Hey everybody, welcome back to the show! Today, I have my good buddy, David Dean, but everyone calls him Coach. Today, we talk about the lost art of building relationships with the locals and giving a damn about people. It’s kinda counterintuitive to all the social media stuff and faceless stuff we do in the business more often than not lately. Let’s go ahead and get started!

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Mike:Hey, everybody, welcome back to the show. Today I have my good buddy David Dean. We call him “Coach,” and we’re going to be talking about kind of the lost art of really giving a damn about people, like, building relationships with people to build your business and really helping people. It’s kind of counter-intuitive to all the social media stuff and the faceless stuff we do in this business more often than not, lately. So, we’re going to kind of reflect on the lost art of building relationships and actually giving a damn about people.
Professional real estate investors know that it’s not really about the real estate. In fact, real estate is just a vehicle to freedom. A group of over a hundred of the nation’s leading real estate investors from across the country meet several times a year at the Investor Fuel Real Estate Mastermind to share ideas on how to strengthen each other’s businesses, but also to come together as friends and build more fulfilling lives for all of those around us. On today’s show, we’re going to continue our conversation of fueling our businesses and fueling our lives. I’m glad you’re here. Coach, welcome to the show.
David:Hey, Mike. Thanks for having me, buddy.
Mike:Yeah, it’s good to see you. We were chatting a little bit before we started here today and as a member of Investor Fuel, everybody’s kind of fallen in love with Coach. You’re such a . . . you’re like a lovable character. Like, you’re just a great guy and you have this just great attitude about caring about other people and that’s why I wanted to have you on the show today. I think what you do, obviously you’ve done very well with real estate and, you know, a lot of us are talking about how to do bigger and better advertising campaigns and all this stuff and you are basing your business largely on relationships with people. Your advertising costs puts everybody else in the room to shame because people are bringing these deals to you because they know and trust you. Right? So, I think it’s going to be great to talk about that a little bit.
Before we kind of dive into that, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and maybe even how you got the nickname “Coach”?
David:Well, my background, you know, out of college, I started out as a 911 director. I was a paramedic. I was a fireman. The county hired me to start a 911 system. So, I was 24 years old, kind of getting going, and so, I was the 911 director for about six, seven years. And during that time we started a real estate brokerage, me and my family. So, I was already an agent. I got my broker’s license. And so, I started as a broker for, I guess I had my brokerage almost 25 years. In ’99 I started flipping houses. I didn’t know it was called “flipping” back then. We just . . . we fixed them up and we sold them. So, that’s kind of all we did. And so, my first one I made $10,000 on and I was kind of hooked at that point. I was like, “Oh, man. This is great.”
Mike:So, that was more than your typical commission.
David:Yeah. Yeah. Back in those days, definitely with an average sale price of $65,000, $70,000, that was a pretty good deal. So, you know, that kind of progressed from ’99 forward to today and now I’m just a full time a real estate investor. I also coach high school football and that’s how I got the name “Coach.” I’ve been coaching since 1999. I coach here in West Virginia, AA football. And so, that’s kind of my passion. And, you know, we talk a lot about wealth, joy, happiness, stuff like that.
And so, a lot of that comes from real estate, for me being able to do what I want to do, so I can take the time, I can coach football. I coach my daughter’s fastpitch softball team. We travel up and down kind of the East Coast and we play a pretty high-level type of schedule through the summer. So, this business gives me that opportunity to be able to go and do those things.
Mike:Yeah, we don’t talk about that a lot of, like, you know, people a lot of times want to get into real estate investing and we talk about it for the opportunity to make more money than you have before, but it’s also to live a different life. Like, have more flexibility in your schedule. So, I know some people, like Matt Andrews, is in our group. He does a bunch of charitable work. There’s a lot of things that he does, and it’s never about the real estate. It’s about that it enables him and gives him the resources to do the things that he really is passionate about.
And so, I’m glad you said that because it’s important and it’s important to me. I mean, I, you know, it’s just the little things, if you look back to when I was in Corporate America or when you had more of a job, right, of like, I couldn’t have done the things that, like, you know, picking your kids up from school every day, having dinner with the family every day, all those things that I kind of take for granted now. Like, we didn’t have kids when I was in the corporate world, but I wouldn’t have been able to . . . I didn’t have a flexible schedule like I do now, right?
I mean, I kind of determine what I’m doing and you do too. And so, that’s a great thing. So, I mean, really, that’s what we’re . . . a theme that we’re going to talk about a lot today is what real estate has enabled you to do, which is kind of help your community and help people. Right?
David:Right. Right. I mean, it’s a, you know, as an older, I mean, I just turned 50 May 2nd, so . . .
Mike:Yeah, 50 is the new 30, I heard.
David:Yeah, we hope so.
Mike:I just turned 45, so we’re not too far apart.
David:Yeah. So, you know, you see as a 30-year-old real estate investor and a 40-year-old and a 50-year-old, I mean, you know, it’s different phases of life and you see real estate and investment with a different set of eyes about every decade. So, at this point, it’s about lifestyle. It’s about doing what you want to do when you want to do. And so, this is one of the few businesses that I can think of that would give you that flexibility . . . that I know of.
Mike:So, one of the things that is really been the impression that I have of you since we’ve known each other for a while now is just how much you care about people. And the truth is, is this really is a people business, right? Like, we get so hung up on the houses or transactions and I think some of it is . . . some of the reason it bleeds out from you is that you are in a small town, right? And I’m in DFW, there’s nearly 8 million people here now. It’s easy to get caught up in these big machines where, you know, your business is running. But the truth is, is it all comes back to people and maybe share your thoughts on that a little bit.
David:Well, it does. I mean, you know, I’m in a small town, you know, I work about a three-county area, our probably total population of maybe 900,000 would be, you know, maximum. But, you know, people get to know you, you do it for a long time, you develop relationships. And so, I had people approach me with deals. I mean, they don’t even . . . it’s just like they know that Coach buys homes. And so, they just come out and say, “Hey, man. My sister’s got a house, she needs some help. She’s maybe going through something, going through a divorce, going through . . . she needs to sell the house quick, can you give her a call?” So, I get a lot of my leads just from those type of situations, from, as I was talking earlier from ball fields and stuff like that.

David:That’s kind of a lost art I feel in the business now and when I’m around people working in the bigger markets and they’re doing some things and, you know, I’m just kind of sitting there like, you know, a cow staring at a new gate, you know, I don’t know. I’m like, “Wow, man, that’s some cool stuff.” But, you know, we just don’t quite have enough population for some of that stuff.
Mike:But there’s a lot to learn, even in larger markets, right? It’s like, it’s real easy . . . I mean, at the end of the day, no matter how . . . if you’re in a massive market or a much larger market than what you’re in, they’re still doing transactions with people that are having issues that rely on us a lot of times because we’re helping solve their problem. And so, talk a little bit about to the fact of, I mean, I know you’ve been coaching for a long time, you have these relationships all over the place.
And I know we talked about this a little bit in Investor Fuel, like, you can go into the post office and you know, just ask the guy like, you know, “Whose houses are vacant right now?” And it’s a little bit . . . it’s easier in a small town, but you can extrapolate that even into a large town. Just those relationships of people being . . . The truth is if I went into my post office here and even tried to build a relationship with the guy, I could probably get some information out of him. I just don’t typically try because I’m like, you know, we just sometimes lose sight of how important those relationships are.
David:Yeah. I mean, relationships are everything. And, you know, when you’ve come from small-town USA, you know, you graduate with people, you know the people you graduated with, their brother, sister, aunts, uncles, you know, that sort of thing. So, you know, my wife tells me all the time, you know, if she goes to Walmart or Kroger, you know, I don’t go because we can’t get out of the store. We’ll be standing there and we spend three hours. You know, we’re either talking about football or we’re talking about Marshall University or we’re talking about real estate, you know, so . . .
So, those type of relationships are important. And the big thing about those types of relationships is when you get those referrals, when somebody says, “Hey, you need to call this guy.” I mean, so you’ve got that instant credibility. You’ve got that instant, you know, and so they trust you, they believe you and they are, you know, ready and willing to work with you. You know, so, you know, the relationship is kind of built for you before you ever show up at the house.
Mike:So, one of the things I was hoping that you could teach today is helping people learn a little bit of that kind of lost art, right? I mean, some of us are good at building relationships after somebody said they want to sell us something, right? So, we’re like, “Oh, I’m good at building relationships with people that I’m trying to get some value out of.” I don’t mean to say that in a negative way, right?
But you’ve done it in a way to where you have these seeds, and I’m not saying you’re even disingenuous about it. You’re doing this because you care about people. You’re building relationships. And a byproduct of that is they trust you if and when they ever have a real estate need. So, maybe kind of share some lessons on how people can learn from just planting seeds all over and doing good. And in the process of doing good, some good comes to you every once in a while.
David:Well, yeah. You know, I think it’s a product of the area that we live in. You know, West Virginians, in general, are very open and very honest type of people and we talk to everybody. So, I know people that come here from other states are like, “Whoa, man, there’s no secrets here.” Every, you know, I’ll just stand in line and people start strike up a conversation. So, you know, you kind of grew up with that and you learn at an early age talk to people and, you know, network with people.
And so, that’s been something that’s always been a strong suit of mine. So wherever I go, if I’m at a bank, post office, at the gym, whatever, you know, you talk to people and inevitably they want to find out what you do. You tell them what you do and they start to kind of follow you on Facebook and they do different things. And so, they become part of your circle. And, you know, everybody likes to talk about real estate.
I mean, I haven’t found anybody that don’t like to talk about real estate or they see it on HGTV or they see it somewhere. And so, you know, the segue into finding out something about them, which is, you know, a genuine thing, and it always tends to move itself into, “What do you do? What do you do?” You know, and so people become interested in what I do and how I do it.
Mike:Yeah. And how do you . . . maybe you have some . . . you can share a little about what you do. Like, how you plant those, I mean, it’s like, somebody . . . it’s a little bit of a form of education, a little bit of entertainment, right? I mean, using your platform of like, let me tell you about this one time, right? I’m just going to . . . maybe how you use stories or kind of how you use your platform and what you’re already doing to build those relationships with people and kind of get their interest.
I know it’s a part of everyday life to you. Like, you don’t really think about it probably, but inherently what we do is interesting to people, right? And maybe you have some thoughts on . . . because I think a lot of investors, they do what they do and they just lose . . . they kind of forget that what I do is interesting to other people. Like, they kind of forget that, “I have knowledge and stories here that are interesting to other people,” to build relationships like you do. And so, they’d know if you had any maybe tips on that.
David:Well, you know, the big thing is to kind of open your mouth a little more and talk to people and approach people, you know. Crazy thing, I got to talking to a guy that pulled up beside me yesterday at the local gas station, and on the side of the van, it said “Three vets, heating and cooling.” And so, he and I started talking, you know, before we know it, you know, last struck up the conversation with him, we kind of got going and got talking, you know, we’re both pumping gas and, you know, next thing you know, he’s coming by at one of my places in a couple of days to give me a quote on heating and cooling and putting the system in. And, you know, so it was just, you know, I didn’t have any relationship with these guys, but you know, it’s just standing at gas station opening my mouth and speaking to people. I mean, that’s it.
Mike:I can sense that it’s hard for you to explain it because it’s just what you do, right? I mean . . .
David:Yeah. I mean, I . . .
Mike:It’s just . . . the reason we kind of both said it’s a little bit of a lost art is I think it’s so easy for us to say, “Well, I have thousands of friends. They’re all right here on this phone and are on social media.” And the truth is, you know, I think more than ever, like, we’re connected more than ever, but the relationships if they really exist at all, a Facebook friend is not a real friend necessarily. Right? There’s a lot of shallow relationships out there. And I think for real estate investors, the more we can recognize that and build deeper relationships with people, the more fulfilled we’ll feel as humans. And the more opportunity we’ll have to help people and do well in the process.
David:Well, you know, oddly enough in the real estate brokerage business, I found that your circle of influence and people closest to you or thereabouts forget that you’re in the business a lot. So, it’s very important to reach out, touch people, talk to people, people that’s in your circle, you know, let them know that you’re in the business. And that’s something I do a lot and people know it is. I talk to them a lot, I see them. And so, you know, they know, they’re always asking me what’s going on. You know, they like to look at some of the houses I buy because they think I’m crazy when I buy them. They can’t believe I bought that.
But, you know, so the main thing is letting people close to you know what you’re doing and you know, they tell other people and it just kind of spirals out from there. We do a lot of marketing like I was talking about. We do a lot of signage at football fields and softball fields and stuff like that. So, that always helps. You know, when you dropping the kid off through the drive-through lane and over on the football field there’s a sign that says Coach Buys Homes and they know who I am and I get a lot of phone calls from that.
Mike:Yeah. Yeah. And I know, I know you didn’t plan this because you have been a coach, you do a lot of coaching and it’s just catchy, right, leaning into the coach thing because truthfully a lot of people that we help need to be coached. And, you know, I was at an event here a couple of weeks ago and there’s a marketing guy and he’s never seen without a bow tie and kind of nerdy glasses. Like, you just start to build these characters around what your business does.
And I know you haven’t . . . it’s just so natural to you that you might not have any tips for anybody on how to do it because you didn’t orchestrate that. It just came natural. But any thoughts on how people can kind of stand out with, you know, not like that everybody has to walk around with a top hat and a bow tie on, but you know, some things you can do to stand out as a . . . to kind of define who you are, to make yourself more memorable I guess.
David:Yeah, I guess.
Mike:I know it’s so natural to you that you didn’t . . . it’s not like you had some brand guy like . . .
Mike:It’s just what you did. Right.
David:No, it’s all pretty much what it is. I mean, when I first started, you know, I struggled to figure out what kind of brand, how I want to be and how, you know, and someone in my local market that does a lot of marketing goes, “You’re a coach.” I mean, without my ad I thought if “You know, I never really thought of that.” So, we just kind of took it from there and we started playing with it. But, there’s a local auctioneer in our market and he is just killing it and he really stands out and, you know, he does things different. He wears a cowboy hat and, I mean, he is just, you know, he just kills it in. And you know, you know him when you see him, wherever he’s at, I mean, he’s got it on, he’s got the string bow tie. And I know a lot of people don’t want to do that sort of thing, but it’s being a little bit different. It’s being a little bit unique.
So, don’t be afraid to be unique. I didn’t embrace the coach thing. I thought it was a little bit, you know, maybe, I don’t know, it didn’t feel comfortable to me at the beginning. But, you know, people said, “Man, you’re a coach. You’ve coached all your life. What’s the big deal?” And I said, “I don’t know, I just feel weird using it in a business platform.” But as time has went on, I’ve noticed that everybody knows me as Coach. I mean, at the gym I lift at, and wherever I go, you know, they don’t know me by David or anything like that. It’s Coach. So, you know, you go over there and ask them who David Dean is, they go, “I don’t have a clue.” You know?
Mike:Yeah. And I think as real estate investors, it’s important to stand out. And I think it’s important to, you know, more and more to be yourself. Like it’s been easy . . . For a long time, I think in, and I’m guilty of this too, we tried to create brands or like, my business is the brand, but the reality is people want to deal with people. And so, you know, we’ve had coaching students or there’s other people that Investor Fuel that are firefighters, teachers, stuff like that. And we always just kind of try to tell them like, “Lean into who you are. I mean, you help serve people. You’re just doing it differently now but use that as your kind of, brand, you know, if it feels comfortable.” So, that’s great.
So, one of the things and certainly one of the benefits of all the relationships and finding deals that way is you keep your ad costs way down. When you talk about your lead costs or your acquisition cost, of course, you’re in a smaller market too. But when we’re at Investor Fuel it, it’s like a very small fraction of some markets and people are very envious of that. But, you know, you could say your costs, you’ve earned that, you’ve worked hard to kind of build your brand and build those relationships. But, you know, about a, I’d say generally of all the deals that I’ve done in over 10 or 11, 12 years now, about a third of them had been through relationships and stuff. Those are always, you know, almost pure profit because we didn’t spend advertising on them. So, I know that you, you know, that’s something you’ve benefited a lot from too, right?
David:Yeah. Sometimes I kind of feel, you know, strange talking about my ad costs and those things because I don’t have a lot of it, you know, and I know everybody in the rooms looking at me like, “What’s wrong with this guy? He’s not for real.” And I’m just like, “Yeah, I mean, that’s what I do, man. I don’t know.” We just, you know, we don’t pour a lot of money into advertising, but, you know, I pour a lot of time into developing relationships and . . .
Mike:Sure. That’s amazing.
David: . . . and [inaudible 00:19:11] and letting people know what I do. That’s the main thing, is you got to let people know what you do. You just, you know, so many people, like I said, they want to use social media. They want to text, they want to do this, they want to do that. You know, I’m always the guy that wants to get on the phone and I want to hear their voice when I talk to them. I want to, you know, be around them. I mean, you know, it’s this, you know, it’s a different style or maybe even the lost art form, if you say.
Mike:Yeah. And one of the things from folks that are listening right now, I know they can already tell that you care about people and I know you care a lot about your community and maybe you can talk a little bit about some of the things you’ve been able to do to your community or with your community because of your real estate business and because of your kind of influence in the community.
David:Well, yeah. With the real estate business, it’s always given me the flexibility to coach and help a lot of kids, you know, a lot of kids that need a lot of things. You know, Mike, we’ve kind of been, you know, West Virginia in particular, my market has been, you know, the epicenter of the opioid crisis that’s going on here in Appalachia and it’s just really, really, really taken its toll on this area, on the housing, on people, on the economy. So, one of the big things that I try to do is, particularly in the city of Huntington, in some of those areas that’s been hit the hardest is we try to go in and we try to work with the city and we try to clean places up. We try to do more owner-occupant type stuff.
So, we try to do more, maybe a lease option, rent to own, and we try to put people more into an ownership position versus a rental position. That way they take some ownership in their home and they keep it up. And so, that’s something that I’ve been pretty passionate about is I’m trying to help our communities a little more. It’s really been difficult the last five to seven years in those communities. So, you know, you can . . . one thing I’ve learned is you can make money and help people too.
Mike:Yeah, no doubt. And it, honestly, it feels good. Like, I think for a lot of newer real estate investors when they’re getting started, it starts off generally where it’s more about the money.
Mike:Because you’re probably trying to leave a job or you lost your job or you’re trying to . . . there’s a financial hurdle and then, I think, you’ve been doing this long enough, you know, you get to a point to where it’s like, well, don’t get me wrong, I like to make more money and I want to make more money and I need to make more money. But it’s not all about the money. There’s other things that are important to me, right?
David:Well, money is a byproduct of doing the right thing. So, if you’re doing the right thing and you treat people right and you’re square, you’re fair, you’re honest, the truth, I mean, that’s always the truth sets you free in the business. So, you know, if you do those things, customers and money will follow.
Mike:Yup. No doubt. When you treat people right, those referrals keep coming back around. I mean, I know you probably have, especially in your community, repeat referrals that have come in. I know you really treated somebody . . . you really helped somebody out over here and maybe you can help this person, right?
David:Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, not to shortchange my real estate brokerage of 25 years, we’ve built those relationships too. I mean, the customers are right and we always do the right thing and no matter what, if it costs us money or it costs us whatever, we always try to do the right thing. And I carry that with me. And if you do those things, your reputation will precede you and people want to do business with you and they will refer people to you because they say, “Hey,” they’ll tell you the truth.
Mike:That’s awesome. Well, David, if you don’t mind taking a minute, you’ve been a . . . you joined Investor Fuel six months ago? Was it . . . has it been nine months already?
David:Probably yeah, January. January.
Mike:Okay. So, you’ve been with Investor Fuel for a while, you’ve been in real estate for a long, long time. And, maybe talk about how it’s impacted you and your business, especially when you have so much history, anyway. Like they say, you know, sometimes you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Maybe kind of share what it’s meant to you and how it’s impacted your business.
David:Oh, man, it’s been unreal to be, you know, I always felt like, you know, there’s not a lot of us out there. And I always felt kind of alone, you know, there’s not a lot of people in our markets doing these things. So, but, you know, once I found Investor Fuel, and I got involved and talked Stinson up front, and I came to the first meeting and I was like, “Holy cow, these people are just like me,” you know? So, that was kind of cool.
And then, to see the things that people are doing and guys in the bigger markets and stuff, I was just blown away. The technology, the CRMs, and all the different things, the way they’re doing their direct mail. And, you know, so I was kind of, my head was kind of swimming the first meeting, you know, I came home and told my wife and family, I was like, “Holy moly, I got some work to do,” you know, to catch up and do some things that these guys are doing that I knew immediately would help me.
You know, I just knew. So, you know, we immediately started with CRM. We started with Podio. We started building our business more a paperless type of business, with drip campaigns. And in all these things I learned to, although I like to meet, you know, to interact with people, doing all that, I realized that I need some automation and I need some things working for me that I’m not working for. So, that’s kind of been my mission the last six, seven months, is to put these things in place, these systems, and make them work for me and continue to touch customers.
And it just made all the difference in the world to me. I mean, that’s probably the biggest thing that I’ve taken out of it from a processes standpoint, is to do stuff . . . to set it and forget it, so to speak. I mean, that’s been a game-changer for me. So, my phone rings more, I got more deals, we’re looking at more houses, all because I came to Investor Fuel. I learned what people are doing in these other markets and every meeting I’m kind of blown away by somebody that tells me something, you know, and I’m like, “Man, I wish I’d have thought of that years ago.” You know?
Mike:That’s great. And it’s interesting for as much as you say you’ve learned, I know even myself have learned a lot from you. And so, everybody has, you know, it’s not like there’s one person that’s spouting this great knowledge and it’s like, “I want to go be that person or do like that person.” It’s like, it’s a little nuggets here and there. People pick up stuff from your style and what you do on relationships, pick up from this person on what they’re doing with some technology or some new thing that’s popped up, whatever it might be. I mean, I think you’d agree with that is like all these little bits and pieces. And it really, for people that are operating and already doing volume, you know, it just takes a couple of little nuggets to really move the needle. Right?
David:Yeah. And that’s what you’re looking for is those nuggets. And some of those nuggets are the relationships that you build and the people you talk to. And the nuggets sometimes aren’t coming from the hot seat presentations. It’s sitting out here in the audience talking to somebody and you start talking about maybe using Podio or using something that, you know, that maybe both of you are using and they give you a tip or a pointer on how to make something work that you’re unsure of or you didn’t know that even it would do or exist, you know, so you’re like, “Wow,” you know.
And you go home and you put that in place and next thing you know, you get a deal from it and you’re like, “Wow, man, that one little nugget paid for the trip.” That’s the kind of things that I take from it is the relationships and being able to reach out in our Facebook group or reach out to Stinson or reach out to somebody new and say, “Hey, man, I need some help. I’ve got this going on. What do I do?” And, you know, I never had that before. I always had to do it the hard way, you know, process of elimination, you know, get my nose busted, go the other way. You know, just kind of figure it out, you know, as I went through it. Now, I won’t do anything without reaching out and asking somebody. So . . .
Mike:Yeah, it’s truly part of a family. Well, Coach, we appreciate you, buddy. Thanks so much for joining us on the show today.
David:All right, Mike. Thanks for having me.
Mike:I appreciate all the information that you shared. There are some great nuggets here. Hey, if folks wanted to reach out to you and learn more about what you’ve got going on, where would they go?
David:They can go to a coachbuyshomes.com, Facebook, go to Coach Buys Homes or David Dean, and you can find me on Instagram @coachbuyswv.
Mike:All right, we’ll get some links down below there. So, thanks again for joining us on the show.
David:Okay, Mike. Thanks, buddy.
Mike:Awesome. And everybody, hey, thanks for joining us on this episode today. We’re still a fairly new show. I’ve been doing the other show, the FlipNerd Real Estate Investor Secrets for five and a half years now, but the Investor Fuel Show is still relatively new here. If you haven’t subscribed yet, we’d love it if you subscribe, give us a positive review. Share some love, maybe share it with somebody else you think might enjoy it. So, everybody, appreciate you a bunch. We’ll see you on the next show.
Are you an active real estate investor? If so, and you want to latch onto the power of surrounding yourself with over a hundred of the nation’s leading real estate investors, all committed to building stronger businesses and living richer, fuller lives, you should jump on a call with us to learn more about Investor Fuel. Simply visit investorfuel.com to get started.

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