How to know when to change something? - Posted by Kent-OR

Posted by Jim IL on October 25, 2000 at 16:59:15:

I place my bandit signs at the intersections leading to and from subdivisions and at major thorofare intersections.
Pretty much anywhere I can.
My flyers I place on bulletin boards at grocery stores, newspaper mailboxes near home. (Not the postal mailboxes, that is illegal, but where the newspaper is to be placed.)
And, I pass them out door to door on occassion.
I do not do this myself however, I usually pay some kids to do it, or have my own kids do it for me.
And, I also run a newspaper ad most of the time as well.

Jim IL

How to know when to change something? - Posted by Kent-OR

Posted by Kent-OR on October 24, 2000 at 17:29:28:

Hi everyone. I’m new to REI, having bought three duplexes, one fourplex, and a small fixer house. I also have done a wholesale flip deal.

My question to the experienced investors out there is this: How do you know when to dig in and “BE PERSISTENT” as opposed to doing something differently because an approach is not working? Being new, I find this difficult to gauge.

I’ve put up over 150 bandit signs, had an ad in the paper running two months, mailed out over 2,500 postcards to out of state owners, and I still have not completed a deal. I am seriously frustrated and think by the law of numbers I should have easily done one (perhaps several) deals by now.

Perhaps I’m too focused up on generating leads and not following through with leads once I get them? I try to avoid this. When I think I have a motivated seller, I do my best to find out what their needs are and make them an offer that fits their situation.

Education is probably one answer. The more you learn, the more you earn is how the saying goes. I’m all for it yet I don’t want to get stuck in a paralysis of analysis. I was stuck for about a year in that mode, learning REI as an academic subject.

My ultimate question is: should I change my lead generation strategy? Should I persist as I am doing and know a deal will come through eventually? Should I expand the number of ways I generate leads? How long should I pursue a lead before saying that the seller is unmotivated and move on?

If you’re a seasoned investor, I’d appreciate any and all advice you have for me.

Kent from Oregon

P.S. I do have a few potential deals in the works yet I don’t know if/when they might go through.

If it isn’t working change it. - Posted by Bud Branstetter

Posted by Bud Branstetter on October 25, 2000 at 10:13:44:

You appear to be coming from the aspect that if it isn’t working change it. Yes, two months is a little short to know if some things work or not. I probably would not have mailed 2500 postcards out without knowing if my message worked or not. 500, yes. If you did them right and get 1 out of a hundred you will be swamped.

The other question is, of course, whether your skills are at putting the deal together need improvement. Learning how a Joe Kaiser or a Claude Diamond ask questions to find the motivation is invaluable. Sales skills ala Tom Hopkins, or proper negotiating techniques can always be learned. While I personally don’t like Legrand his transaction engineer approch is on target. Diamond has a free telementoring class on sales as does Gattin on Pactrusts.

Then you could always post possible deals and get opinions on approaches.

Re: How to know when to change something? - Posted by Jim IL

Posted by Jim IL on October 25, 2000 at 04:00:43:

These things happen to all of us, trust me here.
I have also had slow times such as you are experiencing now.
I do advertising somewhat like yours.
I run an ad at least 3 out of 4 weeks per month.
I place bandit signs up just about every week, and flyers, business cards, etc.
Keep at it.
There may be some sellers out there who saw your advertising WEEKS or MONTHS ago who were not quite ready to contact you.
But, time is the BEST motivator of all.
I cannot even count the number of deals I have done now where the seller kept my ad, or called me LONG before we got the deal signed.
In fact, one such occurance just happened.
The seller had kept one of my flyers from a local grocery store bulletin board, from LAST YEAR!
He had at the time, “Thought about” selling his home, but was now in financial trouble.
He called, we met, and signed the deal.
Not a great deal, but there is profit to be made.
I especially like those who call and want the SAME offer I made months or weeks ago, and I get them to go LOWER in price and BETTER terms.
I talked to one seller 8 weeks ago, and told them OVER and OVER that this was a deal I could work, BUT, it needed to be NOW, because “Slow season” was creeping up.
What a setup for now.
They are now signed up with me for a L/O, at $10k LESS than before.
Also, I had originally offered to make payments to them 60 days AFTER we signed.
Now, my payments start when I find a T/B’er.
All because THEY waited.
See, they NEED ME, I do NOT need there home.
At least, so they think.

Bottom line is KEEP AT IT!
You will have times , such as I have now, where you are OVERWHLEMED with deals, and others where you are SCREAMING to get ONE!

And lastly, when you get a deal, monitor “How” they found you and do it again.
I always ask sellers who call, "How did you find me?"
This way I can see what is working.
Nine times out of ten, it is my flyers and bandit signs that get them to call.
And you know what?
They are my cheapest, and simplest form of advertising.
I like that!

Stick with it and the deals will come,
Jim IL

Re: How to know when to change something? - Posted by Scott S

Posted by Scott S on October 24, 2000 at 20:44:03:


Believe me, I know also what you are experiencing. You can ask Joe Kaiser, it took me a good long while to get my first deal.

I will tell you though, the more sellers you talk to the more you learn a couple things.

  1. You learn to recognize the motivated sellers better.

  2. Just as important as the first, you learn the art of salesmanship.

One major thing I learned during my 18 months of trying to get my first deal was that there is NO “textbook” deal. You have to learn how things are done in your area and how each individual deal can be worked within those parameters.

Sooner or later things will ckick and you’ll be a buying machine. Education during this time period can be a two edged sword because you want to learn more becuase you think you are missing something, yet the more you read the more you lose focus. I know the feeling.

My suggestion would be to learn only ONE method of buying and concentrate on learning the marketing side of the business. It sounds as if you are doing plenty like Joe said. You have lots of lines in the water.

Stay confident and just believe when they say “The first deal is the hardest”, it’s absolutely true.

I feel for you Kent, I’ve been there. Keep your spirits up and just know each seller you talk to brings with them a lesson for you. Sooner or later you’re going to be so convincing from all the practice there will be no way they can say anything but “YES”.

If I can be of any help or you just need a bit of encouragement, just drop a note. Just promise yourself you won’t give up.

Joe told me once, and I look back often now, “The journey is half the fun, don’t rob yourself of the journey”.

I know you can do it, I did. Sometimes during my journey I classified myself in the catagory of what we call “A rock with lips”, I guess, now looking back, that’s why it’s fun to look back.

Keep on keeping on buddy.

Scott Smith

Re: How to know when to change something? - Posted by JoeKaiser

Posted by JoeKaiser on October 24, 2000 at 18:44:26:


Unfortunately, it’s sometimes tough to make things happen as quickly as we want them to. I know you’ve been working hard at this and you’re doing all the right things, but when you’re new things just don’t fall into your lap like they sometimes do when you’ve been at it for awhile.

You’re on the right track.


Re: How to know when to change something? - Posted by Steve-Atl

Posted by Steve-Atl on October 24, 2000 at 18:14:46:

Keep up what you are doing. If anything you might adjust the message in your advertising based on the kind of deals you do. For example, for junkers you plan to flip or rehab, stress quick cash and any condition in your ad. For pretty houses you plan to lease option or take “subject to”, stress payment relief and full price for terms. I run both types in the appropriate paper. The neighborhood papers in nice areas get the pretty house ad and papers like the Thrify Nickel get the junker house ad.

The funny thing is that if you are consistent with your advertising, the rate of calls will increase with time. I don’t know why, but it happened to me, so don’t be too quick to make wholesale changes in your propspecting. Instead, fine tune your message to your target.

Re: How to know when to change something? - Posted by Mark (SDCA)

Posted by Mark (SDCA) on October 24, 2000 at 17:44:13:

I think this is one of the toughest questions to answer. It sounds like to me that you are doing everything right. I had the same problem. I have been running an ad forabout 4 months now. 1 call. And it was afor a mobile home 5 hours from me. And they weren’t even motivated. I SERIOUSLY considered seeing if I could get out of the ad. I mean it IS just a waste of money, right? Guess what?
A guy called on my ad today. (I thought he was calling based on a mail out I had done last week so I guess it IS important to be able to tell how people are reaching you.) The strangest thing is that this guy didn’t even see my ad. His girlfriend did and gave him my #. (Probably the other 3 or 4 numbers of people who are doing this as well BUT I CALLED BACK!)
So I guess my point is 1) You never know when someone need you or see your advertising and will call
and 2) you never know exactly how your advertising is working. Sometimes it doesn’t work exactly like we think (ie someone sees the ad and calls.)

Hope this helps,


Re: How to know when to change something? - Posted by ScottE

Posted by ScottE on October 25, 2000 at 13:36:04:


How did you determine where to place your bandit signs and flyers? Along the same line, have you noticed a better area than another?