some marketing of some sort to generate off market seller leads, you’re probably wondering, is what I’m doing authentic? And if you are asking that question, then First of all, I applaud you because that means you are, you’re getting the message that I wanted to give to you today. But if you’re having trouble answering that question, don’t overcomplicate it, listen to your gut. And your gut is going to tell you does this feel authentic to me? Now I do want to draw an important distinction between you’re doing things that are new for you their growth things for you, they are outside of your current comfort zone and you’re stretching to develop that capability. That is kind of a healthy level of like this feels uncomfortable, but in your gut, you know, deep down is what I’m doing authentic to who I am. And when somebody calls as a result of this marketing, are they going to have the same experience from me that the marketing would probably imply that they would have. And if your gut, deep down just that feeling, even if it’s not conscious in your mind, if your gut says, it doesn’t feel quite right, I strongly encourage you to listen to that. Because the most important thing that you can do for your marketing is make sure that your marketing strategy is authentically fitting who you are, your personality and the type of deals that you want to do. That is my message for you today, my friends.

And that is it for today’s episode of Racking Up Rentals. So again, show notes for this episode are at thoughtfulre.com/e53. Please do us a big favor by hitting that subscribe button on your podcast app. It really does help us if you would also just take a second to rate and review the show. It doesn’t have to be you know, Shakespeare or long just a quick rating and review would be so helpful and I’d be really really grateful for that. Did you know also that we have a Facebook group for thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs It is called Rental Portfolio Wealth Builders. And we would love to have you join us there you can either search and Facebook for that. Or just go to your browser and type in group.thoughtfulre.com and we will take you right there. If you liked this episode, please take a screenshot and post that screenshot to Instagram you can tag us @thoughtfulrealesate all nice and spelled out. So, I will see you in the next episode. Until then, this is Jeff from the Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneur signing off and reminding you to just be authentic to yourself.

Thanks for listening to Racking Up Rentals where we build long term wealth by being win-win deal makers. Remember solve the person to unlock the deal and solve the financing to unlock the profits.

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