Many savvy investors are currently leveraging the internet to build massive buyer’s lists to wholesale properties to — either in their own local markets or even virtually in other markets.
When developing a buyer’s list online, you can certainly gain volume relatively fast (it took me about 10 weeks to reach 100 people using Craigslist primarily and articles secondarily – not stellar results but decent), but it became abundantly clear pretty early on that regardless of the size of your buyers list, you want to be able to put people into a few different categories as soon as possible:
a) WANNABES (these are mostly tire tickers…they like the idea of buying real estate but aren’t going to move fast or move at all for that matter)
b) NEWBIES (these folks are serious and have access to cash but they may not have any real focus or idea on what they desire — they require some handholding – not your ideal buyer but hey, they have money and plenty of potential)
c) THE REAL DEALS (these folks have multiple investment properties already, access to cash for fast closings, and they know what they want!)
So the question then becomes, how do you uncover who the Real Deal buyers are and weed out the wannabes? How do you deal with newbies who can still be good clients and future partners for you? Generally, how do you make the most of your buyer’s list? Here are 7 tips for you:
First, you HAVE to create an investor profile form so that your buyers can tell you more about their buying habits, intentions, and desires. When you’re first generating your buyers list on a squeeze page, just ask for the minimum…name, email address, and maybe a phone #. That way you won’t deter anyone from signing up. But once they sign up, you really should give them an opportunity to tell you more. My investor profile form requests the following information:
How did you hear about us?
Name, address, home and cell phone #
Area(s) of Interest (I specifically list counties here…but you can include cities or whatever makes most sense for you)
Property Styles of Interest (Single Family, Condo/Townhouse, Duplex, Tri-plex, 4 to 8-plex
How many properties are you looking to buy over the next 12 months?
Primary investment style (Buy & Hold, Wholesale, Rehab & Retail)
Minimum expected gross profit margin on a deal
Funding method (Cash, Hard money/private lender, conventional financing, FHA/VA financing)
How many business days to close?
Investment range (e.g. $50K or less, $50K-$100K, $100K-$150K, $150K+)
Any additional information that you believe would be helpful (this is free form field that they can provide info on specific neighborhoods of interest or other criteria)
You’re going to want to know the buying profiles of the people on your list…whether they are wannabes, newbies, or the Real Deals. In fact, sometimes you can tell what category they are in based off of information provided in the profile. But face it…many people who sign up for your buyer’s list online are NOT going to take the time to complete an investor profile. So you have to provide a certain level of incentive for people to do so….here’s some ideas on how you can do that:
- Offer a VIP buyers list…these people will get FIRST DIBS at any offers you send out. Occasionally send out a note to the entire distribution to let them know about this VIP buyers list and let them know they will ONLY get on this list by completing an investor profile. A serious Real Deal buyer will want to get first dibs!
- Offer a free e-report on a topic of interest – and make it a good report, not some crappy sales pitch disguised as a report…I’ve seen some pretty bad ones out there
Ok, so now you have investor profiles completed. Some you may be able to categorize based on the information on the form, but others may be harder to identify as a wannabe, newbie, or Real Deal. So this tip may sound like unconventional wisdom…but there’s no replacement for actual person to person contact, even if its via phone. So my next tip is….for investors who take the time to complete a profile and the profile seems intriguing (e.g. a person who says they are looking to buy 5+ houses in the next year or someone who provides excellent specifics on what they are looking for) pick up the old fashioned phone and CALL THEM! People want to do business with those they like, know, and trust and this can be developed faster in a phone conversation.
During the phone conversation you can quickly pick up on whether or not the person you thought was The Real Deal is indeed The Real Deal. Some people you’ll find out are really other wholesalers who for some strange reason thought it would be better to fill out a profile pretending to be an actual buyer. Just consider those guys wannabes….because if they are wholesalers, they should say so and be honest on the investor profile.
If you don’t have deals of your own under contract, find active wholesalers you can partner with and market their deals. No point having a distribution list if you have no deals to tell them about. Besides, its easier to weed people out and categorize them when you actually have deals to present for their consideration.
When you have a deal that matches the profile of one or more of the buyers, sure you can send the email out to the entire distribution and you should, however you can test out some people to see if they are really The Real Deal by picking up the phone and calling them about a property as well. With every conversation you have, you’re able to really narrow down to the key few that you should be spending the most time with.
If it seems like you may have a newbie on your hands (remember this means they are a serious buyers, but may be unfocused or reserved), provide them with as much value as possible to build trust. For example, I have one I’m working with now and I’m sharing information about hard money lenders in the area as well as other little tips about their investing areas of focus. Know that it may take some time for them to get off the fence but don’t ignore them!
Be aware that only a certain small percentage of your buyer leads are going to be The Real Deal. That’s ok! The Real Deal investors are buying up several properties each year and if only 5-10% of your list fell into that category, you can still do a whole lot of deals!
I hope you found these tips useful! Please comment with any questions or additional ideas that you may have!
About the Author:
Shae Bynes is a real estate investor in the South Florida market. She and her husband are not participating in the recession and are taking advantage of the best real estate investing opportunity in 70 years to build wealth for their family and be a blessing to others. Learn more about Shae’s journey on her blog “Always in Good Faith: Adventures in Real Estate Investing” at http://www.goodfaithinvesting.com