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Real Estate Investing and Marketing with Brandon Middleton

SHOW SUMMARY:

In this episode, Larry talked to Brandon Middleton whom he has known for many years. Brandon is a marketing genius and the go-to guy of gurus for marketing. He is also a real estate investor. They discussed how he became a better marketer after understanding and doing real estate investing himself. He also shared some tips on how to properly do direct mail marketing.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Who Brandon Middleton is
  • Getting started in real estate
  • Becoming a better marketer for real estate clients he works with
  • Kind of real estate he is doing
  • Lifestyle vs enterprise type of business
  • Having good mentors and learning what not to do
  • Marketing for real estate
  • What marketing a newbie should do to get their first deal
  • Agreeing on a budget of money and time
  • Building relationships and adding value to other wholesalers
  • Learning by getting in front of motivated sellers
  • Budget when starting out
  • What to do if you have a limited budget while starting out
  • Consistency of marketing
  • The kind of lists he looks for
  • How often they mail the same person and how many times before they move on to another list
  • Typical response rate of direct mails

Quotes:

  • "Marketing is the lifeblood of any business."
  • "I believe every business owner needs to be a marketer."
  • "Money is just a tool that gives you the freedom to be able to spend your time the way you want to."
  • "Real estate is a people business."

RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS SHOW:

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Larry: Welcome to the Brain-Pick-A-Pro Show live from Lake Wylie South Carolina and probably Tampa today, Brandon Middleton. What’s going on buddy?

Brandon: Staying busy and living life.

Larry: That’s awesome man. Now we’ve known each other, I mean it’s not like we talk every day or anything. But we’ve known each other probably for how many years, five, seven something like that.

Brandon: I think it’s more like eight or nine yeah.

Larry: Really?

Brandon: Yeah it’s been a long time, way back.

Larry: That’s crazy. And we’re at a mastermind together and your wife does some help with that mastermind, The Collective Genius and which she does a great job by the way. So yeah I wanted to get you on the Brain-Pick-A-Pro show because number one, marketing is the lifeblood of any business. And you my man are a marketing genius, okay.

Brandon: Thanks.

Larry: And I know there’s a lot of people out there that say I’m good at marketing or whatever and I like to consider myself pretty decent at it. But you are the go-to guy I mean you’re the guy that the gurus go to for marketing. Am I right?

Brandon: Absolutely yeah. We’ve worked with a ton of them over the years.

Larry: Exactly. So let’s do this, let’s just start out I mean but you’re also a real estate investor. You do a lot of deals, maybe not to the extent of a lot of guys do hundreds of deals a year. But I mean hey you got a really respectable real estate business and you’re doing deals, you’re out there making it happen. So why don’t you start out and tell our listener a little bit about who is Brandon Middleton?

Brandon: Well first and foremost I’m a husband and a father. And I always say that we invested in a lot of things. I’m in a couple of biomed startups, I obviously invest in real estate, a little bit of Bitcoin but my best investment has always been my wife and my second best investment is my kids.

And I’m seeing the fruits of that now that they’re getting kind of out of the baby years. But outside of that yeah I’m a marketer I believe every business owner needs to be a marketer. And I’ve always been fascinated probably since I was in middle school with marketing.

Like I’d look at commercials, I’d look at banners and driving on the side of the road looking at billboards and I’m always paying attention to like there’s obviously a ton of money being spent. And what really drives people to make a decision to buy that cheeseburger or buy that car whatever it is, marketing is everything.

Larry: Right, that is awesome. Now when did you get started in real estate?

Brandon: So originally I got started in real estate, real estate’s actually what got me into marketing funny enough. It’s kind of ironic. I got started in I think 2006, my grandfather saw an ad in the newspaper for a free seminar. I had recently read Rich Dad Poor Dad and I got into real estate, I went to this event I didn’t have any money.

And my grandfather was like, “Look if you’re serious about being an entrepreneur I want to buy this three day training for you.” And I was like blown away, it was like he was paying for college. So we went to a Robert Allen event and learned the basics but it was right before everything was-the recession, right.

Larry: Right.

Brandon: So that was not the best time to be learning. And my wife and I immediately went to a realtor, showed up at houses when there were bidding wars and overpaid for two houses. And used all of our money all of our own credit and wound up having to short sale those two houses three years later with another friend of ours who helped us do that.

We bought them for like 130, we probably had like 150 into each of them and sold them for $30,000. So yeah that my first introduction. So obviously the bubble burst we went into a recession and my and I had to figure out a different business. So we had a web design business with a college friend of mine. Started putting more focus on that.

Realized well people don’t want websites, they want customers they want leads. So over the last 12 years we grew that business sort of working with a lot of real estate trainers and gurus, and really understanding that business. So even though we were in a marketing business and doing a lot of digital marketing, selfishly I was doing it to also learn.

Like I was getting paid to learn real estate. I was genuinely interested in it. But fast forwards that business spanned off a lot of extra cash and it became hard to be in that business and be a marketer without actually doing real estate. We took that hiatus for so long and we were like it’s been long enough. We need to get back into real estate.

And our financial advisor was like, “Look you can either grow your company and hire more employees,” which I’m a lifestyle guy I don’t like the idea of this huge team and huge operation and bunch of people to manage.” He’s like, “You either got to push it to 5X your business or you need to find better ways to put your money to work.” So naturally the first thing that came to mind was, “We need to get back into real estate.”

Larry: Right.

Brandon: So my wife and I did, we started wholesaling this time. Our rule was not to spend any of our own money any of our own credit even though we had it, on anything except for making the phone ring to get motivated sellers on the phone.

And yeah so we spent a few thousand dollars on postcards and I took one of my clients’ courses on wholesaling. Postcards, bandit signs and within 90 days we’d spent a few thousand bucks and we had $61,000 in deals and the rest was history.

Larry: That’s awesome. That is really good.

Brandon: Yeah very part time. I mean very busy business the marketing agency and I was able to answer the phone while I was driving, I got the kids in the backseat. Going on appointments after the workday was over a couple of times in the weekends and just closing deals, a deal or two a month, very part time.

So it just made me a better marketer for the real estate education clients that I work with too because I know the process. I know it works, it’s not hyped like a lot of skeptics might say.

Larry: In other words you practice what you preach, right.

Brandon: Yeah. Eat what I’m cooking yeah.

Larry: That’s really good. So Brandon what kind of real estate do you do? Are you wholesaling or are you keeping on as a landlord or what?

Brandon: Yeah. So I tell people we probably wholesale I’d say eight out of 10 properties. This year has been nine out 10 properties. And that was really the plan, just have this business that created some cash flow for those homerun deals that we could just cherry pick.

Larry: Right.

Brandon: So we bought a triplex our first year that had like a 23% cap rate. My was an employee at the company for years so she couldn’t invest in her IRA much so we did a lease option deal, seller financed deal with just a few thousand bucks out of her IRA.

Turnkey rental, made great rental income. Sold it for 20 grand more, then she paid for it so it pumped another 20grand in her IRA. So when we find those like no brainer deals, we buy those. And otherwise yeah we’re just wholesaling. Just a big marketing business yeah.

Larry: That’s really cool and I really liked what you said about you’re more into the lifestyle than the enterprise type business. There’s enterprise business and lifestyle. Enterprise you got an office with employees and staff and all that. And then there’s enterprise business where you can do your business from your spare room at the house on your laptop, or sitting on the beach or a Starbucks or whatever, right.

Brandon: Exactly yeah.

Larry: That’s awesome. And I love that and you know what that brings to mind, there’s a lot of gurus, teachers, educators out there that are talking about building this machine. But really that’s not what everybody wants because I’ve learned over the years money is just a tool that gives you the freedom to be able to spend your time the way you want to.

Brandon: Absolutely.

Larry: Now if you like being around a team and people and all that, that’s great, but you don’t want to build a machine that it runs you. You want to be able to run it, if that makes sense.

Brandon: Absolutely.

Larry: And I’m really glad you brought that up.

Brandon: Yeah I’ve had some good mentors over the years who’ve shown me the value of stay small, keep it all being small on purpose. And I’ve also learned what not to do from a lot of people that I’ve seen just do really great financially and just build these huge companies.

Larry: Right.

Brandon: And I’m seeing that that takes time away from the family and they missed a lot of things with their kids. And we didn’t wait 13 years to have children just for me to be gone all the time and miss those early years.

Larry: Yeah because your kids are what, three and four or somewhere around that?

Brandon: Yeah.

Larry: Yeah. That’s awesome man. That’s a great fun age.

Brandon: Yeah it has definitely been. The first few years I’m not going to lie were a blur.

Larry: That’s awesome. And it’s kind of funny hearing you say that like talk about how long you’ve been doing this, 2006 or whatever when you kind of went to that first seminar, and waiting 13 years to have kids because you look very young.

Brandon: I’m 34.

Larry: Yeah I hear you.

Brandon: I look younger than I am.

Larry: I hear you. But that’s a good thing, right.

Brandon: Yeah.

Larry: That’s a good thing. So tell us a little bit about marketing for real estate. I mean you’re a great digital marketer but what are some of the things that you recommend that people do especially just starting out? Because I buy a lot of HUD houses okay and I remember when we were making five or 600 HUD offers a day.

And I remember when there was a 150 HUD houses available in North Carolina and there was like 100 available in South Carolina on any given day. And now it’s like maybe 30 in one state and 50 in another state and MLS stuff too. But I’m having to do a lot of marketing now.

And I’ve also gone wide instead of just focusing like right in my MSA, Metropolitan Statistical Area, I’m buying houses all over North Carolina and South Carolina on HUD and the MLS. But I’ve had to start doing some outside marketing. So I know there’s a lot of-

Brandon: It’s a competitive market.

Larry: Yeah you have to. It’s just the way real estate is, it’s cyclical, right. So I’ve had to do that as well. So tell our listeners a little bit about what do you recommend a brand new person starting out, what should they do to get that first deal under their belt in 90 days? Like you had five deals in your first 90 days when you started marketing. So what should that person do? What kind of marketing are they going to get the biggest Bain for their buck?

Brandon: So just a disclaimer, right. Marketing is all about testing and it’s just said with real estate it’s cyclical. Like everyone’s doing postcards for a while and then next thing you know there’s 20 postcards at every seller appointment you show up to. So it’s always moving so that you always need to have a portion of your budget, testing new things.

But I really love direct mail still sending postcards. And the thing with postcards is to have them be more mom and pop not I’m this big XYZ corporation, call me if you want to sell your house. So we send out postcards and here in Florida we get away with a lot with bandit signs. I mean I know some areas you might not be able to have bandit signs up for very long.

But we put out a ton of bandit signs. So yeah I mean if you’re a new investor first thing I would do is what my wife and I do. We agreed on a budget of money and a budget of time. So if you have a budget, we agreed that we were going to get into this business and it’s a business you’re thinking about it like what can you invest in this startup called your real estate business?

Larry: Right.

Brandon: And we said $5,000 a month and we would be willing to go six months with no deal. So we were willing to lose $30,000 but that was the cutoff. It was like, “Alright even if there’s no evidence, if it looks like it’s going to be a much bigger rock them out six months we’re going to cut it off.” And obviously it didn’t take nearly that much time or that much money within that first round of marketing that we put out.

We had plenty of leads. And it just took 90 days, they basically all wound up closing around that third month. So like each month we didn’t spend that $5000 the second and third month because we already had quite a few deals in the pipeline. So pick that budget and I talk to a lot of new investors, if you don’t have much of a budget then you got to go a different route.

Right you have to have just a time budget. You have to be willing to do more legwork to get deals. So a great example is one of my neighbors wanted to get into real estate and he didn’t want to spend money right away. He just had a lot of questions, right he was waiting for that reality check, right. They want to see that it’s real first before they spend money.

And I don’t necessarily recommend that but he wound up just finding somebody else’s deal and bringing it to me. And I wholesaled it for him and we split the profit so in his first week he didn’t spend any money but he had the relationships.

Larry: Right.

Brandon: And he made $3000 just for sending a text message and a couple of phone calls.

Larry: Right.

Brandon: So if you’re new you need to be on Craigslist on a daily basis, you need to be doing the outbound calling for sale by owners, and driving for dollars and knocking on doors, going to real estate meet ups and building relationships with other wholesalers. And if I had no money and was starting very little money I would spend my time building those relationships and adding value to another wholesaler.

Because I think if you don’t have money you’re pretty much going to be a birddog in the beginning. You’re going to have to go and bring leads to somebody else who has the buyers or who has the money, and make a few thousand dollars here and there, with no risk but your time. But if you have money then the marketing is for me I like the postcards.

I like the flexibility of getting a lead and knowing that that lead’s not going to go cold as quickly as like a pay per click lead. Advertising on Google right now in this market I know a few people that are doing great with it, but I don’t have the lifestyle where I’m willing to take a phone call from someone who just filled out my form and probably filled out 10 other people’s forms.

And be willing to drop everything and go drive half hour away at eight o’clock at night to go meet that seller. So for me it doesn’t work but that’s why I prefer direct mail and bandit signs because I’m reaching them before they’ve necessarily thought about going and searching for a cash buyer.

Larry: Right. That’s really good point. You’ve made a lot of great points during that little segment. And I want to touch on a few of them. But the internet marketing leads, those are the ones that are probably I mean that person is taking initiative and they’ve actually sat down at the computer and searched to find your ad, right.

And that’s going to be probably a lot more competitive in the sense that you got to answer it live, number one. And then like you say if they called at seven o’clock at night, you got to book the appointment for 7:30 that same night or they’ve already filled out three or four other web forms, right.

Brandon: Yeah. And with the direct mailing like I’ll close deals that came in three months ago because maybe I didn’t follow up with them as much or maybe they weren’t ready when I first reached out. But then I’ll send like a voicemail broadcast just to kind of like stir up some inbound calls. And that person didn’t go and likely they still haven’t sold the house three months later.

Larry: Right.

Brandon: If you get an internet lead and you try to call that lead three months later, it was probably sold a week later right. So there’s just my thing on direct mail. And one other thing I have to stress which was stressed to me was in the very beginning every lead that sounds like any amount of motivation I don’t care if they told you that they want more for the house than what it’s worth, you book the appointment.

You have to one when you’re new you’re getting a lot of experience really quickly, you’re learning really fast if you’re out in the field. So that was my process in the beginning, now I’ve gotten better over the phone and I try to do as much as I can over the phone before taking the time to go to an appointment.

But any new investor you have to get in front of that seller because the trust fact goes through the roof, they tell you one thing over the phone but when you’re there in person you will way more about their situation. If there’s any amount of motivation, go see that seller and you’ll be surprised what happens.

Larry: Yeah exactly. And what we do in our office and I’ve got two acquisition guys. What I do is if the person will let us in the house, we run the appointment, right. We run the appointment at least if nothing else we build a little bit of a relationship. And even like you said, three months down the road or whatever, they may remember us versus just a phone call when we never ran the appointment, right.

Brandon: Right.

Larry: So that’s one of the things we do. I want to touch on a minute, you mentioned about when you’re first getting started and I tell people like I mean you had a great budget starting out, five grand a month. That’s really good. And listen, anybody who wants to get into real estate, if you can drop five to 10 grand a month, starting out for a couple of months, you’re going to be able to hit the ground running, right.

You do want to have a system for lead management, for follow up and that sort of thing. But if you’re on a limited budget or no budget I mean I tell people you need to spend at least 1,000 to 1500 bucks a month, and plan on doing that at least six months. Like you said six months at five grand, 30 grand but at least 1000 to 1500 a month in marketing.

But if they can’t do that, you made a great comment, they’re going to probably start out as a birddog. So elaborate a little bit on if they’re a birddog or if they’re co-wholesaling you didn’t mention the term co-wholesaling but that’s basically what you were talking about.

Brandon: We call it JV yeah.

Larry: Yeah JV or a marketing partner where somebody else might put up the marketing money. But then the new investor or the person who doesn’t have the money will go out and run the leads or something. Touch on that a little bit.

Brandon: Yeah so it’s all about finding a way to add value to somebody else while you’re learning right. So if you don’t have money to pay for a mentor or a coach, you don’t have the money for marketing, you need to add value in exchange for someone else’s time and experience. So one of the first things I did as well was I started a meet up.

I just started saying, “Hey people in the area I’m learning real estate too, I’ve closed a few deals now, let’s get together this is a people business. Real estate is a people business and there’s more than enough money in a deal for everyone to get a little piece. So I don’t believe in competition, I believe more in coopetition. And so that was serving the community.

I said, “If you’re interested in real estate come here,” and it was funny because that attracted like the doctor, the chiropractor, the professional who has cash and credit. And they would be like, “Look I have my practice to run, I have this. But I really want to get into real estate.” That’s someone who could be a potential lender.

That’s someone who could be a potential buyer. That’s someone who could put up the marketing dollars but you’ll make sure their marketing dollars don’t go to waste because you’ll be answering the phone and running the leads. So there’s a lot that’s why I said, just focus on building those relationships, going to the REIA meetings, finding other real estate meet ups.

There’s plenty of work that needs to be done, whether it’s- it could be as simple as going and taking photos for a wholesaler. Like I’ll happily pay 20 bucks, 50 bucks for someone to just go do the initial inspection which you don’t have to know anything about real estate. Just go, be friendly, take pictures you’re going to get a little bit of money nothing crazy.

But you’re getting to see these houses, you’re getting experience you’re talking to sellers not having to do the negotiation. That’s valuable to another wholesalers. JVing obviously if you find a deal like my neighbor did, he knew someone else who was in real estate but wasn’t necessarily helping him find the buyer.

So he needed a buyer for a property, he knew to call me I had a buyer for the property. And there was a $6000 spread on it and we just split is 50-50. I talked to an Uber driver last week who really wanted to get into real estate but he’s like, “I messed everything up I’m starting all over. But I’m scared because if anything happens to me my family won’t be able to just pay the bills next month.”

And I said, “Look you’re an Uber driver. You spend all day driving around neighborhoods. Write down all these addresses,” and he happens to be in my market. So I said, “Send them to me, I’ll skip trace them I’ll get on the phone contact sellers. If I do a deal you’ll make some money.”

And he happened to already have 60 that he’d been doing that, writing down. So those are great leads because I’m not taking the time driving around all day, driving for dollars. So those are great leads that you’re not necessarily going to find in a mailing list. So any for sale by owners, houses that look distressed or vacant.

Larry: Right.

Brandon: There’s a ton of things that you can do. But the point is add value and build relationships.

Larry: That’s huge, I love that. I mean and if you hadn’t struck up a conversation with him talking about real estate, you wouldn’t have got that list of 60 vacant rundown properties, right.

Brandon: Right.

Larry: That’s awesome and you could even have a VA do that, if you didn’t want to have to do it, you could have a VA look it up.

Brandon: Yeah.

Larry: Speaking of lists you talked a little bit about direct mail. I like what you mentioned about you don’t want to look like the big corporate, you want to look like a mom and pop just a very probably- you probably used just like a plain yellow postcard with black letters or something.

Brandon: Yeah.

Larry: And what does your postcard say?

Brandon: I wish I had one here with me. But they’re pretty basic. Yeah it’s hey I was driving around the neighborhood. My wife and I looking to buy some rental property in this neighborhood and your house meets that criteria. If you’d like to sell we’ll give a fair cash offer, give me a call. But it’s a series right and that’s like the key with any marketing is it needs to be consistent.

So I have six or seven pieces. So they get that one and if they don’t respond they get another one and by about the third one we mention like we’re going to send smoke signals like, “Hey I’ve been trying to reach you,” they’re a little humorous and just conversational, like to get them to just pick up the phone and call if they’re interested.

Larry: Right so you actually use a different postcard on each one and it’s just like a different level. And it references either the last or something like that. Is it branded at all?

Brandon: It’s not branded at all.

Larry: Okay.

Brandon: Yeah I have my name is the return address to our business address. But I don’t have the company anywhere on it.

Larry: That’s good. It just makes it look like you’re just an average guy trying to buy a few houses for you and your wife and that’s it. That’s really good I like that. Now let’s talk a little bit about the list, where do you get your lists or what do you look for? What’s your criteria if you don’t mind? Because I mean you’re the marketing guru, you’re the guru’s marketing guru. So what kind of lists do you look for?

Brandon: So I’m the marketing guru in the education side of the business.

Larry: Okay.

Brandon: But when it comes to real estate I still have a lot to learn. So full disclosure but I would be what I started with was what I was told to go for absentee owners, right. People that their tax records show a different address than the property itself. And vacant and senior list.

Larry: Right.

Brandon: So one thing that I ignored in the beginning but obviously it still worked was I picked those lists, I picked the absentee vacant senior and high equity. Right so that’s kind of the criteria. Pick a few zip codes whatever your budget is, you’re going to get accounts from like listability or get account of how many records are in that zip code. So pick a few zip codes don’t pick an entire county.

Larry: You want to test.

Brandon: And buy those lists, right 10c a record or whatever.

Larry: You were talking about non-owner occupied or absentee, vacant, senior and high equity.

Brandon: And then picking the criteria of the property. So you don’t want properties that are over $300,000 or in my market I really don’t want to look at anything that has a value of over $150,000 because a lot of these houses we can pick up for 30, 50, $60000.

Larry: Mine is 100, I don’t want anything over 100.

Brandon: Great.

Larry: Yeah.

Brandon: And then the square footage. So I did get a lot of calls on smaller houses that are going to be our square footage and bedrooms and bathrooms. We made money on two bedrooms but typically a three bedroom is going to be. So your list is going to look smaller and smaller and that might seem like a bad thing because you’re like, “Oh I’m only sending out X amount of cards.”

But you’re being way more targeted. So yeah I wasn’t doing that in the beginning probably wasting a little bit of money on marketing but now we’re getting more and more targeted with our direct mail so that we can send more sequences of it.

Larry: That’s really good. And let’s talk a little bit about you mentioned consistency is the key. So let’s talk a little bit about how often do you mail the same person and how many times before you move on to another list?

Brandon: I probably mail the lists six or seven times before I move on to another list. And I’ll even come back to that list, six months or a year later sometimes just to take another bite at the apple. But yeah six or seven times before we move on to another list and how often, it’s two to four weeks.

Depending on where we’re at with the budget how many leads are in that market, I may have to break it up and send half of sequence one to one part of this, half of it to the next part. So in that scenario we’re sending one piece a month.

But we’ve tested doing as much as one a week. We do that once, yeah it was pretty aggressive. I didn’t have the tools in place to measure it before like I do now so I haven’t done that yet, it’s been a pretty consistent every two, four weeks we send the next sequence.

Larry: Yeah what I tell people is let’s say if you have in your budget you could mail out say 4000 postcards okay. I tell them to mail out 1000 a week for four weeks and then start back over on week five and do the same thing. That way you just take whatever number and divide it by four and you mail out a quarter of it every week and then start over on week five through eight. And then start over on week11 or whatever.

Brandon: Yeah that’s great.

Larry: That’s good.

Brandon: And do you guys use a property list manager?

Larry: No.

Brandon: Yeah that was probably the biggest frustration with the direct mail for me was keeping track of like what part of the list did I mail? Which list have I already ordered and keeping track of all the spreadsheets.

Larry: Right.

Brandon: And in the beginning I was just sending it to a mail house and then they were mailing it. And now we use propertylistmanager.com and that keeps everything organized. It keeps the lists organized; what list did I buy? When did I mail it? How many times has it been mailed? So that is a much easier way to keep that organized.

Larry: That’s really good. And they do the mailings for you as well.

Brandon: Yeah.

Larry: They schedule it and everything.

Brandon: Yeah I think there’s about eight pieces in there and then you can give them your mail pieces and they’ll upload them as well.

Larry: That’s really great. Now what kind of response rate is typical on a direct mail piece?

Brandon: Industry I mean 1% is what everyone says. I have been the happiest when I’ve gotten like three to 5% response rate on the sequence that I was talking about.

Larry: Right.

Brandon: I’ve gotten as much as eight to 10% response rate but it was the final notice postcards, right. And it was so many contacts, so much response.

Larry: Suspects not prospects.

Brandon: Exactly. So that was the highest response rate we got was like I think one month it was 12% but it wasn’t the type or response we wanted. We get less calls but more deals. When we’re sending that sequence that’s very mom and pop it’s direct to the point. I’m not trying to trick you, if you have a house that you want a cash offer give me a call. If not, I don’t want you to call.

Larry: And what you’re talking about the final notice, there are some postcards out there floating around that they say final notice we’ve been trying to reach you concerning your property. It’s very important that we get in touch with you. But it’s almost like tricking them to think there’s a problem with the house or maybe you’re a city official or code enforcement or something like that. And it just makes them mad, right.

Brandon: Right. And I think that for some investors, right we’ll talk about like the enterprise investor. The person who’s sending hundreds of thousands of mail pieces and just has an operation where they can manage a bunch of calls, I see the value in collecting a phone number, because yeah they’re angry today but now you have a their phone number and not just their mailing address.

So now you can have a whole process for filtering that lead and actually turning that into a deal. But that’s not the business that I have set up to set up to handle that much call volume and it’s not my gig. I want targeted and effective not just-

Larry: Right, straight to the point.

Brandon: Yeah exactly.

Larry: Now how do you handle the intake? Do all of them go to a live call? I mean I’m assuming you’re not taking every call, right.

Brandon: That has been the hardest part of this business and wanting to grow it, is finding another acquisition manager. So I do have a partner now we have around Robin. So basically they in the field all the time so if they can’t answer the phone live then it rings to me. I’ve had VAs and nothing wrong with VAs but it’s a process of finding the right ones, training them.

But I haven’t gotten that part figured out yet. I find every time I do use a VA, which I’ve probably had about six now, it’s less quality conversation. So I can just do a better job building that trust collecting the information and knowing pretty quickly whether there’s going to be a deal there or not as opposed to the VA.

And that’s probably just me not taking the time, right. I’m doing this part time so I haven’t taken the time to either find that right VA or train the right VA. But again it’s less calls I can handle but I feel like I’m closing more consistently than having to have that VA.

Larry: Right and in my opinion there are certain things you just want a VA doing. And being on the phone with a prospect is one of them. I think it’s much better if either the acquisition manager or like an inside sales rep can do that.

Brandon: Yeah.

Larry: You’re going to get a much higher conversation rate based on my opinion.

Brandon: Yeah one of the things that really helped me when I was getting started was I quickly how important it was going to be-well two things; I didn’t drive anyone to a website to generate leads. I always wanted to pick up the phone and call. But I needed to be able to track that lead when the phone rang. So I did some research and found an app that would give me a tracking number. If they called that, then that lead was put into a system where I could keep track of when they called.

It recorded the call which was huge for me because at the time my kids were one and two or two and three. And I didn’t have the ability to just pull out a notebook and write stuff down or get to my laptop. So I needed to be able to when I got back to the office or after I put the kids to be I needed to be able to answer the phone but not necessarily be in a position where I could do anything but gather the initial information.

Larry: Sure.

Brandon: So a tracking phone number and that recorded the call and that was mobile, something that I could view with one hand while I’ve got a child on the other hand. So I found an app you can use it on a website as well but I found an app called reileadsmanager.com. And that helped me tremendously because I could go listen to the recording.

Because sometimes I may not hear the address right or I forgot the name or whatever. It made it real simple for me to just be able to get those calls, be able to make calls back out from that same trackable phone number and not my personal phone line. So it was super helpful.

Larry: That’s really good. So Brandon what kind of CRM do you use like to put all the leads in and then follow up with all the prospects that you didn’t buy their house?

Brandon: In the beginning I used the REI Leads Manager, simple. So if you’re new I highly recommend keeping it as simple as possible. There’s a few things that are essential. And the essentials are you need the call tracking, they need to be able to call a number that captures the number. You can put the name, email, everything else in later.

You need to be able to record the call I think and then it needs to be something that allows you to basically tag people and follow up, right. That’s what I did use but as I’ve done more marketing as I’ve started to systematize things more, I’m a huge fun of Investor PO. It’s a customization of podio.

Larry: Yeah we know him well.

Brandon: Yeah good friend of mine. I love that system because it has automated follow up, it has great reporting. It has like a flight checklist basically. So depending on what stage the lead is at, I know what the next steps are. I don’t have to think about it. I just push a button and then all this automation happens.

So that we’ve been using for probably six months now and I’m a huge fun of it yeah. But if anyone’s new, I know there’s a lot of them out there, try them out but that app has been great for me, I have a couple of my neighbors that use it and are doing million dollar a year business and they’re still using that app. I’m like, “You sure you don’t want to try something?” they’re like, “No this is working just fine.” I’m like, “Okay.”

Larry: That’s good yeah, investorpo.com and it’s kind of like a done-for-you podio system, right?

Brandon: Yeah. And so much more like I said, like I like it because even if I can’t answer a call live, I know that they got a message for me, two minutes later. And then they also got a voicemail broadcast. Like I try to call them back even though I didn’t it’s a prerecorded voicemail that drops into their voicemail. So I like a lot of that automation because it allows me to stay part time but still increase the marketing budget.

Larry: That’s great. That’s really good. Brandon man this has been awesome. This is some really information, and good content.

Brandon: Yeah it’s good to catch up.

Larry: Yeah and everybody watching I’m sure they loved it. Do you have anything you’d like to share with our listeners or anything or how they would reach out to you or some additional information or whatever?

Brandon: Yeah sure. So anything real estate related, I’m a lead trainer for flipplingawesome.com so go check that. That’s a resource out there, we’re on Facebook we have 8,000 members in our Facebook group. So it’s a good community of investors that are just helping each other out and supporting each other.

So flippingawesome.com and then kind of my passion is so you could tell on the lifestyle side of things is that investment in family, and that investment in my partner my wife who is also my business partner. So if you work with your spouse or you’re interested in maybe jumping into real estate with your spouse that will bring a whole new dynamic to your relationship.

So we have a podcast that we do every week over at middletonmethods.com or on iTunes, iRadio any of those channels. So you can check that out as well. And we’re on Instagram @BrandonandSam.

Larry: That’s awesome. And Sam is great I mean she knows what she’s doing, she’s awesome. I saw her at the last collective genius meeting and she was working with some of us at setting this up as well. So that’s awesome man. I really appreciate you being on and thank you so much for sharing.

Brandon: Thanks for having me. You’ve been in some ways a mentor to me being in this business for over 30 years and like I said I’ve watched plenty of your videos. Probably have some of your trainings and stuff so it’s an honor to be here and thanks for having me.

Larry: Thank you so much I really appreciate. Be sure and tell Sam I said hi.

Brandon: Alright will do, take care.

Larry: Alright thanks a lot buddy, take care.

[End of Recording] [39:19]