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An Unexpected Real Estate Phone Call

by Clay Huber on January 11, 2013 · 6 comments

  
Short Sale

This article will probably be a bit on the short end, but it is really something that brightened my day when it happened. I’m hoping it can do the same for you, or possibly motivate you to give something a try.

Give what a try? Direct mail marketing.

This was one of the first marketing strategies I implemented when getting started in my real estate investing career. My exit plan was to either wholesale or flip any deals I landed. As my investing journey unfolded and I did more networking, I met quality wholesalers and then private money became more of a concern. With this ‘shift’ in my business, finding deals became less of an importance.

Due to my need to place my time elsewhere, I haven’t done any direct mail marketing in at least 15 months (maybe more?), but then something happened a few days ago…

The Unexpected Real Estate Phone Call 

My phone rang and the person on the other end started with, “Hi, I got a letter from you a while ago and was wondering if you were still interested in buying my house?” As I scrambled to find my sheet that I use to fill in information about the house, all I could think of was, “Did I hear this person right?”

I’d read about this situation before in regards to how people tend to keep letters like this in storage and then call them well after they have received them, but I never thought it ‘actually’ happened. Ya know?

To make a long story short, the caller was just too far under water on their home to make any deal workout, so I just referred them to a short sale agent. Who knows, maybe I will end up landing a referral fee out of it? At the time of this article, that remains to be seen.

A New Real Estate Investor Connection

One of the direct mail campaigns I did was geared towards other investors in the area to help me network and build my buyer list.

This phone call happened a few months ago, but again, it was the same type situation. I answered the phone and the person started off by telling me they have gotten a letter from me “a while ago” and was curious if I had any good wholesale deals. I explained to him how due to the nature of my business model, I really don’t wholesale many houses, but this lead to other things and to keep the story short, we exchanged contact information and have chatted a few times since. Nothing ‘profitable’ has come out of the relationship yet, but that’s why I love real estate. That sort of thing could change in a heartbeat.

Keep (or Get) the Real Estate Ax Grinding

I mentioned this previously, but I remember reading how these sorts of things happened to others; however, never thought it actually happened in the ‘real world’. I was wrong! It really does.

If you already have a direct mail marketing campaign launched, keep at it. I hope this offers you some hope/motivation to keep at it. Or better yet, I hope you’re already knocking it out of the park so you don’t need any hop/motivation! Regardless, keep that ax to the grind stone!

If you are unsure or currently researching marketing methods, I would highly encourage direct mail. I am by no means an expert at it like some here on BiggerPockets, but I can speak from experience that it does indeed work.

Conclusion

I know this didn’t offer any tips or tricks to direct mail marketing, but BiggerPockets is bursting at the seams with good advice (both in forums and blogs) about the topic. Before going out and purchasing some “How to Make a Million Dollars with Direct Mail” course, please just start out here. Save yourself a few bucks!

I’m currently considering starting up direct mail again for private lenders; however, I need to do more research into SEC regulations and such, and on top of this, the word-of-mouth about my lending program has been doing the job fine for now. Business is forward looking though, so I’m trying my best to stay a step ahead of things.

How about you? What is the longest “a while” someone has called you off of a direct mail letter? Mine is right around the 15 month mark. Can you beat that? I think it would be interesting to see (and build confidence for others) how it has taken people to respond from a direct mail campaign. Leave your comments below and let’s hear some stories!

Photo: Craig ONeal

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharon Vornholt January 11, 2013 at 10:50 am

Cool Clay.

I bought a probate this past year and the people had my letters all “rubber banded” together. They had more that a year’s worth. I bought a house a couple of years ago from a lady I had been marketing to for 3 years. It took that long for her circumstances to change, but when they did, she was VERY motivated.

I usually put in a business card the first time I mail probates. In my letter I acknowledge that they may not be ready to sell the house and that I will follow up with them at various intervals, but mention that I have included my business card should the letter get misplaced.

A lot of people keep the letters, but of those who don’t, they are more apt to keep the business card I think so you might try that. I would definitely include a card when marketing to other investors or private lenders.

Direct mail works!
Sharon

Reply

Clay Huber January 11, 2013 at 10:57 am

That totally makes sense about the business cards. I should have asked whether they were calling off the letter I sent or the business card (which I also included).

Thanks, as usual, for the comments Sharon!

Reply

Sharon Vornholt January 11, 2013 at 11:03 am

Clay -

I wouldn’t be a bad idea to include one all the time, but it can get kind of expensive if you mail a lot of letters each month. Even with probates, I put another one in from time to time. i would definitely put a card in every time for other investors and potential lenders.

That’s a good point you make about asking if they are calling off the letter or card. I’ll have to remember that.

Sharon

Reply

Clay Huber January 11, 2013 at 11:10 am

Thanks for the tips Sharon.

Makes a lot of sense, especially when it comes to be cost conscious.

Alison January 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I made a wholesale deal last summer from a probate mailing I sent in 2010! The 3 brothers involved kept the letter and called me. One of the most enjoyable transactions I’ve done.

Reply

Clay January 14, 2013 at 7:15 am

Nice Alison. That’s awesome.

I don’t doubt for a second the transaction was enjoyable. If it were me, I’d probably be in shock most of the time pinching myself asking, “am I really doing a deal from marketing I did, literally, years ago?”

Thanks for the post.

Reply

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