BiggerPockets Podcast 494: The Five F-Words Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Master

BiggerPockets Podcast 494: The Five F-Words Every Real Estate Investor Needs to Master

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There’s a new three-peat on the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast, and no, it’s not Michael Jordan. Danny Johnson, the founder of Forefront CRM, is back with us on today’s episode to talk about the five F-words of real estate investing. Before you jump to conclusions, this is a family-friendly show, the F-words we’re talking about are fear, fundamentals, focus, funnel, and follow up.

Many investors find too few deals, too few motivated sellers, or too few ways to find financing. This is all being said while other investors are closing deals, finding motivated sellers, and getting the financing they need to pursue even more deals. What separates the two from each other? Often, it comes down to the simplest things.

Are you trying to be too creative or are you mastering the fundamentals? Do you know your metrics down to a tee so you can improve upon them? How is your funnel being filled and where are your leads coming through? If leads come through, are you following up or letting them fade away? And lastly, are you pushing past your fear to do any of the above things?

If you feel like you’re stuck, without much of a handle on your real estate business, feel free to try Danny’s Forefront CRM!

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

Brandon:
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast, show 494.

Danny:
Fear doesn’t really go away. A lot of times, it’s not that the fear goes away and you don’t have the fear anymore, you still have the fear, but it’s that you get braver. And so it’s this whole idea of with looking at what it is, being aware of it first and foremost, accepting it, and then deciding to voluntarily look at it, deal with it and work through it. It’s like a call to adventure.

Speaker 3:
You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from biggerpockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon:
What’s going on everyone. It’s Brandon Turner, host of the BiggerPockets Podcast, here with my co-host, Mr. David Greene. What’s up, David Greene? How are you doing?

David:
You did that intro very nice, Josh would have been proud.

Brandon:
Thank you for that. I was going to say David F word Greene, and then I realized nobody would get what that meant.

David:
They will if they listen to the show.

Brandon:
They will. So today we’re talking about the F word, but not the F word you’re thinking about. We’ve got five powerful F words that are going to help you do 2, 3, 5, 10 times more real estate deals and work way less. And the reason I know this is because I totally did this to my own life. These five things changed my life.
And I’m really glad for the framework we were going to lay out for you today with somebody who was one of the best in the business, one of the people I’ve been following for over a decade online now. His name is Danny Johnson and he was on episode number 18 of the BiggerPockets Podcast over eight years ago, and then episode 144. So it’s been a number of years since he’s been on. But you’re going to hear his story of, I guess, a little bit of how he got into real estate, why real estate, what’s he’s done, but then more importantly, we’re going to go into tap into some of the wisdom that he’s gaining after doing, I don’t know, hundreds of deals over his life, and being one of the best lead gen guys. What are the things that separate people who just crush it in the real estate business from everyone else?
And he’s going to go through five words that happen to all start with the word F or letter F and that’s today’s show. And so I think you’re really going to like that, I think is going to be one of those shows you look back on and be like, “Wow, that made a monumental change, a shift in the way I run my life and my business.” And I think you’re going to appreciate it. So all that more to come in just a moment, but first… That sounded moment was said in a British accent. Like in a just a moment everyone. But first, we’re going to-

David:
Darling, just stick around for a we spot, we’ll be right back.

Brandon:
First, we’re going to today’s quick tip.

David:
A tip.

Brandon:
Today’s quick tip is… I can’t do it. Today’s quick tip, very simple. If you are not tracking your lead funnel in a CRM, and a lot of words that we’re going to unpack those today, I want to encourage you within 24 hours from right now to sign up for a CRM. Now Danny’s got one, it’s called Forefront, but there’s probably 100 of them out there. You could even use the spreadsheet that I don’t recommend it. A CRM is a… What’s does it stand for? A customer relationship [crosstalk 00:02:49]-

David:
Customer relationship manager. Here’s an F word, the CRM will provide a framework for which you can understand your database and your daily tasks.

Brandon:
Yeah, exactly. That’s what you’re going to learn about today. So let’s get into today’s show with Danny Johnson from Forefront CRM. And hey, if you’re watching this on YouTube, don’t forget to click that little thumbs up button, subscribe to our channel, all that good stuff for more real estate investing content just like this. Let’s get to the show. Mr. Danny Johnson, welcome back to the BiggerPockets Podcast, man. Three Peter, how are you doing?

Danny:
Pretty good. Thanks, Brandon. I appreciate you guys having me back on.

Brandon:
Yeah. So it’s been a little while since you’ve been on, you were on episode number 18, which is like-

Danny:
30 years ago.

Brandon:
… almost 500 episodes ago. Yeah, like 400 years ago. And you were on episode 144, which is still like five years ago. So it’s been a little while since you’ve been on the show. People can go back and listen to those, of course, episode 144 or episode number 18. But why don’t we just give him a recap? Who are you? What the heck do you do?

Danny:
Yeah, the first show, I think I was-

Brandon:
And how did you get into this thing?

Danny:
… pre-puberty on the first one. So that one’s interesting show, but-

Brandon:
Okay, I think so. Yeah.

David:
Well, number 18, I got to think, that was like Forrest Gump getting stock in Apple. You had no idea what this was going to turn into.

Danny:
All right, so yeah.

Brandon:
Don’t do that crap show. Yeah.

Danny:
I love this [crosstalk 00:04:05]-

David:
Anyway, you could buy this petty stock interview on BiggerPockets. What do you know?

Danny:
So quick recap. I guess, I started 2003, software developer. My dad started flipping houses, working with someone that he used to do rehabs for when I was a kid, so cleaning up demos and stuff like that. I got into super early on as a kid. But when I was in college, he started actually doing some flipping and I saw how much fun he was having with that. So I decided to do that part-time, and did that three years part-time until they fired me from my job, I think because they got wind that I was so heavily into real estate and all about real estate and all that kind of good stuff.
Ended up doing the business with my ex wife and I for eight or nine years. It was just us running the show, wearing all the hats, trying to have more and more success by doing more of the more of the same stuff just ourselves, which was like burnout, growing a business, true business, starting to really treat it like a true business and not just the hobby and hiring some people. That giving me a lot more freedom to do more software development for real estate investors while we had the flipping going. And tie all that back into today, where I’m picking up rental properties and not really doing a whole lot of flipping.

Brandon:
Interesting. And you are one of those guys that I think are one of the best when it comes to lead generation, when it comes to the business side of a real estate business. What I mean by that is, most people that I know just look at real estate like a hobby, like they’re just like, “Oh, I’m going to buy a property because it happened to come across my desk.” You’ve just been very proactive over the years. I mean, even you’ve owned companies that have done this, you have a CRM, and I don’t know a CRM is too small of a word for what you’ve got.
You’ve got all this stuff designed to help an investor become a business owner and not just a person. So I thought maybe we focus on that today, specifically when we started talking this morning right before we hit the record button, you got a little vulgar and you mentioned a few F words, quite a few of them, in a row.

Danny:
I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

Brandon:
Yeah. Now, we’re going to go through those F words, I think, today, the ones that you laid out, we’ll call them the five F words of real estate success. If you can master these five things, I guess why don’t we just start with the first one? What do you got for us on the first F word.

Danny:
Fear, fear, fear, fear. That’s a really big one. You had mentioned running the business and building a business, but really fear kept me locked into doing everything myself for the first eight to nine years. And you have to overcome fear to even get into the business and start taking the risk to do real estate investing. But really beyond that, then I was stuck again because I wasn’t… And I didn’t even see all that until much later in hindsight. So the fear of all kinds of things.
I mean, I don’t have a business background, I didn’t know how to run a business. And so the fear of even bringing on somebody as a part of the team scared the hell out of me. And it was like one of those things of the responsibility. If we bring on people, we’re responsible for them, we’re responsible for their families. And we’ve got to have the business consistent enough to be able to support them and support them in a way that they love working with us and feel like they’re being compensated well and all that kind of stuff. And so it’s interesting too, because in the back of my mind, I justified that by saying, “Well, if we bring some people on, then we can’t take a vacation for two months like every real estate investor is supposed to do the first year,” Right?

Brandon:
Yep.

Danny:
And have that complete freedom of lifestyle and all that kind of stuff, because we’d have to keep this going to keep somebody there. And so it was like this weird justification happening. It was like, if we bring on somebody or bring on a team, we can’t do that. Well, guess what? We never could anyway, because we had to do everything, try to take a week off and then we get a phone call right before I left and I’d be like, “Shoot, what am I going to do? I’ve got to go and see this house. I’ve got nobody to send to it.” So this whole thing where we go through this fear of… and then justify things to stay in our comfort zone. And I’ve got a really good story actually, it just happened on Friday just like three days ago.

Brandon:
Yeah, please.

Danny:
All right. I thought you hated stories, that’s why I was going to make sure that was cool.

Brandon:
I love stories, man. Love them.

Danny:
All right. Okay. I work out at a small gym down the street from my house. Great place. Sometimes I say it’s like Joe’s gym on Dodgeball, but it’s not, it’s much cooler than that. Yeah. It’s a small community, there’s nobody in there just like, “I pick things up and put them down,” or none of that’s kind of stuff going on and no bro stuff going on. So it’s a really cool place.
So anyway, I was stretching after the class. We had just done like a group workout, like a bootcamp thing, like CrossFit or something. But afterwards, I’m stretching and it’s just me and him, me and the owner of the gym, which is the coach. And he was talking about struggling with growing the gym. And so we were talking about, and he kept talking about this big generalization of society as a whole not wanting to work out and how hard it is to get people to want to eat right and to work out, and that’s why he can’t grow his gym. And I’m like, “Whoa, well, you don’t need to get whole all of society into your gym. Why you keep going to that? What is your vision for the gym, first of all?”
And you actually, Brandon, you had told me about Vivid Vision, I think it’s a beautiful book. I rolled out my Vivid Vision after we talked about it, every single weekend, two times I’ll read through it and just like things already popping up already within the first year, like stuff on a Vivid Vision. So it’s really cool. But it’s, where are you going in the gym with this gym? And then, how much money do you need? Because he was saying, “I just don’t want to have to go donate plasma to pay my rent, and stuff like that, to supplement this.”
And it’s, let’s start there, how much do you need for this? And then go from there. And then look at your customer. You’re talking about people that are overweight, eating candy bars and donuts and stuff like that, you don’t have to convince those people to come and work out. Forget that. There’s enough people out there just like me that was working out in our garage. I was working out my garage for years and years. And then you can tell me about this… I didn’t realize I had a problem. Then I was working out alone and I was finding it hard to motivate myself and stuff like that. And so if you can find enough people close to the gym that work out alone, they’re already working out, all you got to do is inform them of how cool it would be to come work out with other people. You would get almost like one-on-one coaching because it’s not that many people in there. And then that’s not that hard of a sell.
So he’s getting real excited and I could see like light bulbs going on, he’s like, “Oh yeah, this is something I can take action on.” But then just boom, his face got straight again and he was starting to talk about the big generalizations of society, and just going right back into his comfort zone. And I didn’t push it. I just said, “Okay, well that’s cool. I mean, consider something you might want to do.” And when I left, I was thinking about, “That’s a mirror for me, I’m going through the same thing with promotion and stuff like that. I struggle with that.”
And I was thinking, “What is the lesson here?” I saw exactly with him because I can’t see within myself as easily I could see it with him. But I could see he got excited. He had some steps he could take. And then what caused the shutdown and the back to safety stuff where he started playing those tapes over again in his head or out loud, of saying, “I can’t do this because of this, this and this.” What would I do? Because that is me also. For certain things, what could I do if I was in his shoes just then and that happened to me? Does that make sense?
If I’m sitting there and I’m saying, “I’ve got to do motivate at sell marketing.” And I did some direct mail campaign, I dropped $500,000 in this campaign. Nothing but five or six calls with people saying, “You’re the worst scum of the earth, stop sending me letters,” all that kind of stuff. And then somebody comes and tells me, “Well, you got to try a probate list or something.” And then I’m like getting excited because they’re talking to me about what they do with the probate list. And then all of a sudden it’s like, boom, I’m just like, “No, I’ve had this experience before, it was like throwing money into a black hole. I don’t want to do that again. And direct mail doesn’t work.” Things have changed, too competitive. All this kind of stuff comes up. What do we do?
And as I thought about that, I was thinking, “Well, because I’ve done a lot of self-improvement stuff too for the last couple of years, the first thing to do is to accept that I feel that way, that I’m scared.” That I’m just like, “I’ve had these experiences. I’m afraid. I don’t know what to do.” And if I can accept that I can be okay with it. And that way I can move into what is the next thing to do. Because if I don’t accept that, I’m going to just shame myself. Even if I’m aware of my fear, but I don’t accept it, then I’m just trying to push that away. And my whole energy is all about shoving that away and not wanting to feel that. Staying in that safe zone.
So if I can accept it, I can do things with it. And then I can look at, okay, that was a good idea. I know I’m afraid, but I need to do something. So instead of looking at all the different things I need to do that probate campaign, let me just figure out what is the next step? What is the next step for me to take? And just take it. And if I start going, “Oh, but if I do this, maybe it’s better to do this,” or, “If I do that, if I put a live stamp on it versus paying something, if I do handwritten addressing or have it printed out.” You start playing those games. No, just choose one and just freaking do it. Yeah, one might work a little bit better than the other, but you not doing anything is not getting anything done at all.

Brandon:
Let’s jump in this a little bit and dive in. First of all, I’ve noticed that too, I’ve noticed that in myself, but I’ve noticed a lot of people where the tendency is to get overwhelmed with the big picture. They all like, “People don’t want to work out,” or, “COVID just made it really difficult,” or, “The market’s too competitive to find deals.” That fear, it gives us a path. I say this a lot, but nobody wants to be the villain in their own story. And so instead of being the hero, they play the victim.
There’s three characters in the story, the villain, the hero and the victim. And so nobody wants to be that villain. They don’t want to say it’s their fault they’re not succeeding, it’s not their fault they’re not finding real estate deals or growing their gym. So instead, they start playing the kind of that victim of like, “Oh, I can’t do it. It’s just too hard. I’m just a product of my environment around me and it’s stopping me.”
But one thing, when I started to get into that mode, the victim mode there, I started thinking, “Is anybody else doing this?” Is anybody else right now growing a gym at this point in human civilization where people aren’t wanting to work out as much? I think we all know the answer. Well, of course they are. There’s lots of people who growing gyms. Okay. So that just eliminates that entire excuse of, “Oh, it’s not possible because of some overarching generalization,” or, “I can’t, there are no good real estate deals in my market.” Really? You live in San Antonio or Houston or Seattle, like there’s nobody invested in real estate out of millions of people who live there? Like, “Well, yeah. I mean, there might be some people, but they got all these things that I don’t have.” Like what? The ability to write a letter? The ability to answer their phone?
And when you really break this stuff down, there’s nothing different about people who are exceeding versus not, except for some people just take action and they just go and do stuff. Like you said, just take the smallest bit of action, move forward, and it’s going to lead you out of that place of victimness of, “I’m afraid.” And so take that risk. I’m going to just do something. I’m going to be the hero in my own story. David, what do you think?

David:
I really like your point about there’s three pieces in every story and that we would ideally like to play the hero, but it’s our fear that stops us. So if you don’t want to be the villain and you’re afraid to be the hero, you will default to victim. People don’t set out saying, “I want to be a victim today.” That is the downhill road that you take if you don’t accomplish your fears or unless you’re some anarchist that just wants to be a villain or something like that.

Brandon:
For every movie ever made, there’s only three character types. The people are always the victims. Thinking of Avengers or any Marvel movie, any super hero, there’s a hero, there’s a villain, and then everyone else is just at the mercy of what’s going on in the story. There is no silent observers.

David:
So that’s the problem with being the victim is they’re dependent on the hero for the hero to do their job. And if no one steps up to be the hero or you don’t have a hero that cares about your victimness, you’re helpless. And so you just stay stuck. And the other thing as I started thinking about in my own life, there’s been many times where I was wishing something would change. I’ve really felt the emotion that I wish I was in a different situation. It was discontentment or something that was very strong. But then when I thought about what I needed to do to get out of it, I’m like, “I’m not going to do that.” And I know I’m not the only human being that’s like, “Oh, I really don’t like…” When I looked down in the shower and I see my gut or whatever, but I’m not going to wake up early and go running tomorrow.
That’s a struggle every single human being has. And what I think most people hear is, “Just suck it up and do it.” And that just doesn’t matter. I think a lot of the time, what I say is, “I wish it would be better, I would like for it to be better, but I don’t want it to be better. If I wanted it to be better, I would be doing something.” So I’m really curious to hear some of Danny’s insight as to how you’ve seen which people are turning that key that makes the lock open.

Danny:
Yeah. And I think it’s one of those things of you hear the thing about getting out of your own way, most of the time we need to get out of our own way. We’re causing all of that. And I heard something recently or I read it, I forgot, but it was talking about how many times we can take a situation and say, “Because this is happening, I can’t do this other thing,” when they have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. I went through a divorce a year and a half ago, there’s even times now where something is hard and I can find myself saying, because of that or how that went down. I have tried, I can’t do this other thing. It’s like, it has nothing to do with it. It’s completely separate. So it’s like this wanting to lump all this crap.

Brandon:
It gets you out of being the villain, that’s why we do that. No, it gets you out of being the victim, but also you give up your right to become the hero. And that’s why you live in that victim thing.

Danny:
Yeah, I know. Yeah.

Brandon:
It brings that full circle.

Danny:
So he had something, he was talking about fear, and I really, really, absolutely love this. And he was talking about fear and how in the clinical studies or whatever, the literature, that fear doesn’t really go away. A lot of times it’s not that the fear goes away and you don’t have the fear anymore, you still have the fear, but it’s just that you get braver.
And so it’s this whole idea of, with looking at what it is, being aware of it first and foremost, accepting it, and then deciding to voluntarily look at it, deal with it and work through it. It’s a call to adventure. It’s like this is something you’re voluntarily doing versus the opposite. And a lot of us don’t see that it really is a choice. If we don’t choose to look at it voluntarily, we are choosing whether we want to or not involuntarily to live in that fear, to shrink, to play small, to do all of that.

Brandon:
So what are some examples that you’ve seen, Danny, when it comes specifically to real estate investing where people are afraid to do something and then they get over that fear, they get out of their own way, they start doing it and they realize it wasn’t as hard as they thought?

Danny:
Yeah. I think it’s to do with getting into it in the first place and doing the marketing and making the offers. But I’d see it more so in something that’s a little bit near to me was growing a team, even a small team, because doing everything myself was just not sustainable, not fun, was not the lifestyle that I thought I was going to have by doing that. So some of that fear and bringing on the team and then finding like, “Whoa, why did I… I wish I hadn’t waited so long to do this,” because yeah, I mean, you go through another set of problems, but they’re bigger problems that actually gets you further along and help you to grow.

Brandon:
Yeah. You know that whole, the fear of building a team, I had that for years. I mean, I never wanted to hire anything. But I mean part of it’s the money. We’re afraid of spending all that money on somebody. And if they don’t perform, what are you going to do? And so it’s like, “Oh man, I mean, the salary is $80,000 a year. Geez.” Which by the way doesn’t have to be that. But how am I going to cover 80,000 a year? But then when you really break that down and you start thinking about that fearlogically, you’re like, “Well, in reality, it’s not 80,000 a year, it’s like 6,000 a month or 7,000 a month.” I’m like, “Okay, so if they didn’t perform after a month or two and I had to shut things down, well now it’s only really like a $15,000 risk.”
And again, secondly, you don’t have to hire necessarily full-time. My very first hire was my mother-in-law at $200 a month to answer phone calls because I just did not… When I thought what feels heavy, what feels light in my life, the heaviest thing I can possibly imagine is talking to a tenant. I don’t know why. I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Followed closely by talking to contractors. And so I outsource those two things really largely in my life because I wasn’t having fun doing them. But that enabled me to then go out and do the things that I did like doing, like lead generation and podcasting and all that. The stuff that makes a whole lot more financial and emotional sense to me to do.
And so anyway, just a couple of thoughts. One is, it’s not usually as bad as that you think. And then even if you will like… One thing I learned about Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Workweek, he talks about that kind of a worst case scenario analysis, I think is what he calls it or maybe that’s what I call it, but it’s like, what really could happen here? You hire someone, this happens, this happens, this happens, this happens. Follow that down into the craziest, what’s going to happen? And it’s usually ends up with like, you’re living under a bridge and you have to rebuild, which isn’t that far away from where you are right now anyway.
And so really, the upside is tremendous in terms of more free time, greater wealth, the ability to give back and make a difference in this world. The downside is, oh, I might be setback six months or a year or two. And so it’s like that asymmetric bet, which when I think about in those ways, I’m like, “Well, it’s really not that big of a risk. I can reduce my risk of hiring and the fear of hiring by thinking logically about the situation and maybe starting smaller.” And then again, worst case scenario, it’s not actually as bad as maybe we fear.

Danny:
Right. And how do you actually learn something too? Because when we all use the… and I’m not going to say we all, I know for me and I’m sure for most people, a big thing that I use as an excuse to buy myself time and not make a decision, not take action, is learn more about it. I’m going to go learn more about it because that’s safe, easy, and I need to know all this stuff. And that’s not going to do anything. That’s not going to do a single thing for you. You need to learn the next step to go ahead and take that step and then continue on.
The interesting thing with growing the team too is that one of those fears is the, is there a big enough pie for them to get a piece of? Is this going to put me in a situation where financially I can’t support that? And I don’t know how many people I’ve talked to that have hired and found that their pie got so big after they hired. They grew the pie bigger than the piece they got, and then you get a bigger piece of the pie actually. So it’s actually that opposite [inaudible 00:21:57].
But how will you ever know that? You can hear stories from both sides. You can hear stories from people saying they did it and stories from people that say that their overhead got so big, they made less money than when it was just them. You choose which one you want to do and then have the experience yourself. And hey, isn’t that the whole thing, right? We’re all having experiences. If you try to imagine exactly how it’s going to go for you, good luck. You’re going to stay safe, just learn stuff.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s a really good point. When I was building Open Door Capitol, there was a point where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give equity or, do I want to bring in partners? Do I want to bring in employees? Do I give the employees equity in the deals? And the greedy part of my mind says, “Yeah, no, you can do this all yourself, Brandon. Do it yourself, do it yourself, do it yourself, and don’t give away equity.” But I’m like, “That doesn’t work for me. It hasn’t been working for very long. When I’m doing everything, it stressed me out.” So then instead, I changed the question in my head to if, I gave away half of my company, could I do twice as many deals? And I think there was sounding answer is yes, of course I could.
And so just something most people think is even when building a team, it could be partners, it could be JVs. If you have no money right now and you’re sitting there with no money and you’re all afraid of, “Well, what if I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t have any money. I can’t do this thing. I’m afraid because of if I lose a little bit of money I have.” Find a partner. Can you do twice as much if you had to split it 50-50 with somebody who is more experienced or at least kept you on the right path, almost always the answer is yes. So yeah, there’s a lot of answers to this fear issue, but it’s still plagues a lot of people.

Danny:
And I’m glad you said that about the partner thing too, because I had one in the software side of things and it didn’t work out and it’s kept me from… I had that experience, and so thinking that that’s the experience I’ll have again if I do that. But hearing that, I just consents that I know I need to do it. I think a partner would help, but anyway, yeah. And it’s good to get those insights and just-

Brandon:
Yeah, that fear thing is such an important topic. Maybe if you’re listening to this going, “Well, that’s not really tangible advice. Tell me what to do next guys.” So let’s go to one maybe a little more tangible and that’s your second F word of the day, a little bit longer F word. What do you got for us?

Danny:
Fundamentals, which has really several words in one.

Brandon:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), you put the fun in fundamentals.

Danny:
Yes, fun and mentals.

Brandon:
Okay, go ahead. Yeah, tell us about it.

Danny:
Okay, fundamentals. So there’s so many options where you can analyze plus all that kind of good stuff. Too many directions that can be gone in. So what happens there? So we spin out because we don’t know which direction to charge off into. And if we choose too many directions, how are we going to charge off and get very far? We’re zigzaging, running back, going, “Oh crap,” and this and that and the other thing.
And so it’s the fundamentals of the business, figuring out, for me and what I’m doing, what makes sense for what I am? And then that’s including, if you’re already an investor, you’re already doing deals and doing things, what’s the next step? Have you even looked at that? And what makes the most sense for you, your business, your family, your lifestyle? And then choosing to become the expert in that area, because that’s… And just like Brandon said earlier, finding the person that just done that and doing what you can to be near them as much as you can.
And I think, especially with marketing, you see it so much, the temptation to see the next big thing that people are talking about, like 100 years ago, it was direct mail, 50 years ago was direct mail, like TV, whatever. And then for real estate investors, mostly like direct mail then internet, bandit signs, pay-per-click stuff, and then Facebook. And if you find yourself every single month learning about and trying, or maybe not even trying, to do those different things, you got to consider what you’re actually doing because that’s really a waste of time. It’s really just figuring out which one to three want to do and then do them. And so you’ve given them enough time, maybe four or six months, to see what’s actually working. And I think foreshadowing a little bit in how you do that with metrics. But we’ll talk about that in a coming F word, which I didn’t give away yet.
But it’s the fundamentals. And the people that I know that are running the biggest real estate investment businesses that are the most profitable that have the lifestyles that a lot of us are trying to get are just the best at the fun. They’re not doing anything crazy technical that they’re keeping a secret.

Brandon:
I agree. Yep.

Danny:
Yeah. I think a lot of people want to say, “Oh, it’s a secret. You’ve just not shared your secret.” No, the secret is I just did it and I kept doing it, and I measure it, and then I tweak it.

Brandon:
I talked to this guy the other day who mentioned, I mean, they’re doing, I think, 20 flips a month right now down in LA, 20, 25 flips a month. They’re selling. They’re buying and selling on average 20, 25 flips. I mean, they got to be one of the biggest flippers in Southern California, if not in the US in general. And I’m talking to this guy and I’m like, “I mean, what’s that look like, man? What are you doing?” And he’s like, “Well, we send about $100,000 a month in direct mail, and we answer the phones, and then we talk to people. We go look at their properties and then we make them an offer based on the number that we’ve analyzed that would work for us. And we get rejected most of the time, and then sometimes we just buy the property. And then that just pretty much works out to about 20 to 25 a month.”
And it’s the exact same answer as if I asked them, “How’d you get your first deal last week?” The fundamentals don’t change. What’s different though was that the guys that are doing lots of deals and that have done it and been around for a while, they just recognize that the fundamentals exist. They don’t get caught up in all the little weird things. They just get good at something, and they just really, really crush it. Now, they must think they don’t do multiple marketing aspects, and they might try other things, they’re always trying to improve and get better, but at the end of the day, they stick to their fundamentals.

David:
I would add that when people are trying new things and they’re tweaking stuff, they’re usually tweaking some form of a fundamental. They’re not fundamentally changing what they’re doing, they’re just trying to see, “Hey, this is really important, how can we maybe do it better?” And I don’t know what it is about the human brain that self-sabotages us, but how many times have you guys been in a position where things were going great, it was going super good, and you started thinking, “Man, I got to try some fancy new… The fight is going great, I want to throw a crazy cool punch just to let everyone see how good I’m doing,” or examples like that. You get bored with what works, and then you start looking for things that don’t work and trying to make them work, because it just isn’t exciting.

Brandon:
Did you see UFC fight the other night where the guy, I don’t even know his name, he did the back flip because he wanted it to have a cool finish. So he stands by the guy, does this back flip over trying to land on him. Anyway, it did nothing. It could have been really cool. It did nothing. He probably would have been way better just laying down on the ground and hold the guy down. But no, he just had to do a back flip because he was bored and he wanted to show off, but it was still cool. But it reminds me of what you’re saying David.

David:
Well, sometimes those backflips end up tweaking our ankle and we land wrong, and then we screwed up what was working for a really long time. So when you’re new… Anytime I’ve been new at anything, always, they teach you the fundamentals as the first thing. So you assume that means, well, this is the least important thing and that’s why they’re showing the newbies. No, the reason, the better you get at it, the more you realize the fundamentals are what the pros really focus on all the time.
If you look at the top Jujitsu people, the top UFC fighters, the top… I remember when the Cubs finally won the World Series, they asked them, “What did you do different?” He’s like, “We went back to getting better at fundamentals. We practiced bunting, stealing bases. Just regular boring stuff and we did that better than what everybody else did.” And real estate should always feel boring, that’s another thing I would say. This is supposed to be boring. It is a get rich slow game. You make good decisions and then you wait a really long time before you start getting paid for those good decisions. Did you guys agree with that?

Danny:
Well, I got into it to have fun, so shoot. No, but I do agree completely. You’re right.

David:
You can have fun doing boring stuff, at least as far as when the money starts coming in, it’s usually after you’ve built a system and after you’ve owned real estate for a time. The employees that you hire that do best on your team, it takes a while before they actually get to the point where they’re contributing. But you should have fun during that journey.

Brandon:
And this is where we were talking about earlier about hiring a team. This is one of the main reasons to hire a team is because, and we’ve said this before on the show here, but the reason anybody has a job is because some entrepreneurs somewhere didn’t want to do that thing anymore. And most likely the thing that you are doing at your job is one of the fundamentals that they know they should be doing and they’re not doing. So in other words, I know the thing that I should be doing in my real estate business, I should be getting leads, I should be talking to brokers, I should be analyzing deals, I should be raising money, but I get bored of all that stuff.
So the beauty is you just hire people to do all your fundamentals for you for the most part. And now it’s back fun again, because now the fun for me is getting to watch my team do their fundamentals, and then find ways to help them keep on their fundamentals and keep growing. And so my fun now is watching them grow, and that just changes continually. And so there’s another aspect of team growing. It’s not so much for growth and scale, but just simply, I would not be able to do this if it weren’t for having a team, because I just know my personality just gets bored too easy. Danny, do you feel the same way?

Danny:
Oh, absolutely. And really, I think that that can be so fulfilling too. That part of helping, I mean, you become the leader and then the goal should be to help the others on your team become leaders themselves. And then, how much impact do you have in the world within their family, within their communities, within their lives? And yeah, that’s a beautiful thing.
I think the fundamentals for even a newer investor or investor that’s generating leads and doing deals themselves, I know that it could be something where I’m saying, “Okay, well, I’ve got the fundamentals, but I’m still not having that much success, so what’s the difference then?” You have this belief that you are doing the fundamentals well, but you’re still struggling with being consistent and you’re struggling with the whole building the team thing, but is there a piece in between? Because I think that there is a little bit of a piece in between there too, which leads us to the next F if we’re ready for that, which is the focus. To focus on the metrics.
And I finagled that one, to get the F. To focus. But where do you focus? I guess is the thing. So where do you focus? And the metrics are what helped you to do that. So if you’re saying, “Well, I’m doing the things, I know the fundamentals and I’m doing that, but I’m not getting the success that I want.” Are you focused? And how do you know where to focus in your business? Because if we’re going on gut feeling, it’s going to take us all over the place. And especially this thing of, because I know this so well, I was going throughout the day and doing what I feel like doing, is not a good way to operate. Absolutely not a good way to operate.
And so when you measure your business, you measure the pieces, you know what needs to be focused on. And a lot of times, if we’re not doing that, there’s a telltale sign is the whole chasing the different marketing things, because the whole idea is, I just need more leads and then I’ll have more deals. But if you measure your business, you’re going to see those different pieces.

Brandon:
So when we’re talking about metrics, when we say the word metrics, let’s break that down for people who are wondering like, “I have no idea what you mean, what is the metric? How do you know what a metric is? I’m a new investor, what kind of metrics should I have?”

Danny:
Sure. Usually, people would talk about KPIs, which are key performance indicators. And the whole idea here is, I think Mark Evans asked me a question, if I only had five minutes in a week to get information from my team about how well my business was doing and have a real good idea of how it’s doing, you only got five minutes so I can’t tell you stories or tell you all this and that, they have to give you numbers. So they give you these numbers that show you how well your business is doing. And you look at those numbers and then you can see, especially when you see trends, we look at them week over week, and so you can see a trend happening before it gets to the point where it’s a problem. So you can adjust that piece of your business.
The perfect example of that, you asked which ones. So the obvious one are leads that come in. Of those leads, how many of those are actually qualified leads where somebody is actually saying, “Make me an offer on my house.” Not somebody saying, “Take me off the list,” all that kind of stuff. Of those, how many appointments were set? And appointments are typically set if the balance of what’s owed is low enough for me, because I keep it simple. I just want to buy something with equity. I don’t do a bunch of creative stuff. So how many appointments were set? How many offers were made? And then, how many were put under contract? How many were closed?
If I’m looking at all those numbers, if I’m seeing that we typically get 20 leads in a week and we get 15 appointments or let’s do 10, so 20 and 10. And the next week we get 20, but we only had four. And the next week we get 20 more, but we only had two. What exactly is happening here? Is that the lead source or is it something going on with the lead intake? And we’ve actually had this happen in the past, not so obvious, not a jump from 20 or 10 down to four to two, but something pretty obvious where we started looking into it. And the lead intake started making assumptions about how motivated people were and not setting appointments just because they thought they were not motivated.

Brandon:
Well, one thing that the metrics does, why this is such a powerful concept, even if when you’re a new investor is because it helps you diagnose where the problem is at in your business. And there’s always a problem, there’s always an area that we could leverage better. So example, like you just had, you were getting 10 out of 20, now you’re getting five out of 20 or whatever, and then two out of 20. You can look backwards, “Okay, where’s the problem? Oh, it’s in that person who’s answering the phone.” Let’s work on that part of the system and let’s get that back up again.
Secondly, you’re able to make some goals. So goals for lead measures. Lead measures, of course, is like the metrics you track that lead to the results you want. So the weight on the scale is a lag measure, lag, lag, lag measure. David, do you say lag or lag? Danny, what do you got to say? Lag?

David:
I like everyone that is not in Minnesota or the Pacific Northwest that says lag.

Brandon:
And so that’s lag. The lag, the lag measure. And then the lead measure would be like the amount of crunches you did, the amount of calories you ate, so the things that you put it in. So anyway, so for example, at Open Door Capitol originally, I think it was last fall, we set a goal to submit I think it was 30 offers in the quarter. And then the next quarter, it was like, “No, we’re going to do 50 offers.” And then the next quarter was, “No, we’re going to do 75.” And so we track, and Danny, I know you did the same thing, I know pretty much every top real estate investor in the world that I know does the same very basic model. They’re tracking those numbers and they’re saying, “Hey, where are percentages improving? Where are they declining? And then let’s set some goals here.”
And the reason I say this applies to even a new investor is because how many times have you both heard somebody say, “Oh, I can’t find any deals right now?” It’s really simple to walk them backwards through some metrics. Okay, well, how many offers did you make last week? Oh, well I didn’t make any. Okay, let’s go one higher than that, how many deals did you analyze to figure out the exact number you can make an offer on? I didn’t analyze any. Well, okay, let’s go back up even higher. How many leads came in in your business last week that you could then analyze? Oh, well, I talked to a real estate agent once.
Okay, so now we can identify the problem because now we’ve looked at their metrics and we’ll say, “Okay, your issue is right now, you’re not getting enough leads.” Now, you’re getting a lot of leads and you’re like, “Well, I didn’t have any time to analyze.” Well, now we’ve got a different problem to solve. And if it’s like, “Well, we’re analyzing a lot. We just keep making offers and they keep getting rejected.” I made 20 offers and every single one got rejected. Okay, well, maybe we need a better lead source or maybe we need to improve the way you make an offer. So what metrics do when you focus on the metrics is they help you establish goals for lead measures and they help you diagnose problems. Anything else you’d want to add to that, either of you two?

Danny:
Well, I think it’s something that’s motivational, because it’s looking at where you’re headed and how close you’re getting. Because again, when you’re going by feel, like you’re just doing things and then if you don’t have enough deals, you’re just doing more marketing, you’re going on feel, you don’t get the boost of seeing that the numbers are improving. It might not be enough to feel good about it, but you see that they’re improving, which provides momentum, which provides excitement, which keeps you going past that point that most people quit. And this can happen midway in the business, the beginning of the business, everywhere in the business.

Brandon:
There’s a quote out there from Hel Elrod, I think it was in the Miracle Morning for salespeople, because he’s got a lot of Miracle Morning books, but the quote was, “Every result that you desire is preceded by a process needed to produce the results.” And he said, “When you define your process and commit to it for an extended period of time, the results take care of themselves.” And I love that because it’s like you said, it’s good for motivation because you can go put a picture on your wall of your vision board of you want to have a fancy house that a cool car and a Lamborghini and all that, and a six pack and money. And it doesn’t matter. Something leads to that.
Success should never be a surprise. So when you really just sit back, what are those things I got to do? Danny, you’re the one that actually very first told me this back, I think it was on episode either 18 or 144, I’m pretty sure it was you anyway, you mentioned how you were afraid to answer the phone when people would call. But then you work backwards, and you’re like, “Well, every phone call is worth whatever, $200 to me,” or something like that. Do you remember saying that to me?

Danny:
Well, I threw the phone to my wife because that was [crosstalk 00:38:05].

Brandon:
Well, I know you throwing the phone to your wife, yeah.

Danny:
But I don’t know that I worked back as to what it was worth.

Brandon:
I thought that was you. Either way, whether it was you or not, somebody made that point and it was such a valid, strong point there. Look, if I get 100 phone calls and then 10 of those end up being a serious enough to make an offer on, and one of those works out. And that one deal, I make $20,000 on it, well, just take the $20,000 divided by 100, and what’s that? $200? That means every phone call I get is $200. So when the phone rings and I’m afraid to answer it, just remember by answering this phone, that’s 200 bucks in my pocket someday.

Danny:
Or even just if I don’t answer the phone and start that deal, that’s a 40 or $50,000 wholesale. And it only takes missing one. And it always tends to be the home run one that you miss.

Brandon:
I know. I’ve told this story before, but I’ll say it again, it’s like there was a property I drove by every week for months and months, almost a year, and I never got it. And I never decided to do the fundamentals, knock on the door, send them a letter, figure out their phone number, call them. I didn’t do any of the fundamental stuff that’s really pretty basic. I just kept driving by this house going, “I should call that person. That’s a nasty house in a great location.” Anyway, and then a buddy of mine out here [inaudible 00:39:17] bought it, it has like a quarter million dollars of equity in it. She just bought it. And I’m like, “I could have easily done that, but I didn’t.”
I missed out because I didn’t do the simple fundamental process. I didn’t focus on the few things that I should be doing, instead of I was too busy, I don’t know, doing something else, which is why these all tie in. Once you overcome the fear and you know the fundamentals, then focused on them, focus on those metrics, those key performance indicators that lead you to the result that you want. And then what comes after that? I know we’ve got a couple more F words to get to today. So we got those three. What comes next?

Danny:
The next one is funnel. And-

Brandon:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), my favorite word in the world. My favorite word.

Danny:
Yeah. This ties into metrics too, because I want to say this really quick because I like to look at them week over week, and so you see those trends, you see what’s happening. But you also need to look at dialing in your marketing by looking at your return on investment. And how do you do that? If you look at it week over week alone, you’re seeing we got 20 leads this week, 22, the next, 34, the next. And I got so many appointments, but sometimes the appointments for the leads three weeks ago don’t get set or result in an appointment until three weeks later. So you don’t get a good idea of how the marketing is producing, because that’s so important.
So you also have to look at the funnel side of it, where you look at, of the leads that came in from this campaign, what happened? What is the story over time from that campaign? So there’s two, and that’s why I call it a funnel, I like to look at it as a funnel to be able to see what is my cost per qualified lead? What is my cost per appointment? What’s my cost per contract? And you can see that. And it’s amazing once you start looking at that across several campaigns to see what I thought was kicking butt really was a dud compared to this other thing that maybe doesn’t generate a lot of leads, but kills it on the profit produced per deal or something.
So being able to see that and then make very logical decisions based on reality, based on numbers and not gut feeling or anything else, to see, “Wow, if I just do a little bit more of this…” You start to build your machine to be a little bit more consistent and even somewhat predictable. Weather’s not completely predictable, but they’re getting pretty darn good at it. And I think that this can happen with the marketing and stuff like that too.

Brandon:
Yeah, that’s a really good point.

David:
Again, we’re taking it down to, you’re making it boring in a sense, you’re removing as many of the surprises and, “Oh my God, this is this crazy new cool thing.” And I think you mentioned something earlier that was really good, you said I want to make it fun. I think that might be the key to sustain success in business is to make it boring and have fun while you’ve made it boring. Maybe boring is not the best word, predictable, repeatable, just not the excitement of something new all the time, but to have fun while you’re doing it so you don’t get bored with what works.
I’ll give you an example, my real estate agent business took off four years ago. I sat down and looked at all this stuff I had done from five years ago, and I said, “Where did all my closed deals come from?” And I noticed 25% of them came from open houses, all the rest of them came from sphere of people that I already knew. And I said, “Okay, I’m going to hold open houses on the weekend and I’m going to talk to all the people that I know more frequently.” And I more than doubled the next year. And then every year, I pretty much more than double. This last year I tripled. And it was really boring. It was just, “Okay, this is the stuff that works.”
And what I’ve noticed is you become vulnerable when you try to get away from fundamentals to be successful. That’s where these companies come and they want to sell realtors leads or sell them some fancy data algorithm program that will tell me which houses are most likely to have a seller sell and I have to go now build a relationship with a stranger because they’re more likely mathematically to sell, that type of thing. And that’s how gurus preying on investors. It’s not, “Hey, live beneath your means, save up some money, buy a property, learn the fundamentals, buy another one in a year or two,” It’s, “Right now you can have what you want with this fancy cool flipping system, it’s just $75,000 and we will teach you this.” The more you stray from fundamentals, the more vulnerable you start to get where people can now sell you some snake oil.

Brandon:
Yeah. I mean, there’s so many real estate products out there. And I get the question a lot like, “Well, what about this one thing? It says you just click one button and they’ll send motivated leads right to your inbox.” I’m like, “Maybe. But if it’s one button, then everybody’s going to press that button, and then the leads are worthless.” In other words, people are like, “Hey, what’s this thing I hear about push-ups, they can give you stronger arms? Yeah, there’s like this company, and actually, they will do the pushups for you. They’ll sit in their office and they’ll do like 1,000 pushups a day while you’re watching TV.” I guess pushups work. They work. But if some other person is doing the pushups for you, you’re probably not getting the deals.
Now there are things that can help you do better pushups. And this is where, Danny, I really like Forefront, your CRM, it’s a way to track the fundamentals. That’s the kind of tools that people need, and BiggerPockets we have the calculators. Those are tools that people can use, but they’re not taking the place of the work that a real estate investor needs to do. They just simply make it a little bit, right?

Danny:
Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s the thing, you get tools to make the fundamentals easier so that in the case of having Forefront or any other system that does this, is where you have the management of your leads and deals. But they pull those KPIs for you, so you’re not having to measure them. And it provides you different ways to be able to view that data as well that you can’t do if you’re using a spreadsheet. Because the thing that used to drive me nuts in the meetings that we would have every single week looking at the KPIs, looking at our metrics, we would see a number that looked off or that was like, there’s a question here. Now I’ve got to go back and figure out which properties leads make up that number and then dig through each of those.
And it’s like, I wish there was a way to click on that number and see what made up that number. What are the properties involved in that number? And then you see it. So that’s all built into there, but yeah, you get tools… But I’m kicking myself though, because you guys are talking about creating that system that does this whiz bang pow to give you all the best deals and all that kind of stuff. And I actually did that, but I didn’t sell it to anybody. Back when I first got started, I was like, “How can I get an edge? I can write a program that looks at assessed values from the county, compare that to all listed properties, and use this fancy algorithm to pull out the ones that have the best deals.”

Brandon:
Did it work?

Danny:
Incredible, push button. It did work. But the problem was, it was basically it was like going into the MLS and just sorting by price. That’s all you had to do. It just pulled up the cheapest and it’ll dump on us, which is… Anyway.

Brandon:
That’s funny.

Danny:
But I could have packaged them, right?

Brandon:
Yeah. That’s it.

Danny:
Push button [inaudible 00:45:35].

Brandon:
You could have packaged that and sold that and made a lot of money.

Danny:
But it wouldn’t be right.

Brandon:
No. All right. So we’ve got the idea of overcoming fear. We talked about the fundamentals, really mastering them, and then focusing on those fundamentals, focus on the metrics that are going to get you there, put it inside of a funnel so you know what’s happening, track that funnel, whether it’s through a CRM like yours or somebody else’s, just track those numbers meticulously. And then finally, what’s the last F word that we’re talking about today?

Danny:
Yeah. There are several points in which follow-up is really key, live answering phones, all that kind of stuff. If you can’t get ahold of them right away, you’ve got to do everything in your power to get in touch with them and talk to them first. That’s a given. The bigger bulk though, where more deals are had is in the follow-up after making an offer. And so most of the time, we’re not able to go to the house, make an offer, and put it under contract. The person is simply not motivated enough to accept that offer right then and there. So follow-up is needed.
And I hear it a million times a day, almost, the fortune is in the follow-up. Everybody knows it, but hardly anybody’s doing it. And of the people that are doing it, who’s doing it consistently? And really, why? Why is it that people, they know it, but they don’t do it? And actually recently with our customers, we had a group of them on a Zoom call and I said, “Who’s using the automated follow-up?” It was like half were, half weren’t. And so I didn’t even have to say anything. The ones that were, were getting onto the ones that weren’t saying, “Why the hell are you guys not doing this? You’re missing out on deals.” And it was perfect because we were able to then find out, why are you not doing it? So we asked,-

Brandon:
Why aren’t people doing it?

Danny:
… “Why aren’t you doing the follow-up? Why are you not using follow-up?” And what it boiled down to was believing that it was being too salesy or pushy that they’re people off. So it’s coming from this perspective of pestering people to sell their house versus perspective of staying in front of them for one time, it makes them motivated enough to move forward.
Keeping the conversation alive so that when circumstances changed and they do change, yes, some people sell their property, whatever, there’s a big group that don’t. When circumstances change, that tenant that they have tells them that they should rot in hell or whatever, all kinds of crazy stuff. That day they’re thinking, “Danny’s been texting me, he still wants his property. I’m done, I’m ready. Who am I going to call?” They’re not going to start calling your competition again most likely. You’ve been communicating with them when nobody else was, they’re going to call you. That’s how it works.

David:
I think there’s also an assumption that the seller is being pestered in every scenario where that’s just simply not the case. Think about maybe like a stereotypical example could be an absent father, you’re not in your kid’s life, they have these walls put up because they were hurt by that. And then father shows up when they’re a teenager or something and they’re like, “Hey, I’m here. I’m your dad.” And the kid is standoffish. Does the kid want to hear the father say, “You know what? I didn’t want to pester you, so I just left and I just didn’t ever reach out again.” You got to expect that that person has some things to work through and they’re probably feeling, “Man, I’m really glad you’re here, but I don’t trust you enough to just open up and say, okay. I need to see, do you care enough to keep coming back now?”
Now, that’s not a great example because real estate’s obviously not the same as that, but it does illustrate that many times we think we’re bugging someone and they’re actually wanting us to follow-up. They’re waiting to see, “You said you care about my situation, you can help me. I’ve been burned, that’s how I got in the situation.” I mean, I literally know people that lost their house because they gave money to a pyramid scheme where the person they trusted said, “Give us your money, we’ll make you more.” And they gave six months of their mortgage payment thinking they were going to have this big payoff and it never came. They lost their house, that’s why they reached out to me to buy it.
When someone’s been through that, they’ve been through getting ripped off through lines of credit or a business partners, something so that they might be in financial trouble and losing their home, they want to know they can trust you. And trust is built through repetitious consistency. You just keep coming back and offering that. And so that’s the advice I would offer to the person who says, “I don’t want to bug them.” They might be just like stepping back to see if you meant what you said. Are you a person of your word? Are you going to call back two weeks from now? Or are you just someone like everyone else just wants to get something from me, and if it’s not easy, you’re not interested?

Danny:
I think that’s the reason behind most of the other reasons given I don’t have time, it’s too time consuming, it’s too hard to keep track of. I think really at the end of the day, those are comfort questions to be okay with the fact that you just have these beliefs around what you’re doing.

Brandon:
Yeah, yeah. Really good stuff, man. So let’s review real quick. You want to give us a quick rundown of the five F words again, just a quick review and then we’ll start moving towards the close of this.

Danny:
Let me on the spot, I don’t even remember.

Brandon:
I know.

Danny:
Yeah. It was fear, fundamentals, focus on the metrics, stay on top of your funnel, and follow up and be consistent with your follow-up.

Brandon:
Yeah. I really believe that if people followed these F words and improved upon all of them, these are five fundamental ways to treat your business like a business. This is like E-Myth 101 or work the system, or this is like, stop doing everything yourself, master these five things, you will make way more money, you’ll buy 2, 3, 5, 10 times many deals, you’ll work way less.
I mean, I literally went from running everything in my entire business and buying a couple properties a year to I think we bought 2,000 units in the past year. And I did nothing but these five things. And I feel like that’s just what we did. And I overcame the fear of hiring people, we really drill down on the fundamentals and the metrics, our funnel is crazy and very meticulously tracked, and then are really good with the follow-up, I mean, with brokers, with agents, with sellers, with everybody. And when you just do that, you work way less and you have way more fun doing it. And you get to really perfect the systems that way.
So I appreciate you coming on Danny to talk about this, but we’re not quite done yet. Where do you see yourself headed in your real estate business in the future? I mean, obviously you have the Forefront CRM or the forefrontcrm.com. You have that, but your own personal real estate investing, what are you trying to do? You said you were getting into rentals, not doing as much flipping anymore. Is that where you’re headed? What’s your future look like?

Danny:
Correct. Yeah. So long-term, like I said, a year and a half ago through divorce and splitting up assets and things, looking at where most of the wealth was and it’s just, “Oh man, just rentals.” And the notes that were created wishing more of the wholesale deals and the flips that I had done in the past had been kept as rental properties. And so that’s really the goal now for me in doing that. And as they come, so keeping it to where it is somewhat of a hobby again, which brings the fun into it, but it’s done in a way also that’s measured, that tracks these metrics, even if it’s a small operation, having those to know how well things are going and just stay on top of it.
And I liked that David brought in that idea of the fun. So this whole five F framework, there’s another F. The five framework is a framework, is like a roadmap of things to do, but there is the piece of the fun in there that needs to be had. And I think when you’ve got the framework, then things are measured and you know where things are going, which frees you up to be able to be creative and to have fun in your business because you know what is under wraps and you’re not scattered in this big fuzzy mess of stuff going on that you don’t have a grasp of, you don’t have a 30,000 foot view of.

Brandon:
Yeah. A really good point, man. Well, with that said, I want to have this thing over to the last segment of the show. It’s time for our…

Voiceover:
Famous Four.

Brandon:
This is the part of the show we ask the same four questions to every guest every week. Do you have a current and/or longtime favorite real estate investing book?

Danny:
Well, obviously, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. But as far as real estate investing, yeah, I’m going to say Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I mean, it’s just the number one. It’s the numero uno.

Brandon:
Yeah, numero uno.

David:
What about your favorite business book?

Danny:
Business book would be a book that I’m rereading right now. And if you don’t have this book, you have to get it, it’s sell on Amazon, Straight-Line Leadership.

Brandon:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I never read it Straight-Line Leadership.

Danny:
You’ll be talking about it after you read.

David:
That’s sounds exactly like something I’d expect a software developer to say for some reason, Straight-Line Leadership.

Danny:
It is. It’s good. It is good.

Brandon:
All right. What about some of your hobbies.

Danny:
Hobbies, I’m a private pilot, so I like to tool around in the air in my Van RV-6 two sitter, fun little airplane. And I got a 77 BMW motorcycle that I turned into like a cafe racer looking little motorcycle, it’s really cool. Playing and being with my kids. And I guess, I don’t know what else. That’s pretty much it.

Brandon:
Last question. What do you think separates successful real estate investors? It sounds like I’m coming up with the whole top of my head right now. I never asked this question before, but it just popped in my head. What do you think separates successful real estate investors?

David:
You really struggled your way through that one right, Brandon. Oh God, I have a question. What should I say right now? I don’t know what to do with my hands.

Brandon:
I’m making this up as I go. Yeah, I’m making this up this one right now. What does successful real estate investors do that those who… How do you phrase it? What do you think it is that separates successful real estate investors from all those who give up, fail, or never get started? That’s not my 450th time asking that question.

Danny:
That’s why [crosstalk 00:54:32].

David:
It’s like you forgot how to tie your shoe.

Brandon:
All right. What do people do? What sets them apart?

Danny:
What sets them apart? I think what sets them apart is mainly just the persistence. We’ve talked about, it’s the understanding that you’re trying to do this thing and the next step is this and I’m going to do it and I’m going to keep going. I’m going to make mistakes, I’ll have setbacks, but I’m going to keep going and I’m going to push through and not give up on it. And I think that’s what separates those that succeed from those that don’t.

Brandon:
I agree. I love it. Well, thank you for coming on today. Appreciate it. And I’ll let David Greene ask the final question. David Greene.

David:
Last question, I know you’ve written a book, where can people find out more about you in that book?

Danny:
Flipping Houses Exposed, you can find that on Amazon, actually. And yeah, what were you saying? Where can people find me?

David:
Yeah. Where can people find out more about you if they want to follow up?

Danny:
Okay. Yeah, if you want to follow up with me-

David:
Follow-up is important as we’ve mentioned.

Danny:
Right. So I’m on Instagram @dannyjohnsonsa, that’s because I’m in San Antonio, @dannyjohnsonsa. And also I have accounts for Forefront CRM so if you want to find that in social media. If you want to contact me directly, you can do so at [email protected]

David:
Cool. And real quick for those who didn’t get it earlier, what is Forefront CRM? I have to give my buddy the chance to plug their companies because yours is a cool one.

Danny:
Yay. All right. Forefront CRM is the system that we’ve been working on for quite a while and really dialing in. What it does is keeps the active leads that you’re working at the forefront and your pipeline, which is like a visual, it’s like a digital whiteboard. You know how most investors have the whiteboard with the properties and where they’re at? So if you use Trello or Pipedrive or something like that, it’s built specifically for real estate investors, and you’ve got that visual look of where everything is.
So what you’re working is at the Forefront. If you put something into automated follow-up, it goes off of there into the background so that you can keep up with what you’re working on while that happens in the background. If the seller follows up, if they respond to one of your automated follow-ups, then it comes back into the pipeline for you to work on it again. So it’s just keeps all that going in a very simple way. Do more deals.

Brandon:
Do more deals. I love it, man. Well, thank you so much for joining us. It’s been fantastic. I love chatting with you. You and I get to chat every few months and I always walk away feeling like a better guy and a smarter person because you’re a good guy and a very smart guy. So thank you.

Danny:
I appreciate you, Brandon. All right. And I’m going to send the shirt to you, by the way.

Brandon:
Oh yeah, please. We never even brought that up, but Danny is wearing the best looking shirt I’ve ever seen if you’re watching this on YouTube right now. Yeah.

David:
Oh, wow.

Brandon:
That is a picture of me with face tattoos. I don’t know why I have face tattoos, but I like it.

Danny:
Yeah, it’s not like real estate-

David:
Is that Post Malone Brandon?

Brandon:
And yeah, that’s pretty amazing. That’s Post Brandon. That’s pretty good.

Danny:
Post Brandon.

Brandon:
Anyway, thank you. David Greene, get us out of here.

David:
All right. Well, thank you DJ. He is dannyjohnsonsa, Brandon is beardybrandon, and I am davidgreene24. Please follow us on social media as well as BiggerPockets. This has been a blast. Danny thank you very much for your three-peat performance. Just this is David Greene for Brandon tying my shoe Turner, signing off.

Speaker 3:
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In This Episode We Cover:

  • How to create time freedom in a business largely depends on your efforts
  • Tracking how your team performs their work and continuously improving
  • Pushing past fear and not allowing laziness to stop your dreams 
  • Understanding the fundamentals and performing them as well as possible
  • Tracking and reviewing metrics consistently 
  • Knowing the costs to fill your funnel and seeing every phone call as a potential deal
  • Following up with customers (without being too salesy or pushy)
  • And SO much more!

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