No results on my Probate Direct Mail campaign

10 Replies

I started a direct mail campaign for Probates about 5 months ago and haven't received one call back.  I have a Virtual Assistant who pulls Executor/PR name & address from our local Legal newspaper and puts into an excel to create a prospecting list.  I've been mailing the PR's on a monthly basis (I'm just about to mail for the 6th consecutive month).  Every month I add about 160-200 new names.  My letter is simple.  I offer condolences, let them know I'm an investor who pays cash and that I can close quickly hassle-free.  Most of the material in the letter was generated from people who post in this forum with a lot of probate experience, so I'm confident the letter is at least adequate enough for SOME results! 

I know this niche is all about consistency and time, but to not get a single call is frustrating.  I'm also marketing to other niches with much more success but for one reason or another haven't been able to produce anything from Probates.  

Anyone else with this experience?  

@Matt Foster

Would be happy to take a look at your letter and the envelope to see what's turning people off. Based on what you described, something is wrong indeed. I can come up with a list of conjectures but looking at the actual material would be the occam's razor approach. It's most likely either the letter or the list itself.

@Matt Foster

First off.... GREAT job on having a VA dig them out of the local newspapers. That's got you 10 steps ahead of most of your competition. It blows my mind how many guys will buy these lists from a list broker when they're weeks if not months old and abused at that point.

Personally when it comes to any "niche list" you're dealing with some sort of a tragedy. I don't care if it's divorce, probate, jail, back taxes, etc. I tell people all the time... No one gets to a position where I need to buy their house from enjoyable circumstance.

With Probate you're probably going to have better luck setting yourself apart in the design or the copy. @Jerry Puckett has a great strategy which involves letting the probates "season". Basically you keep going once most other folks have stopped. 

I would check your copy and make sure you have the correct phone number... I know it sounds dumb but I've seen it

We don't use the "I" word... (Investor.) What do Investors do?




  1. a person or organization that puts money into financial schemes, property, etc. with the expectation of achieving a profit.

If I'm a grieving widow/family you're coming across as a stranger who knows too much about my business and is attempting to turn a profit off of the death of grandpa. 

I know that sounds harsh but it's true. 

I would recommend removing the condolences and instead focusing on starting a conversation. If you haven't read How to win friends and influence people I would absolutely recommend reading through it. No one wants to get a letter from some Rando who apparently knows about their suffering. (Losing a loved one for instance). 


Your sample size is relatively small. You're dealing with what sounds like around 1200 records some of which have only gotten one letter from you. Although I would have expected one call. At the very least telling you where to stick it. 


I could tell you that I’ve also been told to not offer condolences in the letter because they don’t want/need to be reminded. They’re trying to move on with life so just get on with the conversation.

This post has been removed.

@Matt Foster

Instead of "I'm very sorry for your loss..." it would be more effective if you put "We've helped other executors in the past by purchasing the properties at a fair price." or something along those lines (solution selling). 

2nd paragraph can be changed as well and merged to the first to further solution sell. "There is a long list of things that the executor must accomplish, however I can at least assist in the disposition of the real estate to alleviate some of your burden."

3rd and 4th paragraph are fine. However they can be improved to be more succinct with something like "We can buy properties as is, and clear out the possessions as well with no need for repairs or deal with other problems on your behalf."

Less is more when communicating. Succinct letters to the point have higher response rates. Attempting to build emotional bonds via mail doesn't work as well as solution selling.

In reading your letter are you really a realtor and if so where's your license number and your company logo?

Add "I pay all cash and can close quickly or on the date of your choice" in the middle of the third paragraph.

On the second paragraph delete "long list of things" and add "court mandated process"

At the bottom of your letter you should add "CC" and add any heirs names. The PR will assume that any heirs/beneficiary's with legal interest in the estate is also receiving your same letter. It's up to you if want to send that additional letter. (postage cost money)

Also at the bottom of your letter add "Again, I wish the best for you and your family in your time of loss." And delete "Please contact me if you have property you might want to sell". The PR will already know your interest in the subject property.

When you meet with the PR ask if the there's has additional property they want to sell. 

Then move what you have at the bottom of your letter "@Matt Foster " to the top center of the page.

Remember that you want to be conscientious and sincere in your letter.

Good luck...

@Matt Foster Happy to help. I'm going to go against the grain with what's been mentioned above. I think addressing it to the personal rep, heirs, or any of that is a mistake. We address it to the property owner on tax records. You also need to personalize it more with the property address. This looks like a blanket solicitation to Personal Reps. 

@Matt Foster

I also get the PR's information from an additional document titled "Duties and Liabilities of Personal Representative" (Form DE-147) related to each probate file/case.

Here the PR would disclose their contact information (address, City, State and zip code) and if I'm lucky an e-mail address.

With an e-mail address I can e-mail my introduction letter saving a postage stamp.

So, depending on where the PR resides (in CA or out of state) I would mail directly to the PR's address in regards to the probate property address.

Good luck...

Offering condolences may be relative to your geographic region. I offer it and it’s very well accepted. Just my $0.02. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here