Written by Jeffrey R. Armstrong – President/Owner of Armstrong Capital
Your favorite Master Note Buyer – Straightforward, Honest, Fair…
Having just gotten back from the first ever Paper Source Note Symposium I wanted to give you an overview of what came up over the three day event. The theme of this Symposium was Marketing and Finding Notes and one of the overwhelming questions was what kinds of marketing methods are working now in the seller financed note business. With the down real estate market and the slow economy the number of seller carried back notes is growing and for you to get those note holders to contact you your marketing plan will be put to the test. I’ve written many, many articles on marketing and even a marketing book for our industry and to tell you the truth, not much has changed in the last couple of years.
Results are achieved through testing and retesting different marketing methods until one works for you. What works for one person doesn’t always work exactly the same for another person. Maybe you heard that one person has been having good results from direct mail, it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Or another person has been getting deals by using the internet; it doesn’t mean it will work for you. There are no tricks or secrets or easy ways to get results quickly.
In the seller financed note business we define marketing as finding the most amounts of prospects in the least amount of time for the least amount of money. Your marketing needs to be efficient, targeted and manageable. Your marketing plan needs to be in writing and you need to have three to five marketing methods working for you all times. In addition, your marketing needs time to work, nothing is instantaneous, you need to be able to sustain yourself while your marketing develops.
After a couple of months of trying a thing or two you may have to tweak something to make it work better or just to keep it working. It may take six month to a year or more of testing one particular marketing method until you get the results that you want. OR to find out that the marketing method that you were trying doesn’t work for you and you need to focus your efforts on some different marketing methods. Once you achieve the results you were looking for it won’t last forever. You will need to constantly change things up to keep a steady deal flow coming in.
Once you find three to five marketing methods that work for your business you then need to keep on top of them by changing a thing or two from time to time, reposition your stance or reactivate an old tried and true method. I was recently reading a marketing book (yes, after 18 years I’m still trying to do it better) and I came across John Romero’s 7 Rules for Repositioning and Reactivation. Since I believe these same rules apply to every business, even our note businesses, here they are:
- Put somebody in charge. Someone must believe – and be responsible. If you are the person doing the marketing then you are responsible for the results. Without a “hands-on do-it day-by-day” person in charge, reposition and reactivate programs tend to die.
- Track for effectiveness. That is, measure your results. Advertising gets attention. Frequently advertising is only vaguely measurable. Direct Marketing is verymeasurable. You need to keep careful records on inactive response rates, number of real calls or visits to your website.
- Don’t give up without a fight. Don’t apologize for anything. Every note (in our case business) is NOT blue ribbon or even close to Olympic gold. And every note holder does not need (or want) “the best”. So, no matter what your cash flow niche is – you do bring benefits to the marketplace. “Talk” with your note holders and clients. Invite them to return to you. Give them a reason. Make a solid offer that stands the test.
- Don’t send an advertisement. Make your message personal. Direct Mail is one of the best ways to communicate with your prospects – current and old. A letter is personal. So, skip the urge to pat yourself on the back with all the good “stuff”. Like you might do in print or television. Instead, invite them to be learn and be educated about what they really have (their note). Let them know how you are going to take care of them 1:1. If it takes a brochure to do that – fine. Still, your “news” must be personal to gain the most from your prospects.
- Give ’em a tour. When past note holder’s return, welcome them “home”. Don’t just make an offer and let it hang. When the prospect calls back or contacts you a year from now, issue a true and real welcome back. A personal greeting and afterwards, a “thanks” and follow-up. Thanks for contacting us…a follow-up to make sure all was well. And, of course, a second offer to continue the habit of YOU!
- Put a deadline on your offer. Limited time offers work – use a L.T.O. when talking with your prospects. Open ended prices, offers or quotes give no urgency. This is equally true for new business promotions to anyone! Limit your return offer…your “come-back”. The window can be a couple of weeks or a couple of months. Depends on you, your business and your marketing plan. Be certain to give the inactive time to accept your offer.
- Test before you commit big money. Be in a hurry… a hurry to do it right! No business has too much business. Some just have too much business on Tuesday. Or the last week of the month. Or the first quarter of the year. Or during a specific holiday season. Yet, every business needs more business. At the same time – any new marketing effort will not necessarily perform to the max immediately. Or with a single try. Repetition will build your reputation.
Even in this tough economic time your prospects are NOT waiting for you. You will have to work them. Take your time and do it right. Then…roll your successful marketing efforts out to everyone. It is a numbers game for sure but a numbers game that you can use to your advantage. I hope this information I have shared with you helps!
Remember, success demands action! Keep on marketing, it’s going to work! TWITA! (That’s What I’m Talking About!)