Today’s REI Classroom Lesson

We’ve all seen bandit signs before. Today, Jacci Konkle advises us how she uses them in yards and gives a referral fee.

REI Classroom Summary

Think outside the box with your bandit signs by having neighbors place them in their yard and market the referral fee that you provide.

Listen to this REI Classroom Lesson

Real Estate Investing Classroom Show Transcripts:

Mike: Welcome back to the REI Classroom, where experts from across the real estate investing industry teach you quick lessons to take your business to the next level. And now, let’s meet today’s expert host.
Jacci: Hi, my name is Jacci Konkle. I live in Wisconsin and I am the owner and founder of The Appleton RIA, the Appleton Real Estate Investors Association, and of course I’m an investor myself. Today our topic is going to be Creating Bird Dogs Using Bandit Signs, and I’ll be the host for your REI Classroom.
Mike: This REI Classroom real estate lesson is sponsored by
Jacci: One of the most successful things that we’ve done to get really good leads is using bandit signs. I know you’re probably sick of hearing that because everybody that talks about how to buy properties talks about bandit signs, and I realize that, but one of the things that we’ve done is to use those in a completely different way, and we’ve had tremendous success doing it.
One of the biggest complaints from most people using bandit signs, and of course, if you don’t know what those are, those are the little signs that you put in public places in the grass and it just says, “We Buy Houses.” Mine says, “We Buy Houses. Cash As Is,” and it has my phone number. And that’s a bandit sign. They’re really cheap. You can get them for as cheap as $1.00. I get mine shipped with the racks for $3.00 apiece. But most people complain because they’re constantly putting them out, and we hear trainings about people paying and having little side jobbers that put the signs out for them. There’s even an app that you can have that person take a picture of that sign when they put it up just to guarantee that they actually placed them.
But all of that, just to have either another investor take it, which hopefully doesn’t happen very much, or usually to have a code violation, having the police stop by and pick them up. Some people have gotten fines. We’ve gotten threats of fines from the police that we have it in a public right-of-way or something like that. People put it in vacant lots and things like that. It’s not that it doesn’t work. It’s just that it’s a lot of work because you have to constantly replace those signs.
One of the things that we’ve done is use our bandit signs in a way that actually creates a local bird dog out of somebody who has nothing to do with real estate. They don’t even have an interest in investing in real estate, your local neighborhood people. We ask permission to put a sign in their yard, in just a regular residential neighborhood. We put the sign there and we offer them that if we get a call from their sign and it leads to a home that we’re able to purchase, then we’ll pay them a $1000 referral fee. And I know all of you have different bird dog fees and things like that. I’ve even heard of people paying $100, and I just think that that isn’t very motivating. Even $500 isn’t really that motivating. But everybody, no matter what their social status, can get excited about $1000 for putting a sign in their yard.
What we find is these people will put this sign in their yard, and if weather takes it down or it gets stolen or damaged, whatever the case, they’ll call us and let us know they need another sign, which is pretty neat. They also will pick it up, mow the grass, and put it back in place. They take care of our sign. They make sure it’s visible, because they are going to get that $1000 referral fee.
Another benefit that it is, is every time that person comes home and they see that sign in their yard, it puts me top of mind again. So as they’re going about their day, of course, I’ve prepped them on this when I placed the sign, but as they’re going about their day and they hear somebody that says, “Oh, man. We really need to sell the house,” or “My parents just passed away and we have no idea what we’re going to do with this house. It needs a lot of work, or we’re going to spend all weekend cleaning it.” They hear those little things, and of course I’ve made them aware of those types of things to listen for. They’re going to remember that they should call me because they see my sign every day in their yard.
Another benefit, all their friends, family, neighbors, everybody that sees that sign in their yard asks them what’s it about. Now I’m getting more sign placements because they’re telling them what it’s about, and more leads because those people think, “Hey, I have a lead for that person,” and letting them know that we pay a $1000 referral fee. So the sign stays put, you get extra top-of-mind awareness, you get extra advertising.
We use this big, giant check like the Ed McMahon check, and we put their name on it, and it says “Referral Fee” in the Memo, it says, “$1000,” and we make them take a picture of it when we pay them the $1000 referral fee. So now we use that as extra marketing. We connect with them on Facebook. We plaster it all over social media, and we put in the tagline that if anybody else would like to make $1000, like your friend or family member that you actually know, standing here with this check, comment below or private message me. Then I get another 20 signs to place, and we just keep doing that. And then when somebody places their sign from the first person on a referral, then we tag them in the next time that they get $1000.
This just works really, really well. We even bought a property from somebody as a top-of-mind. She kept seeing the sign, called us and said, “Hey, my dad has been trying to sell my grandma’s house for three years. Maybe this is one that you want to buy.” We bought it. She got a $1000 referral fee. We plastered social media. We got another 17 signs placed, and one of those people just got a $1000 referral fee too. So this works, it works well, and it works wherever you live.
So go buy yourself some cheap bandit signs. And I will tell you, I’ve been in business for eight years. We’re still working on our first box of 100 signs. If you’re buying 100 signs a month, you’re doing it wrong. Go do it, and I hope you have a lot of luck. Thanks.
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