The most successful real estate investors in America know how critical it is to network, network, network. In this FlipNerd.com interview, Jacci Konkle shares several awesome tips for how to find more deals in your market. The interesting thing is, what she shares is so simple that most will find a reason to ‘get to it later’ (never). Truth is, this is the stuff that separates those that are successful and those that either fail or just get by. Jacci shares some awesome tips with us in this interview…so don’t miss it!
Mike: Welcome to the Flipnerd.com podcast. This is your host, Mike Hambright, and on this show I will introduce you to VIPs in the real estate investing industry as well as other interesting entrepreneurs whose stories and experiences can help you take your business to the next level. We have three new shows each week which are available in the iTunes store or by visiting Flipnerd.com. So without further ado, let’s get started. Hey it’s Mike Hambright at Flipnerd.com.
Welcome back for another exciting VIP interview where I interview some of the most successful real estate experts and entrepreneurs in our industry to help you learn and grow. Today, I am joined by Jackie Concle [SP] whose a Wisconsin based investor. She’s a coach, she’s the founder of the Appleton Ria Club and today we’re going to talk about how to find leads through networking. As a real estate investor, it’s important to find leads through lots of other sources and a lot of people tend to automate things with direct mail and other things but there’s a lot of ways to find deals the old fashioned way which is actually networking and actually talking to people. Getting out from behind your computer and actually talking to people is an interesting concept, right? But before we get started with Jackie, let’s take a moment to recognize our feature sponsors.
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Hey Jackie, welcome to the show.
Jackie: Hi Mike. Thanks for having me.
Mike: Yeah, yeah. So I’m excited to talk to you today. I know you’ve got some interesting experiences to share in terms of the importance of networking and finding other alternative lead sources which is hard to believe that actually talking to people is considered an alternative lead source. But before we get started with that, why don’t you tell us about your background.
Jackie: Let’s see. I’ve been involved in real estate since 1996 when I bought my Carlton Sheets program. I bought my first rental property. But after dealing with tenants for a while I realized that the dream of building a rental portfolio wasn’t actually a dream but a nightmare. It’s something that I didn’t really do. And then fast forward a few years, in 2004 or 5 I got my real estate license Illinois and became a realtor, partnered with an auctioneer and started selling properties in 30 days through an auction process. Most of our clients were actually rehabbers and flippers. And I was watching these guys actually get their butts handed to them and I was super afraid for what they were doing and I thought to myself, I would never afford these. But as I really went through it, I was kind of learning all the things that they did wrong like buying the house that backs up to the railroad tracks, on a busy street. Why would you buy that house to flip it? And I was watching all the things they did wrong. Rehabbing things like that. And I was kind of noticing the things that they could have done differently and in 2007, my husband and I were living back in Wisconsin and we decided to start flipping and we just though, if we did all the things they didn’t do and we didn’t do all the things they do wrong, that we might have a successful business. And it actually turned out pretty well. We’ve been flipping homes since then and we have had a successful business and it is something we do full time. Again, along with the coaching and the Ria and things like that, but that’s our substantial piece of our business is flipping and wholesaling.
Mike: Okay, that’s great. That’s great. And tell us a little about your Ria Club. Those that listen have heard me say this a million times but I’m a huge proponent of Ria clubs and just know that they’re kind of the backbone of the real estate community. And when folks start to see the new Flipnerd site roll out, they’ll start to see how important we think they are because we integrated them into our new website that’s about to roll out soon. But thanks for all you do, because I know it can be a thankless business, but it’s an important part. It’s definitely an important part of the real estate community. But tell us a little about your Ria.
Jackie: Well, I started the Ria because I really love pouring into other people. I like to help other people be successful. I come from that background of doing corporate training and things like that and that’s also why I have a coaching business, to take people to the next step and the next level. But I started the Ria not as any type of a profit center but just to help people get that information because I’m always discouraged when the big gurus come to town and people lay down 20,000, 50,000, $100,000 and they get help from somebody who doesn’t even do it and they’re states away. And that was really eering me so I started a Ria club so that we can get good information into people’s hands, help them get started properly and take them kind of through the process. And networking’s so important. It gets us all into one room. If your family’s telling you your crazy getting involved in real estate because look at the market and all this kind of stuff, you get to be around some like-minded people who are having success and help you along your business.
Mike: Yeah, that’s critical. I think all, me included, our family thought we were nuts when we started. They were like, why would you do that and the market’s tanking. Why would people pay you to buy houses from you? And you kind of heard it all, but anyway. Now they ask me, how can we do that too?
Jackie: Exactly. Yeah, one of the things that we did with Ria was we connected with some of the bigger Rias. I mean, first thing we did was become a chapter of the national Ria to kind of bring in some of those resources but we also partnered with the Milwaukee Ria and the Madison Ria and a couple of Rias in Illinois and we get together as kind of a group and our Rias are all in the same week but they’re Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday so we can bring in some of the big speakers and take advantage of them being in town without them having to make a special trip to have to come to our smaller group. They’ll visit us because they’re also visiting the larger groups sat the same time and that gives us a really nice opportunity to get everybody some really nice information.
Mike: Yeah, that’s an awesome idea. That’s a great idea. That’s great. And it’s great. I always love hearing, it’s kind of a side note, when Ria clubs work together because I’ve seen some that don’t and that you just tend to think that everybody’s your competition even though they’re 200 miles away and it’s like that’s not your competition.
Jackie: It doesn’t make any sense. If everybody helps everybody we’ll have more educated investors in the market place and we won’t have these people that are overbidding on properties and taking them away from people who could have gotten them for the right price. Because you know those guys that just come out, they saw a show on TV, Flip This House, or whatever and though, I could do that. They go over pay for a property and, yeah, they lose money and they never come back and buy another one but that just took a good property away from an investor who knew what to do with it.
Mike: Yeah, and somebody got hurt in the process.
Jackie: So it’s better to have everybody educated.
Mike: So today we’re going to talk about lead generation and all veteran real estate investors understand the importance of having multiple lead sources because it’s critical because sources dry up and come and go and you want to run as stable of a business as you can. And networking is actually something that’s dear to my heart. I talk about it to a lot of people that I mentor and coach about the importance of networking and relationships and in fact, I took a large training group yesterday that’s part of the system that I’m in to a house that I bought from, and it just happened to be from a real estate agent. It was an off market deal but it was a porter house and needs a ton of work and just one that he didn’t want to fool with and that wouldn’t happen unless I spent some time building relationships like that. So I know that that’s important to do. So tell us a little about networking because it’s critical to network for people to find deals over time. It’s really important for people to have a lot of different sources for leads but tell us a little about your experience and what you teach others in terms of power networking.
Jackie: Well one of the things I do and this is all over the world and you might have heard of it yourself,
Mike: BNI, Business Networking International. You can go to BNI.com and they’re all over the world. What you do is just scope it down to your state and your city and I used to join the clubs but it’s a huge commitment because you have to go every single week to their meetings. But they’ll let you visit one or two, maybe three times, as a guest before asking you to join and really all you need to do is just pop in as a guest. They give you an opportunity to tell about yourself and what’s a good lead for you. What’s a good referral for you? And what BNI is in a nutshell is it’s a referral group and they allow one person from each type of business into the group and they spend time exchanging referrals so at the beginning of the meeting, they have all of the members go around the table and say what’s a good referral for them. And then at the end they let the guests talk about who they are. It’s about 30 seconds to 60 seconds depending on the group you visit and the things is, when they’re going around the table, they’re also passing around a box full of their business cards. So whoever that’s speaking that you think might be a good referral source back and forth for you and that you might even be able to help their business like the estate planning attorney, the prorate attorney, a realtor, a mortgage broker, you know all these different people. Grab their cards out of there. You know, maybe there’s somebody who is a director at a nursing home or an assisted living facility, those types of things. Those are great people to be connected with so grab their cards out.
And then, of course, when you’re talking about yourself, make sure you talk about your birddog fee. If you don’t offer a bird dog fee, you need to start. I offer a thousand dollars to anybody who gives me a lead that I end up being able to purchase the home. And I like to take a picture of them with the big check. I had one of the big Ed Mcmahon checks made up that has my company name and a thousand dollar referral fee and I like to take my picture, or their picture with the check and use it as social proof. Post it on Facebook, my website, whatever, so other people can see that we really do pay the thousand dollars. So when I’m talking about myself and I let them know who’s a good referral for me, a great referral for me is someone who just inherited a home that smells like Bengay and looks like 1950 inside and that’s a great referral for me. You don’t want to empty it out. I’ll clean it out, just call me before you clean and repair anything. Take out the valuables and anything that means anything to you, I’ll take care of the rest. Don’t take your weekends and clean the house out. Know somebody like that, you need to think of me right away and if I buy that house, you get a thousand dollars. And I always let them know, I know this is a referral group. This is the reason you’re here today but I’m going to pay you for the referrals as well. I don’t expect you to pay me for your referrals but this is what I do so I’m extending it here. Because sometimes people are like, oh my gosh, you pay too?
Mike: No that’s awesome. I tell people to maybe check your market too, because different states have different rules in terms of how much you can pay on referral fees which I think is insane. But check your local rules on that and sometimes there’s unique ways to get around it. I’m not going to coach people on how to break the law or break the rules but just find out what they are in your market.
Jackie: Yeah, and sometimes you can just donate to their favorite charity in their name. And then you didn’t pay them anything or whatever because there’s other people, you know attorneys and things like that, that it’s a conflict of interest for them to take money for a referral but there’s things you can do.
Jackie: Then the cards that you take out of the box, maybe they don’t think of you right away but you can call them and say, hey I met you at the BNI last week. I just thought it’d be a good idea for us to sit down because I think you and I could probably pass some leads back and forth. They’re happy to do that. That’s why they’re part of that group and they’re used to doing that. So buy them coffee, meet for lunch or whatever it is. Make an appointment at their office and then just talk a little bit more about what’s a good referral for you and then what they might be looking for that you could help them with. Like, for example, I have an estate, what do we call that? They do auctions at estates, estate sales and things like that.
Jackie: I have someone like that in rolodex which is a great referral source for me so when I go and I get a lead and I’m buying a house and it might be some heirs that took possession of a property and the house is still full of antiques and all that, I’ll ask them what are you doing with the stuff? Do you need help selling it? Do you need help getting it taken care of? Do you want to do an estate sale? And if they say, yeah, we don’t know who to call, well I’m going to refer them to her and when she goes and she gets a call and they say well do you buy the house too? And she says no, I buy the stuff. If you want to sell the house, I’ve got someone and she’ll refer them to me and it’s just a really great relationship.
Mike: Yup, absolutely.
Jackie: So that’s’ another person you should try to connect with is the companies that do estate sales in your area. A lot of times they’re called way before anybody to buy the house because they can’t imagine selling the house until all grandma’s stuff is out.
Jackie: So you can get a jump on that lead by being in contact with that person.
Mike: Yeah, in my experience the estate sale companies, there tends to be a lot of them. A lot of mom and pop shops. They’re more open to unique solutions to things than bigger companies would be so that’s one thing is that they’re a little more open-minded. Two is there’s a ton of them so get busy and start finding those people.
Jackie: Yeah. Offer them a referral fee. And you can call it an advertising fee. Whatever it turns out to be. But they’re advertising for me so if they give me a lead and I pay them for it, I mean, in most states that’s going to be okay. But I appreciate your point, we definitely do have to check with the different rules and regulations seeing that you’re a national show.
Mike: Sure, sure. And talk about what other sources do you have in terms of prospects you go after to network with that could, you know, bring a lead your way.
Jackie: Yeah. Some of the other, you know, BNI is the biggest referral networking group that’s out there buy you might be able to find smaller referral groups if you just do a Google search for your area. There’s been a lot of spin-offs in a lot of different areas because BNI is a little bit expensive so there have been little groups that spin-off and call themselves whatever but if you just look for referral groups. You can also do chamber of commerce events. Networking events that they have. And then as far as targeted people that you would want to network with, of course you want to deal with state planning attorneys and probate attorneys because they’re going to get those inherited homes. They’re going to have those leads. Now they’re not going to be able to call you and say here’s the person and the address but they’ll be able to refer your name and your number to their clients. But because of the attorney client privilege, they can’t call you and say hey I have a lead, but they can give your information to them. Any of the directors that are working with assisted living facilities and nursing homes and things like that. A lot of times when they’re coming in, they have a property that they need to sell to be able to move into these, especially if they’re going to be moving into government funding like Medicaid, that kind of stuff. They need to sell all their assets down to a specific limit so they need to get rid of their properties. A lot of times there’s differed maintenance and things that the property needs and they can’t just put it on the market and sell it very quickly.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny, it’s interesting that we’re talking about this. This is one of the, I don’t know all your techniques and all your voo-doo magic. I don’t know what it all is but I actually talked recently. I was talking to some people on this very same topic and my analogy is that I usually ask people, hey raise your hand if you think you’re good at networking and you go to events and you meet a lot of people. And I say okay keep your hand up. How many of you come home with a stack of business cards in your pocket. Keep your hand up. How many of you wrap a rubber band around it and throw it in a drawer somewhere and most of the hands stay up. And it just generally speaking, it’s a shame. And in all honesty, I don’t necessarily take all the advice that I’m giving here so this is more of the do as I say, not as I do. But just that a lot of people spend time networking but they never go beyond that event rarely. To the point to where and I’ll say something right now. A lot of people can probably understand what I’m saying is that it’s been rare for you if you met somebody at an event and you hear from them afterwards like where they send you an email and say, hey it was really great to meet you. Can we grab coffee sometime? Or I’d like to learn more about what it is that we talked about. And it’s rare and why not be that person that is the rare instance. Send an email afterwards. Even if you have somewhat canned emails. Just it was great to meet you yesterday. By the way, if you ever come across any of those houses like we talked about. The stuff that I buy, you know, the gross ones. Let me know. Then find a way to just follow up with them once a quarter because the challenge with all these people that you’re talking about is it’s never going to happen where you meet somebody and they’re like, actually I have a house for you right now. Maybe you can buy it today. Like that never happens. It’s going to be, no we don’t have anything right now. I have seen those before but what happens is two years later, they’re going to come across something. The challenge is are you still top of mind.
Mike: Do they still remember you?
Jackie: Exactly. And especially with the attorneys and the people who you know are getting leads on a regular basis but once you do one deal with them, they don’t forget you. Because they’re like, holy cow, you closed so fast. Remember that an attorney doesn’t get paid on a probate case until everything’s settled and that house is usually the last thing sitting there on the estate. If you can get that house out of there, they can settle the estate. They can get paid. They love those. I’ll buy it as soon as that personal rep is appointed an official and can sign the offer, we sign it and close in a week. Done. And that attorney is always wowed. Now they’re going to remember you. You still have to stay on top of mind but leading up to that, you have to get that first deal with them. And also remember if a different way of networking brings you to an estate that’s in probate or something like that where they’re dealing with an attorney, ask them who their attorney is. Reach out to that attorney and say, did you know I came in and bought this house. I can buy the next one. Call me. Make sure that you’re staying on top of them but that is a really good point. Another way that I’ll stay on top of people is, if I’m meeting them in person is just asking them, if they wouldn’t mind putting my sign in their yard. So bandit signs that we’re putting all over town and they’re getting taken by the sign police or some other investor maybe might be stealing them. I think I might have that in my area. I’m asking people, hey would you mind putting my sign in your front yard and if somebody calls me off of your sign and I buy the house, I’ll pay you for it.
Mike: Just some basic techniques for making sure, after you meet people, you continue to build that relationship over time.
Jackie: Yeah, one of the things I do is become friends with them on Facebook or whatever social media you use. I have all the social medias but I like Facebook and I think most people use that. That way they can see some of my updates, whether they’re personal or business and it just keeps me on top of mind that way. Sending them an email every once in a while and really going back and visiting the same groups where I met someone in the first place. If it was part of a group and being able to reconnect with them in person or even just calling them up and having coffee because that’s something that’s really easy to do and you can do that with one or two people each day pretty easily. It doesn’t take a lot of time.
Mike: Yeah. That’s great. One of the things that I tell a lot of the people that I mentor is our model typically is we spend money on advertising to generate leads, direct mail, we do a whole bunch of things in my system but what separates the successful real estate investors from the ones that just get by are the ones that find lead sources outside of the traditional advertising that can bring leads to them over time because imagine if you make ten or twenty thousand on a house and you can find a way to get an extra six or twelve of those a year. I mean, it makes a huge difference to most people.
Jackie: Yeah, no it really does and that’s the thing that most people aren’t’ doing. Most people are just doing, you mentioned mailings. I’ve never done a mailing. I keep saying I’m going to do one. I even bought a list. I have never ever done a mailing and I think I’ve done two foreclosures ever. So it’s really, for me, always been about just connecting with people and finding out what’s going on. You would be surprised. They say, when you’re talking about driving neighborhoods and the gurus talk about the same thing and you see a house that’s not kept. The lawn is long. Or the house just looks ugly. Maybe mailing or dropping off a postcard or something at the house. But for me, you can just go talk to the neighbors. They know everything about that house. They know who owns it, where they live if they don’t live there. If it’s rented now. If it’s vacant. They know the whole story about that property and you can get all the information you need from those neighbors so that you know what to do next to approach that owner and possibly buy that house.
Mike: Yeah, that’s great.
Jackie: But these are the things that most investors aren’t doing.
Mike: Yeah, absolutely. It’s so easy to hide behind a computer these days. And I’m to blame for using virtual assistants that you just kind of assume are automated to free up time in my life but it’s those extra steps, that extra mile that really makes a difference for a lot of people’s business for sure. Jackie: Yeah, or even if you see an estate sale going on, stop by and say, hey is the house for sale? You know, when you’re done selling all the stuff in there, is the house for sale? I mean, you just walked up. I actually bought a house like that. They were doing the estate sale, and here’s the thing. That house was for sale. I mean, her mom had passed away over a year ago. She left the house exactly as it was because she was not ready to let mom go. She was finally ready and having the estate sale so when I went there she’s like, you know, when mom passed away, I got all these letters from all these people who buy houses like you. She said I threw them all away. I was so angry that they would send me these letters now and my mom just died. But she’s like I’m ready now. And I was like, how perfect is that? Nobody else is, nobody’s mailing after a year and I was able to walk in and buy the house and I then, as I’m explaining my offer and why my number is where it is and I explained to her how I use private money and it’s more expensive than to go to the bank today for a mortgage. She was like, really? You pay that kind of interest? She became a private lender for us because she has all this money sitting in her IRA not doing well and she said, well I’d love to become a private lender for you. She said, but not this deal. This is mom’s house. But the next one, I’d like to fund it and she had $67,000. Now it’s not a million dollars but its 67 grand. I can do something with that. So it was really cool how that one worked out and it was all because I stopped at an estate sale. And I’m telling you, when somebody’s doing an estate sale, they’re ready. They’re not always ready right away and some people do get offended by the letters but you know, we know we need to get those lines in the water. But I was there a year after mom had passed. She was ready. And I was the only one there because nobody else was going after that house anymore.
Mike: Everybody else had given up. Yeah. That’s awesome. Well a lot of the networking things you talked about just now kind of also apply to private money where you’re meeting people and saying we look for private lenders and, so talk a little bit about how you use those same networking tools that you talked about for private money.
Jackie: Well, you know at the end of my little diddy where I’m saying what’s a good referral for me as far as a property, I always just put the, oh and also at the end of it. The oh, by the way, if you know anybody who is not making at least 8% on their money. If they’ve got money stuck in a savings or a CD or a money market or a 401k at a job where they no longer work and they’re not happy with their return, those are good referrals for me because we will pay them more money and they will be secured by a mortgage on the property. And people don’t always give me other people’s names but they’ll go, well, yeah me.
Mike: Yeah. In raising private money and some of those things, it’s such an important part of any veteran real estate business, they understand the importance of that so I hope a lot of folks will take your advice and start to implement some of those things.
Jackie: Absolutely. I think it really is one of the most important things and you know you can also get out and talk to those realtors. You don’t have to wait for something to show up on the MLS. They might get a call for a listing for a house that they’re just not even wanting to list because they know it needs a lot of repairs so just getting out there and talking to the people and getting your feet on the ground, you can find a lot of deals that other investors aren’t even going to know about.
Mike: Yup, yup. Absolutely. Well hey, thanks so much for joining us today and sharing your insights. We definitely appreciate it.
Jackie: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Mike: All right. We’ll talk to you again soon. Take care.
Jackie: All right, thanks. You too.
Mike: Bye-bye. Thanks for joining us on today’s Flipnerd.com podcast. To listen to more of our shows and hear from incredible guests, please access all of our podcasts in the iTunes store. You can also watch the video versions of our shows by visiting us at Flipnerd.com.