On today’s episode of Thought Leader Thursday, Matt is joined by Grant Wise, a serial entrepreneur, founder of Real Estate Marketing University, and innovative marketing strategist. Tune in to learn how Grant went from being a college dropout to a maverick leader, the biggest lead generation mistakes real estate investors should avoid, and how to start generating more leads right away!
What You Will Learn About Grant Wise – Automated Lead Generation:
- How Grant got his start at the age of 19
- The successes and failures of his first business
- The 3 basic consumer levels of awareness for making decisions
- The big difference between real estate investors and real estate agents
- The importance of analyzing the consumer
- How Grant assigned a price point to a generated lead
- A big mistake real estate investors should avoid
- How to gain a more effective perspective as an investor
- The worst lead generation advice (and how to do things differently)
- How to start generating more leads
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- Also, check these out:
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Speaker 1: This is Theriault Media.
Grant Wise: You know, when I started my training company, for the agents I had one campaign that we taught people. As we look at it now, we have 16 or 17 campaigns that work really, really well. You’ve got to consistently evolve your message.
Matt Theriault: Hello. I am Matt Theriault of the Epic Real Estate Investing Show. This is Thought Leader Thursday. Today I’m joined by a serial entrepreneur and founder of Real Estate Marketing University, an online media training company. He is known to be a maverick leader, and an innovative marketing strategist, unafraid to lead companies in new directions. Please help me welcome to Epic Real Estate Investing, Mr. Grant Wise. Grant, welcome to the show.
Grant: Thanks man, it’s an honor to be here. I appreciate it.
Matt: Yeah, you bet. I’m excited to have you here as well. We have got a mutual friend that introduced us, and she said, “You gotta have him on the show, he’s a total badass.” I was like, “Okay, cool. If you say so.” Since, I’ve seen some of your ads running on Facebook, which have me even more excited to talk to you. We’ll get into your business and what you’re up to today. But, before we do, let’s talk about what you were doing just prior to your business of real estate lead generation.
Grant: So prior to … Man, that’s a good story. I went into business for myself when I was like 19. I never understood the concept of exchanging my time for money, going to a job and getting paid eight dollars an hour. I think I had one job my entire life. I was always the guy that was going to go out and figure something out on my own. When I was 19 I had torn my elbow out playing a little college baseball for the second and third surgery, and I had kind of decided that baseball taking a little more from me I was ever going to get back. I came home and my parents … Typical, I think that was right in that perfect time to say, “If you don’t go to college and get a degree, you’re never going to amount to anything.” Neither of which … Neither parent had a college degree, so I didn’t understand it, but I played into it for one more semester at least, and failed my second consecutive semester of history. I had zero business being in a classroom.
So I jumped out into the entrepreneurial world. Bought my father’s little construction company from him, and just kind of took off. I didn’t grow up with a lot of the greatest guidance. I didn’t grow up … Nobody taught me how to balance a checkbook. Nobody taught to be this from that. I slept on a couch in a garage most of my life. So as this young kid that’s now making a ton of money, I thought I had kind of figured life out, as most 20, 21-year-olds do I think. Started making a ton of money and started having a lot of fun. Unfortunately, started making a ton of horrible decisions. It just led me down a path of some beautiful destruction and gave me a lot of opportunities to learn.
In all of that, I had 4 or 5 construction businesses at the time, somebody came to me and said, “Hey man, we want you to start a real estate company with us.” I was like, “All right, yeah. I’m really good at starting businesses. Let’s do this.” Started the company. We launched this real estate brokerage, and our thing was we pay our agents 100% commission. It was a pretty unique model. It was a cool model. It was a fun business. Dedicated my life to it. Burned a couple businesses to the ground because of it.
After about two years, I’d basically given up everything for this business, the people that we brought in to help fund it, they came to me and they said, “Man, we think that you’re the reason this company is not nearly as successful as it could be, and we want you to leave.” And I’m like, “I’m 51% of this business. Why don’t you guys leave? I don’t want to get out of here. I dedicated my life to this thing.”
I sat back for a couple days, and I just thought about it, and I said, “You know what? I am the youngest person in this business by three times my age. Nobody thinks that I know what I’m doing. Nobody’s listening to me about using social media to grow their business. Everybody laughing at me.” I said, “You know what? Screw this. I’m going to go where I’m appreciated, not where I’m tolerated.” And that’s what I did. I took a step back. I’ll never forget. It was August 13th, 2014. I was asked to leave. Signed over all the legal rights to everything a week later. September 1st, 2014 I’d launched my little social media boot camp program.
So I had like 25 bucks to my name. My then-girlfriend, now wife, jokes that she’s the one that loaned me the money for the day because I was bankrupt, legally bankrupt. I put out a Facebook ad. It was pretty cool, a couple days later somebody bought my thousand dollar boot camp from me. I learned a ton in a really short time frame. I learned that I was still a valuable person, even though I’d made mistakes and messed up and people didn’t like me, I still had value. I learned that I could acquire customers for 25 bucks. So I was like, “Oh, okay. This works.”
We launched that first year it was so cool because the first person I ever did business with, she sold 48 houses her first year of working with me. Every agent that we touched just month in month out, within about six to eight months, they were making six figures in income in real estate and residential sales. So I was like, “Man, this is awesome. I got to take this big.” So December in 2015, we really launched Modern Agent mastery, which is a course designed to teach agents how to use Facebook ads and we grew to now we’re 1500 students internationally and have just built an awesome company helping agents understand how to generate leads.
But I kept getting asked all along the way, “Can you help real estate investors? Can you help real estate investors? Can you help investors? Man, we’re getting killed in direct mail. We’re getting killed here, killed there. The margins aren’t as good as they used to be.” I pushed the opportunity off for a long time because I’m a huge proponent of focus. I learned my mistakes in trying to spread myself too thin and grow too fast and do too much and pushed it off for a long time.
But about a year ago, I got into a place where I was like, “You know, I’ve got the time now. I can focus a little bit more of my attention on doing something different.” And that’s what I did. We started testing a lot of the different things that investors could do. After about two or three months, as cheesy as this sounds, we always say we kind of say we cracked the code a little bit. We started generating investor leads, motivated seller leads, for around $8 to $12 a lead. Started generating pre-booked motivated seller appointments, which is very sexy obviously, for anywhere from $20 to $60 an appointment. It was amazing. So we kind of launched it off and really started doing it full stream. We’ve helped a ton of investors. But that’s kind of how I fell into the world of lead generation and teaching people how to generate leads and just had a blast and learned a lot and pumped for where it’s headed.
Matt: Got it. Well gosh, that whole explanation killed about three of my questions.
Grant: Oh. I’m sorry.
Matt: No, that’s perfect. We’re very efficient around here.
Matt: So I know that you worked primarily … You got started with working with real estate agents and you’ve made a transition and started to pay attention to real estate investors. You know one of the misconceptions out there I think it people think there’s a lot of overlapping responsibility or duties or just what they do, between real estate agents and real estate investors. You know I’ve been an agent and I’m an investor. And I know that not to be the case by any means. But one place where they do have a lot of similarities, is that they have to go out and generate their own business, right? They have to generate their own leads. Typically, they’re looking for two different types of people. So I’m curious about the marketing strategies that you have in place and what you teach and what you could do for your clients, what’s the nuances there? What differentiates those two approaches to generating leads?
Grant: Really it’s the consumer. It’s not the investor, it’s not the agent. It’s the mindset of the consumer. There’s three basic consumer levels of awareness when it comes to making those types of decisions. When you look at into the mindset of the consumer, you realize there’s a huge difference in somebody that’s going to sell their house retail and somebody that’s going to sell their house to an investor. In a lot of cases, it stems from some type of major life events, which is bankruptcy, it’s pre-foreclosure, it’s divorce, it’s parental loss. So when you dig into that and you really start analyzing the prospect, that’s where you kind of visualize and you can see the biggest strategic difference.
The things that we would say to somebody that needs to sell their house now for cash is absolutely different that somebody in a market like this that can sell for 60, 70, 80 thousand dollars over asking on any given day of the week. It’s just two completely different messages. There’s obviously maybe overlap in the fact that both prospects want to sell, but they’re a completely totally night and day when it comes to the reasons that they want to sell or the reasons they must sell. So this is the biggest thing that we’ve really seen.
I think the biggest mistake that a lot of people make in trying to market here or market there, is not getting to know the consumer, just trying to throw some stuff out there and hope that it works. You’ve really got to dive into the mind of the person that you’re trying to do business with and you’ve got to understand everything about them. That’s what we did.
We spent more time analyzing the prospect than we ever did doing … Once we figured out the prospect, the Facebook ads part of it was very easy. The funnels were easy. The emails were easy. The follow-up, the branding, everything was simple. You got to study the mindset of the consumer.
Matt: Right. It’s pretty much Marketing 101. You have to know who your customer is and you have to know what they want, right? Then you start crafting a message that gives them what they want.
Grant: 100%. Marketing is messaging. But you got to know who the hell you’re talking to if you want to go out there and make any type of difference.
Matt: So your service … Do you guys … You know you mentioned the course and then you mentioned what you do, so do you have kind of two levels of service? One where you teach people how to do it and then another portion where you actually do it for them?
Grant: Yeah, we absolutely do. I’m an educated man. I love self-educated in a lot of ways and love being able to pour back into people and add value and help people understand how to do that. I think there is just an insanely cool value to knowing how to do what you need to do to go out and go to business, because you never what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen, if you’re paying rent instead of owning, it’s sometimes it’s not the best situation. So we love to lead with education, but so many investors are like me, they want to exchange their money for money, not their time for money, and so we predominantly in the investment space have more of a service that we offer that we generate leads for investors or generate pre-booked appointments for investors where they can kind of sit back and stay in their lane and we can stay in ours.
Because like I was saying earlier, there’s so much focus that needs to take place to be a wholesaler, or to be a flipper, or to be whatever type of investor you might find yourself being. So when you tack on that being a Facebook marketer as well, it sometimes it can get busy. I can argue both sides of this because I believe you’re a marketer before you’re anything. Because if nobody knows who you are, what you do, and why you do it, you’re never going to get to do the investing part of the business.
But there’s a lot of … Predominantly most of our student base, client base, is in a point where they’re working to create leverage more than attempting to learn a new skill. So we absolutely will teach and educate you, but on the flip side of that, we’ll generate leads for you. We’ll generate appointments for you any day of the week.
Matt: Right. Yeah, I’m all about convenience and leverage. So I’d rather have you just do it for me. With that said, you can generate an actual appointment with a motivated seller for 60 to 80 bucks.
Grant: That’s raw cost, you know.
Matt: Raw cost?
Grant: That’s not necessarily in every market. Some markets it’s 200 bucks, 300 bucks at raw costs. Some market it’s … We had somebody get a motivated seller for $34 in New Jersey, right? So it varies from market to market, and I think everybody probably knows a lead in Tulsa, Oklahoma is not nearly as valuable as a lead in San Diego, California. So there’s major differences I think from market to market. That’s raw costs. That’s you doing it yourself. When it comes to us doing it, Obviously there’s some service fees that are built into the cost per lead or the cost per appointment. But we are, man, we’re seeing some insane numbers where most people are trying to get a lead from a $7,000 mail drop, where they’re getting less than 1% response rates. Or they’re trying to get a lead from $150 … In PPC, we’re seeing the actual pre-booked name, email, phone number, physical address, and a time to meet. All you got to do is pick the phone up and confirm the appointment. It’s been pretty powerful to watch, for sure.
Matt: Sure, that’s nice. So I mean even at 400, 500 bucks an appointment, that’s still a really remarkable deal compared to everything else out there. Obviously, if that’s what you’re doing and these are closing, then you’re having no shortage of clients and no one… But I know that’s … That almost came out wrong. What I’m trying to say is a lead, they vary in their intensity and the timing of when it’s actually going to close. Then there’s the other big variable is the investor or the person that’s going out on the appointment themselves. What are some-
Grant: And their ability to close, yeah.
Matt: I’m sorry?
Grant: Yeah, I was just saying and their ability to close that deal.
Matt: Totally, totally. So I was kind of saying what are the biggest mistakes you see people making when they say go out on those appointments and they don’t get the deal?
Grant: It’s because you’re too obsessed over the deal. I mean at the end of the day, I think investors especially can get too wrapped up in numbers. It’s just a numbers game. Numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers, numbers. But at the end of the day, you have to realize that people are people. One of the biggest mistakes that I see is investors picking up the phone trying to close the lead in less than five minutes on an appointment, when what you are actually, if you sit back and think about it, forcing someone to do is admit the reality of their situation, which is, “Damn. I did just get a divorce. I did just go bankrupt. I did just lose my parents. And I’ve got this schmuck sitting here trying to get me to sell them the last part of whatever I might be holding onto.”
So I think if you sit back and you look at it, the least relevant topic of conversation is the house that you’re going to be buying. The most relevant topic of conversation is who are you, what are you, why are you, what’s going on? Let me tell you my story, man, I’ve been there. I’ve been bankrupt. I know exactly what you’re going through. I’ve lived through this, man, and I want to give you some pointers and teach you how to get through this.
So I think that the biggest pivot that can be made is stop trying to buy houses and start trying to build relationships and you will be just absolutely blown away at how many more houses you buy.
I never had wholesaled a deal in my entire life, but I was getting a lot of kickback. Obviously, you know when you sell somebody because you earn a seller lead of eight bucks, there’s a little barrier of B.S. like, no you can’t. You can’t do that. It’s not possible. Whatever. So I said, “You know what? I’m going to use my own strategies. I’ve never wholesaled a deal in my entire life. I’m going to go buy a house.” So put out a Facebook ad. Less than $150 an ad spent. I bought a house for $40,000. I had to call my buddy to tell me how to fill out the contracts. I had no idea what I was doing. Bought the house for 40K, sold it for 52.5K a week later. Profited $10,802 after expenses, title expenses, and marketing expenses. Just proved that you don’t need all the mail campaigns. You don’t need to hard sell somebody. I walked in that $40,000 house, a guy was wearing no shirt, and his brother and he were fighting. There had to be a cop there for me to talk to anybody about the property.
I think at the end of the day I sat myself down on that crusty old couch and I just built a relationship with this guy. We talked about hunting in Iowa. We talked about Harley Davidsons. We talked about anything he wanted to talk about. It made the sales process, the closing process really easy to where they even admitted what they wanted out of the deal, which was better than I was even … It was less money than I was going to offer. So it’s just fascinating what happens when you stop trying to close deals and you start trying to build relationships. People are people, man, and you got to realize when you jump on the phone, you’re asking them to admit that their life’s in shambles. That’s the fact. I think that’s the biggest strategic mistake that I see, for sure.
Matt: That’s just good old fashioned rapport building.
Grant: 100%. It’s good old stuff that most people have lost touch with.
Matt: I’ve been on a big push lately that your people skills are what pays the bills more than anything else in this business.
Matt: Super. So lead generation. It’s always been a big business. People are always willing to pay and looking to pay for convenience and just getting the result. I think with the market moving in the direction, shifting in the way that it’s shifting right now, lead generation is even in greater demand. So there’s a lot of competition out there for you in that circle or that business. What’s one piece of bad lead generation advise you see out there that just kind of drives you crazy?
Grant: I think that the bad lead generation advice that I’m seeing right now is that you need to dial for dollars, and you need to send mail, and you need to do that. Usually when somebody says, “Hey man, it’s not working.” What’s the proverbial response? “Do more of it. Go knock more doors. Go call more people.”
Even if Facebook ads weren’t working the way that they were working for us right now, it’s still horrible advice because when you look at the fact that it’s 2018 and if you take a high-level investor and somebody knocks on his door, what’s he going to do? He’s probably not even going to answer the door, right? You take an investor, he gets cold called every day to sell some product to help his investment business, he’s likely not even going to answer the phone. So you look at the fact that most investors throw away every single shred of junk mail they get in their inbox. “Why?” is my question. Why are you recommending something that you hate? Something that you’re so inconvenienced with you won’t mess with yourself, something that you literally shred up and throw in the trash, and telling people to do more of it? Is it because you get compensated more?
I don’t understand this theory any longer. Look, it’s 2018. People like to be marketed to a different way. So stop trying to fight and save a traditional form of marketing that is dead. Who on earth can really get that jacked up about a less than 0.00 whatever percent response rate on direct mail? It’s just absurd to me that somebody can push that kind of advice knowing how much it works.
But I believe, and not to knock any investment guy out there, it’s just because there haven’t been that many more options. Yeah. PPC’s great, but it’s a buck 50 to $200 a lead. There are other things out there, but they’re not necessarily being anything that’s come about that has worked that well. And I am in no way, shape, or form, saying that I’m the white knight and I’m the guy that going to save it all because I think that’s totally petty and I don’t believe that.
Just looking at what we’ve done, we’ve gotten to know the consumer. We’ve created for or five angles that work very well in most any market that we’ve tested. In our running ads for people, we’re getting great results. I’m not trying to hype anybody up and then knock anybody down, it’s just stop pushing messaging that you know doesn’t work, and that quite frankly if somebody did it to you, you wouldn’t respond to in your own regard. So why? You know.
Matt: I think you’re certainly on to something. I think the society, just the customer, they get a little bit more savvy as time goes on. You can even see with each little platform or new trick or technology or approach out there. You can see it in copywriting. You can see it in even like Facebook Messenger bots and stuff like that. The customer gets smart really, really quickly. And they’re getting smarter faster and faster to where you got this small little window where this one little thing works, right?
Matt: And I think you’re right with direct mail. I mean, it still works for us, but the response rate certainly is nowhere near what it used to be for us. So I can see it [crosstalk 00:21:19].
Grant: Right. That’s how marketing products work. I mean, direct mail worked really, really good for a long time, but so did T.V. advertising, that’s why so many people make so much money on Seinfeld. But at the end of the day it’s the evolution of marketing, the evolution of sales is that you’ve consistently got to be looking and consistently got to be evolving the way that you do things and the way you do business. You’re right, the consumer does wise up real fast, no pun intended, to what you’re marketing to them. It’s just the facts. We try to really pay attention to those types of things, which is why we consistently … You know when I started my training company for the agents, I had one campaign that we taught people and as we look at it now, we have 16 or 17 campaigns that work really, really well. You’ve got to consistently evolve your message because people will-
Matt: You think innovation, tracking, measuring, and then evolving and innovating are key to marketing, and always has been. That hasn’t changed.
Grant: Always has been and always will be. That’s just 100%.
Matt: Totally. Cool. Let’s get … Excuse me. Grant, let’s get practical. What’s one actionable piece of advice you could give to the audience to start generating more leads for themselves?
Grant: I think that you’ve got understand if you’re going to go off and do yourself, you just need to educate yourself more so around the prospect and who it is that you want to do business with. I mean, that’s just key. When you understand the intricacies of what somebody’s going through, their pains, their struggles, and how you can solve those problems, it gets really, really simple to craft a message to market to those people. But if you pay attention to this one distinct thing, and that is that direct mail campaigns still work to an extent because of the message, because of the offer, because of what you’re putting out there. The only thing that’s getting hurt in this situation is how many people are actually looking at your direct mail, okay?
The only thing I ever did was took what worked offline and brought it online. So if you look at your direct mail, how can you take what that says and make a Facebook post out of it? It’s just as simple as that. It’s not rocket science. It’s just I’m going to take what that postcard says and I’m going to put that on Facebook.
Then get really good at targeting. The message is important, but that’s been proven time and time again over the last several decades about what’s worked offline. Take what you’re doing offline and bring it online and target it to the right type of person. Whether that is geo-targeting a specific neighborhood, you know typing in the address and just targeting the neighborhood. Or it’s targeting a list of probates, which you can upload a list. You can upload tax records. You can upload all that data into Facebook and they’ll build audiences for you based on it. Target the right prospect with the right message and you will get interactions. You’ll get leads. You’ll get likes. You’ll get comments. You’ll get shares.
If you’re just starting out, you’ve got to interact with all that. Having a good direct marking campaign on Facebook, great. Having a good dialed in the sales process on the back end of that is paramount to the success of lead generation. In any capacity, if you’re going to get somebody that going to call you from your direct mail campaign, you’ve got to know how to handle that lead. It’s no different than Facebook ads. If you get a good lead from Facebook, you still have to know how to handle the situation, what to say, and how to build rapport and how to close that person on the relationship and how to inevitably get that appointment booked.
So if you’re trying to figure out, “How can I got out and take what Grant says and apply it?” Take A what’s worked offline, okay? Craft the same message online. And then B, who do I need to target? Pay attention to the types of things that these types of prospects are searching right now and they’re talking about. Bankruptcy, divorce, foreclosure, they’re more than likely looking at appraisals. They’re looking at Zillow trying to figure out how much their home’s worth, you know some estimate sites. Just pay attention. Just into the mind of the consumers. Stop thinking like an investor. Think like a consumer and craft a message that you know that would resonate and target it to the right person.
Matt: Cool advice. Right on point. I like it. Hey, Grant, we’re almost out of time. If someone wanted to reach out to you, what would be the best way for them to do that?
Grant: Yeah, the best way to do that is just go to my website likegrantwise.com, L-I-K-E grant wise dot com. You can connect with me there. You can see about our various programs. Connect with me on Facebook. We’d love to meet with you, love to answer your questions, love to interact with you, add value anyway that I can.
Matt: Super. Alrighty. Well, thanks for being here. Let’s do it again.
Grant: Yeah. Thanks, man. Appreciate it.
Matt: You bet. Alrighty, I’m Matt Theriault. God bless to your success. I’ll see you next week for another episode of Thought Leader Thursday. Take care.