Credibility. This was probably my single biggest fear when I first was getting started.
How am I going to find good deals?
How am I going to get good contractor pricing?
How am I going to impact people with my face-to-face networking?
Let’s be realistic, the majority of people starting out in real estate investing don’t exactly have the budget for renting out billboard space along busy highways. This was the boat I was in, so I figured a way I could somewhat replicate this marketing function was through t-shirts. I started doing some shopping.
Here’s what I ended up purchasing…
I purchased a few different colors, and my wife wanted one, so I even picked up a couple in purple and hot pink. I highly recommend a hot pink shirt if you have someone willing to wear it. There is no other color that can stand out in a crowd! I also purchased a couple long sleeve ones so I could continue to advertise in the cooler portions of the spring and fall.
The design is simple. My company name and logo on the front. On the back, a slogan, phone number and website.
Confession: I’ll admit it, I do not like my slogan. Not sure what I was thinking back then, but I wish I didn’t use “homes”. If I could redo it (which I’m actually thinking of getting a new batch made), I would have used “houses”, “property”, “ugly houses” or something of that nature. The word “home” implies finished product, and that’s NOT what I’m looking for. I don’t know if I would call it a mistake per-se, but just something I’d do a different way if I could go back in time.
I wish I could sit here and say that these shirts have caused the deals to flow in, but so far, I haven’t landed any deals from the shirts. They’ve been a great conversation starter out in public, and I could very well be getting some private money in the future from a conversation I recently had (started by the t-shirt), but as far as someone coming up and saying, “hey, I will sell you my house” – hasn’t happened yet. On that same note, it’s not like I need to pay a weekly/monthly fee for these shirts. It was a one time payment, so all it will take is one deal to pay for them and then I can keep on using them, how great is that? Although not monetary, the shirts have already paid for themselves indirectly – keep reading.
Now… what HAS happened is something I never really counted on: instant credibility.
At this point in time, I have credibility via the fact people know I pull the trigger and I’ve hired many contractors multiple times, but when I was first starting, it was amazing how well the t-shirt worked. I would wear it everywhere. Going to watch my nephew’s sporting event? I wore it. Going to run to some errands? I wore it. Going out on a date with my wife? I wore it (well, when she would let me!).
The two most important places I wore it was when I was meeting with another industry professional or meeting with a contractor. It was amazing to watch their eyes shoot down to where my logo was, and then pop back up to my eyes and you could just “see it” that thinking, “okay, this guy means business!”.
Don’t get me wrong, if you sit there and demand this, that, and the other thing, OR open your mouth and make it very evident you really have no idea what you’re talking about, the t-shirt can only help you so much. What I’ve learned though, is with some education and professionalism/common courtesy, throwing a t-shirt into the mix can make a total rookie appear as someone who has been around the block a few times (remember – perception is reality).