As newcomers flock to the real estate investing world once again, I see the question proposed more…”How do I introduce myself when people ask what I do?”
Whether you’re brand new to this business, or a seasoned vet, you should always be making it known what it is that you do. There’s no better way to do that then to use your current sphere of influence and new acquaintances. So, when I’m approached to explain to others how to share what they do in real estate, I ask what their background is in, what sort of communication they feel works best with them, and what sort of activities they or their family is involved in.
How Do You Define What You Do?
For instance, when a mentoree and I had our first sit down, we quickly dug in to discuss how she could quickly start generating leads. I asked my normal questions, and she had shared that she had a large brood that was always on the go, a cleaning business, and had a background in phone sales. (Yet, she was anxious about getting the right mail, postcard, or flyer out. Too many seminars, I joked. You’re overeducated.) “Whoa, nelly,” I smiled. “You own a cleaning business, have worked in phone sales, and are constantly involved with your children’s activities? You’re sitting on a gold mine, my friend!” I was excited to share with her the fact that she had a business that was already attached to real estate, was in contact with hundreds of people a week, and not afraid to get on the phone, she simply needed to start letting anyone and everyone know she’s moving into the world of real estate investing.
“So, what do I even say?” she asked.
“Well, for starters, be semi-casual..you don’t want to be the overbearing real estate sales person that people shirk away from at parties, yikes. You want people to FLOCK to you for information!” Face to face and phone contact work best for her, so I said to start with that. Just as importantly, we went through what NOT to say. (Hopefully you, dear reader, don’t say these!)
- I do real estate (really? what precisely does that mean? Real estate can mean residential, commercial, land, leases, etc).
- I buy houses (ok, don’t we all. WHY do you buy houses? For what purpose?)
- I flip properties (yikes, don’t earn us ALL a bad rap, ok? As more investors come into the market, make sure we’re represented well as a community. Flipping can have a negative connotation, so perhaps frame it in a more positive way.)
Suggestions for Ways to Define What You Do
Might I suggest some alternative elevator pitches that have a more lasting impression?
- Rehabber: I/we pay cash for houses, and then renovate them to sell on the retail market. It improves neighborhoods, helps pricing, and I usually sell to first time home buyers that adore the property.
- Wholesaler: I / we buy properties cash at a discount and sell them at wholesale prices to buyers. Do you know of anyone that is looking for properties below market value?
- Investor: I/we buy homes that cash flow to keep for the long haul. I buy from all sorts of sources so if you know of someone that is looking to sell and has some flexibility, please give me a call first.
- Doorknocking: Hi, I work with cash buyers that are looking for homes in the neighborhood and were interested in yours. Do you think you’d be interested in selling, or know someone who is? (Don’t patronize these poor people, be the welcome guest, not the circling vulture. Most likely they know they’re in foreclosure, no need to repeat it back to them and make it even more apparent.)
NOTE: With all these intros, if you offer referral fees, don’t forget to mention that! And always extend your card and ask them to think of you first.
What Do You Say Next?
“Ok,” she said, hesitated, “but I have NO CLUE what to say next! What if they ask me any questions, I can’t just run away!” We laughed and then I explained, just tack on “I work with a team / referral network that..(works with cash buyers, etc)” and finish it with the rest of your pitch line accordingly. So if they want more information, just explain “Well I’m still cutting my teeth in this business, but I work with an experienced team” (if in fact, you do) and/or “I’ll have my partner get back with you to talk more about that, great question..” and then exchange the topic of the conversation to them and/or what THEY do! You can always reach out to your referral network to help you put the deal together/funding/etc.
Beyond that, we custom tailored some of her pitches, depending on who the audience would be.
Result? She hit the ground running and within a few weeks had a handful of leads, 2 sellers under contract, and a short sale deal, all just from telling people concisely and memorably what she does.
So practice with a friend, family member, or even rehearse in the mirror or on your camera phone (yes, I highly suggest you record yourself to see how your pitch comes across). Just make sure that you have your introduction down so you become the confident, go-to source for your practice.
What do you think? What works for you?
Photo: Kheel Center