BiggerPockets Podcast 081: Generating Real Estate Leads Through Direct Mail with Michael Quarles

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Today on the BiggerPockets Podcast we are excited to welcome back Michael Quarles to the show. Several weeks ago we talked with Michael about his story and spent most of the show discussing the topic of negotiation, never getting to one of the most important topics we wanted to discuss with Michael: marketing. Specifically, Michael is a wealth of knowledge on all things involving direct mail, so today we’re going to tap into that knowledge.\

Today, Michael is going to teach you everything you need to know to get started in successful direct mail marketing and attract leads that no one else can get. We cover everything from market research to creating a call-capture system and everything in between. This show will go down in the history of BiggerPockets as one of the most actionable shows to date!

Read the Transcript

Click here to read the transcript.

Listen to The Show on iTunes

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Listen to the Podcast Here

In This Show, We Cover:

BiggerPockets Podcast _ Real Estate Investing and Wealth Building 9.42.11 AM

  • The ins and outs of whole-tailing
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about direct mail
  • The beauty of controlling who calls you through direct mail
  • How to start marketing even if you only have $500
  • What to do in the face of rejection
  • How much does a starter marketing budget cost?
  • How BiggerPockets is like a beautiful woman
  • How to do your market research 
  • Softwares that tell you what houses in your market have equity
  • What filters to set in terms of lead generation
  • Probate vs. absentee owners
  • How to generate leads from bandit signs without EVER using them
  • The 5 different types of direct mail
  • The importance of using multiple types of mail
  • Hand-written font vs. actual writing 
  • The biggest mistake people make in direct mail
  • How many times should you repeat a mail sequence?
  • The importance of setting up your call capture system
  • How to memorize scripts
  • and much, much more!

Links Mentioned

Tweetable Topics

“I’m not a passive income earner, I’m a massive income earner.” (Tweet This!)

“People don’t buy what you sell, they buy who you are.” (Tweet This!)

Connect with Michael

About Author

Thanks for checking out the BiggerPockets Real Estate Investing & Wealth Building Podcast. Hosts Joshua Dorkin & Brandon Turner strive to bring top-notch educational content and interviews to our listeners -- without the non-stop pitch prevalent around the industry. With over 180,000 listeners per show, the BiggerPockets Podcast has become the biggest real estate podcast in the world. But don’t take our word for it. We’re the top-rated and reviewed real estate show on iTunes — check it out, read the reviews on iTunes, and get busy listening and learning!


  1. Great show!

    You mentioned buying an ad for I Buy Houses and We Buy Houses using 411, google or white pages.
    Can you explain exactly how to do this? I researched and only found Is this what you’re referring to?


  2. Michael-
    Awesome awesome show! I wish this can be 4-hour session letting you talk because I can find good tips in every topic you touched. I did use your company for my first campaign and I got a deal. Now I used your samples and print my own and I also get deals. I would love to talk to you on the phone! Like Brandon, my head is full of questions.

    Thanks again for sharing.

  3. Brant Richardson on

    Josh and Brandon, I think you need to book Michael for Podcast #85, maybe by the end of it we will be half way through what he has to offer.

    Michael – Thanks for the detailed information, I much prefer it over the quick answers. Great usable content. If I ever start a direct mail campaign, will be my first stop.

    • Brant thank you for the nice words… When we were out of time I felt like we didn’t even talk about marketing….

      Marketing and Negotiation are HUGE and I have spent days on end standing on stage helping people understand the basics so they can become propertous.. Maybe I can come back or do one or two of my own…

  4. Yo Michael,

    I’m listen to the podcast and I must say you give tons of value bro. But I will like to add one thing if you don’t mind.

    It’s ok to do direct mail marketing to every house hold in a given city. If you’re doing in a way to educate people on something. What I mean is that I use a form of marketing where we would mail out 30k pieces of mail knowing everyone will not be ready to sell their house or even buy a house.

    Our goal is to just get the household to sign up through our website. But you maybe asking yourself why would someone sign up for something when they’re not even looking to buy or sell.

    The beauty of this is that we will show homeowners or even renters..
    – how to up keep their lawn
    – how to save on electrical bill
    – how to stage a house
    – how to sell their homes FSBO
    – how to work with realtors
    – how to work with investors
    – and so much more

    The key is to educate people on things when their not looking to buy or sell. Over all with this form of real estate marketing you will get a higher return on your investment when it comes to direct mail.

    Finally, when that day comes for the homes owner to sell or the renter to buy that home…who do you think their going to call?

    Just another marketing tip from Antonio Coleman

    Great Podcast Michael

    • Hello Antonio… Thanks for listening…

      As to your point, I am not a farmer type, if I were a Broker looking for Brokerage Clients maybe I would be, however I want faster results and love the speed I get from my Marketing and Negotiation.

      The hundreds of deals I have done tells me that, for me,knowing who my prospects are matters.

      As for who I think the seller will call when it comes time to sell. They will call the person who has told them to call. Which is why I spend my marketing dollar on those people who can take action on my marketing.

  5. So between your podcast and other member blogs, I cant help but be puzzled on the whole wholetailing business.

    If you buy the house at 50-60% , of say 100K, that’d be $50-60k.
    If a rehabber wants the home, using their calculations they probably are only going to pay 60% for the property. If they’re buying for much more than that, their spread is probably way too thin.

    So are you not selling these wholetale’s to flippers/rehabbers?

    • Hi Patrick…
      I think you should look at it from a “Normal” investor perspective. Normal investors buy at 100% to 105% of value through a real estate professional. Because of this overwhelming fact I put most of the inventory onto the MLS and it is sold for cash to an Investor who hasn’t learned that there are ways to buy at steep discounts.

      Then factor the difference between ARV and As Is…. I buy based upon As Is and I always buy at the low side of valuation. As Is value is very easy to determine. Its very much like an appraisal.

      Then consider the turn of capital… Because I am not assigning contracts or spending months rehabbing I can earn the largest and fastest profit share. Certainly I leave rehab profit dollars on the table however in the time it takes a rehabber to rehab a deal I can have several others bought and sold. It is the purest model for rapid financial growth.

  6. Michael- great show and thanks for all the valuable information you gave me and your other listeners!! I was thoroughly impressed with how you were able to break down is such detail the various marketing strategies and when/how to use each effectively when finding your target market!! My niche is mobile home investing and I am in the process of using post cards via every door direct mail. Would you agree with this strategy? Any recommendations? Thanks and again great show!!

    • Shevaughn thanks for enjoying…

      Unless you’re in an area with a large percentage of both mobile homes and mobile homes which fit your buying model I would not do EDDM.

      Its too expensive. Why not save some money by building a focused list and just market to your prospect?

  7. Neal Bratton on

    “I’m not a passive income earner, I’m a massive income earner.” …. Well Played!

    Great Podcast lots of great info. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  8. Michael- I spent a significant amount of time creating a list of potential clients via list(foreclosure and absentee owners for example) source and surprisingly there were no hits”counts” for mobile home owners in my target area. I’m pretty sure I was inputting the correct information. Any tips? I am going to check out your site and see what strategy is most suitable for my target population! Thanks for your feedback on my previous post!

  9. Hi, Michael! Thanks for the wealth of knowledge you imparted on this podcast. I hope there’s part 2 is right around the corner.

    My goal is to be an RE Investor/Agent (still working on getting my license.) This is for me to be able to get the best of both worlds.

    I’ve talked to some sellers who were more comfortable selling with an agent than an investor. So for me, if I can’t help them by buying their house myself, I could offer to list the property instead.

    As a broker, was that ever part of your strategy/service?

    Is it wise to combine these 2 services in one marketing piece? ( something like i buy your house or i list your house). Or is it better to offer the services separately?

    Did you ever advertise that you are also a broker in your marketing pieces as well as, in your “elevator speeches?” What is your “elevator/canned speech” like?

    Thank you in advance! More power to you!

    • Hi Rye

      I am never out on an appointment to do anything but Buy the house… I have never figured how to pick out which hat to wear if I offered multiple options. i.e list or purchase.

      So I just keep it simple… Even in the days of having a Real Estate Agency and an Investment Company I still had buyers and agent dedicated to specific tasks.

      I do give all of the “non” investor leads that come in to a Brokerage to follow up on. It doesnt make sense to waste the potential commission opportunity on the fantasyland or marginal sellers. But I never try and list a house. YUCK!

      With all of this said I do have several customer who wear both hats and love it. However the common denominator is their market median is so large that 3% is worth the work. In fact a mentoring student of mine loves doing shortsales on the houses and those he doesnt buy he lists…

  10. stephanie willoughby on

    What a great show. I don’t even need to market for my purchases but now I WANT to! You guys are such an asset to all of us out here… thank you so much for the work you do and the help you provide to our RE community. I’ve decided, when I grow up, I want to be Brandon! 🙂

  11. Both podcasts with you going to Top10 of all times. I’m impressed with such abnormal and mind bending thinking and the depth of knowledge, systematization and focus. You are should qualify to have a doctor degree in things you are doing. Can you adopt me?

  12. Mohammad Asaduddin(Asad) on

    Hello Michael. I am going to have to increase my direct mail budget if I listen to you. Another twist to my investing activity, I am adding commercial properties for wholesaling. Can I make a list of owners behind mortgage payments or taxes? Please respond. Our friend Joel Owens’ input would be great. Thanks. Asad.

    • Hello Mohammed

      I do believe that marketing is the key to success!

      The mortgage late list is still available… However they don’t separate it into property types. Because it is a credit report list it only deals with delinquencies not zoning… So you’ll get all types of real property.

      Thanks for listening to the podcast.

  13. Michael; you are my favorite Podcasts to date. Thanks so much for the info. I liked on your earlier podcast negotiating Brandon down. I know I am ready from the direct mail side but I need to work on my elevator pitch as no use to send out mail without being ready to take that first phone call. I will be calling your office as I am going to branch out in the direct mail marketing and I want to do it right from the start and it sounds like you can help me. Thanks again for all the great info.

    • Thank you for enjoying. Learning your elevator speech is extremely important. So is negotiation. I believe that marketing and negotiation is the two most important aspects of real estate investing.
      I will be happy to help once you’re ready to kill some houses.

  14. Michael,
    That was a great podcast – I have been checking out and wanting to start a direct mail campaign for a few months. The podcast really made me want to do it. I took a lot of notes and I started to scope out my campaign. I came up with 22 zip codes in an area about 30 miles wide in Southern California. There are about 90 thousand SFR’s with >30% equity. I will add more filters of course but first I want to reduce the number of zip codes that I will target. Do you have any tips for choosing which zip codes to weed out?

  15. Michael:

    Thank you for being so generous with your time! Both of your recent appearances in the BP podcasts was outstanding and supplied priceless information for our community. The interviews with you fill pages of notes! I will be in touch soon to get your assistance in creating a dynamic marketing plan for my investment business.

    Josh & Brandon: Thank you creating and facilitating these podcasts, forums, and the website. Thank you also for working to keep our community focused on doing the “right” thing.


  16. I’ve literally been listening to this show as well as show 77 all week. I even have notes. It has helped me develop a great Marketing plan and motivated me to get back up (I’ve tried and failed twice already) and try again.

    Great show gentlemen!

  17. jim yan

    Hi Michael. You mentioned you use land trust to hold title, which is a great way for holding title. I called many title companies in my area (in N. Cal), they all told me they don’t do land trusts. Which title company do you use to do land trusts? thanks.

  18. Jason Jones

    What a great podcast. Unfortunately I heard it a little too late to benefit from the offer Michael made to call his office and chat and he would set up a marketing plan with you. He doesn’t do that anymore. Dang it!

    Has anybody done any of the coaching he offers now though? Curious about it. Thanks!!

  19. Nick Peraino

    I called his office today and the receptionist sounded rather surprised when I asked to talk to Michael haha. I’m 3.5 yrs late to the game I guess.

    Michael this podcast was extremely informative thanks so much for sharing your lifelong passion experience.

    I recently came up with funds for a DM campaign budget. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve had such dollars set aside and am taking extra precaution on how to use it. I do not wanna spend it on a 6 month campaign and lose it all. I have one question.. which is – what is the minimum you would suggest someone spend on their first go around? Planning every 3-4 weeks for 6 mos. I’m concerned my budget is too low and I’ll throw this money away.

    If you’re still out there and read this thanks in advance!

  20. Don Spafford

    Just as good as the previous podcast he did. It is soooo awesome that the time flies and hardly seems we got started. I love the fact that he says “I’m already successful, my goal is to help them be successful”. That is a true coach/mentor or whatever you want to call it. Obviously his time has a value, time lost from family, etc. Which is likely why he now does the mentoring program found on his site. In any case, just the valuable, usable, actionable content found in these podcasts alone are worth the BP pro membership. Michael should write a book on marketing and negotiating. Could sell them on BP!

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