You Gotta Have a Big “Pair” to Use This Type of Direct Mail Letter

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Direct mail is one of the best ways to buy houses, if not THE best way.
We all have our lists and the same sellers are getting bombarded over and over (absentee owners, free and clear, probate, pre-foreclosure, bankruptcy). The key to direct mail success is standing out from your competition and not sending the typical boring “we buy houses” piece. The best way to stand out and get your seller’s attention is by using a “grabber”.

A grabber is an object which is included with your letter or which is attached to the top of your letter. The best grabber to use is the good ole’ one dollar bill (not a fake one, not monopoly money, a real dollar you cheapskate). This takes guts and most people will not do it, and this is the reason you will stand out and make so much more money than the “average” investor. So take a dollar bill and paperclip it to the top of your letter. Then start the letter with the following sentences:

Mr. Seller, as you can see I have attached a crisp one dollar bill to the top of this letter. I have done this for two important reasons. First, I have something very important to tell you and I needed a way to get your attention. Second, I want to show you how you can save 29,000 more of those dollars.” (Then go on in the letter about how you are not a Realtor and don’t charge any fees or commissions and can save them $29,000 when they sell their house to you, or whatever the true number is.)

The funny thing is, I still know most folks will never do this…let’s say you stuff and send your own direct mail. You send out 1,000 letters a month for a cost of around $450. You get a typical 2-4% response and it takes you four months to buy a house this way. Or, you decide to play with the big boys and you mail out 1,000 letters with a dollar bill attached to the top, for a cost of $1,450. And, you get a 5%…10%…even 20% response rate and get a $30,000 deal off of your first mailing. Which one makes more sense?

Also, since you are mailing letters with a real one dollar bill you need to make sure your envelope gets opened. Use a regular number 10 white envelope, hand write both the mailing address and return address in blue ink (if you use labels you might as well throw your letters in the trash, so the sellers don’t have to), and use a commemorative live stamp.

For all of you investors who have the guts and courage to send out the dollar bill letter I would love to hear about your results and how much money you made.

About Author

Jason R. Hanson is the founder of National Real Estate Investor Month and the author of “How to Build a Real Estate Empire”. Jason specializes in purchasing properties “subject-to” and has purchased millions of dollars worth of property using none of his own cash or credit.

8 Comments

  1. I like your idea.
    A few years back I wanted find out exactly how many of my letters to pre-foreclosure owners were actually being opened. Not how many responded but, opened.
    I had thought of sending out a personal check for $1.00. By sending a check, I would be able to track how many of them were cashed.
    I talked to the owner of Foreclosure Listing Service about the idea and he said, “Would you cash a check for $1.00?”
    I thought about it and knowing me… I wouldn’t because a $1.00 check would piss me off as I would be insulted (if I was in pre foreclosure and got a $1.00 check).

    Now if I sent a check for $50… It might have compiled the stats that I wanted to see but, thats an expensive experiment.

    I like your method better.

  2. The grabber is like the attention getter term. In public speaking they teach to start off with something that is unique that will grab the people in the room to listen with their eyes.

    All marketing is what it boils down to.

  3. I have actually received a few crisp $1 bills attached to marketing letters before. Another common offer is a gift card worth $10 or as much as 20% off of goods from a big name department store.
    The promotional pieces I have saved the mailer from sans the card used before the expiration date because they are professionally crafted and in some cases ‘works of art’ with their slick photos, color coordination and directly leading phrasing using the tried and true formula of attention,interest,decision and action as motivators to the recipient.I wonder, since I have seen these offers over the last 3 months what percentage response rate they may be seeing from them since they are representative of ‘big bucks’ and ‘big box’ department store marketing dollars driving a local shopping public in my area alone of at least 20,000. Other mailer types I have received include pouches with small objects, usually a rubber nick-nak or pen with a company logo on it from both a marketing trainer and separately, a publicly traded soap company, shaver company, cosmetics and office supplies.

    These sources clearly have consistency in their stock value and appear to prove that marketing tools such as dollar value cards and what is known in marketing as ‘lumpy mail’ works. The only things that prevent most individual businesses or solo operators from succeeding with a decent return on investment is budget and staying power in terms of making such marketing approach the numbers that these big companies use not to mention such marketing is a mainstay to the business which is also highly diversified (meaning 5 or more product types offered.)

    Let me explain by using short basic example, that faced by many solo operating as well as small mortgage companies that I have worked for in good times and in bad. Many top reps just prior to and during the market ‘crash’ sent out 2000 to as much as 10,000 mortgage mailers per month to generate new leads. The companies themselves, with up to 200 loan officers were mailing out 50,000 to 100,000 mailers which kept them well fed with new leads and NOI of 400K to 500K. As the market ‘turned south’ marketing cost to profitability became exceedingly diminishing resulting in loss leading to eventual business closure. The effect observed was equivalent to having your product becoming un-sellable thus forcing an exit since few ‘smaller’ companies could sustain the costs of overhead, staff and marketing that a big name retailer or bank could in light of market conditions that may exceed 5 years, but for those who can, consistent and growing profits will be the norm.

  4. I have been on the receiving end of the $1, and yes it works.
    I always read the material that comes with the $1, primarily because I am curious to learn from someone who has the guts to market well. (If its a survey, I fill it out and return it. I never return surveys without the $1.) Taks guts, but will put you at the top of the pile.

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