Finding Buyers on Craigslist
I offered/volunteered to write this blog post in response to a thread on the forums called Craig List AD and in that post a very very very very (you get the point) familiar question was asked. That question was:
A number of folks have suggested finding buyers using a Craig's List ad. Can someone give me an example of a good ad to post?
I'm going to lay out exactly what it takes to successfully find buyers on Craigslist. Before I do I'd like to point out a few things:
- This may not work in small towns where there are not a lot of activity on CL
- There are plenty of other effective methods to finding buyers
- You must have at least some aggressiveness in finding buyers
- You must have the ability to screen buyers and tell the real ones from the tire kickers
- I just like putting up bullet points
- I have no reason why I keep doing it now
- it just looks cool and like I'm saying something important because I have bullet points
Ok, enough of that.
There are many very smart and effective ways to utilize CL to sell your properties and I've found two of them here on the BP blog, How to use Postlets to improve Your Craigslist Posts and How to Embed YouTube Videos in Craigslist and getting added to the list is two more I think are more than worth mentioning, How to Use Craigslist to Build a Wholesale Buyers List and last but certainly not least Will the Real Deal Investor Please Stand Up.
Read those before going any further with this post, I'll wait here for you while you do....................ok, you back? Glad to see you are more excited about Craigslist now because it really is an amazing tool for investors. Now, please undestand that an obvious way to find a buyer or buyers is to have something to sell and present it to those potential buyers in a way that sets yourself apart from those that don't put any effort into selling their great deals.
A while back on another Investor website(I won't taint this beautiful site with mention of the name) I created a blog post giving some basic info and I really just did that to gain extra points over there, you can find it on the first page if you google: finding buyers on craigslist then you will probably see it at the #3 spot on the first page.
In that silly blog post I mentioned a very passive way. I would like to say that it is still valuable, however as experience has shown me from wasting my time with tire kickers is that no matter how you advertise on CL or what exactly you say, you WILL have to at one point SPEAK to the potential buyer on the phone or in person right? so why not get it out of the way from the beginning to save yourself some time.
I've wasted enough space, lets get into some really good stuff.
There are two types of investors in this world: Passive Vs. Aggressive
Let me briefly tell you which on you are.
Passive: Those of you that post up on CL either a fake property or an obvious "I'm a wholesaler" type of ad which I don't think either one is wrong to do. If this is you then the standard ad is fine:
Title: Investors special, Handyman special, Motivated Seller
Body: insert something simple here, brief or made up description but make sure it has some kind of 'Call to Action'
Please make sure you do yourself a favor and while creating the ad, right below the title there is a spot that will ask you to show your email addy, a generated response addy or no email. Make sure you click on the no email part, otherwise you get a lot of spam crap sent to your email from services that scan CL for available emails.
Now you can include a few ways of contacting you which could be a website address, a phone number or even if you don't have any money and my personal favorite is utilizing Wufoo.com which you can create your own personal form to have filled out. I like this method even though you will soon learn that I am a very aggressive person and the reason why I like this method is it does help weed out some of the tire kickers. If you spend as much time on the phone as I like to think I do(I take a lot of naps) then phone time(actually nap time, but that's our secret) becomes more valuable. Although I am utilizing a passive approach to finding buyers, my method is very aggressive, point proven by looking at my actual Wholesale Buyer List form I created on Wufoo a long time ago and still find time to post on CL. Please don't fill out my form and think I'm going to call you back if you fill it out. If you want to buy properties from me then you can call me, my number is listed in my signatures and my profile, dont' waste your time filling out the form.
You will notice that I am very to the point and I only ask for what I care about. I don't care at this point if you are looking for a 3/2/2 or a 3/1/2 or how many sqaure feet you want because at this point I don't care. See, again, although this is a passive and yet very effective way, I'm still not letting the buyer waste any of my time. I don't care if you say you are a buyer until you prove your ABILITY to buy. Can you guess which of the three choices on their ability to close I call back on the phone the very next day or the same day depending on what time it is? I'm sure you can. One of the other ones get deleted immediately and the other one gets an email. You may have heard me say before that initial contact via email is an instant disconnect in the relationship and should NOT be handled that way however I don't want to waste my time with someone that can 'Possibly' get the money because let me tell you that in my experience that only means they are another wholesaler trying to shop your deal to thier crappy list of buyers who NEVER buys and if creating a disconnected relationship is the result of that then you don't really lose anything anyways.
Now, lets wrap up the pacifiers, I mean passive wholesalers LOL!!
The whole point of this is that even though you might create a passive ad to either save time like I do in most cases or you just don't have the chestnuts to be aggressive like we're about to get to, you WILL still have to talk to a buyer at some point so don't be afraid to take that step and screen your buyer.
Now lets talk about my favorite way to find buyers on CL. Before I do I'd like to shamelessly plug my new e-book on Subject2's that can be found at Subject2.com where in that book I talk in even greater detail these things and even more beneficial how and why to organize your buyers list. The best part about that is once you buy the book you already have your first buyer for your list and that's me LOL!!! I AM A BUYER of SUB2 PROPERTIES.
Here's how to aggressively and effectively find buyers on CL.
First things first know that there are so many buyers on CL it's amazing! If not buyers directly then it's people who know buyers. Before you go any further break out a pen and paper and remember Mike Litman's rule #101 is to always have a pen and paper ready! By the way, I watched Mike Litman on Harrison's show GoGladiatorTv and if you're not watching it then you're missing out! Back to where we were. Get out a pen and paper, sticky notes or open an excel spreadsheet. Whatever you collect your buyers list on you need to seperate into different lists and here's why.
First, i go into the Real Estate Services section and I pull up all the Realtors add marketing to represent buyers and I call them. I tell them I am an investor and I ask them if it would offend them if I notify them of properties that I have for sale that they may have a buyer for. I never allow them to think they are going to be able to list my properties for me and I won't get into that here but I do go into that in my e-book available at the link above so lets stay on point here.
Now when I ask them if it would offend them it is different than just asking if I can put them on some crappy list, I am asking for permission in a way that will make them feel compelled to say YES! I tell them I won't send them any spam emails but simply keep it professional and see if at any given time I notify them that maybe they might have a buyer. I gather their info and store it away into my 'buyers agent list'. Before I let them go though I always ask if they have any cash buyers as their clientele, some say yes, some say no. The point is to make sure you ask. I sold a handfull of properties to a cash buyer because of this so if you think it's not worth asking while you've got them on the phone then you keep wondering why you're not making any money while I'm cashing checks LOL!!!
Next, go into the dreaded 'Wholesaler' room called the Real Estate Wanted section of CL. If you don't know how to get here, just find the Real Estate for Sale section and click on that, when the next screen pops up go to the top next to the search field and you will see a drop down menu, find the Real Estate Wanted section and you'll be in there.
Now when you get here you will see a lot and I mean a lot of "I Buy Houses" ads and literally most of them are other wholesalers which is fine. To me, the more wholesalers you have on your list the more profitable you become. I can't tell you how many 'wholesalers' end up becoming my bird dogs and then ultimately end up burning out for whatever lame excuse they can come up. Who cares about them! they didn't have what it takes and you do!
Start going down the list and calling them. You can email them if you want but we're talking about being more aggressive and taking action so pick up the phone with your sweaty hand, catch your breath and make the phone call! It won't be nearly as bad as you think it will be once it's over and by the end of the day you should have enough confidence in yourself to keep picking up the phone.
You might be saying that you don't want to say to these people or that you don't know what to ask them. I'll let you in on a little secret, Neither do they! Most of the time they are as new if not newer than you and their scared out of their silly little minds and most of the time wont even answer the phone when you call! So why on earth would you be scared? Call them! ASk them if they are a wholesaler or a cash investor.
Most of the time you will hear a word from their mouths in your earpiece that just screams NEWB WHOLESALER and that word is 'Both'. C'mon! really, I mean really? Don't give me that crap! This is about time I start acting like a child and very unprofessional which I shouldn't do and neither should you but I actually will say, "really?, C'mon, I mean really? When was the last time you bought a house cash? C'mon..........you don't need to lie to kick it homie"
See, most of the time the newb wholesaler is so scared that they think they need to tell sellers that they can and will pay cash for the sellers house and will instinctively(is that word spell right? remember I'm a high school dropout and a former tow truck driver so I can't spell that well) lie to the person on the other end of their phone line which is you. No need to allow them to continue to lie to you, call them out on it, test them a little and let them know you know better and you're not as ignorant as they think you are.
Now, chances are they might hang up on you which is fine. Call them back the next day and they won't remember you LOL!!! Really though I know it's not something I should be saying in a blog post but for those of you that know me and have had the opportunity to listen to me on the phone you will probably comment here and validate what I'm saying is true but VERY EFFECTIVE. I don't allow people to waste my time. I will give someone the dial tone as soon as they deserve and not think twice about it. I really these things I'm writing about and I really am effective at what I do. You are probably different and don't want to deal with newb wholesalers but some of them actually DO have cash buyers and for that, it's worth it to me to connect with at least some of them when I can. Remember, most of these wholesalers end up becoming a bird dog for someone else so put yourself in a position where they are working for you and not some other real investor.
Lastly. I think it's lastly because from the looks of it this seems like a really long post but I could talk shop all night but I should try to wrap it up so I'll break out one other really effective method I use.
This method can and should be used for CL and Newspaper ads or any other ads where you see the phrase: Owner Financing.
I also use this same method to find sellers but that is outside of this topic so I won't discuss that here.
Now with Owner Finacning ads which you would find in the For Sale by Owner section of CL you will typically(remember I said typically) get actual investors. Some are landlords, some are this and some are that. The point is if someone is advertising Owner Financing, chances are they are a buyer and someone you want to talk to. At this point we are still talking about being aggressive in your efforts to find buyers so you MUST call them. They will probably answer because their not scared newb wholesalers who freak out when the phone rings so make sure you catch your breath before you dial the phone.
When they answer they will probably be expecting a potential tenant/buyer to be calling them. Gracefully and politely inform them that you a newb wholesaler and you are connecting with them in hopes that you will be able to provide them a service of finding them investment properties. Tell them you're not trying to sell them a newspaper subscription but rather offering your time and energy to assist them. Ask them if they would be willing to spend 5 minutes on the phone with you, ask them if it would offend them if you took the opportunity to get to know them better in hopes that you can serve them in a way that is helpful to them.
Chances are they would be glad and delighted that you called and will chit chat with ya. It's hard to say to be polite here because it all depends on their demeanor. Sometimes I am as nice as pie and other times you get someone from Jersey on the other line and you naturally start talking like Tony Santana. The point is to connect with them, ask if there is anything they can tell or discuss with you that would help you help them. It goes without saying politely ask them for important things without being a jerk about it like 'how quickly can you close' 'do you have cash' etc...
I can do these things politely while at the same time being aggressive. I used to do some bird dog training calls for bird dogs on mine every tuesday morning at 9am (James from Crosswinds will confirm this with the readers) and in those calls I used to cold call buyers from CL and one of them ended up being at the gym running on the treadmill(I didn't know it at the time). I could hear that he was breathing hard so I asked if he had a blonde or brunette underneath him and if he wanted to finish what he was doing before we chatted some more. Again, if you think I'm lying, I'm not. He got a chuckle out of it and just told me he was at the gym running and we carried on our call. I ended up selling him 3 properties in N. Phx within that same month. I was aggressive and it paid off.
There a million and 1 ways to find buyers. The point is you will never find any buyers sitting your couch. Craigslist offers a multitude of ways to find buyers and you should actively participate in your own success by physically taking action instead of mentally failing.
Thank you for spending so much time reading this blog and I hope it helps in more ways than one. Now, I'm off like a prom dress