January, 2014

Motivated Seller Marketing – Relationship Marketing

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Businessman multitaskingIn today’s entrepreneur-driven society, it’s not unusual to find that the owner of a small business is also the senior vice president of his one-man marketing department. Since most entrepreneurs enjoy the core operation of their business, it’s common to find them preoccupied with daily minutia and a list of tasks, rather than on the growth and promotion of their company. Add that to the fact that they oftentimes see marketing as a big, hairy beast with blood-drenched fangs ready to suck their wallets dry, and it’s not all that surprising that it permanently resides at the bottom of their priority lists.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs and real estate investors view marketing as a costly EXPENSE that is unlikely to produce results, and has a return on investment similar to a Vegas slot machine. Their only ideas of advertising and marketing are budget-busting strategies like TV commercials, billboards, and massive branding campaigns. However, what many small business owners neglect to realize is that their most effective (and cheapest) form of marketing is staring at them in the mirror.

Some of the most powerful and consistent sources of leads in my real estate investing business are as a result of relationships that I have built with other “influencers” in my industry. Relationship marketing is nothing more than meeting new people and making connections with those who can send you referrals in the future. However, while it may be “free” to meet a person, it’s going to cost you time and energy if you want to develop them into a strategic relationship that will be a future source of consistent leads for your business.

Making lasting connections and building strategic relationships is sometimes easier said than done, but here are a few quick tips on how to establish those key relationships that are more likely to produce the lasting fruit that you’re looking for.

1.) Look for the “Shy Yes” – When meeting someone for the first time, you don’t want to go all commando-salesman on Proposalthem, and try to make an over-the-top pitch of yourself right away. That just turns people off and makes you look like a goober. You simply want to look for that “shy yes” to start the conversation. I always liken it to a dating relationship. The purpose of the first meeting is simply to get a second meeting, perhaps for coffee or even lunch. If you propose on the first date, you have a very high likelihood of being turned down, not to mention having a restraining order filed against you. But if you take the time to build a deep emotional relationship with the object of your affection, and show them you are worth having around, then your chances of a BIG YES are increased significantly.

2.) Tweet, Facebook, & Get Linked In! – The rise of social media has introduced a great non-threatening way to build strategic relationships slowly over time. It is another tool in your arsenal that can help get you the “shy yes” you are looking for, and make a lasting connection.  However, the same warning about “pitching” to soon applies to social media as well. If I accept a new “friend”, and his next 12 posts are only about his new multi-level marketing “opportunity”, he will be un-friended as fast as he came in. Social media is meant to be just that…SOCIAL! So, take the time to post compelling content, and let your new connections get to know more about you personally before you ask for a meeting.

3.) Make Sure Everyone Wins – I have a lot of people who want to meet with me to discuss how we could “work together” on different businesses. However, it doesn’t take very long to realize that by “work together”, they mean they want to tap into my contacts and database I’ve spent years building for their own selfish gain, with very little in it for me. As you might expect, these are typically VERY short meeting.

After you’ve started the conversation with an “influencer” and built a relationship, you want to make sure to craft your message to include a TRULY win/win relationship. Everyone loves to talk about themselves, and since you know your business inside and out and are excited about, the unfortunate tendency is to have a one-sided conversation that’s all about you. Make sure you take a step back, and consider the needs of the person at the other end of the table, and answer the question for them, “What’s in it for us?”

Business Networking4.) Don’t Be Afraid to rub a Few Elbows – While I can teach a lot of exotic ways to try and make connections, and employ an effective relationship marketing campaign, the fact remains that nothing works better than some good ‘ol fashioned networking. In my local area there are numerous groups to be involved with, such as LEADers, Biznetlink, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Prosperous Christian, and of course, the Professional Investors Guild. Groups like these allow you to get beyond the need for a “shy yes”, because those in attendance are already there for the purpose of meeting you, and networking together about sharing business leads and opportunities. So, don’t let the opportunity pass you by! The guy who sits in his chair and never talks to a soul is usually the one complaining about how his business hasn’t quite taken off yet. Shake some hands, rub elbows, and talk to some people you’ve never met…and you’ll quickly see the fruits of your labor.

Have you tried relationship marketing in your business? How has it helped? What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur in regards to making lasting relationships? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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10 Keys to Investing Success in the New Year, Part 2

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In part one of this series, I discussed the first 5 essentials to achieving greater success in the New Year.  These include setting ambitious goals, writing those goals down, consistently marketing your business, thinking positively, and staying away from negative people.  And while this is certainly not an exhaustive list, below you will find the next 5 keys to taking your real estate business to the next level in the coming year.  I hope you enjoy!

Business Books6.) Read Books – Charlie “Tremendous” Jones once said, “The only difference between where you are today, and where you’ll be a year from today, are the books you read and the people you meet.”  My goal this year is to read one spiritual book and one business book each month, along with my other reading (Bible, devotions, blogs, etc.).   While most of us may not be in formal school any longer, our education never ends.  The moment people stop growing and learning, is the moment they start dying.

7.) Network with Influential People – The second half of Charlie’s admonition was in regards to the “people you meet.”  Most of my real estate leads come from a few “influencers” and “lead sources” that I have connected with over the past few years.  I have been involved in joint ventures on multiple properties in the last couple of years, earning me a great deal of money, due in large part to the strategic relationships that I took the time to build with other investors.  If you want to see great success in the coming year, you must look for opportunities to network with influential people, and create win/win relationships in which both sides benefit from the connection.

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8.) Find a Mentor – Book smarts are great.  Street smarts are better.  I’ve had numerous job applicants in my company who have proudly touted “marketing degrees”, but it quickly became apparent that they didn’t know the first thing about marketing. Thousands of people pass the real estate licensing course every year, and yet don’t know jack squat about selling a house.  Earning a degree or a designation is certainly something to be proud of, but it doesn’t mean you know anything about real world business.  The best way to learn any skill or trade is to sit under someone who is currently doing it, and learn from their successes and failures.

9.) Fail a few times…and then GET BACK UP! –We’d like to think that we will learn EVERYTHING from a mentor, and never make our own mistakes, but that’s never howpick-yourself-up it works.  However, as long as you don’t put yourself in a position to make a fatal mistake, failures are some of the best learning experiences for aspiring entrepreneurs.  I learned a lot more about myself and my business during the recent recession, than I ever did during the boom years of 2005-2007.  The changes I made as a result of those lessons left my real estate investing business much better equipped to take advantage of any potential down turns in the market, and to make outrageous profits when times are good.

10.) Work Hard – Tim Notke is noted as saying, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”  No matter how many ways you slice, the ultimate key to success in the New Year is just plain, old-fashioned, bare-knuckles, down-in-the-trenches hard work.  I have yet to find a replacement for it, though I have certainly tried.  In the end, it’s those who put forth the consistent effort (even when they don’t feel like it) that always seem to win.

Well, there you have it…the recipe to truly having a HAPPY NEW YEAR.  If you put these 10 keys into practice over the next 12 months, I can almost guarantee you will be in a better place at the beginning of next year than you are today.  However, no one can do it for you.  You have to decide to make this year a great one…and I hope for your sake that you do!

I’d love to hear some of your advice for succeeding in the New Year.  Let us know in the comments section below!

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10 Keys to Investing Success in the New Year, Part 1

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times-square-ballThe Waterford crystal ball has reached the bottom of its descent in Times Square, the final chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” has been played, and the mountains of confetti have been cleaned up.  So, now what?  If you’re like most people, this is a time of great anticipation for what this new year may bring, and a much needed fresh start to try and do things better in the coming 365 days.  Here are 10 quick tips to help ensure that this year is your most profitable (and enjoyable) one ever!

1.) Set Ambitious Goals (But Not Too Ambitious) – Most people make two mistakes when setting their goals for the New Year.  The first mistake is being so concerned with making the goal achievable that they set it far too low, and don’t push themselves past the status quo of the previous few years.  The second (and most common) mistake, is to make “pie-in-the-sky” goals that are so far removed from reality, that they don’t really move the needle in terms of providing motivation throughout the year.  Saying you want to become a billionaire this year is nice, but you might want to start with a million first, and work your way up.  The most effective goals are just enough beyond your current reach that they make you strive for something better, but not so unattainable that they prove discouraging.

2.) Write Your Goals Down – This is the most over-given-and-least-followed piece of advice in the history of mankind.  If you haven’t heard the overwhelming statistics in goal-settingregards to the importance of writing down goals, I don’t know which rock you’ve been hiding under, but here’s one of the most compelling.  In 1979, Harvard MBA’s were asked if they had clear, written goals for their future.  84% had no goals, 13% had established goals, and 3% had established, WRITTEN goals.  10 years later, the same graduates were polled in regards to their income, and the 3% with written goals had made TEN TIMES more money than the other 97% COMBINED.  Enough said.

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3.) Market Consistently – It’s always comical when real estate investors tell me how hard it is to find deals.  I always ask the follow-up question, “Well, what kind of consistent marketing have you been doing?”, which is always received with blank stares, and some stuttering, “Well, I, ummm, uhhhh..I look at the MLS every day.  To be successful as a real estate investor, or chiropractor, or landscaper, or ANYTHING…you have to be in constant marketing and promotion mode.  Sometimes that’s in the form of traditional advertising like newspapers, radio, etc…but it also includes networking with potential lead sources, or others in your industry.

4.) Think Positively – I know this sounds a little cheesy, but the way we think about ourselves is extremely critical to our success.  Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”  A recent study of insurance salesmen showed that optimists in the group outsold the pessimists by 88%, and pessimists were 3 times more likely to quit their job (probably because they were making 88% less money).  Other studies show that optimistic people live up to 9 years longer than pessimists, agrumpy-300x300nd overcome illness much easier.  So, the benefits of being a glass-half-full-kind-of-guy or gal seem to be pretty obvious…don’t you think?

5.) Stay Away from Negative People – Nothing kills a positive attitude like hanging around a bunch of negative people and naysayers.  People who aren’t successful feel like it’s their purpose in life to make sure that no one else ever experiences success either.  These people come in the form of co-workers, friends, and unfortunately, family.  You can’t choose your family, but you can definitely limit the amount of time you spend with them.  Also, make sure you NEVER share your goals or dreams with these “Negative Nancy’s”, as they will do everything in their power to discourage you from doing something great with your life.

I’ll be back in a couple days with keys #6-10…but until then, I’d love to hear some of your advice for succeeding in the New Year.  Let us know in the comments section below!

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