Has anyone had success marketing to probate or divorce attorneys for leads?

27 Replies

I've previously had some success direct mail marketing to probate attorneys for leads on distressed properties.

It was over a year ago but it did produce 1 deal worth a $10k assignment fee on a distressed property.

The one attorney that responded gave me that deal and referred me to another attorney who had a similar deal. (that one fell through)
 
I recently restarted that campaign but with a different letter.

So far I've gotten no response after 2 mailings. I'm starting to think its the letter I'm using however I wated to find out if anyone has had success with marketing to probate attorneys?

How about divorce attorneys?

I'd go back to the first way that you were doing things, sounds like it was working and the new method isn't.  A quick search for probate marketing might give you some more insight into who else has had success and what they have done.

The problem with marketing to attorneys is that their legal liability to their clients is to provide the best advice that will gain the client the most money. That almost always means they have a few realtors that they refer clients to who have a house for sale to obtain the FMV (based on the house condition.) No malpractice suit will be successful if the lawyer shows that he/she referred their client to a licensed realtor.

I'm very surprised that you found two lawyers who were willing to take that liability risk.  Every attorney (probate) that I have contacted gave me the same explanation.  I gave up on attorneys and now focus on the Personal Representative or direct marketing to divorcees.

@Robert Davidson - Thanks for your response.  I am a licensed realtor and I always send my business card which is a very professional heavy stock card with embossed raised lettering. Even if I were not a licensed realtor(which I wasn't at the time) I don't see the liability in selling to a company that provides the benefit of buying a house in as-is condition, quickly for cash. with no contingencies except clear title. That was the message I believe they were attracted to. I'm sure they advised their client that the house would never sell through traditional marketing methods via a licensed realtor. The house was a total demo complete with the not just the proverbial hole in the roof...it actually had a visible wide gaping hole in the roof.

@Troy Fisher - Thank you for stating the obvious.

Originally posted by @Michael G. :

@Robert Davidson - Thanks for your response.  I am a licensed realtor and I always send my business card which is a very professional heavy stock card with embossed raised lettering. Even if I were not a licensed realtor(which I wasn't at the time) I don't see the liability in selling to a company that provides the benefit of buying a house in as-is condition, quickly for cash. with no contingencies except clear title. That was the message I believe they were attracted to. I'm sure they advised their client that the house would never sell through traditional marketing methods via a licensed realtor. The house was a total demo complete with the not just the proverbial hole in the roof...it actually had a visible wide gaping hole in the roof.

The liability would be for a claim that you didn't get the most money for your client. If it's marketed to the general public for a reasonable amount of time, it by definition sells for FMV. If you sell it to some investor on the side, there is at least a claim that it should have sold for more. How do you know if that was FMV if no one else had the chance to make an offer?

Going to Attorneys directly, asking them to release confidential client information, will get them disbarred indefinitely. It does not matter who the property is sold to because the FMV is based on the property itself, market conditions, and compared against homes in the surrounding area. The reason why you are not getting contacts from Attorneys is, more than likely, the way you are going about requesting their client's information.

They are barred by Rule 1.6 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, to relinquish any confidential communications/ information they obtain through the course of representing a client. 

Most of the time, property going through divorce is going to be tied up in two different camps and will be buried under a pile of paperwork. Property going through probate, if the heirs of the decedent agree, is your best bet on a transaction. 

I would say if you want to get involved with Attorneys in order to build your network, do not reach out to ask for business; rather go and make some friends. Attorneys are, for the most part, friendly individuals and do not forget someone when they need something done. Go on the web and search for local Bar Association events to network at, almost every county and state have them.  

@Account Closed  As someone who has marketed almost exclusively via attorneys and members of the legal community (for 25+ years now) I can tell you that the issue is rarely confidentiality. 

The overriding concern is competence. 

Generally, attorneys contact me for advise in areas that I have more expertise. The call starts with a discussion about the facts and circumstances and possible solutions. I don't inquire as to the client name unless they offer, however I will ask about the name of the case as this is public info and breeches no confidentiality. 

However, for those considering marketing to attorneys, I suggest you know your stuff better than you prospective referrals sources. If that's listing probates, then you'd better know the process, court system and be an experienced problem solver. If not, you are just a distraction and one more call that won't be returned or piece of junk to dispose of. Reality stings. 

@Adrian Tilley - Thanks for that info. It makes sense what you are saying but in my letter I'm not suggesting that they don't list the property. I'm suggesting that if they are having no success with selling a financially or physically distressed property we have a solution.

@Bradley Cochrane - I'm not asking the attorneys to give me their clients information. I'm merely proposing a solution to them as a way of helping their clients dispose of a financially or physically distressed in a somewhat elegant fashion.

Below is the body of the letter.  Let me know your thoughts.

*****Did your probate client inherit a distressed property that doesn’t look very nice, needs repairs and that won’t sell quickly using the NORMAL real estate broker methods?

WE BUY DISTRESSED HOMES FOR CASH!

Maybe…

The house needs too many major repairs or is physically very outdated.

Or… The decedent owed more on the house than it is currently worth or has a reverse mortgage.

Or…The estate does not want to wait and would like an immediate cash settlement.

Fact is, we will buy ANY probate real estate for cash. Ugly or pretty houses. Financially distressed or not. Any condition. Any situation.

We have more than a few satisfied customers that will testify about how we have engineered real estate solutions for them in difficult situations including but not limited to distressed estate properties.

If any of the above probate scenarios seem familiar please call me at 1-631-954-1958. ******

 

@Rick H.

I agree with you that competence is the overriding concern, but breach of confidentiality is a result of a lack of competence. An attorney cannot practice law if they are not competence as to the laws which govern their clients. In the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.1 provides that an attorney must provide competent representation which requires adequate legal knowledge. Discussing client information without first obtaining their consent is a direct violation of Rule 1.6 of the Model Rules, and thus violation of Rule 1.1. 

I am not saying that going to an Attorney in order to network and attempt to gain business is wrong. All I was saying was that Attorneys have to abide certain laws that prohibit them from giving client information without their prior written consent. Your mentions that you are contacted by the Attorneys, rather than the other way around. The Attorneys come to you because of your expertise and for the services you provide. There is a stark difference from someone reaching out to an Attorney, than an Attorney reaching out themselves. 

I cannot agree with you more though regarding the need for the knowledge of the system, and being an distraction. 

@Michael G. 

To be quite honest the formation of your letter strikes me more as an advertisement than a business proposition. I would consider revising the style of presentation to be more suiting to a busier audience and get straight to the point. I would start out by quickly introducing yourself and explaining what your goals are. Then maybe quickly sum up your experience and why they should even consider you. You could also think about writing a formal letter asking to meet with them to discuss the possibility of forming a referral network. Show the prospective Attorney what you offer right out of the gate. Throughout my Law School experience I have learned that I HATE when someone "hides the ball" and I have to discover what their message truly is. 

@Bradley Cochrane -  Thank you for your opinion.  My post title is pretty straight to the point. It asks if anyone has had any success in marketing to probate attorneys. Have you had any success in marketing to probate attorneys or any success in direct mail marketing at all? Can you share an experience where you had SUCCESS in acquiring a probate lead through direct mail marketing and closing a deal? Do you have any such experiences that could help me? Maybe you have a letter that has worked for you in the past? Are you a seasoned investor /marketer that is capable of sharing such experiences? The second paragraph says WE BUY DISTRESSED HOMES FOR CASH! How much more straight to the point can it be?

I set the hook early in the letter for a reason. It's designed to deliver the message that I'm a cash buyer of distressed properties. 

When you critique my letter you say "I would start out by quickly introducing yourself and explaining what your goals are. Then maybe quickly sum up your experience...etc,etc,etc".

Listen man...if you can show me proof that a letter that you have written, that looks and sounds like that, has produced some revenue for you in your business than I will be willing to listen and actually use it. Try providing some meaningful feedback like @Marina Wedge who commented that she had some success marketing to probate attorneys and to PM her for the script. 

From the looks of your profile you are a newbie. You should probably refrain from dispensing advice to seasoned investors.  It might be ok with others but I personally find it annoying. 

It appears you are just trying to be helpful but you are not.  

@Michael G. I stepped away from the forums for a few days to work on real deals.

Re-reading this thread and your posts in particular, I think your biggest challenge is that you automatically get associated with all the other would-be real estate people.

Part of the problem is your message. While it's clear what you want, you need to enter the mind of the attorney and address each issue:

You are an outsider soliciting people from the outside. You need to find a way to become an insider.

Your referral source already has established relationships with real estate industry professionals, perhaps thru legal groups; perhaps thru social networks and affiliation. 

Your target is likely to prefer to work with licensed professionals who specialize in their community. 

You might refine your message to become their "Plan B"

You do not address how you deliver the message. A crappy flyer in a cheap envelope does not inspire confidence or suggest success. 

While you re-think your strategy and implementation, here are a few reads that you must complete:

'Winning through Intimidation' by Robert J Ringer.

'Magnetic Marketing' by Dan Kennedy

'80/20 Sales and Marketing' by Perry Marshall

Read in that order. 

Originally posted by @Michael G. :

You are correct on every point you made Sir. I am not a seasoned investor, I am a "noob." However, this is a forum and you asked for the opinion of others. Do not be insulted by my opinion, because it is my opinion. I was simply informing you, based on the experience I do have, there are things you could possible change. I know plenty of Attorneys that will only take a second out of their busy day to glance at your mailing; only to quickly discard it with the rest of the junk mail they receive on the daily. I have no time to argue with you about the logistics of your form, but clearly it is not working for a reason. 

In the future, when I become an Attorney, I am not going to bother myself with useless advertisements. Instead, I will use people that I know and trust, and then individuals who come to me in a professional way. Maybe you should use some structure in your mailing; write it as a formal letter instead of using the same old outdated and over used taglines. I can't even think of how many signs I have seen with "WE BUY HOMES FOR CASH!!" followed by some random phone number. Maybe you could set yourself apart from the rest of the investors in your area? I bet that if you used a formal letter over some piece of paper, that is obvious to the naked eye it is an advertisement, the Attorney will actually take the time to read your letter. You do not even introduce yourself in the letter, you really think they are going to call "me" and set up any type of business relation? Come on now...

I would call "me" and offer to write him a new letter for a small but reasonable fee...

@Bradley Cochrane I found your response useful and accurate.  

@Michail G I have had some success with probate business, as a Listing Realtor.   I think framing your value around quick cash sales is a not going to yield a response, particularly from a probate attorney.  They generally want homes on the open market to create as much competition as possible.  Attorneys and Personal Representatives generally want to maximize profit.         

If you are interested in soliciting business as a listing agent, I am willing to share my brief template.  

I study marketing. I was hoping to get a response from some people who have actually made money using similar direct mail marketing techniques. Specifically "marketing to probate attorneys". You have BP'ers responding saying …

"I have had some success with probate business, as a Listing Realtor."

or

”I have had lots of success marketing for Probates. I have a template."

Did I ask for an opinion about anything except SUCCESS marketing to PROBATE ATTORNEYS?

@Bradley Cochrane: You are right. I did ask for opinions. People give their opinions irrespective of if they are specific to the topic or not. You sound like you just want to hear yourself talk. How do you know I haven't already written a letter that resembles the one you describe? (I have). Have you ever generated income from direct mail to probate attorneys or any direct mail piece at all? (I have…several times). What makes you think you are qualified to give me advice when you don’t have a track record of direct mail marketing specifically to probate attorneys? You never asked me how many times I’ve sent the mail piece. Do you even know the value of asking that specific question as it pertains to direct mail marketing? You speak about bandit signs like you know something about them? Have you ever generated a piece of income from a “we buy houses” bandit sign? If you haven’t then maybe you should not comment on them. I just got a $7,800 dollar check that was spawned from one of those signs. Plenty of people on BP that use bandit signs would fine your comments regarding bandits ignorant. It’s not your fault…you don’t know, what you don’t know.

For the record I would never pay YOU to write me a mail piece until you proved that it could garner a response and until you proved it successful.

@Kim Knox: You think framing my value around quick cash sales won’t work especially with probate attorneys? You did read the segment of my post where I said I had some success already with probate attorneys. I’ll give you one guess how I positioned myself in the letter he responded to. Please tell me you have had some success marketing to probate attorneys and that’s why you responded to my post? Are you speaking from a factual place when you state that attorneys want homes on the open market to create as much competition as possible or is it just your own thought? Have you ever even interacted with a probate attorney that has an estate property that the estate could not sell due to distress? (I have…on three different occasions). If you have never interacted with a probate attorney on these matters what are you basing your findings on?

I'm still wondering how you find Bradley's comments useful and accurate when he's never generated any REI income from any of his activities. He's a newbie. How exactly are his comments useful and accurate when hes never made money marketing in real estate?

Bradley admittedly hasn’t made a dime in real estate but he’s attempting to give me advice…please.

I am a licensed realtor so I would be interested in any template you have that would garner me listings.

For that, I will thank you in advance.

@Rick Harmon. I am a former GKIC gold member so I know a little bit about direct mail marketing. I don’t really need you to lecture me on what books to read and what order to read them in. What would help me immediately is if you have a direct mail piece specifically for probate attorneys that I could copy. Was the fact lost on you that I’ve had some success marketing to probate attorneys in the past? If you had asked me to send you a copy of the letter that worked in the past I guess I could respect your response. You mention sending a crappy flyer in a cheap envelope. Are you saying that the envelope has to be made of linen paper to get the mail piece opened? My letter is sent on 26 lb. bright white paper. The envelope is had written on a standard # 10 Staples envelope. You can’t see it but the paragraph “Did your probate client inherit a distressed property that doesn’t look very nice, needs repairs and that won’t sell quickly using the NORMAL real estate broker methods? is written in red bold font in the actual letter. You paint yourself as this SME on all things probate but I call BS. All this talk of being an outsider means what? I was an outsider when I got the responses from the last 2 probate attorneys that called me. They both decided to do business with me based on a telephone conversation so what’s your point? SMH. Of all the BP's critiquing my DM piece I would expect you of all people to ask, at a minimum how many times the piece went out.

Shout out to @Marina Wedge who was the only person who has so far provided any value to my post by sending me a phone script she has her VA's use with attorneys. Thank you Marina. You actually get it.

Originally posted by@Michael G. :

@Bradley Cochrane: You are right. I did ask for opinions. People give their opinions irrespective of if they are specific to the topic or not. You sound like you just want to hear yourself talk.How do you know I haven't already written a letter that resembles the one you describe? (I have).Have you ever generated income from direct mail to probate attorneys or any direct mail piece at all? (I have…several times). What makes you think you are qualified to give me advice when you don’t have a track record of direct mail marketing specifically to probate attorneys? You never asked me how many times I’ve sent the mail piece. Do you even know the value of asking that specific question as it pertains to direct mail marketing? You speak about bandit signs like you know something about them? Have you ever generated a piece of income from a “we buy houses” bandit sign? If you haven’t then maybe you should not comment on them. I just got a $7,800 dollar check that was spawned from one of those signs. Plenty of people on BP that use bandit signs would fine your comments regarding bandits ignorant. It’s not your fault…you don’t know, what you don’t know.

For the record I would never pay YOU to write me a mail piece until you proved that it could garner a response and until you proved it successful.

Bradley admittedly hasn’t made a dime in real estate but he’s attempting to give me advice…please.

I am a licensed realtor so I would be interested in any template you have that would garner me listings.

For that, I will thank you in advance.

Shout out to @Marina Wedge who was the only person who has so far provided any value to my postby sending me a phone scriptshe has her VA's use with attorneys. Thank you Marina. You actually get it.

I feel bad for @Marina Wedge because she actually fell for your very touching cry for help, support, and a handout. Maybe she felt bad for you; she is new to America being from Australia and all? You know what you are doing, and so does everyone else on this forum. Instead of living the American Dream of going out and doing it for yourself, you are relying on others to do it for you by asking for handouts.

Yes I admit again I have not made a "dime in real estate;" but I find it funny that where I am at in my life is far beyond where you will ever be. It’s also funny that you followed my advice, as you say, before I gave it. Instead of lashing out at my comment, you could have as a professional would have, simply stated "You know you're right, but I have made such letter before...what else should I do?” If anything is ignorant, it is you and your attitude. Do not be insulted by my opinion if you yourself have used such tactics, because clearly it is not wrong thing to do.

I will NEVER have to use any such mailings to any Attorney's ever in my future, I will just walk to the next office over and ask them if they have any leads; after I ask them how their family is doing after that awesome week up at the cottage. In the future when I become an Attorney (because in life you actually have to work towards things in life), when I receive such advertisements from individuals like you, who cannot strive through adversity without reaching out for a freebie, I will burn their "26lbs. bright white paper" while it is still in the "#10 envelope from Staples" without even looking at it.

There is over 100+ Probate Attorneys that serve Bay Shore, New York alone. I would hope you are distributing your "mailings" to a larger body of prospective Attorneys. Wait but you already knew that because you are studying marketing, I forgot. I guess that would mean, if my calculations are correct (go ahead and check them), if you sent "mailing" to all 100 and only got two responses that is only 2% of returns. I hope you make more than 2% on the cost of the 26lbs. BRIGHT white paper and the #10 envelopes. Thinking about it, I hope you bought the 500 count box at $33.99 so you could send the mailing out five times. Maybe that would yield, (5 mailings x 2 responses per mailing = 10 total responses), dang still under that two percent returned mark. No I did not use a calculator.

"For the record" (because we are in Forum Court) before you even could get the chance to test my writing, I would never retain you as a client. Even if I did retain you, I am pretty sure the Partnership Agreement and Operating Agreement I just drafted would cost you that $7,800.00 check you just gained. I hope that is not your only check for the year, maybe your bandit signs at $12.99 for 3 from Staples will yield more of a result. Again, its my opinion that those signs are unneeded, do they work (Yes), but would I personally stick to societal norms to reach out to individuals who half the time do not even look up from their cellphones while driving, no. It’s all good though, me being your *fake* Attorney, we can write that off as a business expense under your new L.L.C. or possibly as an exemption under the IRC for start-up businesses. Oh wait, you cannot claim the exemption for start-up businesses until you actually start a business, and in order to do that you have to do your own work.

Before, when I gave my opinion I was being sincere and thoughtful to your situation; but now, I have all the time in the world for this chief. We can chat later, I am off to learn some Bankruptcy Law. When you need to file Chapter 7,11,13 let me know I can GIVE you the paperwork you need to fill out....its all blank forms all you do is....oh you know how to fill in the blanks nevermind. 

@Michael G. Nice job. I think you've pretty well alienated everybody. 

A little sugar goes a long way, especially on the forums. If you had all the answers you wouldn't be posting here. 

Yes, we get it that you're frustrated. That's both obvious and auditory. 

Given the relative level of experience of posters of BP posters, most are starting out and some have a bit of experience. There are a few seasoned, grizzled old investors (I suppose I fit that description) however you're unlike to get the answer you want here. 

I suggest you consider a high-end mastermind group. I found Dan Kennedy's Platinum group a bunch of nice guys but not operating a the level that interested me. I spend $25K/yr with Perry Marshall and very much get my money's worth. Joe Polish has a great group, too. 

However, having been a former GKIC Gold subscriber (the lowest lever at $60/ month) means nothing, especially if you don't implement ideas. Maybe it's time to go back a step or two and see what's really going on here. Find a way to add to these attorneys lives and the lives of their clients. I've been marketing to the legal community in CA for decades and find they just want someone to help them resolve a situation.

Although you ask for what seem to be ideas, strategies and techniques, maybe what you're looking for is inspiration. Hope you find it. However, don't get angry with people who are trying to help you. 

@Rick Harmon - You are right. I may have alienated everyone. I got a little over passionate. I hear you and thank you for your input.

@Account Closed -  A bit of a harsh exchange between us my friend.  As I step back and look at it you make some good points. Apologies if I offended you. Thank you for your commentary.

Originally posted by @Michael G. :
@Bradley Cochrane -  A bit of a harsh exchange between us my friend.  As I step back and look at it you make some good points. Apologies if I offended you. Thank you for your commentary.

No worries, we all have those days. Good luck in the future. 

I can't speak for other but I, for one, want you to stick around and do NOT lose your passion. Remember, we're on your side and everyone hits slumps. 

Oh hello, Divorce/Probate attorney here. You want to learn how to market to us? Don't market to us. I'm not saying that to be mean. We just respond poorly to marketers. Make genuine social connections with us at local events. Do not try and glad hand. We are the kings of glad handing. 

How does sending your divorce to a RE agent with all the listing and commissions they charge make it the best possible deal for divorce client?? Go directly to the investor who will buy it for cash and close quickly, cut out the middleman and save your client time and tens of thousands of dollars!

Updated over 4 years ago

"divorce client" I mean.