Hey guys my business partner and I are running a DM campaign. We are dropping 1500 notices a month. We both work full time and there are several calls that we miss a day. While we spent our first month using the "if they're interested they will leave a vm approach" I do feel like we are probably missing out on some deals.
So.... Here I am.
Look into a virtual assistant? All we need is a basic info gathering script and setting an appointment.
Talking to a retired family member who used to do sales and see if he would be interested in taking the calls for a commission?
I've heard of people using interns but unless they would agree to work on a commission basis I could see that getting expensive.
What do you guys think? I know some say you have to answer every single call while some are fine with the VM approach. Just trying not to waste the $ we are spending on our leads.
I heard pat live is a great way to screen calls and they'll send the ones that are basically warm leads directly to you. I'm not to sure about the virtual leads though.
Building Foundations LLC
Ryan D. I do not have any direct experience in this but I can tell you that before starting my own company I seriously considered joining what is probably the largest company in the US that buys investment properties. If I said the name you would know it. Everyone does.
The guy told me that their company had done extensive research and testing on the conversation rate of people who left a message vs. people who reached a live person. He said that the close rate for people who spoke with a live person on their first call was dramatically higher than compared to those who left messages. He said that once they left a message the close rate went way down.
@John Hixon I know who you are talking about. Good for you for deciding to do it on your own. In the long run it should be much more beneficial for you. That is kind of my thought process I imagine it would pay for itself quickly.
A VA or Google voice would certainly help. You may also want to scale down your mailings a bit (assuming you feel you're getting enough quality leads as it is)
@Andrew Syrios we are using Google Voice. We actually just did the opposite. We are trying to turn REI into a full time job. We just need to get up the cashflow/capital to be able to afford to make the leap. Hence why I am looking at outside help.
This business is more about people than it is about property. Your relationship with the seller begins on that first call. VAs or voicemail systems can't answer questions, and that often frustrates the seller, making it a poor first call experience.
I understand that for many newer investors, they need a way to deal with this while they have a full-time job. In that case, I might consider hiring & training a local housewife or older college student in the basics of the business and pay them to take the calls AND schedule appointments. That could be a much better experience than a "phone drone".
We just want the seller, at every step of the way, to feel like they have found the solution to their problem (us), so they will stop searching for other investors (yes, they do that) and engage with us.
Think about creating a great experience for the seller. If you outsource, do it in a way that enhances the experience rather than making the seller think they just fell into a "call center".
Real estate is one area that you need to spend some money to make bigger money (most of the time!). We had similar problems a decade ago and decided to use a virtual office setup at HQ (now Regus) although there are other firms today. It cost us $100 a month for a business address, a mailbox, a live person answering our phone and 4 hours of office/conference room time per month.
In most cases, when I start a new venture today I do the same thing although now I use a company called Intelligent Office and it costs me $150 to 175 per month depending on the city.
Your results will be better and because it just takes one sales/investor/home/tenant to be swayed by the live answering, it is hard to justify using voicemail.
Hi Ryan, I agree with what many of our colleagues here have said, especially Dev Horn. That first contact with a nervous, possibly distressed potential seller is critically important, IMO, and whoever is answering should have some real skin in the game.
* I've used PatLive and it cost me a fortune, and I did not get a single deal from a call they answered.
*I've used a VA who came highly recommended but somehow I didn't close a single deal that she initially answered, either.
*You mentioned a relative who retired from sales - if it were me, I'd at least have a conversation with him and see if you can work out a trial period for him to answer the phone. That could be a great temporary solution until you go full-time.
I now answer my own phone. Besides getting the phone to ring in the first place, I don't think here is anything more important in this business. One more tip - call some of the bandit signs you see around your town and note how they answer their phones. I have my kids do it from the car when we pass a sign, with our "my grandmother needs to sell her house" routine. It's a great way to see what the competition is up to!
The more I look at this and think about it I am leaning more heavily on talking to the relative and seeing if it's something he would be interested in.
My wife also works weekends and is off during the week so I may see if she wants to take a portion of them on. (Something she is nervous about but could be beneficial.)
So since you are using google voice and it tracks all the incoming information, name, and phone number. Are you calling the person back? If I was hunting for a deal I'd be all over people who called. They don't need to leave a vm! They called you and in this day and age all that information is quickly available!
But yes, find some solution to answering the phone. I hate calling Bandit signs and not getting a live person. When I do get a call back and I hear that they don't have any deals I'm not surprised. The shortest response time I've gotten is 2 days. 2 days to call back a lead to verify them? I've already forgotten I called you.
@Troy Fisher we are calling all of them back. However I know exactly what you mean. When I call even a FSBO and they don't answer I get a little irritated. If you want to sell your house answer your darn phone!!!
So sounds like the general consensus is that we need to get these calls answered live ASAP.
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