In the real estate business, one needs to be a marketer before being an investor, so we brought Dean Jackson, a marketing genius, on the show! He runs Listing Agent Lifestyle podcast as well as many others and has multiple businesses, such as 90-Minute Books. Listen to why he got involved in so many projects, how he manages to complete them, and how he would use his skills to get sellers to call him instead of searching for them.
What You Will Learn About I Know I’m Being Successful When… w/Dean Jackson:
- How and why Dean Jackson fell in love with marketing at an early age
- The most interesting things he sold
- What Dean’s scale ready algorithm is
- The primary purpose of his multiple podcasts and businesses
- His 90-Minute Books company
- How he manages to run all of his projects
- Dean’s Listing Agent Lifestyle podcast
- Dean’s idea for finding real estate deals
- How new ways of selling properties online will affect the industry
- How to know when you are successful
- Watch the full video version of this episode on YouTube!
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Speaker 1: This is Theriault Media.
Matt Theriault: How do you know when you’re being successful? Most people look at success as something aspirational. Like looking down the road and saying, “I’ll be successful when I get to this.” When I make a million dollars or when I have this amount of money or when I do this many properties or something that you’re defining a goal as how they know they’ll be successful. The reality is when you … The kind of success that they were looking for is the sustainable feeling of success.
Hi, I’m Matt Theriault and welcome to The Epic Real Estate Investing Show and today is Thought Leader Thursday. On today’s episode of Thought Leader Thursday, I am joined by someone who I refer to as a marketing genius and considering we’re all marketers before we are real estate investors, I was giddy to have him on the show, so I’m very excited about it. He fell in love with marketing as a young boy when he first realized that selling stuff on the commission was much better than renting himself out by the hour for a regular job and he’s never looked back. He carried this distaste, I like the way he says that he’s carried this distaste for real work into his adult life and is focused on a lifestyle center approach to business using marketing as the ultimate lever to a life of freedom and fun. Please help me welcome to the show, Mr. Dean Jackson. Dean, welcome to Epic Real Estate Investing.
Dean Jackson: Hey man, welcome. This is exciting.
Matt: Yeah. Isn’t it? I feel like we’ve seen each other a few times now in the last what? Six to eight months? I feel like-
Dean: Well, it’s true.
Matt: Dean, as I was reading about you and as I’ve talked about you, what was that young boy moment that caused you to fall in love with marketing?
Dean: It’s interesting because when I was 14, I waited and waited and waited until you’re … 14 was the minimum age where you were allowed to get a job. My friend, Neil, and I went up to the bowling alley in town and we both applied, at the same time. We both got hired and that was for a job at the minimum wage of $2.50 per hour which was what it was. This was like, we’re talking 1980 now, you know? What I realized is that was like a long eight hours on a Saturday in the bowling alley was a busy day. At the end of the day, you’d end up with less than 20 bucks or whatever, after taxes and stuff. I also, I’d had a paper route before I was 14. One of the things my newspaper did is they published these as a separate little venture, these coupon books. I’d discovered that I could make probably $15 an hour selling these coupon books door-to-door.
That’s when I realized, well, this is way better. I can be, I can get a lot less work and make more money. I’m the one in complete control of this, so that was the only job I’ve ever had and so from there, everything I did was all on the results economy, we call it, where you’re getting A for your results, not your time and effort.
Matt: Right? I have a similar background. A similar story. I did take jobs here and there to help ends meet while I was in those entrepreneurial endeavors, but I’m always interested in people that started that way because I started with a paper route myself. I started also door-to-door sales. I’m always curious about what are some of the more interesting things that you sold?
Dean: We had the coupon books, subscriptions for the magazine.
Matt: Magazines, right.
Dean: Was doing, ran a painting company all through college. My friends and I owned a hot dog cart where that was a valuable lesson in that we had partnered or contracted with a night club close to us that would allow us to come and set our cart up on Thursday through Sunday and we would … We were the only food … They didn’t have any food in the place, so we would, from 9:00 until 1:00 in the morning, we would make a lot of money in that little bit of time and compared to, if we were pushing the cart around the neighborhood trying to sell hot dogs, all week we wouldn’t make what you made by being in front of a starving crowd. I learn the lesson of alliances with what would be the equivalent of traffic now, you know? Of being in those things and with the painting company, we had the less of the generating leads, but we started a separate company called Name Droppers and what we did was we would hire college girls to go into neighborhoods and do surveys in the spring to find people who were going to be doing home improvement projects in the summer.
We would have a checklist with all different home improvement projects like a new roof, windows, pools, siding, driveway, deck, landscaping, all of it. We would take the painting leads for our painting company, but we would sell or refer the other leads to other companies in each of those categories. We turned our lead generation, our advertising, into a profit center. In some cases, if we refer a pool to the pool company, our referral fee for that would be more than the money we would make if we had painted their house. Sometimes we would get to do both. Sometimes we would paint the house and refer the pool company and made the money for that. I’ve just always been, I’ve just had that love for marketing from the very beginning, you know?
Matt: The Internet has put those types of creative ideas in full steam ahead for you.
Dean: Absolutely. Yeah.
Matt: One of the things I found interesting that the few times we’ve been together is that you’ve always got like an interesting story or an anecdote or a fact, or some sort of historical reference to make a point. I was reading about you and you said that one of your favorite things to discover new information.
Matt: I just noticed that every time you’ve got some new information, so do you have a process for what you set out to learn or does it just happen?
Dean: I think it’s one of those things that I’m insatiably curious. I love to just pay attention and look and read and to watch new things and explore different things, what other businesses are doing. The way that my business works with all the different podcasts and the events that I do, I get exposed to and get to see all kinds of different businesses, so I have a whole new multi-faceted view on things.
Matt: What’s something that you’ve learned recently that you’re most excited about?
Dean: What I’ve really discovered now is for most of my career, one of the winning moves that I’ve done is to create something that I call a scale ready algorithm. I’ll figure out something like on the real estate side. I’ll figure out how to get listings for realtors and then I would then syndicate that turnkey system that I’ve created to all other realtors all over the country. We spent a lot of years, like 15 years doing big real estate seminars in the top 20 markets in North America every month for 15 years to build this big audience and to take these things out to the market. What I’ve experienced in the last few years is this idea of I’ve been working with some franchise organizations, like the power of distribution where I’m able to work with one franchise, and create a scale ready algorithm that something that solves a problem or gets new customers and then we’re able to immediately distribute it and deploy it to hundreds of franchisees all at once. As opposed to creating something and then going out and building one at a time. To get it out there.
Matt: What does your business look like today? I know that you’re very focused on creating lifestyle centered businesses and I think that’s one of the most interesting-
Dean: The thing is that, so if we look at it that my, organizationally, our main or primary purpose is that we help entrepreneurs make more money. Everything that I do falls under that umbrella and so that opens up so many different things. We do free podcasts where I’ve got five or six different podcasts that we do include the I Love Marketing podcast, the More Cheese, Less Whiskers, and the Joy of Procrastination and all these podcasts that are really great conversations about marketing mostly. That gives me the opportunity to be in communication and grow a big audience of people who we’re constantly in communication with. Then we do live events. I do our Breaks and Blueprint event, which is where I met you, one of those where we spend three days with people applying our eight profit activators to their business. We’ve got online programs like our [inaudible 00:11:19] program, and our email mastery program. I have a company called 90-Minute Books that we help authors write their first book and tools. I have a company called gogoclients.com which is landing pages, autoresponders, toll-free voice mails, postcards, and a CRM, all in one thing.
There’s a whole collection of things that all fall under that umbrella of helping entrepreneurs make more money which is a huge, big enough territory that I’m never going to get tired of it or bored or feel cornered or wonder if there’s a bigger market. The great news is helping people make more money is never going to go out of style.
Matt: One thing I find so intriguing about you is your systematization and your creation of efficiencies and what you described was actually hearing it all come out at once is really rather large, right? Can you touch on it? You don’t have to go into great detail I guess, but can you touch on how you’re able to manage so much?
Dean: It takes a village. That’s the whole thing, right, is people. I always, that’s really the thing that I always have learned to focus on. Asking myself of who, not how to do something. I focus on what I see and what an opportunity is and what I want to do, but I don’t get trapped in the mechanics of how do I do that? I’m focused on okay, who can help me with this? Who can I partner with or who can I bring on our team to run that division of our business? That’s really been a necessity because one of the great things is I’m ADD and I’m finding it’s not natural for me to focus and do discipline execution of things, but I have an infinite capacity for ideas and seeing what to do.
Matt: Right. I should have known that answer because that’s one of the bigger takeaways I’ve had from hanging out with you. It’s not the how, it’s the who.
Matt: Well, you passed your own test.
Dean: That’s right. Exactly. Yeah.
Matt: Very good. You talk a lot about business. You talk a lot about marketing and helping entrepreneurs make more money. What would you like to talk about more that you don’t get the opportunity to?
Dean: It’s been an interesting thing, you bring up the lifestyle stuff that I really am a big believer that the purpose of the business is to support my life. Right? That my life is the thing that is really where, what I’m most interested in. In growing or building. I’ve been thinking about and really working on the dynamic between what I call the lifestyle elements of something. We’ve got, I started a podcast called Listing Agent Lifestyle, and it’s for our real estate community. I talk about the, there are eight elements of the listing agent lifestyle. Five of them are business elements, but the three lifestyle elements are daily joy, abundant time, and financial peace. We’re looking to turn those dials up to 11. We’re trying to get to maximize those three things. We often find that where people get frustrated is when those three things are out of alignment, if people, if they’re not joyful it’s usually because they feel like they don’t have any time. They’re stressed with the time, and the reason that they feel with the time crunch is because they feel often that they have a money crunch.
It’s like this whole downward spiral of things that conspires together to bring people down where it’s the same thing … I look at it, if I can help somebody make more money, and do it in a way that takes less time, and brings them more joy, that’s really going to be a big win for them. That’s why I’ve been focusing on really conveying those, the importance of those lifestyle elements. People think it might be indulgent to have abundant time or to even strive to have daily joy. But I think why not? Those are the real, if you don’t have those things, what’s the point really?
Matt: What’s something that few people know about Dean that you wish more people did know?
Dean: I have a beautiful singing voice.
Matt: Do you really?
Dean: Yes. Like an angel.
Matt: Really? Nice. I did not know this.
Dean: There you go.
Matt: I’m going to tell everybody I know.
Dean: That’s one way. Yeah, yeah.
Matt: Are you kidding?
Dean: No, I’m not kidding.
Matt: Okay. I wasn’t sure.
Dean: No one’s ever asked me that. That’s funny.
Matt: Let’s tap into your magic superpowers, Dean. If you were a real estate investor. I know you work with a lot of agents, but if you were a real estate investor, looking for distressed properties. Properties that you could find at a discount. How would you deploy your superpowers in making that happen?
Dean: It’s really interesting that I learned about, this is something that I mentioned about name droppers. That I’m always thinking about who else is looking for that same person? I think that because I’ve got so much experience with real estate agents, who are looking for listings. Not the people who are distressed. The fact is that you’re going to find out of some number of people in any neighborhood that there’s going to be some number of distressed situations. I’m trying to only find those people is, that’s not how I would approach it. I’d still try and find the people as if they’re going to be normal sellers in a way, like not stressed. Especially the way we’re doing it which is offering valuable information for people. Anybody who’s thinking about selling their house, the thing that they want to know is what is it worth? We’ve hit on a way of doing that that’s not as isolating as find out what your house is worth. Enter your address here to find out what your house is worth, which people have been tricked that for a long while now.
We’ve been offering people the opportunity to the voyeur in on the April 2019 report on [Winter Haven 00:19:34] like front house prices where it’s like the report is already done, and get to the voyeur in on it. When those people respond, I, as an investor, would be looking to present those people with an opportunity to sell their house right away, but if they’re not that, to also then refer those to a real estate agent or to get that sponsored or to recoup the money that I spent to generate those leads. Looking at how can I generate those leads at a profit?
Matt: The concept being offering say your market report?
Dean: Yeah, more where it’s not so much focused on you and singling you out. It’s that you happen to live in a townhouse in a particular area like the [inaudible 00:20:35] Haven townhouse report. That means that you’re interested to know what all the townhouses are selling for. Or if you move into a community called Lake Ashton or Cypress Wood or a golf course community, you want to know what the activity is going on in there because you may be thinking about your options. Can I negotiate a short sale? Can I get out of this? Can I, you know. You want the data, the more information that you have is going to create more options for you. Right? The fact that somebody asks for it is going to create the opportunity, you know?
Matt: Then it would be like an opt-in type situation and a follow-up phone call? Is that how you’d do it?
Dean: Actually, my whole way of doing it is that we don’t even make the phone calls. I’ve got my whole way of setting it up was what would I do to get listings if my phone only accepts incoming calls? That’s the way that it’s been so we set up everything. I can do this for realtors everywhere just to get them to the point where people call them up and say, “Hey can you come and list my house?” It happens all the time.
Matt: The power of a powerful question, right?
Dean: That’s it, but I think are you noticing, I’ll ask you a question because I’m curious about this too. How do you think things like Opendoor and the iBuyers and stuff are going to change the distressed property investment situation?
Matt: I don’t know what the workings on the back end look like.
Dean: Basically they’re venture-backed. They’ve got all the money. If you want to sell your house to Opendoor, what you do is you fill out a form, send them some pictures of your house, they look it over. Twenty-four hours later they give you an offer for your house and typically the offer will be for that number, market value basically. Minus, the six percent fee for the Opendoor experience, plus another three percent or so for a risk-free on top of that. You basically will get 90% of what market value is for your house. But you can close in three days or you can close in 33 days or three months. Whatever you want to close. It gives a baseline, but overall, within Phoenix where they have a pretty good, almost 10% market share, in Phoenix that their average is six and a half to seven percent off of-
Matt: Off the market?
Dean: Off the market value, yeah.
Matt: Yeah, I’ve got two thoughts on it. One was I was a real estate agent. It’s how I got started. That was in 2002, so I was 2002 to 2006 I was an agent. I remember back then every other agent was always nervous because that was the emergence of Zillow or their introduction to the market. Everyone was really concerned about that. I forget the actual number but I think it was like 1.1 million real estate agents across the country. I think the last time I looked, there were about 1.1 million real estate agents in the country, right?
Matt: There’s part of it where I’ve seen this fear and this discussion and chatter about stuff like that and it hasn’t had an impact yet. The other part I think about is I think it’s going to take a lot of public education for someone just to sell their house through phone or through a computer. When it becomes normal and I think it’s still going to take longer than most people think.
Matt: That’s my thoughts.
Dean: I agree. Yeah and I think as it becomes normal, when you look at it … What would your investors be typically looking to buy a property for if it’s a distressed situation? What kind of a discount off the market value are you finding that you guys are able to negotiate?
Matt: The common formula is taking what fair market value is, subtracting repairs. Subtracting your profit, right? In that profit, there could be your profit only or your profit plus maybe another investor you might sell that property to. It’s got a big chunk. I think people are looking between 50 and 70% of the market, right?
Dean: That’s like when you’re the, that’s the kind of thing when you’re the only option that somebody has, that makes a lot of sense, but when you think about how prevalent CarMax is right now in the car world where you can literally drive your car up and drive away with a check, then that’s where a lot of, in major markets, that’s where it’s going, right? It’s interesting because the data is available so that they can determine what market value is, you know?
Matt: Right, right. I think something is going to, they’ll meet eventually. Right? What we do here at Epic, we’re very much more the buy and hold strategy so the deep discount isn’t necessarily required. We’re not flippers. I’m not. I have clients that are, but if there were three guiding principles for your success, what would they be?
Dean: I think that those can all be found in something I did about 20 years ago. I decided to define what success means to me. I created, I did this work with a gentleman called Thomas Leonard. Thomas was really instrumental in guiding me through that process, but the conversation we were having was how do you know when you’re being successful? Most people look at success as something aspirational. Like looking down the road and saying, “I’ll be successful when I get to this. When I make a million dollars.” Or when I have this amount of money or when I do this many properties or something that you’re defining a goal as to how we know we’ll be successful. But the reality is, the kind of success that they were looking for is the sustainable feeling of success. How do you know that you’re being successful? Instead of thinking about it as something aspirational, we started looking and thinking how will I know it when I’m experiencing it right now so that I can just be successful?
All we did was fill out the statement, “I know I’m being successful when …” We filled those out with finishing that statement with what it means to you. For me, my top three, you asked about three. My top three are that I know I’m being successful when I can wake up every day and say, “What would I like to do today?” That means my number one value is time, freedom. That I know I’m being successful when I’m in complete control of my time and I can do whatever I want. Then number two is that I know I’m being successful when my passive revenue exceeds my lifestyle needs so that I don’t have to spend my time to provide for my life. That gives you another level of freedom.
Then the third is that I’m working on projects I’m excited about and doing my very best work. That is an infinitely scalable statement. It allows me to … It defines everything. I’m working. I’m not just idle, but I’m around kind of thing. I’m working towards something. On projects. There’s always a newness and an excitement, and a beginning, and a middle, and an end on a project, that I’m excited about, meaning I want to work on the things that I want to move forward on and I’m doing my very best work, which means I get, I’m challenging myself and I’m doing things that I get bigger opportunities the more that I grow, you know? My best work today is better than my best work 20 years ago. I’m a different Dean Jackson than I was 20 years ago. Right? I look for the next 20 years to be the exact continuation of seeing how far you can go with those three premises.
Matt: I think I’m going to adopt those if you don’t mind.
Dean: Why wouldn’t you?
Matt: Right? Those are fantastic. Well, Dean, it’s been an absolute pleasure. Let’s stay in touch. Let’s do it again.
Dean: Yeah, awesome man.
Matt: Alrighty. Thank you so much. That’s it for today. God bless to your success. I’m Matt Theriault. I’ll see you next week on another episode of Thought Leader Thursday right here on The Epic Real Estate Investing Show. Take care.