Real Estate Investing And Fishing – How To Catch The Big Deal

Fishing and real estate investing are sometimes very similar. The key is to find the Big Ones as quickly as possible. I have been a fly fisherman for years and even dabble in tying my own flies. One thing I learned a long time ago is that the really big fish are not the ones you see hitting the flies on the surface. No… the really big fish don’t like to waste that much energy. They like the food to come to them.

Polarized sunglasses will let you see the really big fish sitting quietly behind each rock and stump on the bottom of the stream. They sit in the slack water behind the rocks waiting for bits of food to flow by on the current. Then they just turn their heads and gulp it down and return to their resting place.

The secret to being a Real Estate “Big Fish” is to set yourself up so that the flow brings profitable projects right to your desk. The term most experienced investors will use for this is Deal Flow. It’s when properties come your way every day in a continuous stream. Like the Big Fish you grab the meatiest deals as they flow by and you can set this up so it happens on autopilot in three simple steps.

Step 1) Set Perfectly Clear Goals

Grab a pen and some paper and write down your goals for your Real Estate investments in the next 18 months.

  • How many properties do you want to buy?
  • What dollar value and how many projects will you take on?
  • How much do you want to add to your net worth?

Once you have the answers and you are absolutely clear on what you are looking for move on to step two.

Step 2) Constructing Your Network

Shout it out. Tell your goals to EVERYONE you know. Especially people who have a business reason to help you. The more people you tell, the more people will be in a position to give you just what you are looking for. And people love to help. I can guarantee you this… If you aren’t seeing enough profitable deals flowing to you right now it is only because not enough people know your goals and what you are looking for.

The Size Of Your Network Is The Key. So Let’s Power it Up!

Build a detailed plan to enlarge your network with exactly the kind of people you know can help you reach your goals.

Write down your current contact list and circle:

  • A bunch of Brokers & Agents
  • A couple of Title & Escrow Companies
  • Your favorite Real Estate Lawyers
  • Several Mortgage Brokers
  • CPA’s
  • Appraisers
  • A Property Manager or Two
  • Bankers/Lenders
  • 1031 Intermediaries and any more you can think of

Everyone you know and everyone in your target market who would profit from helping you on a project – and TELL THEM ALL what you are looking for in this next year. Leave them your business card and make sure you keep in contact every several months to stay in touch.

Here is a way to go even faster

Step 3) Put Energy in BEFORE You Expect a Return

As you are building your Network remember to make it work in both directions. You give time and support to the people in the Network and they will do the same for you. That’s how you get the Deal Flow started.

The Real Secret? You have to give before you get. Help others reach their goals and they will do the same for you. Ask the people in your Network what THEIR goals are and when you get a chance to help them get there… do it.

If your goal is buildable land and your contact wants a multifamily deal… and you run into and great multifamily project – let them know. This act of kindness will circle back in the form of a referral from that same person for just the tract you are looking for.

It can be as simple as these three steps:

  1. Get Clear on Your Goals
  2. Create A Network And Tell Them All
  3. Help Network Members Whenever You Can

Just like the big trout has the stream current bringing food right to its mouth, your Network is the current that brings Deals to your desk “automatically”. Practice the three steps every day with patience and persistence and in a few months you will see Deal Flow that can last as long as you want. You will soon be able to sit back like a Big Fish and just watch the deals come across your desk grabbing only the meaty ones to take on.

Multi-Channel Marketing: 5 Ways Your Small Business Can Attract New Customers

Marketing great Dan Kennedy tells the story of a very successful chiropractor who built a million dollar a year practice. Whenever anyone asked the chiropractor what method he used to attract 30, 50 or even 100 new patients a month, he had a very telling answer.

“I don’t know of ONE way to attract 100 new patients” he said, “but I do know 100 ways to get ONE new patient, so I use every one of them.”

How many ways do you have to attract new customers?

If your customer-attraction methods are limited to just a tried and true few, here are 5 Marketing Channels your small business may want to consider:

1. Email - Small business owners are learning what successful internet marketers have known for years. Email marketing is one of the best ways to promote your business. By email marketing we’re not talking about buying a list and sending SPAM. The most effective way to use email marketing is to make an informational offer, like a free report or a webinar, in order to collect the email addresses of prospects that have expressed an interest in the types of products or services that you sell. If you can provide great content to your prospects in an email or e-newsletter format, and build your list over time, you’ll have a great market for your wares.

There are some great email/e-newsletter platforms that are inexpensive and easy to use, including Constant Contact, iContact, Mail Chimp, Awebber and Campaigner.

2. Direct Mail - Many small business owners have made the mistake of discontinuing their direct mail campaigns in favor of social media marketing. While social media can help grow your business, it’s more of a platform to have conversations with your prospects (fans) so that they’ll feel good about your business and make a purchase sometime in the future. Direct mail is still the preferred channel for prospects who receive marketing from local businesses and business owners like direct mail because it generates sales and it’s measurable. And now with programs from the USPS like Every Door Direct Mail, direct mail is affordable too.

3. Search Engine Optimization - Lately some marketing consultants are telling small business owners that it’s not that important for their websites to achieve a high organic ranking. Don’t believe them. It is important however that you not rely solely on organic search rankings to promote your website and your business. If yours is a new business venture or you haven’t really focused on search engine optimization, your goal should be to build a better organic ranking over time, while utilizing some of the other channels that may have a more immediate impact.

4. Pay-Per-Click Ads -These are the paid ads that appear on the top and on the right side on Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

PPC ads are a great way to compete against established companies that have achieved a high organic ranking in your business category, because your ad can get “first page placement” right beside the high-ranking organic ads.

Here are some PPC ad guidelines:

• Google and other search engines run promotions offering free ad spend (usually $50 – $100) when you open a Google AdWords account and spend your first $25.

• Your PPC ad should link to a separate landing page or squeeze page specifically designed to promote your offer. (If your PPC ad sends a prospect to your website they’ll get distracted by your other web pages and not focus on your offer.)

• If competitors in your industry are repeatedly running PPC ads it means their ads are working. It also means that you should be running PPC ads too.

• Small businesses owners on a tight budget can learn how to create great PPC ads by taking advantage of free on-line training.

• Google offers some great tutorials on their PPC AdWords program. However, you should know that Google’s AdWords default settings are designed to maximize clicks, so that Google can make more money. Check out independent and objective training sources for help on setting you your PPC campaigns.

• Don’t waste money by attracting visitors who are not legitimate prospects. Using broad keywords or keywords that have double meaning means you’ll have to pay for unwanted clicks.

• Start with a small budget and test your ads to make sure they’re working, before committing additional dollars.

• If you have a big PPC ad budget you’ll want to consider getting a professional to run your campaigns.

5. Mobile Marketing - 95% of people who have smart phones or tablets use them to find local businesses. That’s why it’s important to reach out to them by sending promotions, special offers and discount coupons, as well as product, service and special event announcements.

You can use push notifications, text messages and multimedia messages to target mobile customers and persuade them to come in to your store or buy online. However you need to obtain the user’s phone number and they must “opt in” to receive your messages.

Here are four platforms that can help you integrate the mobile marketing channel:

1. Foursquare - If your small business can be categorized as retail, food and beverage, nightlife, the arts or outdoor activities, then you should consider Foursquare. In fact if you do belong to one of those categories you’re probably already on Foursquare, the mobile marketing app where customers talk about their experiences with local businesses. Foursquare boasts that they currently have 50 million users and nearly 2 million business listings.

2. Mogreet Express - This text message service lets you create campaigns using text or video messages for mobile customers. You simply choose a one word name (keyword) for your campaign and Mogreet Express will partner your campaign name with a code. Then mobile users can text your keyword to the numeric code to take advantage of your offer.

3. Huzah Media - This multi-purpose mobile marketing platform refers to themselves as “the mobile app for small business”. It lets you manage customer loyalty programs, place mobile ads and even build your own app.

4. Scan Life - QR codes haven’t quite caught on as many predicted, but then again that’s only one of the ways to use Scan Life. This platform lets your customers get more information about your products and services by scanning QR codes, photos or ads. Once they do they’re taken to interactive web pages where they can watch videos or read more about your business.

Remember, your customers use various channels to get information and make purchases, so to reach more customers and maximize sales, your small business has got to have an effective presence on multiple channels.

Just make sure that before implementing any new marketing channel you consider the cost to implement, the investment of time for you and your staff and of course your ROI.

Tips For Investing After Retirement

Is It Different This Time?

As stock prices have recently slumped, and are off close to 20% from the recent highs, investors are wondering if we are in for a replay of 2008. The media has provided us with a daily barrage of grim economic news, and the “doom and gloomers” and naysayers have reappeared, with renewed concern about the worldwide health of the banking system. As a result, some are questioning the wisdom of maintaining any equity exposure. In fact, I recently have read an article that recommended an “all bond” portfolio, as a means of dealing with this new environment, despite the fact that interest rates are at a 60 year low. C/D’s and US Treasuries that mature within 5 years, yield 1% or less Over the past 50 years stocks have outperformed all other investments with an average return of over 10%, as against 6% for bonds and 5% for cash. In real terms, an all cash and/or bond portfolio would have barely beaten inflation. (Source): Ibbotson and Associates.

I don’t know what the future for this business cycle looks like, and past performance is no guarantee of future results, but I do know that on many occasions in the past, investors were confronted with “unprecedented” events that tested their willingness to maintain a diversified portfolio and stay with their asset allocation.

Can I say for sure, it is not different this time? No, but there have been many reasons and events to exit the markets in the past, and there will be many more in the future. As a result of not staying with their investment plan, or a lack of one, the average investor has significantly underperformed the markets over time. According to DALBAR, over the 20 year period ending December 31, 2010, the typical investor earned about 3.8% per year, on average, vs. a total return of over 9% for the S&P 500.

We have had 13 ten-year periods since 1871 when the stock market went nowhere. In most of these cases, this stagnation was caused by a major market bust sometime during the period. In every single case, once stocks fell out of favor, they provided exceptionally good returns during the subsequent ten years. It should be noted, however, that past performance is no guarantee of future performance.

In my opinion, this is one of the best times in recent history to be optimistic about owning equities. Those who are listening now to the naysayers and doom-and-gloomers will be sorry they did so over the next several years.

“THE ERROR OF OPTIMISM DIES IN THE CRISIS, BUT IN DYING, IT GIVES BIRTH TO AN ERROR OF PESSIMISM. THIS NEW ERROR IS BORN, NOT AN INFANT, BUT A GIANT.”

Arthur Cecil Pigou.

Barry Rabinowitz, CFP®, MBA, IAR
10930 NW 10th Ct
Plantation, Fl 33322
September 10, 2011