The Dark Side of Marketing

Scott CostelloAll, Blog, Featured, Unhappy Sellers 11 Comments

Over the last few years I’ve gotten many calls from sellers. I would say that almost all of them have been pleasant conversations.  Sure there have been those where the caller has a skeptical or irritated tone.  All you can do is blame your partner for sending mail to them in error and cross them off your list.

My lead generating websites have both my phone number and a contact form.  To be honest I prefer that the lead fills out the contact form instead of calls.  This helps me filter out who the potential motivated sellers are before actually talking with them…saves time for my partner actually.


Phone Calls and Voice Messages

If you call the number on my website it routes to a Google Voice number.   The caller will here a simple voice mail message thanking them for contacting Scotty Buys Houses and to leave their Name, Number and address.  At first I didn’t ask them to leave their address which wasn’t a good idea because then I didn’t know where the property was.  So of course I had to call them back to find out that the house was in Camden and I want no part of that place.


Do I get Angry Callers?

Oh Yes!!  I sure do.  And these are the times I’m so glad that I don’t answer the Google Voice number.  When I was sending out direct mail this some times caused a problem because they wouldn’t leave a name or address so I couldn’t take them off my mailing list.  That just meant I was going to piss them off even more when I send them another letter or risk getting yelled at if I were to call them back.   I could pay to find out who owns the number but I’m not going to do that just to get them off my list.

Whelp…the other day I got this lovely little voicemail…


Funny thing is that I don’t send spam emails through my website so I’m not sure what this guy is talking about.  I wonder if he called up a bunch of investors with websites and said the same thing.


How They Can Find You

The hope is that these people are just bluffing and won’t waste their time hunting you down.  I’ve heard stories from other investors where an angry seller came to there home.  I DO NOT WANT THAT!  If you are sending out simple yellow letters that have an unlisted number and a return address that is a PO BOX then you are safe.  They can’t find you.

However if they found you off a website or your mailer mentions a website it’s very easy to find out who you are.  Plus they can probably find out where you live and your phone number.  Here is how…

When you register a domain name you are required to supply your name, phone number and billing address.  This may shock you but that information is then freely available for the public to see.  It’s called Public Registration and it’s the default when registering a domain name.

To find out who owns a domain simply go to…

This is part of the information that you will see…


You can plainly see this guys contact information.  Sure your information can probably be found in other places but why make it so easy on an angry lead?


How Can You Hide Your Information?

Luckily it is very easy to hide the information and make the WhoIs information anonymous.  The only downside is that it will cost you an extra $9.99 per year to sign up for Private Registration.   The result is that when someone does a WhoIs search against your domain they will see the following…


This is the information from my website.  As you can see, none of my personal information is shown.  All you see is some general information about the registrar.  I feel much more relaxed about the situation now.


How to set this up

Adding this to an existing domain is easy and took only 5 minutes and $9 to setup with Godaddy. You’ll find it under Privacy in  your domain manager.  Here is a quick video tutorial on how to do it…


Final Thoughts and Comments

Doing this for all your domains is a great way to make it harder for people to find your personal information.  Having any kind of online presence (blog, we buy houses website, facebook, twitter, etc..) leaves you open to people finding out about you.  Much of that openness is great for your business because people can find you…but people can find you.

The best you can do is be careful.  When it comes to setting things up for your real estate investing business try using a business address or a PO box address if you can.  It adds a layer between your family and your customers that can shield you from crazy people.



What was your craziest caller?  Leave a comment and tell me about it.


Scott Costello
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Comments 11

  1. He certainly has a limited vocabulary doesn’t he? LOL. 🙂

    I just ignore those folks. But you are right, if they don’t leave their information you can’t take them off the mailing list.


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  2. I used to just love toying with the really angry ones. Asking if they called Dominoes every time they got a coupon….suggesting that they needed therapy or anger management.. Always fun calling them back to ask for a name or address or something so I could figure out who they were and get them off the list. That’s when I was sure that that little vein sticking out in their foreheads was going to burst….

    I’ve gotten much more mature than that now besides simply not having the time for all the hullabaloo.

    If you happen to own your own house, having a P.O. Box and unlisted number will not necessarily keep you safe. These days prospects know how to use property records to find you too.

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      Glad you matured a bit since those days but I’d still like to be a fly on the wall when you called some of those guys back.

      I agree that a po box or unlisted phone number won’t keep a motivated person from finding you but it’s all about making people jump through hurdles and not making it to simple.

  3. I’m looking forward to just getting the phone ringing. I’ve so far done very little direct mail, but am doing bandit signs, door magnets and tons of flyers on mailboxes. I have started calling up owners of vacant houses though, without much luck though. Have any of you guys done any of this with any success? I’m assuming the direct mail is “easier”, which is why you all talk about it as much. Thanks!

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      Most of us do direct mail because it seems to work the best compared to those other methods. I hated doing bandit signs, plus they are illegal in many places and I just didn’t want to deal with the authorities. Door magnets and flyers are nice but aren’t really that targeted so I imagine you wouldn’t get much of a response (could be wrong).

      I’ve never done cold calling before because it’s not my thing.

  4. Thanks Scott. Over the weekend I’ve gotten a few interesting reactions to the magnets, one guy came out of his house after he saw my car, because two weekends before I had put a business card on his mail box. I don’t know that’ll turn into a deal or not, but it motivated me that the marketing I’m doing is at least starting to work. The cashier at the grocery store asked about my magnets too.
    I’ve been wanting to do direct mail, and have invested some money in some Dan Kennedy stuff that I want to put to work, but as of right now, I haven’t put pen to paper and taken action with it. Any suggestions on either what I should be writing or something to help me just pull the trigger? Thanks again!

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      That’s Great Dante! Magnets on cars is a perfect example of an extra thing you can do that might get you an additional deal per year. You definitely can’t depend on it pulling leads that way but it’s just something else that adds to the total.

      Putting pen to paper is the easy part…Getting over the fear of sending them out is the hard part. What I think would help you is an accountability partner who could give you that extra push you need. That helped me out in the beginning very much. I don’t like letting people down.

  5. We will be closing on our sixth rental property here in Houston. My last four deals were done obtained by direct mail marketing. We did it ourselves but It took a lot of time to stuff the envelopes, time that I could have used with my family. Another problem I ran into is keeping up with calls and making notes on who I talked to and the details of our conversation. Now we use Jerry Puckett from Dallas. We found him on bigger pockets and now my life is much easier. We send him the list and he sends out the letters like clockwork. In addition Jerry provides us with a google drive that he configured for our use. We are able to login and take notes on every prospect which helps us keep track of all our calls. We have been using Jerry now for about three months and we are closing on our sixth property tomorrow. Thanks to Jerry I am able to spend my time on other areas of the business.

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