STEP 0 – BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING
Before any other activity is accomplished, there is a fundamental step you must do that is a prerequisite to any kind of success. This overlooked aspect of having a successful REI business is you must plan to succeed. In other words, decide that you are going to buy and sell 12 houses in 12 months. Put it there in your mind and see it accomplished. The rest is simply establishing that decision into the physical world. Remember, things are created by decision so plan to succeed, and succeed you shall.
SET UP A CELL PHONE LINE FOR YOUR REI BUSINESS
Your ability to speak to others, and for them to reach you, is vital. It is the foundation for which all of your other efforts will rely on. Establishing a reliable, professional communication line that is solely dedicated to your business is the first thing you need to do.
You may already have a cell phone but you need one that is strictly for your REI business. It is not for your spouse, friends, kids… just the inbound calls from your advertising efforts. A dedicated home line won’t cut it because the key here is to always answer the telephone when it rings. This is your MONEY line. And you must be willing to answer calls starting as early as 8:00 am to as late as 9:00 pm.
Make sure that the cell phone service you purchase offers voicemail for taking messages when you’re unable to answer calls.
RECORD YOUR VOICEMAIL MESSAGE
On your dedicated cell phone, a recorded message should be to-the-point and request the necessary information for being able to get back to them. Record the following:
“Thank you for calling. This is and I buy houses. I’m sorry that I could not take your call, but your call is very important to me so please leave a message. Leave me your name and number along with the address of the property and I will call you back shortly. Thank you again. I look forward to speaking with you about buying or selling you a house.
This should be recorded in your professional voice; don’t make the mistake of trying to sound like “a regular guy” or even worse, funny. What not to do: “Hey! This is Bob. You know what to do,” BEEP! Don’t start out with music either - nothing but professionalism. Also, don’t say that you have a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home for x dollars for sale either.
SET UP A VANITY NUMBER
A "vanity number is a toll-free telephone number – beginning with either 800, 866, 877 or 888 – that spells out a relevant name (like 1-800-SELLHOME) or acronym for the purpose of making the number easy to remember. Toll-free numbers allow potential customers out of your area the freedom to call you without having to pay long-distance charges. The cost is placed on you instead.
This handles the consideration of cost for callers and you will receive more business with one of these types of services. It is worth obtaining an easy-to-read and remember vanity number as an important step to your success. (As most, if not all, of the “good names” have been taken for the REI industry, we have excellent vanity numbers available that you can utilize.)
It is important that when you order your vanity number, you tell the telephone company to have it ring to your dedicated cell number.
It is important that people can remember you by everything you use to advertise with. Name recognition is what is known as “branding,” and vanity numbers are a valid part of accomplishing this. If you’re concentrating on foreclosures our 1-888-EZ-AVOID is excellent. If you’re all around investing our 1-877-877-1010 is perfect. If your advertising message is fast cash then our 1-888-290-FAST is perfect! I have taken the steps necessary for you to succeed by securing 14 vanity numbers to suit all aspects of the real estate industry. This is simply part of what I have developed with my membership Web site for helping REI’s.
Once you have your communication lines established, it’s time to figure out who your customer is. In sales, potential customers are commonly called “prospects.” The word, “potential” is important here because it requires the real possibility of people becoming interested in what you have to offer. Teenagers would not be your prospects because their “potential” or likelihood of selling or buying a house is zero.
Determining who your audience is – the type of people who will be interested is your services – is key for preserving time, energy, and expense. So you want to attract as many real prospects as possible without wasting time, energy and money on the rest of the masses.
Under normal circumstances, you would have to do a great deal of research and trial & error to find out just WHO are the prospects are of any business – in this case, the REI business. But this guide reveals the most valuable and profitable prospects, clearly and simply, on a silver platter.
WHO YOUR CUSTOMER IS
There are essentially seven types of prospects that will be interested in buying/selling a home. These customers can be labeled by the type of house they are connected to:
For Sale by Owner people are interested in saving money while making the most profit from the sale of their houses. Most actually interview agents for the job of selling their home. If you decide to buy their house, make sure you buy it before they list it in the MLS.
People in Notice of Default are a desperate situation. They have defaulted on their mortgages by not paying for a minimum of 3 to 6 months. As a result, they must come up with the balance in full in order to keep their homes. They are typically given 90 days to come up with the money or the house will be foreclosed on and put up for auction. The time frame may be different, depending on your state.
Their interest is to sell their home quickly in order to pay off the mortgage before foreclosure. Keep in mind that most people in foreclosure are in denial. So it will be up to you to get them to realize the reality of the situation.
People who rent have different problems such as terrible tenants, tenants who are falling behind on their rent and do forth. It is very common for an Absentee Owner to consider selling when a tenant decides to move out.
If a For Rent prospect’s house is not being rented to tenants, they are losing money by having to pay a mortgage that would normally be covered by paying tenants. So you can see a number of angles you can take in meeting this type of owner’s needs and convincing him to unload his headache with your help; including keeping him from potential hardship, being that “it’s so hard to find good, long staying tenants who respect the premises…,” you get the picture.
This is the most difficult type of prospect to deal with due to the legal red tape involved in the probate process, while potentially being the second highest profit potential. These sellers (Probate prospects) are usually the children of the house owner and they are more interested in getting money quickly over dragging the process out. Take some time and find a good, CHEAP probate attorney that you can refer prospects to for selling the house, and sometimes even hire on the behalf of them. The key in dealing with this prospect is to make the process of selling the house as easy as possible. These people will not know anything about the probate process and the more you know, the better your chance of buying the house will be because they begin to trust and rely on you. So spend some time with the attorney to learn the time process of a probate-related house sale. Become an expert in your prospects’ eyes and you’ll close more deals.
Remember one important issue, and that is never lie to your prospect if you do not know the answer to one of their questions. Say the following, “that is an excellent question, and I will call my probate attorney and ask her for you.” When they feel like you are there to help them, they will follow you like ducklings that follow their mommy duck.
Farm prospects refer to a geographical/demographic area that you mass mail to. Let’s say you want to market to people with 2-year-old mortgages or houses that were purchased 5 years ago; they would make up your Farm prospects. Knowing what Farmed prospects want can be difficult depending on where you’re cultivating your list from. If you’re not sure, you can always go with the most common interests like, “Sell our house fast!”
Keep in mind that you cannot start off advertising to everyone. You simply do not have the resources, and I’m not just referring to money. Resources include capital, labor, knowledge and experience. FSBOs are better left to investors who want to do lease options (L/O); although I have bought my fair share of FSBOs outright, meaning - it can be done.
Organization is a key element to becoming more successful and avoiding stress. Can you imagine a doctor operating on a patient and not being able to find the right instrument at a crucial point during an operation? Everyone needs a system for staying in control of their surroundings. You, as a real estate investor, need to have a system for keeping track of everyone you send information to about your business.
The Binder System
I use binders to track the people I’m prospecting to. I call these my “Money Binders.” You should set up the same system for yourself, and here’s how:
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