Is managing your phone calls and seller leads on paper or with Microsoft Excel driving you mad?
If so, then I know exactly where you’re coming from. If you’re like me, you probably started out well, but then as you gained more experience and invested more money into your wholesaling business, you started generating more leads. More leads resulted in more piles of paper, more spreadsheets, and more time spent doing data entry and less time on the phone with sellers.
Eventually, you end up feeling frustrated and overwhelmed because you’re spending too much time searching through piles of paper. This results in less time on the phone with sellers — or even worse, putting a seller on hold while you search through your stack of paper to find seller information. The money is made on the phone talking to sellers.
You know there has to be a solution, but what is it?
With so many software tools on the market, it can be near impossible to separate which tools will work for your business and which tools won’t. That’s why I am here today to share with you some tools to help your business run more smoothly — and to help you reclaim your time.
7 Tools to Help Serious Wholesalers Streamline Their Businesses
Tool #1: Google Voice
If you’re like me, you probably don’t want sellers calling your home or personal cell phone number. Not a problem: Google Voice will provide you with a FREE phone number of your choosing and with an area code you want to operate your business in. I am still using the same cell phone number I was given 11 years ago. But now, after signing up for Google Voice, I am able to choose a phone number local to the market I am operating in.
You can access this free phone number on multiple devices, including your cell phone, your computer, or your tablet. This means that you’ll be able to listen to voicemails, make calls, and check text messages using any of your devices anywhere in the world. Yes, you can make and receive SMS messages using Google Voice right from your computer or tablet. I don’t know about you, but I type a lot faster on a keyboard than I do using my cell phone.
I could go on and on about the benefits of using Google Voice, but I’m trying to spend more time on the phone with sellers. Therefore, if you’re interested in learning more about Google Voice read: Google Voice and Google+ Hangouts: Tips For Using These Free Tools.
Tool #2: Vumber
Correct me if I am wrong, but to my knowledge you can only have one Google Voice number, unless of course you start creating multiple Google Accounts. However, I found a better solution. Introducing Vumber!
For only $9.95 a month, you get two additional U.S. numbers to use for your wholesaling business.
You may ask yourself: why do I need two additional phone numbers? When just starting out, you probably only need one phone number, but if you’re anything like me, you probably have a desire to grow your wholesaling business and do more deals.
To grow your business, you need to implement multiple marketing strategies and campaigns to generate seller leads. Having additional phone numbers enables you to assign a unique phone number to each specific marketing campaign you implement. In fact, you probably need more than 2 numbers. No problem: just upgrade your account to get access to more phone numbers.
What are the advantages of having multiple phone numbers and using Vumber to streamline your wholesaling business?
- Multiple phone numbers make it easier for you to measure the success of your web campaign compared to your direct mail absentee owner campaign, compared to your bandit sign campaign, compared to your D4$ campaign. You get the point.
- You don’t have to ask sellers how they found you when they call or leave a voicemail. You’ll already know, and as you read further, you’ll learn that this data will automatically be logged for you.
- Vumber will send you an email for every call and voicemail you receive. Therefore, you can automatically input seller lead data into your CRM using the email to app functionality that many CRMs have access to, including Podio.
Which bring me to the next tool I use to streamline my wholesaling business:
Tool #3: Podio
Every serious wholesaler needs a CRM — Customer Relationship Management — app to help keep track of customers. The CRM app that I have chosen to use for my wholesaling business is Podio.
Podio is more than just a CRM app, however. Podio is an all-in one cloud based work collaboration tool that will enable wholesalers such as yourself to seamlessly manage seller leads, a buyers list, appointments, offers, contracts, marketing campaigns, and follow up tasks all from an easy-to-use and intuitive interface. Podio is also highly customizable. You can customize each Podio app to work the way that you work.
Podio’s CRM is organized by what Podio calls “Workspaces.” Below, you can see the Podio Workspace that I have created for my leads. Within the workspace, Podio provides different “Apps” to help me manage my offers, contracts, seller leads, appointments, and campaigns:
Every workspace also features the “Activity App”:
The Activity App in Podio was a game changer for me.
In the past I was always struggling to keep seller information and updates organized on paper or in my Excel spreadsheets. This made follow up extremely difficult. I was always searching through folders or Excel trying to find any notes I may have taken on the seller lead.
In the above screenshot, you can see a partner and I talking about a seller lead right within the Podio interface. No need for us to email back and forth and search through email folders to find our last conversation on the lead. You should also notice a .wav file in the above screenshot. Not only does Vumber upload the seller lead into Podio for me, but it also uploads the voicemail into Podio. No need for me to log into another website to listen to seller voicemails. I can listen to the voicemail right from the Podio interface. This is just another example of how I have streamlined my wholesaling business to save time.
With Podio, every change or update you make to an “App Item,” such as a seller lead, is date and time-stamped and centrally located in the Activity App. The Activity App within a Podio Workspace also makes it easy for you to collaborate with partners or virtual assistants using a social networking style interface.
Again, no more searching through email threads for discussions you’ve had with a VA or partners about different seller leads. Just click on the seller lead, and all of the communication surrounding the lead is centrally located. This also makes Podio a great CRM candidate if you plan on growing your business and collaborating with other wholesalers or hiring a VA.
Podio also features a number of third-party integrations that make it easier for you to input your seller lead data and information into Podio or take Podio data and connect that data with other apps you are using in your wholesaling business.
I like to receive a text every time a seller lead gets entered into my Podio workspace so that I know it’s time to follow up, and that’s where Tool #4 comes into play.
Tool #4: Zapier
According to Zapier, “Zapier connect the web apps you use to easily move your data and automate tedious tasks.”
I use Zapier to connect Podio to other apps that I use. For example, many of the phone calls I receive go directly to voicemail. Remember, the voicemails and the seller phone numbers automatically get uploaded to Podio using the email-to-app functionality between Podio and Vumber. Vumber sends an email to Podio when I receive a missed call or voicemail, and that data automatically creates a seller lead in my Podio Workspace, including an MP3 file of the voicemail.
Naturally, there are many times when I’m away from my computer and not logged into my CRM. I wanted a way to know when a seller lead is uploaded into my CRM without having to be on the computer. Using Zapier, I built a “Zap” to receive a text message if a seller lead gets created in my Podio workspace:
There are hundreds of ways to streamline tedious tasks in your wholesaling business using Zapier. Integrating Zapier with Podio — or any other CRM app for that matter — will save you valuable minutes that add up over time. More time on the phone with sellers means more deals closed and more money in your pocket.
Below are just a few of the many Podio integrations or “Zaps” as Zapier likes to call them:
By now, you should see that you can put a system in place to streamline the initial data entry and capture of seller leads, but what about follow up and making offers? The following three tools are critical in helping me streamline the follow up and offers I make to sellers.
Tool # 5: Webmerge
WebMerge is a service that allows you to turn the seller lead data you have in Podio into customizable Office or PDF documents with the click of a button. I use WebMerge to send offer letters and contracts to my sellers.
Please don’t misunderstand me; I do make verbal offers to sellers. However, as a wholesaler you encounter a lot of sellers who are not motivated. It’s important to realize that these sellers may become motivated at some point. Timing is everything in this business, and this fact is what makes follow up so important.
I send offer letters and unsigned contracts to sellers who are not currently motivated. This is something that sellers can keep and hang on their fridge or file away somewhere safe. It’s critical to be the first person a seller thinks about when they become more motivated to sell. Money is in the follow up.
The 3 Step Process to Using WebMerge:
- You need to create a document template in WebMerge. I have created a Word document that is populated with several merge fields. A merge field is simply a field that you can place into an Office, PDF, or email document that enables you to incorporate values from another data source, such as Podio. You can view my WebMerge document template and the data fields I merge into my document from my Podio account here.
- Once you have your document template built, you then need to set up your delivery. Do you want your document delivered to your Dropbox or Google Drive account, or do you want it sent to email? Remember, this article is about creating systems to streamline your business. Do like I did…have the document created and mailed directly to your seller with the click of a button. I will touch on that when I discuss Tool #7.
- You have created your document and told WebMerge where to send the document. It’s now time to integrate and merge your Podio Seller Lead data into your document template. WebMerge will then create and finalize your document to include your Podio lead data, such as seller names, addresses, and offer amounts. There are many services that have integrations built into their software that make it easy to send data to WebMerge. The service I use is itDuzzit.
Tool #6: itDuzzit
itDuzzit is an application similar to Zapier in that it enables you to connect and sync data between hundreds of cloud applications. If you are unable to find a cloud-to-cloud integration that you are looking for on Zapier, then you may be able to find it on itDuzzit.
Again, I use itDuzzit to send data from Podio to WebMerge so that I can mail letters with the click of a button.
I created a cloud-to-cloud integration in itDuzzit so that when a Podio Seller Lead is updated:
…and when my “Send Offer” button is clicked “Yes” in Podio:
…then merge data using itDuzzit from Podio into the WebMerge template document that I created:
WebMerge now has all the data they need to create and send my document to me or to a 3rd party print and mailing service. Remember, my document is an offer letter and contract. Rather than having it sent to me I told WebMerge to send the document to a printing and mailing service called Lob.
Tool #7: Lob
Lob is an “innovative and powerful suite of APIs to send mail as effortlessly as email.”
Rather than have WebMerge send my documents directly to me, I told WebMerge to send the documents directly to Lob. I recommend you do the same to save time from having to print, stuff and stamp every letter you send. Your highest value activity as a wholesaler is talking directly to sellers, not stuffing and stamping envelopes.
To send your documents directly to Lob, you simply provide Tool #5: WebMerge with the API key and the appropriate addresses:
Once Lob receives the document, they will print your document, stuff it in an envelope, stamp it and drop it in the mail for you. Lob also offers pay as you go pricing and fast turnaround times. When testing their service, I had a letter sent to me, and it arrived three days after clicking the trigger button in Podio.
There are hundreds of software and cloud-based applications out there that can help you streamline your business. My goal in writing this post wasn’t necessarily to try and persuade you to use the 7 tools mentioned in this article. I wrote this article to encourage you to start thinking about ways to streamline your business so that you can spend more time on the phone with sellers and less time entering data or stuffing and stamping envelopes.
If you have any questions about the 7 tools I shared with you today or if you need help implementing some of them in your business feel free to send me a private message.
What tools are you using to make your business faster, easier and more streamlined?
Please share with us how you are using these tools in the comments section below. With your help, perhaps I can start implementing even more tools to further streamline my workflow.
Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.