If you market your services to people in foreclosure or to any targeted list as I have described in a previous article, you are going to get leads. Please remember Leads are not deals.yet. Some may become super profitable deals that put thousands of dollars in your pocket, but you must be able to evaluate them and focus like a laser beam on the best leads and discard all the rest.
The temptation for the new investor is when they start getting leads is from their marketing, that get excited (understandably!) and start to contact everyone. It only takes a few days of this to understand another of my important axioms:
Not All Leads Are Created Equal!
You will learn very quickly that you will never have enough time to contact everyone, so how do you quickly and efficiently evaluate and screen your leads?
I do it with a 24 hour recorded message, my website, and/or using a live answering service. In this article, I will focus on the importance of a good website and how I use it.
Almost all my marketing to people in foreclosure drives the prospect to one of my websites, and I do that for two reasons. One, because I know that people in foreclosure are usually scared and confused, and are much less likely to respond to a card or letter that asks him to call you, the investor, directly. They think that you are out to steal their house, and that you have so much more knowledge than they do, that you will take advantage of them. Secondly, and more importantly,
My Website Makes Them Qualify Themselves!
I load up my website with audio/video testimonials from previous sellers, so the first thing a prospect sees when they land on the page my marketing directed them to, is audio testimonial after testimonial of people I have helped out of a foreclosure situation by buying their home and stopping the foreclosure process; people who I helped after their listing has expired, etc. These are all real people that I have purchased their house that were in a foreclosure or had some other motivation and need for a quick sale.
After my prospect has seen these, I invite them to fill out a form with all the necessary information, and then submit that form to my office. I promise them a response within 48 hours, but at NO time do I tell them that I will make an offer on their home.
The questions I ask on the form are well thought out and are REQUIRED information before they can send me their form. Every one of these questions is designed to get qualifying information, and just as importantly disqualifying facts.
They must tell me what they owe, to whom, and all the standard questions you would imagine. But I also ask questions that test the water, to see how motivated they are. Finally, I ask them to describe the situation that has brought about their current circumstance. This is the key question on the whole form in many cases!
Heres why. If someone writes a whole lot on the last question, I mean two and a half pages in some cases, then that tells me something important about that person. If all the numbers work, I will put that on the top of the pile. Why? Because it tells me that they want to tell their story to someone..and Im a good listener. If you let someone pour out their heart to you about all the tragic circumstances and bad luck that brought them to their present position, and you are able to be sympathetic and empathetic, then when it comes time to present the deal, they are now on your side and it makes the negotiations much easier.
Conversely, if someone writes on the form, Im not taking one penny less than the full value of my house. My bother-in-law says its worth 250,000 and thats what I expect., then why would you waste 10 seconds on that lead, or the time it takes to put his address on one of your pre-printed, pre-stamped rejection postcard? (Note: This homeowners response will probably change as the date of auction gets closer!)
My website does almost all of the qualifying of each lead. I waste NO time on any leads where there is no deal to be made. Heres why.
I have been blessed and have more money that most people, but I have no more time than anyone else! This realization has lead me to be vigilant about time wasters, and it has made me a better, more focused real estate investor.
To summarize, I recommend that you establish a method of pre-screening and pre-qualifying your leads, preferably with a system like a website where the prospects screen themselves. This will make you wealthier and a better investor in a much shorter period of time.
Marko Rubel is a prolific real estate investor living and working in the Phoenix, Arizona area. His seminars and home study courses have been attended by thousands, and he has helped create champion investors through his coaching and mentoring program.