June 23, 2017

JF 1025: Approach Investors Correctly, Get Better Responses! #FollowAlongFriday


Joe and Theo discuss how we should all approach new relationships.  Such a simple technique that many of us ignore when reaching out, has a profound impact on your responses.  Learn what mistakes Joe and Theo made this week too!

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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to another best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless. This is Friday, we’ve got Follow Along Friday as our special episode, where the co-host on Fridays, Theo Hicks and I are gonna talk through what we’ve got going on, how that relates to your business, and then also we’ve got a couple miscellaneous things that I think you’re gonna really enjoy with today’s episode. Are you ready to go, Theo?

Theo Hicks: Let’s do it.

Joe Fairless: Alright, how do we approach it?

Theo Hicks: Our main topic for today is going to be how to start a relationship with someone that you don’t know, but you want to actually know. That’s the main topic of discussion today. I guess we can’t start with where actually that idea came from – it came from a couple of e-mails you received…

Joe Fairless: Yes. As real estate investors and entrepreneurs, we likely want to get access to people and get to know people who we don’t already know when we wanna grow our network. And in order to grow our network, we need to make sure that we’re approaching it the right way, so that we are getting as much traction in those relationships as possible.

“I know you’re extremely busy… Maybe we can meet up in person to have coffee”, so even more of my time… And again, I’m not saying this like I am a precious resource, I am just saying this from a macro level this is what in general people think.

“If you ever have time, please don’t hesitate to call or text” – in this message it’s clear this individual did not add value to my life, they’re taking. In order to be successful, because this individual has e-mailed numerous people who I’ve interviewed for my podcast; not too many responses… Well, the reason why is because you need to read chapter 13 of the 48 Laws of Power – you do have to appeal to people’s self-interest. You don’t appeal to their gratitude.

Then they followed up and they said “Thanks a lot. I live in blah-blah-blah. If there’s anything I can do to be of assistance to you please let me know, I would jump at the opportunity. Thanks again.”

Intentions are really good here, but the execution can be a lot better. The intention that this individual has is they wanna add value, they wanna say they bought my book, they wanna help me out, but the execution to be a lot better would be “I already bought your book, and I know in your interview that you’re focused on X, Y, Z, therefore a couple ways I think I can help you out would be X, Y, Z. Would you like me to do that?” Or even better, go ahead and do it, and then send it to me.
These are the types of things that the mind and the heart is in the right place, but the execution is not, and that’s the purpose of this conversation right now – to help others and the individuals who reached out to me to enhance their approach. Because when you enhance your approach — again, who cares about reaching out to me? It’s about when you enhance your approach to reach out to these other people you wanna meet; then when you do the next level stuff, you’re gonna get a lot more response.

That first person – why people haven’t reached out to you? Because you’re asking for stuff and you’re not giving them anything.

The second person – when you proactively already give something versus say you wanna give something, then you’ll reach that next level.

Theo Hicks: A good example of a proactive taking action is the interview – I don’t know what his name was, but he was the agent that represented the Playboy Mansion. He said when they tried to get the listing, he didn’t just say “Hey, here’s my background, here’s how many deals I’ve closed in the past, here’s how fast I can close this deal, blah-blah-blah…” He literally told himself “What would I do if I had the deal? Here’s the package I would create, here’s the marketing I would do”, and he created this entire plan that he sent out to those who were selling it, and he got the job specifically because of that… He essentially did the job already, and they were like, “Wow, this guy is proactive and he’s on top of his game, so we’ll definitely hire this guy.” I think that’s a good example of what you’re talking about.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, case in point. Great specific example. Now, here’s the third way, and this is the way to do it. This is the way to reach out to someone, and I won’t read the entire message because it’s rather long. The only thing I can say about this as a downside would be it’s four paragraphs long; each paragraph is about three sentences, so that’s a bit too long for an initial outreach. It should be about two paragraphs, maybe like three sentences, four sentences most each paragraph… But here it is:

“Howdy Joe, (clearly, they’re from Texas)

I recently listened to your Bigger Pockets Podcast and started listening to your podcast on YouTube every day when I cook.” That’s very specific, that’s great.

“I just wanted to reach out and hope we can get in touch. I’m currently living in Arlington, between Fort Worth and Dallas, so I was interested in hearing about your investments within the area.” Here’s the kicker though – this is where it gets good:

“I am sure you have many people in your area that report to you, but I would be willing and I would love to help you if you ever need any type of service on your properties in the area. I work as a leasing agent somewhere (I’m not telling where that is), so I have experience in knowing what people want when they are looking for a new home and I have a good feel for the market and terminology for multifamily.” That immediately could be very valuable for me, but he keeps going.

“I am young, motivated and willing to learn. I currently own a house and I am house-hacking, and I closed on my second house in a month, but I realized that multifamily is the way to go.” Then he ends it with more add value:

“Again, I would love to provide any service that would be helpful for you within the area, whether it is secret shopping your communities, taking pictures of possible investments for you, shopping your competition, getting there when a contract’s working on your project, getting rid of trash left by a contractor (he’s getting very specific), or even cutting your grass at the property. I would be grateful just to be involved. Let me know if I can help, and I would love to keep in contact.”

He gave some specific way — number one, he mentioned how he was qualified to help out. He’s local, so he has a competitive advantage for other people, but then two, he is a leasing agent, so he knows how it works with apartment communities. He got as granular as saying he will cut the grass. Now, there’s no way in hell I’d let him cut the grass for liability reasons, but it’s good that he gave that specific example.

So what I did is I responded and said, “Wow, this really stood out…”, because I got a bunch of messages, especially after the Bigger Pockets podcast. I said “Reach out to me on (I picked some arbitrary date) 7th June”, which was about three and a half weeks later, and sure enough, he reached out to me on that day, 7th June. I was testing him to see if this was just a momentary interest of his, or if he was organized enough to then put it in his calendar, make it a priority to reach out three weeks to the day, exactly.

He did, and what has evolved since then – it’s only been about a month – is that he has secret shopped my properties in DFW and he did an analysis of each of the properties in his experience as a potential renter at each of them. And we’re using that to enhance our leasing skills at each of the properties.

He wrote about his experience online in an online review as well, which is incredibly helpful for us to get more online reviews; that is one business challenge we continue to have, getting more online reviews for each of our properties. I’m gonna stay in touch with him.

He also mailed me marketing materials from each of the properties so I can put on my inspiration wall that’s right behind us (behind this big ol’ Best Ever banner). So it was stuff that I needed done and he did it, and I am incredibly loyal to the people who are with me along the way, and he likely will be one of them as we continue to build our relationship. So that is a phenomenal way to do it.

Theo Hicks: And if you take a look at all three of them, just the initial reaching out probably took the same amount of time for all three of them to actually write up that message and send it out, but the outcomes are completely different.

Joe Fairless: Yeah. So some ways that people can do this type of outreach and achieve similar success regardless of background is “What is your skillset? What do you have to offer other people, and then how does that match up with what that person who you’re reaching out to needs?” and then specifically offer that up. It’s probably the same amount of work, but it is more thought; it’s much more thoughtful than the second one where the gentleman said “If there’s ever anything I can do to be of assistance to you…” – I don’t know what you can do to be of assistance to me, because I don’t know what your skillset is and how that maps to what I need.

So just doing a little bit more research, and it goes back to that passage that I read in the 48 Laws of Power where you’ve got to be inside the mind of the person you’re reaching out to and offer what they need. When you do that, everything will eventually come to you.

Theo Hicks: So what would you recommend people listening to this — not specifically how they would apply it, but what comes to mind when I think of how someone would use this would be they listen to your podcast or someone else’s podcast, they reach out to that person – or they read someone’s blog on a frequent basis and they reach out to that person, or they find them on Bigger Pockets and they’re reaching out to that person… Is there anything else you can think of that this would apply? I guess in reality it would apply to really anything.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, [unintelligible [00:12:21].29] Say they’re a wholesaler. Say I have zero real estate investing experience — and I’m just ad-libbing right now so I haven’t really thought through this… But say I have zero real estate experience, I’ve never done a deal, I just heard on the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever Podcast a wholesaler who is just killing it, and she is at the top of the game so I wanna reach out to her. How do I approach her? Well, I identify what am I really good at, which we’re gonna get to here in a little bit. You did a little exercise this past week of identifying what other people think you’re really good at.

So I identify what I’m really good at, then listen to that interview, I do research on her and her company… Did she identify any needs that she has? If not, that’s okay, because most likely, since she’s a wholesaler, she’s looking for deals, therefore she’s looking for deal flow… Therefore, one of the things as a loyal Best Ever listener that I’ve heard before is that people get deals from Facebook groups that they create locally, so perhaps one suggestion that I have when I reach out to her is that “I really enjoyed your interview, XYZ person, and one of the things I’ve seen is that you can get additional leads by doing a Facebook group locally and having more bird dogs look for opportunities for you. So how about…” – and I’ve already got it all set up, it would require no additional time… “So how about I plan on creating a Facebook group locally in your market and attracting people who will then look for more deals for you, and I want nothing in return. I just wanna simply help you out, add value, and no need to respond to this message if you don’t want to (she will), but when I come across a deal for you I’m gonna simply send it your way, no questions asked. Thanks a lot for adding value in the interview.”  Guaranteed she’ll respond to that.

So that is how anyone who has no experience who wants to get to know a wholesaler and wants to eventually learn from him or her and piggyback off of their success could connect with someone… Just one example.

Theo Hicks: Yeah. A frequent Best Ever listener or reader of the blog… There’s a lot of guests who come on this show who say that they’re using this approach we’re talking about here, where you’re offering up your services for free – it’s how they actually entered real estate investing in the first place.

In one of the interviews this week where he was explaining how he offered his services to a flipper and — I think he said that he wanted to shadow him, and I can’t remember specifically what he said he would add value, but he said “Here’s what I have to offer you… I want to apprentice for you and help you out, do whatever it is that you need help with”, and that’s kind of how he got into real estate investing, as well as learning how to become a fix and flipper.

It may not seem as if you’re gonna get anything from making a Facebook page for someone, but it’s always some value you’re going to get from it if you’re helping out other people, always.

Joe Fairless: And looking for that value, because as you said, it might not be obvious the value you’re getting… Because say she doesn’t respond you; say for whatever reason – the 1% in that scenario, which I’m 99% sure she would – she doesn’t. Well, you now have a Facebook group of people who are locally looking for opportunities, so go find someone else and connect the deal. Or you go wholesale deals yourself once they find those deals.

Theo Hicks: Yeah, it kind of comes back to that 50/50 goals we were talking about… How 50% of the outcome of “Okay, is this person going to respond? Am I going to actually have a relationship with this person?” But the other half is the actual process of learning how to reach out to people, creating the system of the Facebook group or whatever it is you’re doing, or even creating a system to constantly reach out to people and schedule, like this gentleman did with you, and it ended up working out because he reached out again three weeks later.

Obviously, you want to have the outcome, but the system is also important as well.

Joe Fairless: And I’ll wrap it up by saying I was not calling out the first two people who’s messages I read, and they’re not publicly identifiable. I’m simply doing it because I care about you. I’m doing it because this is a way for you to enhance your outreach process and your approach for when you’re reaching out to people more important than me… Which is a lot of people. [laughs]

This will set you up for long-term success. I’m also doing it for every other Best Ever listeners who wants to get to know people who they don’t currently know… This is the right approach to take, the third way.

Theo Hicks: Awesome.

Joe Fairless: And read the book The 48 Laws of Power chapter 13 for sure.

Theo Hicks: Alright, let’s move on. Any mistakes and lessons learned this week?

Joe Fairless: What have you got? You go first.

Theo Hicks: So this isn’t necessarily a mistake, it’s more of like an inconvenience that I didn’t necessarily realize or understand what happened… But we’re starting out, I’m in the process of closing on three 4-unit properties, and when I initially went through the inspections, all three unit fours would not let us into the unit, for some reason.

Joe Fairless: All three what?

Theo Hicks: All three of the unit four. So in each building, unit four would not let us in to see their unit. So I was like, “Okay, whatever… We can see it in a couple of weeks”, and I trusted the listing agent (not my [unintelligible [00:17:25].22] agent) to be responsive, but also to actually follow his word and actually reach out to the tenants and let them know we were coming in.

So we were scheduled to go on in last Friday to see the unit fours, and the guy [unintelligible [00:17:39].29] forgot to reach out to the tenants, or it was this other agent’s fault. I’m like, “Okay, that’s fine. We’re gonna reschedule for today” and today is Wednesday. And then I get an e-mail last night and it’s the same thing – the guy forgot to reach out to the tenants and we can’t go in there.

Joe Fairless: Oh my god…

Theo Hicks: So now we’re scheduled to go in there on Friday. I’m not necessarily sure what the lesson is there, but the lesson that I’ve taken away from it is just — and this could be me being too passive, but just patience, and not getting overwhelmed and getting angry with the listing agent, because at the end of the day I’m going to these units and it’s not necessarily affecting me as much… It’s just, in the moment I’m just like “What the heck? We were supposed to go in here and see this! This happened three times already. Are they hiding something? What’s going on here?”

Joe Fairless: That might be, yeah.

Theo Hicks: It could be, and I’ll find out if I ever get to see those unit fours. [laughter] But the lesson that I learned – I think this could be applied just in general – is before going through the process of closing on properties you kind of have this idea in your mind of what it’s gonna be like, and when you actually go through it you realize it’s all slower and it’s not as smooth as you would expect it to be.

So I think it’s important to be patient – not too passive, but patience… And realize that the process will work itself out. If it doesn’t, I’ll get in there and do something, but for now it seems that it’s just kind of slow and they’re just kind of incompetent. He’s been like that the entire time, so I’m like “Alright, I have to accept this and deal with it. Once I close, I’ll never see this person again.” Don’t let it affect your week or your day, just because at the end of the day it’s not as relevant to the success of the deal.

Joe Fairless: And aren’t you an agent?

Theo Hicks: I’m taking the classes… I have a license that’s in wherever the licensing take place; I kept paying all this money and I wasn’t really using for anything.

Joe Fairless: So you can’t represent anyone.

Theo Hicks: No.

Joe Fairless: Okay.

Theo Hicks: Or I wanna just represent myself. I still would have ran in the same problem. It probably would have been worse, because at least my agent is more experienced and she actually knows the guy, too.

Joe Fairless: Okay.

Theo Hicks: But if I was representing myself, I’d still have to deal with this listing agent, but in the future, if I start picking up more deals [unintelligible [00:19:41].19] selling deals I wanna get my license again, because right now if you’re buying it you don’t pay it; the seller does. But when I sell it, I wanna save that six person.

The agent I’m using now is probably not gonna like that, but it is what it is. She’s getting paid right now, so…

Joe Fairless: Yeah, exactly. I like the tactical nature of that, because [unintelligible [00:19:58].21] not necessarily about a deal, but it’s about a process that I’ve now implemented because of about a month and a half to two months worth of mistake just compounding on itself.

The past month or two when I was going to bed I would have the iPad and I’d watch The Americans on Amazon Prime, or I’d watch House of Cards, and I was not getting much sleep and then I’d wake up with not much rest. When I watch stuff, I feel like it rots my brain… So I wasn’t furthering my mind, and one of the goals I’ve had for the last two, three months is to complete a book or two a month, and I haven’t been completing as many books as I’ve wanted.

Now what I’m doing is 1) no iPad in bed at all. 2) My phone is now across the room and it’s only there for the alarm, which I’m probably gonna buy an old school alarm clock so I can move it further away… Because it’s something about if I can see the phone, then I think about e-mails and stuff… 3) Now I’m reading right before bed, and it is such a game changer because it puts me to sleep a lot faster than a movie, and I feel nourished. My mind feels nourished, and I just feel more articulate and smarter as a result of it.

Right now I’m reading a book on pricing and how anchoring is a real thing when you anchor a price. I’ll use Prada as an example. Prada’s got some knick-knack that’s (say) $150,000 in the storefront window. Well, the purpose is not to sell that, the purpose is to anchor that price point in your mind prior to entering the store; that way, a $300 pair of sunglasses or a $150 key chain doesn’t seem nearly as expensive. And it’s proven that that works. When you anchor a high price point in someone’s mind, then they automatically will estimate — whatever the next thing is will be more valuable than if it was a lower anchor. Proved science. It’s an indisputable fact.

That’s certainly something that goes the opposite way. If you do a low anchor – for example, as negotiators in real estate when you throw out an offer for a property, if you have an incredibly low anchor, assuming that that is the first reference point for that value of the property, then you can get phenomenal deals.

However, with as publicly available information is and sales comps, or you just go on Zillow and look at valuations of properties, that’s more challenging. But if you’re the only game in town and you have a low anchor, then you can get a lower price point.

So the mistake was iPad in bed, watching stupid stuff, and the solution is no iPad in bed; phone far away, reading books before I go to bed, and that’s that.

Theo Hicks: I do fiction before I go to bed. It’s still kind of mindless, but it calms my mind down. Because if I was reading books about anchoring prices, I wouldn’t be able to sleep. If I was reading non-fiction or business or philosophy or something like that, I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Maybe I’d get too jacked up.

Joe Fairless: Yeah… I was reading The Bourne Identity and I was dreaming about…

Theo Hicks: …being an assassin? [laughs]

Joe Fairless: Being assassinated or being an assassin. That wasn’t working for me. It was like watching The Americans but more vivid, because it was my imagination.

Theo Hicks: Alright, so last week we talked about the unique capabilities survey, so quickly just to overview what it is… You’re e-mailing five people and asking them what they believe your unique talent is or what you do better than other people.

I’m not gonna read what people said to me, just because it’s gonna be irrelevant to you, but the outcome that I got from it… One of the main outcomes that came to mind right away as these things started coming in was not necessarily validation of what I actually believed… Because it’s really interesting when you ask people what they think you’re good at, and then you kind of compare it to what you think you’re good at, and they don’t really align… It’s like, “Wow, people have a completely different perspective of me.” I don’t know what that means about how I think of myself, if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it just is what it is. But it was interesting, because I really enjoy the YouTube channel, doing YouTube videos about current events. It’s not necessarily real estate related, but [unintelligible [00:24:39].26] but I got kind of the validation that all the different skillsets that people said that I was good at would perfectly apply to having your own YouTube channel or podcast, so it kind of gave me the inspiration to say “Okay, I guess I am good at this. I get people do get value out of me doing this.”

Now whenever I’m struggling through creating an outline – because it kind of takes time to do these things – I’ll remember “People actually get value from this, they think I’m good at it” and I kind of get more of a positive feeling type of thing while you’re actually pursuing whatever it is that people say you’re good at doing, whereas before if you think you’re not necessarily good at it, you start to think about the outcome, “Why am I doing this?”, things like that.

A lot of these things would work for real estate, because people said I was really good at reaction time, or…

Joe Fairless: Like, physically? Are you quick with your hands? Reaction time…

Theo Hicks: I think both.

Joe Fairless: I can attest to that in basketball.

Theo Hicks: I think physical reaction time, but I think more along the lines of if something were to happen — I think you’re really good at this, too… When things occur, you just are able to make a decision. Maybe it’s not [unintelligible [00:25:45].16] the best decision out of all of them, but that’s not necessarily good enough either, because that kind of sounds a little negative… But it’s the correct decision to make based off information you have, in a timely fashion, without having to wait there and think about it forever. Because if you think about it forever, you might actually be losing potential value… So I kind of looked at it as that.

[unintelligible [00:26:04].20] I can trust my intuition more, instead of having to rationalize and go through the logic tree for everything, which is kind of what I do. I guess the two takeaways is validation for things that I didn’t necessarily feel confident in, but people said “Hey, Theo, you are pretty good at these things”, and also I can trust my intuition on things more, whereas before I’d be like “I’ve gotta rationalize this, write it all out and figure out exactly what I need to do, all the steps before”, whereas now I can just take it one step at a time and trust that I am intuitive and resourceful enough to figure it out.

Joe Fairless: Would you recommend the Best Ever listeners also do that exercise?

Theo Hicks: Yes. Even if you don’t take action on what was told to you, what I plan on doing is kind of what you did with your vision board – put things up there and say “These are the people that I respect that had positive things to say about me”, so I can read that and be like, “Okay, I am good at these certain things.”

Again, the feeling aspect of it for me I think was the most helpful and motivating. So at the very least it’s motivating. At the best, you’ll realize that you’re good at things that you might not necessarily think you’re good at, and who know what that could open your mind up to. Once you start realizing that maybe you’re analyzing things incorrectly, you can open your mind to more possibilities, if that makes sense.

Joe Fairless: When times get tough and you’re in a tough spot – business or personally or health-wise or whatever – you can go back to these comments and it will likely put a smile on your face.

Theo Hicks: Exactly.

Joe Fairless: I remember doing that with LinkedIn recommendations when I was in challenging spots throughout my career… And I’d go back and be like, “Well, these people said some really nice things about me.” It’s just good to hear.

Theo Hicks: It may sound like smaller or silly, but it works… And that’s all that matters, that it works.

Another last thing we wanted to do was to shout out to a reviewer…

Joe Fairless: Oh, yes… Michael, I am giving you a shout out because of your 5-star review, primarily because I like your iTunes name, which is Dirtyyyyyyy… [laughs] I just thought that was funny. The title of the review was extremely helpful and practical, and it’s “by Dirtyyyyyy”… I just thought that was funny.

Theo Hicks: Really dirty…

Joe Fairless: Really dirty. But one thing I want to acknowledge about you, Michael – and this is a lesson for really everyone, myself included… Michael is the guy – for all the loyal listeners – who I called out two, three, four weeks ago when he e-mailed the info@JoeFairless.com literally 30+ times with different basketball score combinations in an attempt to win the book. It was ridiculous… [laughs] And he mentions it in this review, quote: “He totally called me out for e-mailing him 35 times to try to win his book. I think that goes to show two things: one, he truly cares about his listeners enough to read through every e-mail, even when they’re annoying. Two, his listeners (me) value his opinion enough to write 35 e-mails to get his book. Do yourself a favor and go ahead and subscribe.”

Props to you, Michael. I appreciate the review and I appreciate you taking constructive feedback. [laughs]

There will be no basketball game today and there wasn’t one last week. Today I have an interview that I’ve gotta do in our basketball time, so no book giveaway… And there wasn’t one last week, so for everyone who submitted, you’ll just have to submit next time when we do have one.

The reason why we didn’t — we rode our bikes up to the basketball court and there was a… What was that?

Theo Hicks: I don’t know… I thought there were like those Russian dolls. Was that what they were? They were really strange.

Joe Fairless: It was a village for pre-schoolers to do some obstacle course, or something – I’m not sure what it was – so we didn’t play. Anything else we’ve got this week/

Theo Hicks: That’s it.

Joe Fairless: That’s it. Alright, Best Ever listeners, we enjoyed it. Have a wonderful rest of the day and we’ll talk to you soon!



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