One of the most powerful marketing tools you’ll ever use for your real estate investing business is something that’s free, takes virtually minutes and requires no materials or creative skills.
It’s simply this: Your ability to connect with others.
Think about it this way – words and conversations are free. And if people have a good opinion of you, and an idea of what you do professionally, they’ll likely approach you with information or referrals that could lead to great deals or more connections.
Before we work through the details of this stellar free marketing method for making connections, I want to briefly touch on what we’ve learned so far about marketing and deal-getting strategies. (Make sure you check out Part 1 here, if you missed it.)
Even if you have a marketing budget available, I’d still recommend taking advantage of free marketing methods. The more the better, right?
So for today, we want to explore how to market yourself to others and build referral partner connections to make the most out of these relationships.
Professional partnerships are indispensable to real estate investing success.
One of the first things you can do when you’re scouting for an off-market real estate deal is to find other wholesalers to source deals from. Now, of course, if you’re pursuing wholesaling yourself, this won’t be your #1 go to source of deals. But if you’re buying deals to fix/flip or to rent, wholesalers can be your best source of deals. I source many deals regularly from wholesalers.
My take: I’d much rather let someone launch huge marketing campaigns, screen phone calls, negotiate with sellers and do all the legwork and then lock up deals. If I can pay a wholesaler a $5k or $10k fee for a great deal, I do that all day long and spend my time on what I do best (developing projects).
So, find out which wholesalers are the best in your area – those are the pros you want to build a relationship with. And don’t hesitate to talk to the wholesalers who are just starting out. Even if they don’t have large deal flow now, they may soon. And you want to be the person they call when they do get an off-market real estate deal that fits your investment criteria under contract!
So, when it comes to wholesalers, how do you find them in your area?
You know those “We Buy Houses!” signs you see alongside highways and near your grocery store parking lot? Call those guys and gals.
Or – bringing this into the 21st century – simply do a Google search for wholesalers in your area.
If you’re the face-to-face type, find wholesalers at your local Real Estate Investment Association (REIA) meetings.
When you’re interacting with a wholesaler, give them your investment criteria, so they know what type of house you’re looking for: price point, neighborhood, condition, etc. Then, voilà, they can go out and find the house for you. The more specific your investment criteria, the better the chances are that someone will bring you a deal. So don’t be vague when speaking to these people.
This is another one of my favorites. Bird dogs are basically people you hire to drive around or scout areas and bring you leads on properties that may have motivated sellers behind them (vacants, poor condition, abandoned, etc). You pay them a finders fee for every lead they bring you that closes (usually between $500 and $1000 per deal).
Bird dogs can find the “For Sale By Owner” signs and the burned-out landlords. They can drive around different neighborhoods and write down the address of every house with boarded up windows, overgrown grass, “no trespassing” signs, or any other evidence of a property in distress. It’s like outsourcing your lead generation, but you don’t pay per lead or per phone call. They only get paid when you close the deal.
How do you find your bird dogs? I’d recommend posting an ad on Craigslist – preferably in the Jobs section. It’s a great part-time opportunity for the right person. List the flat fee they’ll be paid, the desired property type details, and additional information on discounts, purchase preferences, etc.
Be forewarned, though, that you’ll likely receive a boatload of responses to your ad. Be prepared to sift through them to uncover which bird dogs are the best.
Action Item: Another way to find the best bird dogs is to print up referral cards (like the examples below) that includes the same basic information as your Craigslist ad, plus your contact info, of course. Print these through an easy-to-use website like Vistaprint (which is also super cheap), and hand them out to potential new bird dogs.
So, bird dogs will be a vital resource, but you’ll want to form relationships with other worthwhile connections too in order to fortify your business…
“Deal-Getting Strategies: Your Marketing Plan”
Remember those referral cards I suggested you give to bird dogs? You’ll also use them with other people…
Remember, this is all about relationships. Utilize everyone you come into contact with – you’d be stunned by how many people have friends, family members or clients who are desperate to sell their homes or know of a deal.
“Succeeding in business is all about making connections.”
Here are a several other people I’d recommend building referral partner relationships with – many of whom you may not have even thought about:
When other people bring you leads and deals, it costs you nothing but a little bit of time to evaluate each deal and figure out if it’s worth pursuing. These can be the best leads for off-market real estate deals because often nobody else knows about them.
Remember, Never Stop Marketing (NSM) and it’s All About Relationships (AAR)!
In my next post, I’ll start off with one of the most consequential market-related resources: Realtors. Plus, I’ll cover finding foreclosures, tips for making offers, driving for dollars and more. A lot more, actually.
Talk again soon,
I’ve only scratched the surface of all the people who could be resourceful referral partners. Who do you connect with to find real estate deals? Talk to me in the comment box below.