Setting up automated real estate investing systems might sound overwhelming at first, but it’s not as complicated as you think… and it’ll save you thousands of hours of tedious tasks.
There are many automated real estate investing systems you can integrate into your business, but today, I want to focus on lead generation…
The engine of your lead machine.
Why Have a Lead Machine?
Real estate investing works without a lead machine, but it’s not fun.
Manually generating leads is a slow, frustrating process that always leaves you feeling overworked and underpaid. Progress comes slowly.
There are only 24 hours in a day, and you’re only one person. Your time is limited! So if the only answer is “work more to make more,” this real estate investing thing just might kill you.
Luckily, there IS another answer: a lead machine.
With automated lead generation, you can:
- Enjoy time off every now and then
- Be paid well for the hard work you put in
- Speed up the process
- Enjoy the independence and freedom that real estate promises
What It Looks Like to Have a Lead Machine
Mackenzie Kelly, one of my students, did an excellent job of automating her business – specifically, her lead generation.
She lives in San Francisco, California and invests virtually in Indianapolis. She’s a very successful entrepreneur and owns a few large companies with two partners.
Clearly, Mackenzie is the definition of “busy.” If there were ever a person to have a valid excuse to not do something, it would be her.
So how has she found time to crush the real estate investing business?
It’s all about the “why.” If the “why” behind your investing is big enough, you’ll always find the time to make it happen.
Mackenzie’s “why” is huge. She got tired of seeing her husband, a San Francisco sheriff, come home every night beat up, exhausted, and completely worn out.
So, she made it her goal to surpass her husband’s income with her own passive income from real estate, giving him the option to quit his day job any time he wanted to. Even if he never chose to quit, Mackenzie understood what a different feeling it is to walk into work each day knowing you don’t have to be there – the feeling of only being there because you want to be there. That’s what she wanted for her husband.
Even with this big “why,” Mackenzie still almost didn’t join for two reasons:
- She still didn’t know if she could make the time.
- Back in 2007, she lost a huge real estate deal. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to go through that again.
Our Three-Part Plan
So, here’s what we did:
- We reframed her past real estate experience as an experience to not repeat. So many people take the wrong lesson away from their failures and decide to quit and try something else altogether, wasting tons of time, energy, resources, money, and education. I had Mackenzie reframe the experience so we could move forward and she could use that information to mitigate future risks, making her a better investor than she was before.
- We booked just one day a week for her real estate investing. This was actually her creative way of doing it, and it worked well! She told her business partners that she would be available any day of the week but Fridays because those were reserved for investing, and they agreed.
- We set up all the systems to automate and delegate the lead generation in her overall business. She was present in her business one day a week, and her automation ran the business on the other six days.
Mackenzie got her first check of $8,000 inside of 30 days.
And in a little over 12 months, she created $15,000 of passive income per month.
Her husband now officially goes to work because he WANTS to, not because he HAS to. He has the option to quit any time he wants with no change to his standard of living.
Since accomplishing this, Mackenzie has gone off to other ventures and real estate investing has become more of a hobby for her. But her real estate is still running thanks to all the systems and automation, and it got her to her goal in just 12 months.
5 Pointers for Automated Real Estate Investing Systems
Automation was key for Mackenzie success, and it could be the secret to your success, too. Just follow these next five pointers to set up your automated real estate investing systems and you’ll be off and running.
Point #1: Automating You
First, let’s talk about you.
If you’re good at something, you need to get so good at it that it becomes automatic, even if it does require your time.
For example, if you’re taking the seller appointments at properties, you’re meeting with sellers. You need to practice that in the same manner you’d practice your golf swing, your jump shot, or a concerto on the piano. How do you get it to be perfect every time? How does that result get automated?
It’s through practice.
So, you need to be able to walk into a house, automatically build rapport, present an agreeable offer of price and terms that the seller loves, and walk out with a signature. You need to get automatic in this department.
This is the highest and best use of your time.
Audio Business Cards
Another area to consider automating is your response to the question, “What do you do for a living?”
This is the go-to question in any business-related small talk. You probably get asked this multiple times a day. So it’s incredibly important that your answer automatically generates leads and contracts for the betterment of your business.
Right now, you might just say something like, “I do real estate.” This puts you at a disadvantage for several reasons:
- It ends the conversation because people think they know what real estate is.
- People will hear this and think you’re an agent (unless you’re asked to clarify)
- The conversation COULD continue, but by the way you’ve worded your answer, it’s now on the other person to continue it. You need to answer in a way that YOU have control over carrying the conversation forward.
When I got started in real estate, money was really tight. There was certainly no room for marketing, let alone marketing automation.
So I had to automate myself. I had multiple “audio business cards” at the ready for every occasion, depending on where I was and who I was looking for at the time.
For example, my most frequent and universal answer was, “Hey, I show busy professionals how to build cash flow in their spare time so they don’t have to work so hard. That’s what I do for a living.”
This was a million times more effective than just saying, “I do real estate.” In fact, it damn near launched Cash Flow Savvy – I used this audio business card when selling other turn-key business properties and it generated so many leads for us that it made sense for us to start our own turn-key business. And that’s how Cash Flow Savvy got created – from an audio business card!
If you want to create your own audio business card, follow this formula:
“I” + [action verb] + [target market] + [benefit] + “so they can” + [benefit]
I show busy professionals how to build cash flow in their spare time so they don’t have to work so hard.
I give realtors free seller leads so they don’t have to prospect.
I help family law attorneys liquidate their clients’ assets so they can pay their legal fees.
Point #2: Automation vs. Delegation
Automation and delegation are two completely different things, and you need both to succeed.
Real estate investing is a people business. We look for people in distress because they’re the ones we can bring benefits to, and they’re attracted to the benefits we provide.
People don’t want to talk to a machine. They want to talk to a person who can help them – now.
With that said, here’s what I want you to do:
- Do what you do best.
- Automate the rest.
- Outsource what you can’t automate (specifically, the parts that need people).
Why is this so important?
Think of a phone tree. When you call a large company, you’ll reach their automated customer service system. It’s set up so that they don’t have to talk to their customers or pay an employee to do so. They’re voice activated or touch-tone activated and 100% automated.
It works great for them!
But what about the customer?
Have you ever reached a phone tree when you’re in a hurry? They’re terrible for quick answers and emergencies, and they leave most customers frustrated. I doubt you’ve ever heard someone rave about how much they love phone trees.
That’s why delegation vs. automation is so important. You can automate your direct mail, pay-per-click campaigns, online lead capture, and anything else without customer interaction. But when it comes to fielding leads, always delegate.
Point #3: What & When
What are we going to automate? What are we going to delegate? And when should we do it? What should we attack first?
There is a hierarchy of needs for your business, and the sooner those needs can get automated, the better off your business will be.
I would suggest lead generation to be the first of your automated real estate investing systems. It’s a great first step for anyone just starting to remove themselves from some of the daily tasks of their business. It’s probably the easiest to automate and the most important, especially if you only have a few hours a day for real estate investing. You definitely don’t want to be wasting that time on lead generation when you could be contacting leads instead.
The Easiest Way to Automate
Once again, don’t get overwhelmed at the thought of building all these complicated automated real estate investing systems. It’s taken me years to put all of mine in place, and I did it by starting small. Once I had the first thing in place, I built off of it.
You can dive in and build all of the systems at once if you’d like, but understand that you’ll have to temporarily remove yourself from the real estate investing business while you get it all done.
One of the things we do inside the REI Ace Program is copy n’ paste our systems into our clients’ businesses. This completes the process in 48 hours without all the stress of piecing things together, going through trial and error, planning, strategy, software issues, technology issues, passwords, etc. William and Miguel have taken ownership of this part of the business and have it down to a streamlined science.
If you’re looking for the easy way out, this is it.
Four Steps of What & When
After lead generation, here are the next four steps to setting up your automated real estate investing systems:
- Automate, delegate, or learn to love the items you hate first. If you don’t, you’ll lose your passion for this business and you won’t be willing to do what it takes to succeed.
- Automate, delegate, or commit to mastering the items you’re not good at, even if you like them.
- Automate or delegate the items you’re good at but would rather not do. For example, I think I’m pretty good at writing copy on our landing pages and I enjoy it, but it’s very time-consuming and takes me away from my business. I realize it’s not the best use of my time, so I don’t do it. Someone else does it and I just oversee it.
- Automate and delegate the items you like. You don’t have to do this, but once you get yourself out of the business, you want to focus on being redundant. You should be able to come and go as you please while the work gets done at a steady pace.
In general, focus on automating and delegating all of the things that take you away from money-making activities.
For example, accounting is easy to automate or delegate because there are people readily available for you to hire.
Money-making activities, however, should be performed inside of your business and completed consistently. That’s where your focus should be.
If you haven’t downloaded the free Daily Success Report yet, I highly recommend you do so. It’s a scorecard we and our clients use to keep us focused on the right activities each day. It can also serve as a road map of what you want to automate and delegate first. Download it here.
Point #4: Technology
You have to stay on top of new technology.
This can be daunting, as there’s a lot of it out there and it changes all the time. But technology can be used in hundreds of ways to get rid of the mundane yet necessary activities that need to be performed on a daily basis.
Really, technology is the heart of your automation.
But beware: There are lots of shiny objects out there that won’t actually impact your business other than adding another expense, so choose wisely. Don’t accidentally transition from the real estate business into the “shiny objects” business.
The Bare Minimum
To keep you away from all those useless (and expensive) shiny object, here’s the bare minimum of what you need in regards to technology.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System
The saying “the fortune is in the follow-up” is true… sort of. You just need to do a lot more than simply follow up (set appointments, present offers, get contracts signed on discounted real estate, etc.).
But following up is the first step to the rest of those actions, and a CRM puts you in a position to do that more efficiently.
Call Capture Phone Number
I wouldn’t recommend spending one dime on your marketing before you’re able to capture the information of all the people who call you.
That’s what a Call Capture Phone Number system does for you. It captures the phone number of all your marketing inquiries and leads whether they leave a message or not.
80% of purchases are made within the first eight contacts, but very, very few are made on the first two. Because of this, you’ll need their information to follow up.
It might take eight contacts to get a purchase, but you don’t have to be the one making all those contacts.
An email autoresponder can automate some of your contacts. At Epic, we have eight automated email messages that go out to our seller leads every week, rotating indefinitely. This takes a lot of work off the team’s plate.
What We Use at Epic
When shopping for your CRM, Call Capture Phone Number, and email autoresponder, you’ll find many choices in the marketplace. Each will have its own nuances, tweaks, and perks.
At Epic, we used to subscribe to a bunch of different services, but now, we just use REI Solutions. It has everything in one system – CRM, Call Capture Phone Number, email autoresponder, four full SEO websites, unlimited landing pages, project manager for transactions, and more. They’re still adding features to it.
It works very well for us, and it’s a very dependable system. It even cuts down our costs a bit. But most importantly, it includes all three of the essential pieces of technology you need immediately.
I’d highly recommend it as the beginning point of your technology. Check it out at REI.Solutions.
Point #5: Virtual Assistants (and Appointment Setting)
Don’t roll your eyes! I realize you might have a love-hate relationship with virtual assistants (VAs) – or just a hateful one.
But even if you’ve had some terrible VAs in the past, that’s just because you’ve been doing it wrong. This time, you’re going to do it right.
Having a love-worthy VA is a magical thing. They exist for the tasks you can’t automate, like data mining the online court records or going through online classifieds. It’s incredibly tedious work, but it’s too complicated for bots (bots do exist for these things, but they miss valuable information).
Online real estate sites, online property management sites… it’s all time-consuming, not to mention boring. But if you do it consistently, it will generate business for you.
My Big VA Revelation
I, too, have had bad VAs. I got all hyped up on the book Four Hour Work Week that tells you, “All you have to do is look up some guy or girl in Pakistan and they’ll do all your work for you for $4 an hour!”
After that, I rushed to hire VAs, only to be disappointed again and again. Each time, I was convinced I just hadn’t found the right one yet. I was even beginning to blame Tim Ferris, the author of the book, for giving bad advice.
But after sharing my experience with others over the years, I found people who understood VAs much better than I. That’s how I discovered my big error.
VAs aren’t “plug and play” technology. I’d lost sight of the fact that VAs are real people who can’t read my mind.
Once I approached working with VAs as if they were no different than the people working in my office, everything changed – our production, our income, our bottom line. Everything.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
We created Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). Basically, these are very in-depth, specific, step-by-step instructions for all the boring and mundane activities we wanted done for us online. We wrote them so simply that even a five-year-old could follow it.
We gave these SOPs to our VAs and checked in with them once a week to offer support, answer questions, train them, or just give them a pat on the back, the same way we’d interact with anyone in our office.
Once we had all of that delegated (with great success), we started thinking, “What else could we create an SOP for?”
We really got bitten by the SOP bug and started experimenting and creating, and that’s how we came up with so many different methods for our VAs to generate leads for us and our clients. Our SOPs are so good that some of our best VAs came to us with absolutely zero real estate experience, and now they’re finding and creating great leads for us.
To delegate the setting of appointments, we use PATLive, a popular live answering service that answers your phone when you can’t. It asks the caller a predetermined set of questions and imports the answers right into your CRM. It’s like a 24-hour phone service working for your business.
Like many of our strategic systems, we combine PATLive with an automated system, Call Rail. This is our call capture system. We set up a call flow in which you can schedule when you’re available to speak to your leads. PATLive answers the rest of the time.
For example, if you have a full-time job, you could have PATLive take your calls from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You could take calls for a few hours after work and then send them back over to PATLive when you go to bed at night. It’s a great way to be available 24 hours a day through delegation and automation.
PATLive might not be the exact voice the seller was hoping to hear when they called, but in my opinion, it’s much better than no one answering at all. These motivated sellers are people in distress, and they want to talk to someone! They don’t want to get a phone tree or an automated text message. PATLive has been a great solution for us when we’re not available to answer the phone.
I hope you now see the massive difference automated real estate investing systems can make in your business.
The best news is, lead generation and automation is just one small part of what we’ll be covering at the Epic Intensive Cash Flow Conclave this January.
If you come to the three-day live event, you’ll learn all about my REI Ace strategy to attract leads, convert them into deals, and exit them in the most profitable way possible.
The quicker you reserve your seat, the cheaper your ticket will be, so go to EpicIntensive.com right away to sign up!