The True Value of Mailer Data (Single Biggest Reason for Our Success)
Jill: This is Jill DeWit for Land Academy and this is our Cash Flow from Land show. Today I get to interview Steven [crosstalk 00:00:10] and talk all about mailer data so really the subject is, or the title is, the true value of mailer data. No compromises. It’s the single biggest reason for our success. Love it. Steven, I know this one of your favorite subjects and it’s one of the reasons we, well maybe it’s the key reason, we are also successful at finding and sourcing these super undervalued properties. I mean all kinds of real estate. Thank you for letting me pick your brain on this and get in a little more detail and explanation about it. Why the heck is good data so important?
Steven: Do you think we are putting people to sleep with these topics?
Steven: What if this was the first podcast we ever did?
Jill: Could you imagine? We are going to talk about data.
Steven: Who in the heck are these two talking about data and they expect anyone to listen to this thing for more than 40 seconds?
Steven: We got to do something fun.
Jill: This is hilarious!
Steven: What can we do? Tell us a story Jill.
Jill: This is going to be going mailer data made exciting.
Steven: Tell us something that you’ve done in your acting class. Jill is an aspiring actor. She is auditioning for commercials and stuff. Tell us some fun super crazy stuff that you have done that is super interesting, that no one else has done. Did you try out a new hair color?
Jill: No, here’s what’s funny though, is that one of the parts that I’m playing in this … It’s a small director showcase of a bunch of different works, short plays. I’m in two of them which I don’t think anyone else is in two. I’m a little flattered and I’m a little freaked out cause I’m like “Really?”. I’m playing a woman older than I am. One of the first things the director said to me was “We’ve got to do something about your hair!”.
Steven: Cause it’s too pretty?
Jill: It is. It’s funny because Thursday night is our dress rehearsal and they’re trying to figure out-
Steven: Can I go to this?
Jill: Can I find a wig? You can’t go to the dress rehearsal-
Steven: You’re play like a 70 year old woman, right?
Jill: It’s going to be hilarious.
Yeah, I play a woman that has a child in their 30s or 40s with kids.
Steven: This is every woman’s dream is to play a 70 year old woman with makeup and stuff, and get on a stage, and look older than you really are.
Jill: Oh my gosh, yes. At first I though, “Oh great, you cast me? Thanks.” You know? But then she said, “We’ve got to make you look old. We’ve got to do something with your hair. Your hair is too nice, too dark.”
Steven: So what are you going to do?
Jill: I don’t know. They have something in mind. Now, that’s not my talent[crosstalk 00:03:03]-
Steven: They have makeup department?
Jill: Yeah, that’s not my thing. The makeup people are going to do something with my hair.
Steven: That’s great.
Jill: I don’t know what.
Steven: You just have to show up?
Jill: I just have to show up.
Steven: And be an actor?
Jill: And sit there. Exactly.
Steven: I want to do that. I want to show up for a podcast and not do anything else.
Jill: It’s really nice!
Steven: Have everybody else do the sound checks and the whole damn thing.
Jill: I go back to what you said a long time ago, and I think there’s a lot of truth to it. That interview you saw with Tom Hanks where you’ve got to be halfway good and don’t be a jerk. There’s a lot to that, I guess.
Steven: Just be easy to work with.
Jill: I take direction well. I love being on the set. There are a lot of people-
Steven: Take direction well. That’s a [inaudible 00:03:48] podcast in itself right there.
Jill: In this environment.
Steven: “Sure, Steve, I’ll do that for you. No problem.” [crosstalk 00:03:56] “And thanks for letting me be a part of Land Academy. I appreciate that.”
Jill: Steven, I do want to have you a part [crosstalk 00:04:03]. Are you being sarcastic about that?
Steven: We all have our moments, me included.
Jill: Okay, that was my funny thing to lighten up mailer data. Actually to bring down mailer data, because I excited about mailer data.
Steven: That’s fib number 1 on this podcast.
Jill: Remember last week, we were with some friends over the weekend and they were asking us some questions about “What the heck do you guys do again?” and “How does this work?” I get all excited about it. It’s like Jill drank the Kool-Aid.
Steven: Right, that’s what I said.
Jill: Remember when they were jumping up and down going “This is great!” I’m sorry. I get excited when I can buy for this and sell for this. What is not to be excited about that?
Steven: You’re right. That’s why we’re a good team because you do get excited about that. Take that excitement, that’s how excited, all kidding aside, that’s how excited I get about data and mailing data.
Jill: I get excited right now when I’m in SuccessPlant and I’m watching our people, some of our members in there, put their … “Okay, I sent out this many letters.” They’re even putting stats on their responses. “This is my first rate of response. I changed my voice mail and now I’m getting a better response.” All those different things. I love it! I’m getting excited because it’s working. That’s the bottom line. The whole goal of this mailer data is: get your phone ringing and get the people coming to you. Motivated sellers, the right sellers, coming to you. I get excited seeing it work.
Let’s get back to it. Why is this good data, in your words, so important?
Steven: Good data is just absolutely essential. It’s the single biggest reason that we are successful, really, I think anybody is successful in real estate. This is a big kept secret that people don’t talk about in real estate.
So, the whole goal here is to buy undervalued property. Buy property that’s, in our case it’s land, buy a property that’s worth $20,000 and you buy it for 6 or 7 or 800 bucks. Or even $5,000, right? That’s the whole point.
How do you do that with mailer data? Many people don’t know this, but there’s this universe, the county. Every county in the country … I think there’s what? 3400 counties? They all keep extensive data on people who own real estate because they have to send them a tax bill every year.
That’s the universe of data out there. Well, great. Let’s send a letter to single one of those people. No way! That’s not possible. The database is too big. The art to this data thing is to pick and choose the right people to send these letters to.
There’s little signs. They give signs out about the fact that they’re not interested in buying the property more. Location is one. Whether or not there’s debt on the property. Whether or not it’s leveraged. If there’s improvement value or assessed value. There’s lots of little ways that you can weed out, or in the data world we call it scrubbing, to weed out the people that are just going to throw the letter away, or worse, call you back and say you’re an idiot for sending me this thing.
Here’s the example I use in one of our programs: If you sent a letter out to everyone who owns property in Manhattan, New York and said “Hey, I want to buy your property for 500 bucks”, there would be a contract on your head!
So you don’t want to do that. You want to plan out and process your way through sending out a good, solid … Are you falling asleep?
Jill: No! No [inaudible 00:07:41]. I am intently listening. Why do you think [inaudible 00:07:45]? Why do you think that? Because I’m quiet? [crosstalk 00:07:51]
Steven: I should put cameras in here.
Jill: Is the look on my face really that obvious?
Steven: [inaudible 00:08:00] Actually, if we could put a graphic on this, that would be it.
Jill: You know what I’d do? I’m going to get those kid glasses where you put the glasses on and your eyes are open but you can close your eyes behind them. I’m going to get those and just sit there-
Steven: With the springs on them?
Jill: Just looks like the eyes are open [inaudible 00:08:24] and I could sit here and pretend I’m asleep in the back of the classroom.
Steven: There’s all these psychology tests. There’s IQ tests and all these tests. I wonder if you could test someone’s attention span. I really think your attention span is-
Jill: I am not ADD, though. If anyone’s ADD, it’s you. It is not me, by the way.
Steven: I want a poster-sized picture of that look on your face.
Jill: That’s funny. That happened to me recently in a class where I obviously, I was elsewhere. I know it was because you and I had a big discussion about something we were going to do. It was before my acting class. It was something, a big project we were working on.
So, there I am, sitting in the back and I really am trying to pay attention to my instructor, my professor. She looked up and said, “Jill, is everything okay?” I’m like “[gasp 09:17] What was the look on my face?”-
Steven: It was the same one I just saw.
Jill: I had no idea. I thought I was sitting there with a good look on my face and it was obviously like “you’re somewhere else”. [Oop 09:28], sorry.
Back to this. So let me-
Steven: So that’s why it’s so important. You got to send the right letters to the right people.
Jill: That’s why good data is important, so you weed out and find the right people.
All right, so let me ask you this: Someone who’s really new at this, can they go and get the data and get the letters in the mail quickly and inexpensively?
Steven: Yes. Like everything, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. There’s a lot of sources of data out there that are really substandard. In fact, we had … Well, let me ask you a question first, just so we can clarify this [inaudible 00:10:05] anybody’s listening to this: Has anyone who’s ever been involved in LandAcademy gone out SuccessPlant … SuccessPlant is our little environment where everybody pipes in and [crosstalk 00:10:16] all of our members help each other as they grow through their careers. Have you ever heard of anyone saying “This didn’t work”? “I sent the mailer out.”
Jill: Oh, gosh no.
Steven: Neither have I. So why is that?
Jill: Because we taught them how to do it the right way.
Steven: Because people are competitors. There are people … We have two main competitors in this little land niche. We get people … Every single day people are becoming members of LandAcademy that have formerly been over there. They’re saying, “Man, I wish … This is not a sales pitch. I’m just telling you the truth. “I wish I would have known this before I sent this other stuff out a year ago or 6 months ago.”
I’m prefacing this by saying this is the truth. We really do know how to do this. So, when I say there’s a right way and a wrong way, look, I’ve done the wrong way. I think there’s a lot of people out there doing it the wrong way and that’s not what I want for our members.
So, yes. If somebody’s brand new at this, is it easy to do? Yeah, it’s easy, but you got to go through the motions of learning. Reading about it. Going through our program and our material. Reaching out to people on SuccessPlant, which, at the moment, doesn’t cost anything. Send the right mailers to the right people.
How much does it cost? Use the vendors that we use and go through the motions that we go through, it costs about the price of a stamp to send 1 letter out. That’s one reason why you want to do it right, too. You don’t want to send 1,000 letters out to the wrong people.
Is it easy to do it? Yes. Is it super time-consuming? No, but there is some time involved. Maybe 1 weekend or 2 weekends you could get through it and get ready to send one out. Don’t you think?
Jill: [Mmmhmmm 11:55] I do.
Does this work with houses?
Steven: Yeah! Absolutely it works for houses. Here’s the key with houses: you have to send, again, the right letter to the right people. But the only way, in my opinion, that you can get super bang-for-your-buck is to send a letter to people who own houses where there’s no mortgage.
You want to buy a $100,000 property, or a house let’s say. You want to buy it for 60 70,000 bucks max. Maybe 80 in some cases. Most homeowners can’t-
Jill: I saw something funny.
Steven: Most homeowners can’t, they can’t sell their house that cheap because they have too much debt on it. So, you want to take those people out of your, you want to scrub that data out immediately. Otherwise, you’re wasting a stamp. [crosstalk 00:12:44]
Do it with houses? Yes. I’m glad you mentioned it. I’m in the process of, you know this, Jill, putting together a whole program on how to implement our concepts and buy super-cheap houses. Undervalued houses.
Jill: What’s interesting to me, and I was going to make a comment, kind of a joke, about people with a paid-off mortgage. Anybody that listens to Dave Ramsey, that’s what they’re working on doing. They’re out there. I think that a lot of people don’t realize that there are a lot of people out there that don’t have a mortgage. Like us, by the way, paid cash for something and are living in it and that’s it.
Steven: Yeah, we don’t have a mortgage.
Jill: I think a lot of people think “Well, gosh- [crosstalk 00:13:31] Who’s out there that doesn’t have … There’s a lot of people. By the way, there’s a lot of people without car payments. Thank you very much. Like us.
It’s funny. It comes up in … This is one of the things that I pipe in a lot on in BiggerPockets, the website. Big real estate environment, BiggerPockets. If you haven’t got in there, it’s a great resource.
I pipe in a lot with people getting started. They want to get into this industry. They’re worried about their credit scores. They’re worried about this and that. They’re like “Well, how much do you think I could qualify for?” They’re spending so much time trying to figure out what they can qualify for, they’re not even looking at deals yet. They haven’t even got to that part yet.
So I’m like “Hold on, everybody. Let’s stop talking about this. Let’s figure out what you can afford and maybe we should just pay cash. Why don’t you start off really small. Pay cash. You don’t have to think about your credit score. Start doubling your money on little properties, building up your portfolio or your cash reserves. However you want to look at it. Then you can make some different decisions.
Steven: I think that’s fantastic advice. A lot of people would disagree. I think there’s a lot of people, like Wall Street-type personalities, that say “Well, leverage is your best friend. You should borrow as much money as you possibly can and leverage your way into it”. I absolutely disagree with that. I think that …
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