I will never forget that day. I was at a function at my congregation and Britt, one of my friends there, pointed over to my truck and asked who it belonged to. The truck had a “We Buy Houses” wrap on the tailgate, and Britt had never seen the vehicle before because we normally show up to functions like these in Ashley’s van.
When I told him it was mine, his response was, “You buy houses?” I, of course, enthusiastically said, “Yes!”
He then tilted his head, lowered his voice and asked, “You… (pausing there with a very questioning tone) buy houses?” I tilted my head, lowered my voice and replied, “Yes.” He responded with an, “Oh.”
Two things were going on here. The first thing was that Britt wasn’t accustomed to someone his age being in the house buying business. The other thing was that I hadn’t done an adequate job broadcasting to my congregation that buying houses is what I do for a living.
In his book “The 10x Rule,” Grant Cardone talks about the latter situation. He says one of the biggest reasons new and small business don’t succeed has little to do with the quality of their goods and services. It has much more to do with the fact that they don’t know how to overcome obscurity.
Grant says although you may be the best in your area at what you do, if your customers don’t know who you are or how to get in touch with you, your skill really doesn’t matter.
Since that conversation with Britt, I’ve rented to and sold our flip houses to multiple people in our congregation. In other words, they now know what Ashley and I do.
For investors, overcoming obscurity is crucial. House sellers need to know who you are and how to get in touch with you when they need to sell.
I wish I had one specific way to tell you how to do this, but I don’t. As a matter of fact, Grant spends a lot of time in “The 10X Rule” talking about how you have to put tons of effort into letting people know who you are and consistently trying to standout in order to overcome obscurity.
We’ve found this process takes a long time. For us, it took about three years of constantly and consistently marketing our business before people started calling us and not vice versa. So don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results quickly. It all adds up over time.
Some familiar ways of letting people consistently know who you are may include strategies like advertising in the newspaper and on Craigslist. You can put “We Buy Houses” signs on everything, including your vehicles and yourself (via t-shirts). You can start doing direct mail campaigns, door knocking (which is always a great idea) and utilizing social media to broadcast the message that you buy houses.
But you have to make sure all those efforts lead people back to you personally so they can relate to you.
This point is important. One time, I was signing a contract with a seller at his kitchen table and noticed my card in a notebook that he had. Right next to mine was the card of one of my friends who happens to be a great investor too. Out of curiosity, I asked the seller why he had chosen to call us instead of my friend. He told me that the other card just looked to businessy. In other words, he couldn’t relate to them.
He said our card was friendly, and it had a Facebook page and website on it, which made him feel like he was dealing with a person and not just a company.
That personal touch helped us standout as investors, and we overcome obscurity in the eyes of that seller, which landed us the deal.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.