SFREI #26: Marketing “What” You Do, vs. “How” You Do It
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When you’re marketing to off-market Sellers, you can either pitch your WHAT, or you can demonstrate your HOW. Lowbrow investors offer their WHAT in the first contact…what they can do, what they think the Seller wants, WHAT they think is attractive to the Seller. Instead, we Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneurs demonstrate our HOW. We don’t say what we’d like to do; instead, we demonstrate HOW we work. In this episode, we discuss this critical distinction, and why HOW is better than WHAT.
References in this Episode
This is Jeff from the thought for real estate entrepreneur welcome to episode number 26 of sleaze free real estate investing a show for those of us who never felt at home in the We Buy Houses crowd. In this show we take a stand against what we call the lowbrow approach the mainstream guru seminar distressed seller approach that ends up giving real estate investors a slimy reputation. Instead, we discuss the strategies, the tactics and the philosophies that we call the thoughtful way and enlightened approach to real estate entrepreneurship that focuses on constantly sharpening the sophisticated real estate entrepreneurs, three most critical capabilities number one, seller relations skills number two deal architecture skills and number three, opportunity vision. When all three of these capabilities are successfully in motion, you can make an excellent living today and build long term wealth while creating value for everybody that you touch along the way. Show Notes for today’s episode are at WWW dot thoughtful r e.com slash e 26. Please do yourself and do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button in your podcast app seriously, please, right now, just hit that button if you haven’t already. We really, really appreciate it and it helps other people find us as well. In the last episode, we discussed a few quick takes on several topics related to direct mail marketing, to off market seller leads. So if you haven’t listened to that one, go back and listen to it. And we’re going to continue our discussion today, a bit about marketing as well. And in today’s main course, we’re going to be discussing what I consider to be a very strategic marketing topic. The difference between selling your what versus selling your house, but first, as always a little bit of food for thought because after all, we are thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs and that means we like to feed our minds with things to think about. And here’s what we’re thinking about today. Today’s Food for Thought is what I put in my notes as everything is the interview. Right now here in my business, buying and selling real estate and managing my rental portfolio, we’re hiring a new in house staff property manager position. So of course, we posted the job ad on the internet and various places. And we’ve been receiving inquiries and applications. And we’re inviting people as a part of this after screening what they send electronically to have phone interviews with us and in person interviews eventually. And we’re evaluating candidates, right? I mean, that’s what you do. That’s pretty obvious. But the important point here is that the evaluation of these candidates doesn’t just happen during those interviews. Everything is the interview, every aspect of our interaction with these people, how they respond, how they show up, how they follow instructions, is a part of the process of us assessing them not just what they say to the answer of our questions, but every thing that they do is part of our evaluation of that. Maya Angelou said something and then I believe Oprah kind of helped popularize it. But she said, when people show you who they are, believe them. Our interview process is designed to give people a chance to show us who they are. But without them even really knowing that they are showing us who they are. Because of course, most people think that the interview is the interview that the interview starts when the interview starts, and it’s over once the interview is done, and they’re on during that time, putting their best foot forward during what seems like the interview. And sometimes it’s just the tiniest things, you know, giving a very specific set of instructions to somebody just to see if that person can follow those instructions. Well, you know, it’s one thing for a person to say I’m very quote detail oriented, and it’s another For you to actually get to see if they caught and then followed the details that you gave them. I’ve got a really good friend who worked at a large consulting firm. And he told me that he remembered that when they had candidates coming in for interviews, they would actually plant their staff members in the waiting room to observe this candidate before the quote, interview officially began, because they would learn more or as much about that person from how they conducted themselves when they thought nobody was watching. I’ve got another really good friend who always takes his top candidate for a job out to a nice lunch. And the reason is simply so that he can observe how that person treats the staff at the restaurant because those actions speak volumes about who that person is. We all know because our parents told us when we were kids that actions speak louder than words. And in fact, this is a huge question. branding, if you’ve ever heard me talk about branding as a pillar of what we do as real estate entrepreneurs, so chances are you’re not in the process of interviewing somebody for a higher right now. But let’s translate this to our own scenario. As buyers of real estate off market. We have to ask ourselves, as our potential sellers are, quote, interviewing us, they are observing us and everything is the interview. So if that’s the case, what are those sellers experiencing from us, is everything we’re doing, conveying the message and the experience that we would want them to have? Let’s hope so. But if not, this is our chance to make adjustments so that we know that we are delivering the experience we want them to have during the whole process because everything is the interview. That is today’s food for thought and it’s actually tied perfectly segues nicely into today’s main course. Alright, so we’re moving on to that main course of today’s episode and today’s topic on thoughtful real estate entrepreneurship is marketing what you do versus how you do it. This is really a topic of strategic marketing. It’s a topic of positioning, it’s a topic of branding. So a while back, I posted an image on our Instagram page for the thoughtful real estate entrepreneur which by the way is instagram.com slash thoughtful real estate please give us a follow if you haven’t already. It had a bold point of view on this image it was a quote card and I knew that not everybody would agree with it. And that’s okay. That was actually part of the point. Here’s what the graphic quote card said. It said, offering in your marketing to pay cash close fast and buy as is, is insanely premature, and it As lowbrow as it gets, as they say those are fighting words. And of course, the intent is not to pick a fight. But the intent is to plant a firm stake in the ground and say, This is what we believe, as thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs, and to show what it is that we stand for. And sure enough, not everybody did agree. So one of the comments that I received back on this post was good luck with that will be over here lowbrow making it clear what we offer. And I have to step back and hand it to them. Because they bring up an important point in business. You need to make it clear what you’re offering, right? I mean, that’s pretty common sense. But the question is this, what is it that you are really trying to sell them on? That you’re trying so hard to make so clear? What this commenter didn’t realize is this. You can offer up your what, or you can offer up your house. So let’s talk about choosing What versus how and what that even means. lowbrow investors offer their What? In the first contact, that’s what they can do what they think the seller wants, what they’re offering, specifically, what they think might be an attractive process for the seller. It’s like they’re selling a service a what that they are willing to perform. Now, of course, there is a huge and kind of obvious problem with this, and that these investors have absolutely no clue whether this what that they’re offering is even remotely relevant to the particular seller that they’re sending this letter to. They’re basing their what offering on massive, massive assumptions about that seller. So what’s the alternative? Well, the alternative is to do what we as trees do, we convey and we offer our how we don’t say what we’d like to do. Instead we demonstrate how we work we Show them how it would feel to work with us we show them how the experience would be and how we tend to approach things. Now notice that we show them our how we convey to them our how I didn’t say we tell them our How did I know I went out of my way to say that we show them our house? In other words, we demonstrate it to them. Can you start to see how this connects to our food for thought segment today, we can tell them who we are with words or we can show them who we are with our actions. And when everything is the interview, we have to show them who we are. And showing is so so so much more powerful than telling. So why is this such an important distinction? it it’s really really important because our how transcends any deal, any financial structure, any closing timeline, any contingencies Any price. This is simply how we do things, whether the deals closing in five days, and it is a quick all cash kind of thing. Or it’s closing in six months with seller financing in a very lengthy repair addendum and anything in between our How is a higher level topic than the what the what is far more specific on a deal by deal basis. Earlier, when I was telling you about that commenter on my post, I said, in business, you need to make it clear what you’re offering. But here’s a question for you kind of an interesting question. Is this quote unquote, business that we’re doing? Well, technically, yes. From our own point of view, and the role that real estate plays in our lives. Yes, it’s a business. But I personally do not want the seller feeling like this is business as in commerce. Typically, when a person puts their house up for sale, they don’t feel like it’s business in the commerce sense. They may think of it as business sort of like paying your credit card bill or finding the right health insurance is business but it’s not business in terms of commerce. Keep in mind when I am positioning myself with sellers, I am not positioning myself as a property buying service. And I don’t recommend that my clients and students do that either. Instead, I’m positioning myself as a guy who wants to buy a property. The lowbrow folks with the We Buy Houses, letters, they’re positioning themselves as a property buying service, whether they use those words or not, which they often don’t. That is the positioning that they are very clearly implying. Now, why does this matter? And it matters because positioning oneself as a property buying service, makes the seller step back, maybe subconsciously and ask themselves, well do I really need a service? provided to me, am I in the market for a service? And if the answer is no, which it will be, of course, for a lot of those folks, you’ve turned those people off because they don’t feel like selling a property is hiring a service. Whereas, by contrast, when I positioned myself as a guy who just wants to buy a property, it makes the seller step back and simply ask themselves, well, what I sell my property? And for most people, the answer is, yes, I might consider selling my property given the right conditions. It’s focusing on the how, and not the one that I can tell you results in me getting a call every week from a seller who says something to the effect of, you know, I get dozens of these letters about my property each year, and you’re the first person I’ve ever called back years just felt different. I hear that all the time. So let’s take this and translate this whole topic of what versus how The tactical ground game of actual direct mail marketing for off market seller leads for a second. Because I’m not talking about writing a letter with a section, and a subheading that says, here’s how we work. Instead, I’m talking about writing your letter in such a way that the recipient, right the seller comes to their own conclusions about how you work based on the way you’ve presented yourself. And these conclusions, of course, are the exact conclusions that you want them to come to right. You’ve you’ve planted those conclusions in their mind through the way you have demonstrated who you are. For instance, if I were to say something like, if now’s not the right time to chat with us, no problem. Please just hold on to our letter and let us know when the timing is better. If I said something like that, in my letter, the conclusion that I’m helping the seller come to his will this Jeff guy is low pressure He’s not in a real big hurry. And he respects that my own timing is what’s going to matter most if I’m going to ever consider selling this property. That’s them coming to their own conclusions about how we work without me needing to say explicitly, here’s how we work. But instead, I showed them how we work by framing my message in a certain way. So when does the what come in, right? When does the the offer terms and the parameters and this is the type of financing and this is the type of closing timeline and all of that? When does that stuff come in? Well, let’s go back to the comment from the Instagram post for a second. That person said Good luck with that will be over here lowbrow making it clear what we offer? And it really begs the question, doesn’t it? When do you need to get clear about exactly what you’re offering? Because at some point, you’re going to have to make it clear, right? Well, sure, of course, but the timing of when that happens. is really important. And it has to be done according to the progression of the relationship that you’ve got with the seller. What we trees do is we share our house and let it attract the sellers that that how resonates with we save the what? Until we have all the insights possible about the seller. That’s why in this Instagram post I said offering in your marketing to pay cash close fast and by as is is insanely premature and as lowbrow as it gets. Because at that point that you’re sending the letter you don’t even have close to the necessary insights about your seller to even possibly get to the what the what ultimately gets presented in the form of a proposal not an offer. Only once we know exactly what will be most relevant to the seller, acceptable to the seller and helpful to the seller in terms of getting They’re where they’re trying to go. So in some if you’re direct mail marketing to off market sellers and I really hope you are focused on showing them who you are in the letter showing them who you are, don’t tell them. demonstrate it through your approach. Through your polite low pressure messaging, your sincere interest, your positioning as a peer of there’s not a service provider. Leave the what, until much much later. Thank you for listening to another episode of sleaze free real estate investing. On the next episode, we’re going to discuss the key things that we need to try and uncover from the seller. What are the key insights that we’re going to need from the seller in order to ultimately be able to talk to them about the what and make a proposal to purchase their piece of real estate? Again, please do yourself a favor do us a big favor, hit the subscribe button if you have not already in your podcast app. And that way of course, you’ll know exactly when the next episode is released and it sends a message to iTunes that they should be telling other people like you and like us about this show who would get value from it. Reminder show notes including a transcript are at thoughtful Art e.com slash e two six. And until next time, this is Jeff from the thoughtful real estate entrepreneur and I am signing off
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