First Yellow Letter Campaign

38 Replies

I just sent out my first batch of yellow letters to the Kansas City metro market, and thought people might find the first impressions of a new wholesaler of some interest. My goal was to raise bit of capital to continue to fund my buy and hold investing. I sent approximately 1000 letters which went out 5 days before this post, have had about 30 call, and have learned a bunch and gained some better questions:

1) Not every call is a motivated seller. In the KC market, which is a pretty hot market, this list has already been mailed to several times, so many just want you to stop sending them letters. I have had 1 motivated seller so far, but she held a note that was 75% of the value of the property.

2) As a corollary to #1, think very carefully in choosing your marketing area. If you'd guess it's already been hit several times, it probably has.

3) Don't stay on the phone for 20 minutes with a dead lead. Ask quick screening questions up front such as "Do you have a house to sell?", level of motivation, and expected price. If they say no, or want above market value, I'm going to guess there is a 99% chance that you can buy at wholesale.

4) You are going to start speaking to people with real problems: deaths in the family, money problems, family issues, etc. Try to help them out without lecturing them even if you CAN'T buy their house. Many of the people who preceded me in these mailings seem to have been real jerks based on discussions with some of these homeowners. In short "HELP PEOPLE OUT WHERE YOU CAN"

5) Fielding calls takes a lot of time.

Questions:

1) Do people work these popular lists, or is it better to just say "Already been done too many times" and move on?

2) If there is not motivation, do you bother throwing offers, or do you simply move on rather than insult the homeowner? How do the experienced folks deal with this?

3) Do you find that letting folks screen themselves through voicemail is better than answering each call, or worse? I am starting to think that Michael Q. is on to something with his long winded screening phone call. Seems like a good idea to eliminate the tire kickers.

4) Any general advice would be very appreciated.

I hope that this is useful.

@Riley F.

99.9% of all calls and emails we do are with tire kickers unfortunately.

Eventually what happens over time is you develop certain questions where you are able to weed out the tire kickers within the first few minutes of a call.

An exit strategy nowadays that I tend to use is "I'm sorry to cut this short but I am just about to jump into a meeting, feel free to give me call later today" Most of the time they never call which just proves they were never serious in the first place. I find that there are not enough hrs in a day to get everything done lollol

It took our team 8 months, 10,000+ emails and 14+hr work days to establish only 2 genuine connections who are very influential and pretty much exactly what we were looking for.

I believe that your success rate will be much higher with your wholesaling business than what ours was as we endeavored on something completely different but still with similar principles in place.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Tire kickers are an issue with yellow letters however the conversations in the beginning are invaluable. For most people this is the only time they can participate in an on purpose real estate conversation.

As for over worked lists. We need our peer group to market with us. NAR National Association of Realtors® spend millions on their propaganda not to mention all of the local brokers and agents.. So we need all the help we can get to tell our side of the equation.

And its not about being first or last its about being the one remembered. Sometimes all you have to do is show up and sometimes you have to keep your persistence to a level that makes you TOM.

For me Voicemail, Live Answering, or self answering all have their good and bad points. I like the long Voicemails because they filter. And marketing is a funnel approach so utilize as many tools at your disposal as you can to achieve the goal.

As to offers for everyone... I have heard this works for some. I personally let the seller make me the offer. Its so much easier.

Good luck

Thanks for taking the time to write it down and props to you for taking the initiative to start marketing. From the podcasts it sounds like its all about persistence and repetition.

And stop sending me yellow letters, just because I'm an out of state absentee owner doesn't mean I want to sell you my property, ha ha.

I said that I would keep everyone updated on my progress. Below are the details on response rate:

Sent Letters: 723

Responses: 33

Response Rate: 4.56% (Not including @Brant Richardson  )

Cost / Incoming Call :  $18

I don't find cost / incoming call to be a very representative metric, because so many of them were just tire kickers.  "So you wanna buy my house - well make me an offer smart guy!" As time goes on, I'm sure I'll have more representative metrics, but it just goes to show that you really don't know what you don't know when you take your first steps in any real estate strategy.

From the first mailing, we've put one under contract and have a couple other possibilities pending. I've sent another batch of post cards that builds on the first, which will hopefully hit mailboxes in the next week or so. 

Will post another update once I get underway with the 2nd. 

Haha, it doen't count as a rsponse if I call and ask to be put on your buyers list?

That is great that you stuck with it and got one under contract. It takes some thicker than average skin to deal with all those phone calls. Care to share the details of the deal?

@Brant Richardson  

Just realizing that I didn't respond to you. Details are the guy was moving out of town, wanted to unload quickly. Contract was for $32, I believe, assigned it for a decent profit.

I've since sent out a batch of yellow text post cards (batch #2), with a dismal response rate, 3 calls total.

I have a color post card that went out over the last few days (batch 3). Next up are zip letters and type letters. Testing as I go, but very disappointed by the text post card results. Will probably mail this list 6 or 7 times before I refresh my list. Will also stop mailing exclusively absentees and start mailing equity holders. This will be a much bigger list, and I will probably do it in batches of 500 staggered weekly. 

As promised, I will keep everyone updated.

Hahaha, @Michael Q. , thanks for the response. Live and learn on the zipletter - you really don't know what you don't know when you kick off.

Which post card would you have sent? Also, it seemed like I was limited to something like 100 characters on the back side, which didn't seem like quite enough to put anything meaningful.

GRRRRRRR

EAT

  Hey thanks for the update.  The timing on this post is funny because two days ago I received my first letter from a guy targeting absentee owners in Raytown.  I thought you were direct mailing to find deals to add to your buy and hold portfolio.  If you are wholesaling I really do want to be on your buyers list.

  Sorry about the poor response rate on batch 2.  Good luck on number 3 & 4.

@Riley F.  

How long are you waiting between "batches"?  

Are you sending them out in a 'lump sum' or spreading out the delivery over time?

Thanks for updating the post...so many of these fall by the wayside.  The fact that you are already planning a 4th and 5th mailing leads me to believe the ball is going to start rolling downhill soon.  

Keep us posted and good luck.

For the letters, are you paying $0.49 per stamp?  Is there a way to mass mail at a cheaper rate?  How easy is that and is it worth the extra effort to do so?  I am considering mailing about 400-500 probate letters.

Originally posted by @Riley F.:

I just sent out my first batch of yellow letters to the Kansas City metro market, and thought people might find the first impressions of a new wholesaler of some interest. My goal was to raise bit of capital to continue to fund my buy and hold investing. I sent approximately 1000 letters which went out 5 days before this post, have had about 30 call, and have learned a bunch and gained some better questions:

1) Not every call is a motivated seller. In the KC market, which is a pretty hot market, this list has already been mailed to several times, so many just want you to stop sending them letters. I have had 1 motivated seller so far, but she held a note that was 75% of the value of the property.

2) As a corollary to #1, think very carefully in choosing your marketing area. If you'd guess it's already been hit several times, it probably has.

3) Don't stay on the phone for 20 minutes with a dead lead. Ask quick screening questions up front such as "Do you have a house to sell?", level of motivation, and expected price. If they say no, or want above market value, I'm going to guess there is a 99% chance that you can buy at wholesale.

4) You are going to start speaking to people with real problems: deaths in the family, money problems, family issues, etc. Try to help them out without lecturing them even if you CAN'T buy their house. Many of the people who preceded me in these mailings seem to have been real jerks based on discussions with some of these homeowners. In short "HELP PEOPLE OUT WHERE YOU CAN"

5) Fielding calls takes a lot of time.

Questions:

1) Do people work these popular lists, or is it better to just say "Already been done too many times" and move on?

2) If there is not motivation, do you bother throwing offers, or do you simply move on rather than insult the homeowner? How do the experienced folks deal with this?

3) Do you find that letting folks screen themselves through voicemail is better than answering each call, or worse? I am starting to think that Michael Q. is on to something with his long winded screening phone call. Seems like a good idea to eliminate the tire kickers.

4) Any general advice would be very appreciated.

I hope that this is useful.

 I'd recommend making an additional investment in an answering service and saving yourself a lot of time. This is what I did and it was more than worth it, and sped up the process at which I got through my 100+ voicemails.

I use PatLive for a call center and they do the initial screening.  This is the script they read through for me so I get per screened leads.

This below is the lead I receive via email after the rep gets off the phone.  The reps fill in as much info as they can get out of the caller.

Your message from PATLive is as follows...
Date of Lead: 8/5/2014 1:15:02 PM
Name: 
Caller ID: 
Questions and Answers:
Do you have a house for sale?

May I get the complete property address?

How many square feet is the property?

How many bedrooms and bathrooms does the property have?

Thank you. [Caller's Name], let me get some contact information from you, so I can have one of our property specialists contact you back to discuss your options.What's the best number to reach you?

And, the best email?

[Caller's Name], is the house currently listed with a Realtor?

Why are you selling the home?

Comments:

This lead is
For Selling.

Account Closed 

Thanks for the info. I have a couple of questions for you as I've considered this.

  • Do you worry about an opportunity to build rapport with the seller on the first call by using your answering services? 
  • How has it worked out?
  • How many letters are you typically sending at one time?
  • How does the pay structure and phone number setup work?

Thanks in advance for your info and time.

@Jeremy T.  

Sorry for all the responses, I am on an ipad at tagged this to the wrong person - I am sending out 700 at a go on a monthly basis. I am going to start mailing to more folks after I test this first campaign out and get my mistakes out of the way when they are relatively cheap.

Account Closed 's company - address in the signature. Only good things to say about them thus far, and while they may be a little more expensive than doing it yourself, my time is more valuable than the $15 an hour that I save stuffing envelopes myself. My $0.02.

I don't worry about building rapport with tire kickers, no.  So many people call to actually bust chops or yell at you for sending them a letter that to me at least, its just not worth it.  The leads are not completely qualified but if the person is really interested in selling he or she will leave her info.  No matter how you decide to do things, its still a numbers game.

Hiring a call center is on the expensive side but my time and stress is worth hiring them.  Im not dealing with ticked off people all day - they are and to me that's a huge bonus in itself.

I am honestly still getting started.  I've done a few small mailers and have had several leads come through but I am literally dropping off my first partial batch of 3000 this morning.  For now, Im dropping off about 400 mailers every 2 or 3 days for the first 3000.  Im shooting for 6000 pieces per month out the door but am finding it is waayyyyy too time consuming to do myself at this volume, even with a proper printer.  Just stuffing all those envelopes is taking me and my kids forever.

@Michael Q. saved my butt on this mailer by sending me a new batch of Yellow Letters free of charge after I messed up my first batch of 3000 (I put the owner's mailing address where the property address is supposed to go on all 3000 original letters).

As for the costs - I think it works out to $100 a month plus about a buck a call which is expensive but again, worth it to me.  I also rent a vanity 800 number from them as well.  Their rates are posted on their site.

The nice thing about the call center is they will pull whatever script you send them depending on who is calling so I can build my investor list too and they call the same number but get the "investor script" which asks for their contact info and some investing preference info. 

I have another business outside of real estate from which I learned early to automate as much as I possibly can so I can concentrate on the really important stuff.  I just don't have the time or blood pressure to support dealing with all those initial calls.  If I lose some, I lose some but the call center guys are trained to handle these type of leads.  They know what they are doing.

Why no mail on Friday?  Just curious.

I understand about doling them out.  I did a couple of small batches previous - 300 or so at a time and know what to expect at that level so if I can get that kind of response every few days I should be ok.....I hope.

.....and on an unrelated note.....will someone PLEASE tell me how you highlight and tag a person's name in posts on here?

@Michael Q. Are you saying you're prescribed or recommended sequence of mailings to a high equity list would be;

1: yellow letter

2: zip letter

3. colored pc

4. text pc

5: ??

Originally posted by @Phil B.:

Why no mail on Friday?  Just curious.

I understand about doling them out.  I did a couple of small batches previous - 300 or so at a time and know what to expect at that level so if I can get that kind of response every few days I should be ok.....I hope.

.....and on an unrelated note.....will someone PLEASE tell me how you highlight and tag a person's name in posts on here?

 start typing @ and then the name of the person. sometimes the name does not show up, i think that's because you are not connected to them.

if you quote the text (like i am quoting you), they will be automatically  tagged.