Everyone wants to know how to find deals.
Really, though, most people who ask me how to find deals already know how.
If I ask them what’s worked in the past, they usually say something like, “Networking with realtors, other investors, investment clubs, estate attorneys, funeral directors, and junk removal business owners… and word of mouth.”
But when I follow up with the question, “What could you be doing more of?” the typical response is, “Everything, I guess.”
The key to finally feeling like you’ve really “mastered” finding deals is setting up reliable channels to create consistent lead generation.
This post is for anyone who feels lost, stuck, or insufficient when it coming to finding deals – particularly when there are seemingly none to be found.
A “How to Find Deals” System That Works
Before we get into the details of how to find deals and set up these lead generation channels, I want to touch on a few things.
First of all, most of you have probably tried networking in the past, and it’s likely worked. That’s because real estate is a people business and networking – although time consuming – is still the best way to generate leads. There’s no exceptions there.
But networking isn’t always consistent. To have consistent lead generation, you need a system – consistent activity without chaos. This will yield organized, consistent results, never leaving you wondering how to find deals again.
It may seem like all methods of lead generation are wildly inconsistent, and that may be true. That’s why you need more than one marketing line in the water.
The system I’m about to give you will produce massive results for you, but don’t abandon your direct mail, website articles, Bandit signs, door hangers, car signs, and everything else you’re already doing! For things that cost time and money, create a budget and use any extra funds you have towards these methods.
If You Only Have a Little Money
Most of you probably don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to go towards direct mail and marketing, and that’s fine.
You can get there rather quickly if you just start allocating your profits accordingly.
Until then, just do what you can, okay? Take whatever you can and allocate your funds toward it – whatever your dream is.
If you really want it, every extra penny should go toward it. You have to make sacrifices right now for what you want the most.
If You Don’t Have Any Money
I can relate to those of you with no money. In fact, that’s exactly how I started out – with zero dollars for marketing efforts.
In that case, you have to exchange literal currency for sweat currency.
I’m going to give you a system that works on sweat currency.
The good news is, this currency works especially well in this type of market, where inventory across the country is pretty low. That’s how the market was when I got started, too, so I know for a fact that this system works.
When you hear about inventory being low and about it being a seller’s market, what you’re hearing are more realtor terms. Those statistics are all about people who WANT to sell.
That’s good news because you’re not looking for people who WANT to sell. You’re looking for people who NEED to sell, and the reason they need to sell is because they’re experiencing some sort of financial, personal, or property distress. And unfortunately, these problems happen to people every day.
You can swoop in and help people solve these problems. They’ll give you equity – which is what you want – in exchange for the peace of mind that you’ll provide, which is what they want.
You need to be at the top of these people’s minds so that when these problems happen to them, you’ll be the first person they think of.
Why You Need to Focus on This
If you get this part wrong, you’re going to get really frustrated. Some of you already might be because your phone isn’t ringing as much as it used to, or as much as you’d like it to.
You might be frustrated because you have more money going out than is coming in right now. Perhaps you’re feeling concerned about that and the pressure is mounting with each bill that comes in. You might be wondering and maybe even fearing that this marketing is never going to turn around. Maybe you’ve thought to yourself, “What have I gotten myself into? Am I going to make it in the meantime?”
I mean, what you want is simple. All you want is to know how to find more deals. You want the phone to start ringing. You want to make consistent profits so that your money concerns can disappear and you can sleep at night, right?
And you want the confidence that you can survive in any market.
If you do this part right – what I’m about to share with you right now – all of that is yours.
5 Principles: How to Find Deals
I have five hot tips to help you learn how to find deals.
Principle #1: It’s a People Business
Real estate is a people business. Every property you ever buy or sell will be to or from another person.
To do this business, you need to interact with people in a way that they like you, trust you, and believe you to be competent enough to get the job done.
If you can’t handle working with people in a favorable light, go find yourself a job at a tech business. It might sound harsh, but it’s true – you HAVE to be able to interact with people to do real estate. It’s a people business.
Principle #2: Contact Your Contacts
You have to contact your contacts. You can’t wait for people to come to you.
It doesn’t matter if it’s done face-to-face, over the phone, via text messaging, email, or direct mail – you need to contact your contacts.
You’ve probably noticed that, up to this point, your deals have come from a wide array of people – realtors, other investors, investment club members, estate attorneys, funeral directors, junk removal business owners, and more. Your contacts need to consist of people who are directly or indirectly connected to the distressed property owners that you have solutions for.
Principle #3: Give Before You Ask
You have to give before you ask. To be successful, you need to become a person of value to the people you want to extract value from.
This is a big one, and a lot of people mess it up. They go in for the kill way too soon or ask for too much. You won’t have much luck building relationships with people you hope will send you leads and deals if all you ever do is ask for and take things.
So, become a person of value to your contacts. The goal is to make them think of you first when the situation you’re looking for arises – in fact, you almost want to guilt them into calling you with leads and deals. You want to be of such high value to their database that they actually try to go out and find deals for you. You can accomplish this by giving them what they want FIRST and over-delivering.
Principle #4: Follow Up Forever
One phone call, one email, or one chance meeting at an REIA club will never cut it. These are not grounds for building a relationship.
Your mission is to build relationships with strategic people, and to do that, steady communication will be required.
Think about all your other relationships. Whether it’s your best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, the people you hang out with on weekends, childhood friends, school friends – those you’ve maintained steady communication with are the ones you have the deepest relationships with, right? If you’ve lost contact with any of them, the relationship has probably waned a bit.
Steady communication is required or there is no relationship. Everything up to this point will be for waste if you don’t maintain steady communication. Follow up, and follow up forever.
Principle #5: Create a Reputation
Be intentional about creating a reputation. Think about your legacy.
Up to this point, you’ve created a reputation as a likable professional who is looking for distressed property owners, right? That’s probably how everyone knows you if you’ve gone out, met people, maintained consistent follow-up, and become a giver over a taker. You have a reputation of offering a lot of value with your giving nature.
But your reputation needs to be bigger than that. Being a likable giver is not enough. You also need to be known as someone who is trustworthy, competent, and grateful.
Basically, you need to be a good person and have a reputation as someone who knows what they’re doing and does what they say they’re going to do.
Follow through. Perform. You want a reputation of being a performer and getting the job done. And as for the person who gave you the lead or deal – make them look and feel good. Express your gratitude with a gift, thank you note, or even a referral fee.
The “How to Find Deals” System
If you’re struggling to learn how to find deals in this market and/or your marketing budget is getting a little stressed, this system is for you.
There are three components to it: networking groups, online classifieds, and physical signs.
How to Maximize the Potential of Networking Groups
Once a month, Google for all the REIA meetings in your area. These could include:
- Networking groups
- Chamber of Commerce meetings
- Rotary Club
- BNI or LeTip (these are networking organizations)
- Entrepreneur groups
- Special interest groups (go to Meetup.com and find anything you’re interested in – wine tasting, hiking, etc.)
First look for business people – but really, you’re just looking for anything you’re into where people congregate.
Fill up your calendar with these events. If they don’t get scheduled, you won’t go, so make sure to pencil them in and commit to attending.
Once you’re actually at the event, there are a number of ways to maximize your potential of attending these groups:
1. Bring a Flyer
Never show up to a networking group empty-handed. Always take a property flyer with you. Even if you don’t have a deal to sell at the moment, bring someone else’s flyer. You can even use ours if you want!
There’s no excuse not to have a property. Be resourceful. (And by the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll have more than one source for properties to market.)
2. Buddy Up With the Organizer
There’s also a lot to be gained by getting close with the organizer. Show up early and ask how you can help.
If you can get in good with the organizer and become a person of value to them, that person will inherently become an advocate of you. They’ll promote you to the group and recommend your services.
It might not happen at the first meeting, but that’s okay. This is another relationship, so it will take time to build.
3. Speak Up!
Take every opportunity you can at these events to stand up and speak. This is a people business, and you can reach a lot of people in one big swoop just by speaking up.
The people who stand up and speak do so with authority and a purpose. They gain respect from the group because most people are afraid to do what they are doing.
Even if you ARE afraid to speak, understand that everyone else is, too, so there’s no reason for you not to stand up.
Sometimes this might mean going up to a microphone at the front of the room. Sometimes it could be at a round table or just introducing yourself one-on-one to others. Any time you have the opportunity to speak, speak.
When you do, make sure people know who you are, what you do, who you help, and who or what you’re looking for.
4. Don’t Be Weird
Be nice, be cordial, work the rooms, and collect business cards.
Collect as many as you can because this is where the system begins.
Do it without being weird. Don’t be that person who just walks around and hands out (or collects) business cards without even saying hello. But at the same time, collect as many business cards as you can.
5. Schedule Follow-Up Meetings
Don’t try to close any deals at your first meetings with people. That’s what we call “going in for the kill” too soon. Don’t be that person!
Even if the other person is trying to initiate and wants to close the deal with you right then and there, don’t do it. It’s tough to resist, but don’t.
Instead, compose yourself. Act like you’ve been there before, and set an appointment for the next day.
You might say, “Hey, I’d love to have a conversation with you about this. There’s a lot to discuss here and this probably isn’t the best place for it, but would it make sense for us to get together tomorrow morning for coffee?”
Then, just continue the small talk, set the appointment, and continue meeting other people.
6. Enter Contacts Into Your CRM
The next day, pull out all your business cards and enter the names, emails, phone numbers, and physical addresses into your CRM (customer relationship management system).
If you don’t have a CRM, you need to get one. You CAN use spreadsheets or 3×5 cards instead of a typical digital CRM, but it will take a lot more discipline and work on your part.
We use REI.Solutions, which just made some significant upgrades. It makes everything about maintaining a CRM much, much easier, and it involves a lot of automation (which you’ll understand as we go on here).
7. Contact Your Contacts
So once you’ve entered all the business cards into your CRM, contact them. You might say something like, “Hey, it was nice meeting you. I’d like to know more about your business and the type of clients you’re looking for. Would it make sense to get together for a quick cup of coffee?”
Note that you’re being a giver here. You’re NOT saying, “I’d like to get to know more about your business and see how you can send me business.”
Set an appointment if you can. Some will be open to it, some won’t.
Most will though, right? After all, they were out networking just like you were. They were looking for the same thing and are likely hoping to hook up some business as well.
I’m willing to bet there wasn’t one other person in the room who called them up after and asked, “Could we get together for come coffee so I can discover how to send you more business?” Probably no one said that to them except you because you’re being a giver before a taker.
8. Get Two Things at the Meeting
At this point, you have two goals:
- Get complete information about this person inside your CRM. For instance, a lot of business cards these days don’t have a physical address on them. You want to get that physical address.
- Discover who their ideal client is.
9. Send a Handwritten Note
Once you have this information, send them a personal, handwritten note.
You can’t underestimate the power of this little tool. The more high-tech your business becomes, the more low-tech your customer service needs to be.
And anyway, personal, handwritten notes have always been a powerful business builder. This is nothing new. And today, with texting, email, Snapchat, Facebook, and all that other stuff, they are more powerful today than they ever have been.
If you implement this practice in your business consistently, you won’t need a marketing budget.
10. Automate the Rest of Your Follow-Up
Now, here’s where the magic begins inside your CRM.
Again, we use REI.Solutions, but I think pretty much any CRM will do the following.
After you send the handwritten note, categorize that contact. Are they a seller, buyer, lender, realtor, or just a general business person? (You’ll meet a lot of general business people.)
You see, once you categorize them inside of REI.Solutions, it will activate an automated follow-up sequence. That contact will receive an automated email 2-4 times per month, a text message every other month, and a voice message every other month. It will also send a reminder to you or us every other month to actually place a call to inquire about their business.
In other words, you’ll physically call them about six times per year and let the automation do the rest.
Why This is Awesome
This practice, performed consistently, will compound and snowball. The more people you meet and the more you know about the types of clients they’re looking for, the more you’ll be able to make some great connections between people.
Sure, you could send gifts and all that kind of stuff to build relationships, but it costs money and it isn’t really what people want. This way, you’ll be able to give people what they want the most – business!
This is how you really become a person of value.
How to Rock the Online Classifieds
Networking groups aren’t the only way you can learn how to find deals. I want you to exercise a variation of this exact same practice in as many online classified websites as you can (Craigslist, etc.).
1. Find Online Classified Websites
If you’re having trouble finding online classified websites, just go to Google and type in “websites like Craigslist” and you’ll get a list of at least 20 others.
2. Get Contact Information
In each one of these online classifieds, go to the “Properties for Sale” and “Properties Wanted” sections and just start calling people. Your mission is to get their name, email, phone number, and physical address – just like you would in a networking group.
When you’re calling, you might end up talking to realtors, wholesalers, investors, FSBOs, small bank managers, or small fund managers. You just never know.
When they answer, inquire about what they’re advertising. “Hey, I saw this property. Tell me about it.”
Figure out if the property is a fit or not and just make small talk. You’re having a normal conversation with a normal person who’s looking to sell something. That’s it. You just want to see if it will work for you or not.
If the property DOES work for you…
…go ahead and try to put the deal together. Maybe it’s a good deal for someone you’ve already talked to, or maybe you think it will be a good deal for someone you’re going to talk to.
If the property does NOT work for you…
…don’t hang up. Ask the person about their business and get to know them. Ask, “How does your business work? How’s this working? What strategy has given you the most results?” You might gain some amazing insights and strategies that you can actually use in your business.
As the conversation is coming to a natural conclusion ask this question (it’s my favorite question – it’s such a great relationship builder!):
“Well, I’ve got to run. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you. But before I go, as you can imagine, I run into a wide variety of people doing what I do. I talk to a lot of people on a daily basis. If I should come across your ideal client, how would I know, and how would you like me to introduce them to you?”
Wow! That’s powerful. This really is the golden question.
Now, listen carefully to their response and take note of their answer. Think about all your previous and subsequent calls. Where can you make a match? How can you get in between a deal?
This can be a very lucrative strategy, just doing this alone!
The Power of Matchmaking
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wholesaled a property just because I knew a buyer who was looking for the type of property another seller I’d spoken to had. I just got in the middle and pulled out a fee for myself.
You can do the same.
You can do this with realtors, lenders, buyers, sellers, FSBOs, investors – just put in the work, go meet the people, and find out what they’re looking for.
I’m not even saying you have to call every single name and every single classified every day. Just log 10-20 calls. Put in an hour toward this each day and your consistent effort will pay off.
3. Follow Up
Whether the property is a match or not, once you have the contact’s information, you can send them a personal, handwritten note. Then, put their information in your CRM so you can activate your automated follow-up system.
How For Sale Signs Can Boost Your Business
Yes, I’m talking about actual For Sale signs here – the kind you see posted on streetlamps and traffic light poles.
You can do this when you’re just driving around town. Turn your radar on, turn your antennas up, open your eyes, open your ears. You’ll start to notice Bandit signs, FSBO signs, and For Rent signs everywhere.
When you see these signs, call the numbers and talk to these people. Figure out how their businesses work, get their information, and plug it into your CRM. Then, let your CRM do 90% of the following up for you, and build relationships.
And let’s be clear – these are definitely people you want relationships with. If they’re posting signs, they’re clearly out there, doing the work, hustling. You want them in your database because you’re a hustler now, too.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go With This System!
This is how you do it. This is how you put in the work.
This, over time, in all three of these categories – networking groups, online classifieds, and For Sale signs. You’ll never ask yourself how to find deals again.
Just imagine your 2018 if you did this for an hour each day – even half an hour each day! Who would you know that you don’t know right now? How many deals could you have gotten in between by talking to buyers and sellers? I mean, just by talking to 10 sellers and 10 buyers, you could probably match up 3-5 of those people with each other, right?
Just small, consistent actions like this, over time, are what will make you successful.
You should never use the excuse, “I don’t know what to do.” There’s just too much information out there for that to be true, and it’s so easy for you to access.
You have to put it in an organized system, like this one, and let me tell you – this system works. I know that because it worked for me, and I did it with half the resources you have right now.
Finding Deals: Fast or Far?
Real estate investing is a people business. This system is how you build a people business. You could spend thousands of dollars on marketing campaigns indefinitely to create expensive leads…
…or you can invest in relationships to generate free leads.
The first method will help you go fast, but the second method will help you go far.
So which one should you do?
Should you be concerned with going fast, or going far?
I say… both. Go fast AND far.
I mean, you’re going to generate leads right now via your marketing campaigns, and you’re going to generate leads later and forever via your relationships.
Most people don’t do the latter – at least, not with intention – so it takes a really, really long time. But you can accelerate and control this process significantly by focusing on the five principles I’ve shared here.
This is how you produce in any market. It’s how you have the confidence to move forward regardless of what the market conditions are, what the headlines are saying, or what the news is trying to convince you of.
Get Consistent Results From Your Business
Consistent actions and organization are what yield consistent results. This is how you eliminate chaos from your business.
Consistency even beats talent. When talent isn’t consistent, you’ve got this.
If you don’t have a CRM or you’re looking for an alternative/upgrade, right now at REI.Solutions, they have a 7 days for $7 trial. It also gives you full access to the Epic Pro Academy for those 7 days. If you don’t like it, you can cancel at the end of it, and you’ll only be out $7.