Bill Allen is a former Naval Officer with 18 years of military experience turned real estate investor, entrepreneur, and educator. He is the CEO of the 7 Figure Flipping Mastermind which includes 7 Figure Altitude and 7 Figure Runway, dedicated to national volume real estate flippers and wholesalers that share tactics and strategies to scale business. He has a BA in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech and a Master’s degree in Aeronautical and Astronomical engineering. He runs the 7 Figure Flipping Podcast which focuses on the strategies, systems, and secrets of the nation’s top house flippers, wholesalers, and real estate investors. See details on Flip Hacking Live on the website.
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- 00:00 Welcome Bill Allen of 7 Figure Flipping with Bill Allen
- 01:06 Mechanical engineering to navy to real estate flipper and entrepreneur
- 02:48 The current real estate market Bill Allen is flipping in
- 06:05 Why starting in a secondary market for wholesaling and flipping was so critical
- 07:35 How moving into larger cities greatly increase assignment fees for wholesale deals but what it took to get there
- 10:19 What is a real estate wholesaler?
- 11:03 What most people don’t understand about professional real estate wholesaling and the costs involved
- 12:38 Why most real estate wholesalers have a bad reputation
- 13:31 Building value as a legitimate wholesaler in the market where 90% are bad
- 14:48 The reputation of real estate wholesalers looking for the next sucker
- 15:27 The reason not to include after repair value estimates in wholesale deals
- 19:50 How did Bill scale his real estate wholesaling business so quickly?
- 24:18 Why learning marketing was so critical to scaling his real estate business
- 24:41 How important it is to track marketing KPIs and channel success
- 26:17 What marketing channels in real estate are working well in 2020?
- 26:33 Using data to drive efficiency and identifying weak performers
- 28:00 Dropping direct mail marketing expense by 40% by hyperlocal targeting
- 28:20 Facebook Ads, @Google Pay Per Click and SEO percentage of deal flow
- 28:54 The importance of understanding local laws on things like ringless voicemail
- 29:35 Why to continue to paying marketing phone after you stop direct mail campaigns
- 30:54 The one huge marketing mistake real estate investors make
- 32:26 Why Bill loves postcards for marketing
- 34:05 Is it more important to build a real estate brand as an investor or present marketing that looks completely different each time?
- 35:25 Hypothesize, test and pivot – the key strategy to get branding and marketing correct in your local market
- 38:57 Should you include pictures of your team in your marketing?
- 40:23 Why are ibuyers so awesome for real estate investors and why Bill loves them?
- 42:44 The $5,000 giveaway and the ibuyer that didn’t come through
- 44:01 How real estate investors can leverage ibuyers in their business
- 45:26 Tips to identifying new real estate markets for flipping and wholesaling
- 48:51 What role does a mastermind play in the life of an entrepreneur?
- 49:24 The difference between local real estate investment clubs (REIAs) and mastermind groups
- 54:07 The biggest difference between guru training, real estate coaching, and mastermind groups
- 59:10 What volume real estate pros won’t tell at local levels that they may share in a mastermind
- 59:36 What are the biggest impacts for Covid-19 for volume flippers and wholesalers?
- 1:00:00 The one big takeaway that real estate investors should take away from Wall Street lending partners and hard money?
- 1:05:02 Flip Hacking Live details and how it’s changed in 2020 due to Covid-19
Aaron Norris 00:01
Hey everybody, welcome back to this week’s episode of the Data Driven Real Estate Podcast. This week we have Bill Allen – he is the CEO of Blackjack Real Estate, and also the CEO of the 7 Figure Flipping Mastermind. This week we talked about how we went from mechanical engineer in the Navy, all the way to a real estate investor who flips over 100 via flipping and wholesaling. Every year. We talk about ibuyers in the market and why he’s actually excited to be there. We talk about inside baseball of wholesaling, sometimes it can seem like a little bit of a dirty word. And most importantly, of course, we cover the data that he uses day to day in business, which strategies and channels are driving the majority of his business, and even how he approaches new markets that much more on this week’s episode, everybody, welcome to the Data Driven Real Estate Podcast, the podcast for real estate professionals dedicated to driving business success using data. I’m really excited to have Bill Allen. I only met you earlier this year. You’ve been very busy with 7 Figure Flipping. So who is Bill Allen?
Bill Allen 01:01
Then, that could be a lot. It could be the whole podcast right there. Right? You know. So I love that kind of concept of this data-driven real estate investing data- driven items, right. So like I’m a flipper and wholesaler. But before that I was a mechanical engineering undergrad at Georgia Tech. So I’m a numbers like science and math are everything to me. I was not good at English and writing and oh, it’s just horrible, all that stuff. And I actually joined the Navy right after college. So I got a mechanical engineering undergrad degree, got commissioned into the Navy as a pilot. And then I went to I got a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering, which was more science and math and things like that. And so right after that, I went down to flight school, and for 15 years, I was active duty Navy pilot, and I still am in the reserves. But during that time, I was trying to figure out my finances and becoming financially free and at some point along that journey, about seven or eight years ago, I found real estate and that’s kind of what you know, drove me into trying to understand rentals and Then I started I did a flip and I made a ton of money and I said, This is exciting, can I do this again? And then I started repeating that and then you know, I wanted to build a business so I went from you know, college graduate engineer, pilot and thinking I know everything to flipping a house and then figuring out I don’t know everything and getting beat up a little bit in the real estate world and then trying to scale a business because it was frustrating only doing one deal a year I wanted to figure out how to do more than that. And so we’ve done you know, and in the, in the tune of 150 to 175 are the most that we did in a year was 187 was about three years ago kind of flips and wholesales and that’s primarily what I do now is is flipping wholesale in my real estate business and then run that other mastermind group so I’m figure flipping is where I spend a lot of my time now so that’s kind of like background on me, I guess.
Aaron Norris 02:48
Yeah no, what, what markets are you in right now?
Bill Allen 02:51
So we started in Pensacola, Florida, so around he panhandle and so Escambia and Santa Rosa County, and then I moved to Nashville because we had our middle son had a heart condition and needed open heart surgery after he was born. So we decided to move like leave Pensacola and that’s about the time I got out of active duty in the Navy. I wasn’t ready to go deploy again. And then we moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee like our we went into a second market of Chattanooga, so I lived in Nashville, but I didn’t think that I could afford it. And we can talk about that a little bit because that’s the data-driven approach of what is it going to take to start investing in a big city versus a smaller city like Pensacola? So I went to Chattanooga, so that was a second market and then we went to Nashville after that. And now we do a little bit of business in Huntsville. We do some business in Kentucky pretty much anywhere in the southeast. We’ve done some deals in Atlanta, we’ve done some deals in Indiana. If some stuff pops up, we’ll do it. We’re also moved into New Jersey, we actually happen to have another investor who was ready to get out of the single-family business and move into the multifamily business. So we kind of bought their company we decided to find a way to partner with them in the beginning, understand the market a little bit and you know, they had a great buyer’s list. They had a great business there. So we just started kind of took over their business, basically, because we had the operational side, and they wanted to move over the multifamily and still cash flow a little bit from that business. So that was a cool venture that we did. So pretty much we’re trying to figure out how to do deals anywhere where it makes sense that we get the return that we can on more of a virtual kind of wholesaling model in the southeast.
Aaron Norris 04:19
Okay well, mechanical engineering seems out the window at this point.
Bill Allen 04:25
Yeah, yeah. I you know, it’s funny because the whole engineering side of things I look at, so I was a I got a, you know, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, a master’s in aeronautical engineering. I only knew anybody that made like $200,000 a year I thought it was like a cap that a human being could make I thought rich people were like, over there like people, nobody makes a million dollars a year and that kind of stuff and then becoming a pilot. It was just kind of like showing up punching the clock doing my job. I really enjoyed doing what I was doing, and I still do it part-time. But there’s something kind of missing And that was pulling me towards real estate. And it was kind of fun. And now this entrepreneurial side it was was like hiding inside me for so long. And what happened with this whole real estate thing is it just let out this, this entrepreneur that I that when I look back, the story is told when I was you know, 6-7-8 years old, I was always trying to turn $1 into $2, I was always hustling, and it was just kind of hidden, and then when it came out, it’s like, you can’t put that you can’t put that back in the box once it comes out. And so I’m never gonna go back to work for somebody again, engineering is not the most interesting thing, although I would, I would be interested in jumping into a business like that and figure out how to how to turn the dials and make it more efficient because that’s what I think’s really cool about what we do but I don’t need to like markup drawings and do CAD or anything like that.
Aaron Norris 05:46
Or say a natural fit for that as you know, you get into adding square footage building construction, but that’s not where you’ve landed yet. So well let’s let’s backwards engineer like how you ended up in Tennessee started with the affordability question so yeah, that tell me how you ended up there.
Bill Allen 06:05
Yeah, so the, you know, when I when I moved it, so I was in the small market of Pensacola, it’s about 350,000 people. And it was looking back, it was kind of like shooting fish in the barrel at the time. I didn’t think so because I was kind of growing the business. But I mean, I was getting a deal for like $700 bucks. So we’re getting, like, most people that are in the mastermind group that I was in my network, they were talking $2,500, $3,000, we were under $1,000 of kind of cost per contract for wholesale deals. And there just wasn’t a lot of competition in that area. Not a lot of sophisticated like bigger time investors that were scaling and growing. And so when I went to Nashville, I said, I don’t know if I have the amount of money or the skill set or the understanding to go into a major market, you know, a couple million people. And so I had the decision to make of where am I going to go I was moving to Nashville, and I had my team When my team was built out and I was going to be virtually running my team in Pensacola there, I said, Why can’t I do this everywhere I have the infrastructure, I have all the systems and processes, all I need to do is actually put somebody on the ground in a new city, one person, and use all my whole infrastructure of the company. And so what I saw then was my net profit is going to go up, like the money that goes into the owner’s pocket in the business makes more money that way. So the next question was, where do I go? Do I go to a major market or another submarket that I know the difficulty that I had with my submarket was I could get deals cheaper, but the buyers were a little bit hard to find and my assignment fees weren’t that high. So I was averaging about $8,000 on the assignment at the time, where I saw some of the other people that were in like Dallas or Salt Lake City or San Diego, some of the bigger cities, they were seeing assignment fees of $20,000. So and their deals would sell really fast when they found one it would sell really fast and we’d have to work a lot harder to sell that contract. And or to do that flip or to you know, find that end buyer for what we were doing on the wholesale side. So there’s pros and cons to both of them. And what I said was, I already know this, like I have this thing wired this 350,000 person population, we’ve got it figured out, we have it wired, we’re starting to get the assignment fees up. We’re starting to build a buyer’s list, we’re starting to understand the pros and cons of being there and leaning into it. So instead of reinventing the wheel and going to Nashville right away, which probably could have hurt me if I didn’t go in and have success right away, because it was more expensive. And there are bigger players in there and more sophisticated investors that I was gonna have to compete with. I said, Why don’t we go to another place? That is that has a look alike audience to where I already am. And that’s why we chose Chattanooga. The other thing about Chattanooga that I thought was interesting, from a data side is an hour and a half away in Nashville, and all these buyers that I was watching in Nashville at the Ria meetings and the Facebook pages and all the meetups. They were complaining about not finding deals in Nashville anymore, but they hadn’t gone over to look at Chattanooga yet. It’s so close. I was like Oh, I could just network and meet with buyers and build my list here in Nashville, but push them over to Chattanooga where the returns are a lot better and start building my buyers list with Nashville buyers that could flip or buy rentals in Chattanooga, and just kind of educate the market a little bit here. And so that’s what I decided to do. And it turned out really, really well. I mean, I remember we didn’t have a great sales rep. He was, I mean, he’s a great guy. I love him. We just weren’t, we just weren’t hitting home runs all the time. Like he’s kind of all over the place. And now we know what our acquisitions rep should look like. We got it really dialed in. But we were we just came out of the gate really strong. Like there wasn’t a lot of competition there. We were dropping contracts, I was able to sell them to Nashville buyers and be the person here in Nashville that was kind of helping to move the contracts in Chattanooga push people over there. And we built our buyers list really, really fast and kind of took off and kind of own that market for a while before people started getting a whiff of it and kind of came over. So that’s one thing that I think really helped the profitability of my company in the beginning and the number of deals and we were able to do because we can almost double our deal size and volume with just adding one more person to the business. And it was cool. It was cool to see.
Aaron Norris 10:08
So you started a sort of became an expert in a secondary market and then worked your way after building the reputation. That’s, that’s good to know. Looking at the data, knowing that that’s the journey. Now you say the word wholesale. And if you say that word, if you’re new and you show up, club owners will say to you, they’re like, Oh, really, you’re a wholesaler Good, good for you. It’s typically the word that means I don’t have any money and any experience. I’m just looking for a way in. So what does a wholesaler look like for you?
Bill Allen 10:43
Yeah, you know, that’s an interesting thing. Because what’s in what the way that I look at it is you have so many people are teaching the fact that you can start as a wholesaler you don’t need any money. You don’t need to know anything. Just go in make an offer, get it under contract, so I saw the contract. You don’t really need to know the number have money, all that stuff. I don’t really love that. I definitely like it’s a it’s a decent place to start. But it doesn’t have to be where you start, like you can start as a flipper. And in fact, I think starting as a flipper, it actually reduces your risk people think they’re like wholesaling is very easy. It doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot of risk, you can just cancel a contract. Well, I mean, we spend, we spent $45,000 a month on marketing before we even get a deal. So like, that is money that I put out as a company upfront, to go out looking for things. As a flipper, when you buy a property, you actually have equity into this property that you’re purchasing. When you buy it and you have an asset that’s tied to it when you put your money on the table. I put my money on the table ahead of time. So people talk about risk a lot and they think that wholesales not a lot of risk. Well if you’re putting like number one, how do you value your time? So it’s either time or money that you’re putting into market to go find properties. So for me, I really I love I thought the same thing when I started like wholesalers were like sleazy and they were scammy. And they like fast talker sign on the hood of the car kind of people. And that’s that’s just what was portrayed in the almost like the real estate media, if you will at that time for me like REIA meetings and free forums and stuff like that. But when I started meeting like, like, really ethical, awesome wholesalers that were running a business, not just like a side hustle where they do a deal here and there and make some money and fall backwards into it, it changed everything for me, because I did start as a flipper. And during that time, I identified myself as that and I kind of pushed those other people I was like, I don’t want to be associated with these other folks like that. I don’t trust them. I don’t believe what they’re saying they’re trying to sell me this high ARV or these, like low repair costs and all that stuff. And so what I decided to do was like just kind of piggyback off of some of my mentors. And I think you know, Andy MacFarlane. So Andy was a huge mentor of mine. When I saw his business I was like, wow, like, this is somebody who I trust. He’s amazing. He, he treats his his his business like a business. He treats his team with respect, just come very admirable and coming from a military background like honor, honor, courage and commitment are our core values in the military. And coming from that, it’s like, I just, I was picking up a lot of great, you know, vibes from him. And for me, like I wanted to emulate that in a business. And so then I said, Well, what, you know, why, why do we have such a bad reputation out there? And how can we change that? So like, the way that I look at it now is we, we provide valuable, valuable items to the marketplace like if I go to a grocery store, there’s wholesalers that bring the food to the grocery store, like in any business, there’s a wholesaler that is making money by adding value to that customer, someone way or another. They’re adding value to the grocery store. They’re bringing the lettuce, they’re adding value to the farmer, they’re actually moving more product and things like that. So as long as we can show up in the marketplace and add value, then I don’t think that the word wholesaling has to be a bad word. It just seems like in real estate, you know, I hold, I hold a real estate license in Florida too. So, you know, there’s, there’s just some of it is a little bit of education and just understanding that there are good people out there. And I don’t know, it’s like the top 10% of any industry, there’s like really great people. And there’s the other 90% that give us a bad name, in whatever we do. So it’s a challenge, I think,
Aaron Norris 14:24
I think here in California, some of the more professionally organized wholesalers, their their game was to find the next sucker that would overpay for something and bury them, but maybe it wasn’t burying them, maybe their target buyer with somebody who’s going to hold the property and not flip it. So there wasn’t enough juice left in the deal to really make it make sense as a flip. But it was really that one and done strategy. So I don’t, I personally don’t know a ton of wholesalers in the California market, that leave enough juice in the deal to where somebody can successfully flip it. It’s just gotten harder. So…
Bill Allen 15:01
Yeah…talk to that a little bit, I think you get to a point where like I we don’t put ARV and repair estimates on our marketing material anymore. What I found was, nobody told me that my ARV was too low ever. And nobody told me that my repair costs were like, we were right. They were always like, Oh, no, it’s gonna take way more money than that, and your ARV is so high. So I just said, You know what, look, you figure it out. And you tell us if this is a deal for you, because we run the numbers, we get the contract, we’re adding value if we can’t add value to somebody’s business, and it’s a relationship business, like, our name is important to me. And we got to do right by these folks. And we have people that come back and will buy contracts from us over and over and over again, and they’re looking for deals. So you know, I and I have trouble with that. There’s a lot of wholesalers around here that are definitely like you said, looking for the next sucker and then they’re just going to burn that relationship and go look for the next person again. And that’s just not the way to do business in any business. Like whatever you’re talking about. It’s about the people. And if you take care of the people in the business, you’re going to be successful. And if not, your success is going to run out really, really fast. Like we’ve basically doubled every year for the past five years. And to see that happen and the team and their satisfaction that they get, it’s really cool to see. And it’s all because we are doing the best that we can. I mean, there are times where we contract a property to high, we have to go back and we have to say, look, we missed this or we missed that. And there’s plenty of people, I’m sure that are on our buyers list going how are people buying these deals, but some of them are landlords, we had we’ve had people who will buy a deal because they just want to keep their crews busy, they know they’re going to break even, but the next day, they know they don’t let their crews work, they don’t have a deal right now they’re going to go find work somewhere else, they’re not gonna be able to get them back. So it’s just interesting to see how different type of investors look at the other side a little bit. So what I tell people when they get a wholesale deal from any wholesaler is to make an offer like you might be the only one that makes an offer if you take the time to look at the property to run the numbers and your offer is going to be below our price that we sent out like marketed the contract for just make an offer, you might be the only one who did. So we have to go renegotiate, we have an offer from somebody. And we can say, Hey, we found this, this, this and this and we really need to get to a certain price. Because I just don’t write off a wholesaler because they’re sending stuff out too high. The big thing is if you can educate them, if you can work with them, they they might bring you deals just you like they might be new. I see people like put them aside, send them to spam, delete their emails, biggest piece of advice I can give from the insider inside world of a wholesaler is build a relationship with them and try to start educating them. I always try to find new wholesalers if I can help them, and they might bring me that deal. Like I’m still a flipper, too, right. So they might if they might say, Hey, I got this house. I’m not sure about the ARV. If I can run the numbers and I can look at the repairs. I look at the pictures, give them a number say get it for this. I’ll buy it for this. I might be the only person they talked to like how valuable would that be. If you got somebody out there that’s bird-dogging just for you in the beginning. They’ll eventually outgrow that, but you might get three or four deals off in the very beginning.
Aaron Norris 18:00
Yeah, I think an example of what I was talking about is I know one particular wholesaler that has all the potential buyers show up. And it’s sort of like a highest and best moment where they’re getting pitted against each other. And that never feels very good. So you know, they make more, but will that person come back for more? I don’t know.
Bill Allen 18:19
Well the other thing with that is, if you think about it, like we’re all in business to make money, right, so like, our teams have to make money. So there is definitely a, there’s definitely a way to treat everybody. But also, if you think about that, from the wholesaler side, you might want to give everybody the opportunity to buy the deal instead of sending it to his best friend. So that’s what I talked about. It’s like nobody has priority access into our company. If you’re new, and you can pay a little bit more because you do the work, then you’re probably going to get the deal if you are using GC’s and you got to spend a lot more money so I can see it from both sides. Like I’m always trying to defend the wholesalers because we definitely get a bad rap. We do some of that too. Like we but look, it’s my it’s my required for myself. company like, we I got to make my team and my staff as much money as possible, I got to keep the lights on, keep the doors open, keep the marketing going. So if I can run a like kind of open house, bring all the buyers in, I’m definitely not trying to like create an auction there. But there is a little bit of salesmanship in the business to business sales there, right? So you see the other person that you’re competing with, and you’re like, I’m going 5,000 higher just to beat him out or her out. And for us, like, I know, it’s gonna it’s gonna turn some people off. But I think as a wholesaler like it’s, it’s our duty to make as much money as we can just like the flipper wants to make as much money as they can. It’s got to be a win win, though. Like if we’re if we’re forcing somebody into a deal, we’ll never do that. I’ll never force anybody to make a decision that they don’t want to make, and we don’t fast talk or anything, but I’m gonna, of course, I’m gonna use every skill that I have to make a couple extra bucks, because that just goes back to funding the operation and finding the next deal. So….
Aaron Norris 19:50
You really scaled pretty quickly. I mean, you’ve been in the business a little bit less than than a decade and then to be talking about that kind of volume at what point did you go from flipper to a wholesaler.
Bill Allen 20:03
So I was active duty pilot at in Maryland, I went to Test Pilot School in England and I moved back to Maryland and I was a test pilot at PAX River. And when I was doing that job, you want to talk about data that school was to data driven, flying, we couldn’t be off by more than 10 knots 10 feet, or like one degree of heading a lot of times and sometimes like one knot like right there on condition to get our data for that school and going flying again after that. But when I was there, I flipped my first house. And that was like 2014 – 2015 I did one more, maybe 2013, probably 2013 and then 2014. I flipped my second one. But after that, I said I I’m going to the property I’m the contractors aren’t showing up taking me six months to even find a deal than other six months to work on it. There’s got to be the solution of kind of growing and scaling. So that’s what I joined a mastermind group and Met Andy and Justin. And at that point, I said, Okay, these guys are doing 100 plus deals a year, all I want to do is 12. Like, I can probably do 12 right. And they’re doing hundreds and I’m seeing it like they’re sitting there not working and I’m getting emails like I’m at a meeting Andy sitting on the counter and I’m getting an email from his from him saying that he’s got a contract for sale. I’m like, he didn’t touch his phone or his email or anything. And these are going out. And so that’s that’s what scale to me looked like was kind of replacing yourself like removing yourself from the business and being able to do what you want. And so what I found for like to transition from flipping to wholesaling as I started marketing for my own flips, and when I did that what was happening was, I look at it like a big lake, you got a big lake and a bunch of fish in the lake and I love to go fishing. So there’s like to in order to if you threw a net on that whole lake and you’re fishing for bass, for example. You’re going to get a whole lot of like Sunfish and different types of fish in that net, and you’re going to want to throw them all back. Well, I was I wasn’t finding a lot of deals for me. And I was throwing back a lot of leads that I was spending money on, that just didn’t fit my model. And I also at the same time heard so many flippers complaining about how they’re getting outbid, and just they can’t find deals and people are overpaying like crazy. And so when I put those two together, I said, Wait a second, like there’s a need in the marketplace here for somebody that’s providing good deals, and can be a marketer and can find properties. But I still had that like nasty wholesaling taste in my mouth almost. But I kind of look to Andy and I said, I can do this, like, if you can do it, I can do it. So that’s when I kind of transitioned from I went like half flipping and half wholesaling at that time, because I just would throwback all the rental properties I was, if it was it wasn’t in my in my target area. I wouldn’t buy it, but lots of people were buying in those areas. So I said well, I can probably make some money off of these leads. And let me let me see if I can so That’s when that wholesaling started, I started to kind of like I did what everybody else does, you get that first deal and you like text your buddy, Hey, would you flip this one? I got this, I got this property, can you go look at it, and I made like $10,000 It wasn’t that easy. It took me like four months to get my first deal four and a half months. But I mean, if we find one, negotiate it go through the process. And then that’s how I kind of how I sold in the beginning. And after a couple of those, I realized I should build a buyer’s list and start actually saying like standing up in the room and saying, Hey, I’m a wholesaler. We have some deals if you want to get on my list. So it was probably about, you know, six months into my decision to try to scale a flipping business where as I was doing that, and marketing for it, I just realized that there was a lot of lost opportunity cost that I was missing out on that I wanted to capture.
Aaron Norris 23:46
I watched the I’m watching the ibuyers do that right now. It’s clear you’ve got Opendoor. I think one of the investors in Sacramento interviewed one of the employees that they had let go and I think that the number was $100 thousand dollars that they were spending in direct mail and advertising in the Greater Sacramento market. So Sacramento, Yolo, and I think there’s another county, but holy cow. So when to your point, when you’re going fishing and you’re throwing out all the fishes, the ones that don’t fit your buy box, there might be somebody else who might raise their hand. So it’s so you become a marketing company?
Bill Allen 24:22
Yeah, absolutely marketing sales. I look at every company, I figure marketing, sales and operations, and that operations department looks different depending on where you are. And so for us, we became a marketing company, I had to learn marketing, I had to understand it I had to look at, but I’ve always been a data driven marketer, like let me look at the performance. Let me look at the numbers, the KPIs, and that data will drive my decision making not necessarily like how it feels. And every channel has a different phone number, every there’s tracking, there’s like, what’s our response rate? What does the funnel look like? Everything’s got a place in what we do, and it’s all it’s all driven by the numbers. In the data. So that’s I think that’s, that’s a lot of things that newer folks Miss. And I could miss that. Like in the beginning, when I got started, all I knew was number one number. For every dollar I spent on marketing, how much money did I make in each channel, that’s the only number that I looked at and tracked. And it took me like a year to really dial in all of that data to figure out what I should be looking at. Because honestly, at the time, one of my channels was making 15 to one. So when I spent $1, I made $15, in return, and the other one was $7. So I knew at that point that my company was massively profitable. That was just me and a couple other people. And so I didn’t have a lot of overhead and a lot of expenses and have to look at this, I was making really good money. But I was working hard. I was spending a lot of my time involved in that. So when I started pulling myself out, and I started adding more people in the human capital, the cost of human beings and people inside of your business are there like 50% of our cost right now, in my company. So when that starts, that starts squeezing out the profit margin, then you really have to dial in your numbers. So that’s what I really realized after about a year was I had to get really crystal clear on my numbers and start looking at more numbers than just that, you know, 15 to one or seven to one cuz it was starting to go down to five to one and then four to one. And then when I got to like three to one, that’s when I started getting like, feeling like I wasn’t making very much money as a company had it just jump in and start dialing in it.
Aaron Norris 26:17
Okay, what are some of the metrics now that gets you excited? Or the channels?
Bill Allen 26:23
Oh, marketing channels. So we still do direct mail, I’d say about 50% of our deals come from direct mail. We’re trying to get way more targeted on that stuff. So what we’re doing is we’re using like past data of different zip codes and different types of properties and types of sellers to try to really find our seller Avatar and dial that in we over the past two years we got rid of a lot of zip codes in our area because I’ll use one as an example down in Pensacola, Pensacola beach and Gulf Breeze. These are like in Pensacola, their higher-end type properties and you will make a lot of money if you get a deal there. But what I found was when you’re when you do business, you remember the last deal that you did, right? You go, Oh, yeah, but we did that deal in Gulf Breeze where he made like $23,000. Like, we got to keep marketing to Gulf Breeze because it produces really great deals. And it would be like one every six months. And so when I ran the numbers, what I found was I was actually spending more on marketing throughout the year than we were actually bringing in and that zip code, I said, why are we doing that if we can actually just shut that off? If we lose one deal, we’re actually becoming more of a profitable company, it raises the numbers up in the rest of the stuff that we do, like our return on marketing spend in the other zip codes will actually go up, because we’re dropping that dead weight of those two zip codes. And then we also have, we use Google AdWords, so a lot of pay per click advertising. So I know that if somebody in Gulf Breeze Google’s like I want to sell my house fast and Gulf Breeze, they’re probably going to click on our PPC campaign, so we’re number one, so we might still be able to capture that lead or that what a couple of those deals through some of our other marketing channels and be able to turn off the direct mail side of it. So we’ve gotten we’ve really tried to do, we’ve dropped our direct mail spend by like 30 or 40% in the past couple years, and still been able to produce about the same amount of income with spending less money, because it’s been way more targeted. So that’s, that’s what we focused on for direct mail. So it still produces about half of our deals. The other half pretty much come from Digital sources of somehow, whether it’s Facebook ads, Google Pay Per Click ads, or like SEO from our websites. And so those are the those are the primary ways that we get deals we don’t do, we were watching a couple of like text campaigns and things like that. And so we do some of that, but we pretty much do that in a sequence with mail. So we actually do a lot more texting to our database, we kind of like bring them in through mail and pay per click, and then we’ll kind of sequence them in with text messaging and kind of ringless voicemails once they’ve already come into our world and opted in. So Florida’s got a couple laws with ringless, voicemail and stuff like that a lot of states do now. So we’re just kept careful of how we navigate some of that stuff. But that’s, those are the primary ways that we’re doing business now.
Aaron Norris 29:07
That’s great. So you’re getting down to the zip code level and sort of seeing if you get any sort of leads. And what’s funny about direct mail. I just had dinner with an investor about a month ago at this point, and somebody called them off with direct mail that they sent. I think it was in 2014. So six years later, so Pensacola still might be in play. You just never know when that direct mail is gonna get picked up and go. Oh, yeah.
Bill Allen 29:31
Oh yeah for sure. I’ll tell you. We never changed those phone numbers. Like we never cut those phone numbers out because and it’s hard because we have so many phone numbers that I’m like, man, we got to keep it active. And so we’re paying for number but you never know when that it’s, it’s interesting. Maybe a little tip for anybody who’s doing it. There’s a little note a lot of times that we’ll put at the bottom of our card is like keep this with your important documents. And a lot of our sellers are older sellers that have filing cabinets and things like And they’ll actually put that card, they’ll read it and put their card in there. And then you know, when they pass away, they’re the heirs will actually find that card in their thing and call us. So you know, when you start doing business for five years, 10 years, like you’re building, what I always say about direct mail is like, I want to be the guy that they look at that card every time and like curse, the name of this person that sends it to them throws it in the trash to the recycling bin, but they know that I can afford every single month to send them that card. So when they actually do hit hard times need to sell their house, maybe it’s right now, during everything that’s happening, then they know that hey, this, this guy has been sending me a card for five years. Like he’s probably it’s not the person who is a fly by night person who just showed up. It’s the guy with a logo that sent me the card for five years that I’ve been cursing for five years that maybe his business is still around, maybe you can actually buy my house right now. So that’s kind of a lot of the concept in theory that I’ve tried to understand the thought of, you know, who’s who’s reading this stuff.
Aaron Norris 30:54
You brought up a one of the things I wanted to talk about follow up. So you’re telling me that you find the right avatar in the right area, and you don’t shut it off.
Bill Allen 31:05
Now, yeah, we never really shut it off. And the only time we would shut it off is that they so if they sell their house, we refresh our list every, you know, six months or so. And we’ll make some adjustments to it. But now we will just keep sending them. And even if they like, call us and politely ask us to be removed or like we try to talk them off the ledge and just say, hey, do you ever think that like one day you might actually need some help? Would it be okay? If we just keep you on the list just in case, because I want the way that I look at this, especially with direct mail is when that’s when that person like when the person feels great, they go to their mailbox, that’s an a rip up your card and throw on the recycling bin, right? And that it’s just how they feel that day. The human element like when you talk about data, and you talk about like science, right? You have, you have variables and you have these like controls in an experiment and you don’t vary a whole lot of stuff. When you do experiments because you want to like figure out what the changes and what’s what’s causing things to happen well with the human-like emotional psyche and who we are like, there’s so many variables that come into play that the color of your card, the message on there, those kind of things from a marketing aspect, you think that they’re really important. But ultimately, it’s like, how does the person feel when they open their mailbox and look at your thing? And are they even going to look at it, like, give us a letter, they don’t even have to open it, they can just throw in the trash because it’s clear. So what I love about like postcards, like cheap small postcards, with a very specific message on it short message with a big phone number, a big call to action, is that they actually have to like look at it to throw it away to see what it is. And so they immediately see my logo, or they see a card that looks the same that they get over and over and over again. And that’s what I say like they’re always cursing me probably, or my company when they throw it in the trash, they’re cycling. So I wanted to I don’t want to vary it too much. I don’t want it I want it to be very clear that this is us. And that’s just my theory and concept on branding these things. And a lot of people will I used to switch my card from like Bill’s gonna buy your house, and then Blackjack Real Estate and then bill and they don’t three times they’d get Bill throughout the year and three times they get the company, they wouldn’t know who’s sending it. So I want to be consistent with my message. And then also, I want to continue to hit that person as much as I can afford to put it in front of them, because you don’t know how they’re gonna feel a week from them. And when your competitors card is in there in a week, and they’re feeling bad, and they didn’t, they just missed their payment, or somebody just knocked on their door the day before, or they just got a huge medical bill, or, you know, somebody passed away like whatever it is their renter just, like, trashed the place. And now they’re having to do the eviction. Like that’s how they feel when they open the mailbox. And I want my card to be there in a some time around how they feel like that, and not where they’re feeling really good, because we live in the distress world. So that’s kind of some of my theory on like, how can I get in front of them as many times as possible, where it’s also cost-effective for me to do it. And that’s the that’s like the perfect balance that you have to kind of experiment to find Because you can’t control the human that’s going to the box.
Aaron Norris 34:02
We wish…not yet. You brought up a really good concept on the branding side. And I’ve heard both schools of thought, I’m going to deliver seven pieces of mail to this house. And every single one is going to take a different format, whether it be something that looks like a birthday card, zip form, a yellow letter, handwritten card, and then I have the people that hey, I’m building a brand. I want somebody to touch my brand, feel my brand over and over and over. So it’s more about the company. So do you have a thought on that? Have you switched one way or the other over the last seven years?
Bill Allen 34:38
I have. So I’ve gone like pure branding. I just I want to be the guy who they know that is going to be in business. Same thing over and I want, I want them to make my logo and company names synonymous with I want to buy your house when you need it. And the and I’ve had these discussions too, like I’ve argued with other people. What I think is cool about marketing. And it is, at some point you get an opinion. And in the beginning, you’re not sure like you’re trying to figure out what’s working, find your way run numbers start to like, listen to other people, and you’re very, you’re very, like, easily swayed from one thing to another, like somebody tells you something and they have some credibility or like, somebody might be listening this right now and be like, oh, Bill said that I should brand my stuff, I’m gonna go brand my stuff. Like, what I love is those investors that actually, like, test and adjust and run experiments and determine what’s best for them in their market. Because what works for me might not work in San Francisco or San Diego or Washington, DC or New York, right? And so what I’ve had to do in any new market that we go into is test like, hypothesize, test and pivot. Like, these are these three things I haven’t written all over my boards. I don’t know who told it to me. Somebody said at one time and I was like, This is gold. I’m putting it everywhere in my office, hypothesize, test, pivot, everything that we do. We come up with a plan of what we think is going to work. We test it out. And then we make adjustments and fine-tune it. And we run and recycle back through that process. And so, for me, I just kind of landed on this side now of, we’ve got to have our, we’ve got to have this bulk mail that we do that they get the same thing over and over and over again, we might change the color or something like that, to try to bring something out the different emotion in them. And if maybe if it’s a owner-occupied versus an absentee owner, we might use different colors and try different things out and test it. But ultimately, I’m, I want I’d rather get in front of them more often with the same message and the same logo and things like that. But they know that we own the marketplace like we are the people that they can go to. And we’re not going like big media like radio ads, TV ads, billboards, stuff like that. But in the area that we are like, I just want to be the person that I was on a webinar last night to teach at another Ria. And in there I was talking I showed a video of what we’ve done recently, like running building a house and giving it away. And I show my logo there. And in the comments to chat, I was like, you send me a postcard once a month, you send me a postcard all the time, like I get your postcards, and it was just so cool to watch that and say like, Okay, see, they saw the logo, they didn’t even know who I was. But they know the company. And, you know, it’s that that company becomes has a life of its own at some point. And that’s what allows you to remove yourself from the business. And I was able to do that. So. So yeah, I’m pretty big on branding. Just to get back to the thing. Like, when you have an opinion, that’s I feel like where you’ve gotten to a place where you’re comfortable debating somebody else about what you think works and what doesn’t work and why. And I’ve had debates with other really good friends of mine, and I can see their side like I can, I can totally see why they want to send like five different cards and a letter in a zip form and like they have a sequence and stuff and it works for them. And I’m like, that’s great, but here’s why I want to do this and here’s why I think it works better. And like when you could argue like that, that’s when you actually have become like really good at what you do. And you, I don’t know, it’s like you earn this opinion at some point. Because I remember when I was a new investor, like, I was just kind of like listening to what everybody I’d listen to podcasts be like, I’m gonna go do that I’m gonna go do that I’m all over the place. Yeah, when you get focused and you create an opinion, it’s like it, that’s when you’ve kind of elevated your game a little bit you have. And like you said, I’ve been doing this for less than a decade. So I by no means do I think that I know everything, or I’m an expert at any of it. And I haven’t even seen a downturn in the marketplace, really. So you know, you can see that. But I’m confident that I can adjust and pivot and make changes. And I’m very adaptive to what’s going to happen. So I’m confident in what I do. And once you get that confidence, it’s built, built off doing almost 700 deals at this point. And there’s a lot of investors that have been in this business for 20-30 years that may not have seen that many deals come through and have that kind of cycle as fast as we have.
Aaron Norris 38:49
Do you include personal pictures of yourself or your team in your marketing or is it strictly logo driven?
Bill Allen 38:57
Yeah, it’s just logo and text, primarily, we have done some stuff with like my family and my kids. And we have like some ads. And we do send some more specific cards. Like we have some very niche lists and products, we might send like a handwritten card or try to mix it up and really hit them and hammer them with something different, like a different message. Like a probate, for example, is not getting a postcard, and things like that. But it’s so cost-prohibitive to do $1 letter to 150,000 people on a list, whereas I can I could spend a third less money or hit or spend the same amount of money and hit three times the number of people with a card that I have a I have a very specific opinion on postcards that they look at what I send them like they can actually see it. The only way a letter is going to do that is if my logo is in the top left corner and they look at it before they rip it up and throw it away. Like I don’t open a lot of the letters that I get I but I’m in marketing so a lot of them I do open I’m like oh what is this? This is interesting. It’s a zip letter and things so response rate isn’t always the best thing to track. But I do love that they have to look at my postcard to throw it away at least so they’re at least looking at it and probably like, cursing me under their breath. It’s that’s just what I see. I see this like crotchety old guy like going up to the mailbox, seeing all this mail. He’s like, this guy keeps mailing me. He’s got to stop. But he’s looking at it. He’s seeing it. He knows that it’s me.
Aaron Norris 40:23
So to the disruptors, worry you at all sort of the ibuyers are they in your market that you’re buying in right now?
Bill Allen 40:29
Yeah, so they. So it’s interesting the timing that we’re talking about all this right. So what I would say probably like a couple months before COVID, like three months before COVID hit the Opendoor Is it heavy in Nashville, like really heavy. They were they were just they were on the radio every time and if you listen to radio that much, just when I’m driving my wife’s van. And I could hear their ads everywhere. People were talking about them. People were I mean, I even got an offer from them for the house that I was selling. I was like, secretly shopping them, looking at their follow up sequence and everything like that. And, and so yeah, my take on those guys then and still is the fact that I actually love them personally like, I really liked him I took a different approach as a lot of the investors in our mastermind were to kind of like bashing them like, you know what like, open door is. We can’t compete with them. I can’t offer the same mouth. They’re there. They’re busting in the marketplace, taking our deals and stuff. What I really loved they were spending like you said they’re spending, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars millions of dollars all around. And what they were doing is they were actually legitimizing what we’re doing. So I love the fact that they came into the market because when COVID did hit, and they stopped buying, we used it as leverage to run PPC campaigns against that their keywords. We sent mail pieces directly to say like, hey, these buyers that you thought were great are not buying anymore, but we still are like our messages like we’re still here for you. We’re the mom and pop shop. They’re still here. We’re still around, we’re still buying when other people are canceling their contracts mid, not necessarily beating them up, but like drafting off of that what they were doing. And that’s what I felt like we had is when people when the moms and dads that were at my kids school, were talking about selling their house to Opendoor for cash. What I realized was, they are spending money so we don’t have to they’re educating the marketplace and we can go grab a piece of who they educated and we don’t have to spend all the money educating them that it’s okay to sell. So I feel like the more success that they had, the better we better off we were actually to go into those houses and have those conversations about why we are better option than they are. We actually had one lady. We did a promotion where we had like a $5,000 giveaway. If you sold your house to us in a quarter we put your name in a hat and we drew one out and we gave away $5,000 cash after they sold us their house. And so we went into this lady’s house and we brought this big check and we we made this promo video for it And everything. And I was doing an interview with her. And she said that, you know, I had a contract with, I won’t, I won’t say who the ibuyer was, you can probably put the pieces together. But they, it fell through, they gave me all these problems. And then I called you guys and it was like bam, like right away, you came out, you gave me a great offer very close to what they had, and you closed right away within 10 days. And you even let me stay in my house for a little bit longer move things out. They weren’t going to do that. And she was like, this experience was amazing. So like seeing that and knowing that we do provide a great service. It was really cool to see us beat out an ibuyer right there and she had a different experience. It was kind of saying how we like our service and operational side of our business was better. So I actually don’t mind them. So maybe I’m probably on a different side a lot.
Aaron Norris 43:47
This is this is what I teach to and I actually, I really when I’m at the reason I’m teaching I want them to see at the local level what they’re buying because forget the buy box, the average by state I’m like if you’re not paying attention to the local level. So in my market in Riverside, they want to buy a newer so they’re it’s very rare that they’re buying anything pre. I think it’s late 80s. But in LA, it’s in the 50s. And so it really can change by the market. But I have investors leveraging them, they’re wholesaling to these ibuyers directly, because they are willing to pay more and the investors are going after deals don’t never close because there’s people problems or house problems. So if it’s a hoarder house, I buyers aren’t going to touch it. But as an investor, I can get a great deal de junket, wholesale it to the ibuyer. And they’ll some of the investors were very sad to see them go when COVID first hit because they’re like, oh, you’re such good buyers. For me. The other side benefit is realtors are all of a sudden warming up a little bit to real estate investors. So when I teach them I’m like, well, shame on you. Don’t you don’t have a cash buyer in your back pocket. And it gets them thinking about Wow, I need to either be a buyer it’s the buyer forget the ibuyers. It’s a me buyer. so inspiring the next wave real estate investors that are also realtors. So, I’m most excited about the brands like Keller Williams that are talking about integrating the cash buyer concept. Because I really believe in main street that that local voice when you decide to choose new markets that you don’t live in, how important is that sort of that local brand that? Are you really going into new, more markets building brand there?
Bill Allen 45:26
We’re basically just using the same technique that we always use. So we will send the same card we’ll start building that out. And, you know, it depends, it really depends, like, Are we just testing a market are we already know that that’s where we’re going. So like when sometimes we’ll just go kind of like dip our toe in and, and go fishing a little bit to see what we get and knowing that we’re probably like, we’re gonna spend this money. It’s an expense. It’s a R&D expense for the company. And we’ll see what kind of response rates we get and what it looks like compared to some other places. And we might, we might go target like three or four different areas and it’s just dropped some mail and see what we get in the zip code. And we’ll look, I mean, we really want to dig into it’s like supply and demand we look at so like, what’s the one example is here in Nashville, you got Brentwood, Tennessee, Brentwood, Tennessee is where all the Country Music singers live, the athletes, the predators, those kind of folks. And it’s expensive as I think of it like Beverly Hills, right? And so there’s a lot of cash transactions, if you were to pull all the cash transactions, it looks like it’s a really transactional area for cash deals. And as a wholesaler, that’s kind of what you look for. But when you look at the supply side, there’s not a lot of off-market deals that happen. It’s usually with realtors from the MLS, but people buying with cash. So it can skew the data and the numbers to think that that’s the zip code that you want to hit. So what I do is I look at, like how many cash transactions were done in the last six months or the last year, and that’ll rank out the zip codes as I start, maybe we’ll just gonna go to the top three, or the top 20% of the whole area, that whole city and we might just go start there. So when we do that, we may just send that to like three different cities look and see what the response is because it’s not going to cost us that much. And then determine, hey, this one, we’re actually getting a really good response. There’s people that are open to selling. This looks pretty good on the supply side. So like we and the demand is, how many, how many off-market buyers Do we have, because you can go to a place that has a population of 20,000 people, and a bunch of distressed and dilapidated houses and like landlords that don’t want to be landlords anymore, and you could probably contract a lot of things that look like deals compared to your market, but you might not be able to move them. And then the other is possible to where you have a ton of buyers, but it’s really hard like go to Beverly Hills, you start sending some cards, like everybody knows a Realtor, if anybody is in a has a problem. And they can’t pay their mortgage or they got laid off from their job and they have all these medical bills. They know somebody that can sell their house for him and get top dollar. So it’s really kind of understanding that it’s mostly blue-collar areas, that there’s a lot of distress whether distress people are stressed homes, and then you also have to have the demand where people actually You want to buy there and fix up houses or hold rentals. So you’ve got to have both of those to have a good market. So as far as branding goes, if we’re just dipping our toe in, we might not put our branding on the first round of postcards, because we might not want to be get like our Better Business Bureau hit because people will give us complaints were a better business bureau rated in every city that every major city that we’re in, so we pay for the membership there. And people just say like, these guys sending me postcards, like they give us a one-star like negative reviews or complaints about putting a card in their mailbox. So like you don’t go to Domino’s website for sending you coupons, but they go to us. So we don’t necessarily want that when we go into a new market initially. I don’t mind it once we get some positivity and stuff like that, like we just, I don’t know, I’ve always I always hate when people like bash us because I’m like, we’re just trying to help like, you can get off our list. It’s not hard.
Aaron Norris 48:51
So let’s chat a little bit about the the role of reason masterminds. It sounds like you sort of touched both and there’s different roles that they play, and what’s been your experience with those two different categories of education.
Bill Allen 49:06
So well, in the beginning of my journey, I didn’t even know what a mastermind was. And I just I would go to read I was I was actually really cheap. So I wouldn’t invest in myself at all, like no training. No, I wouldn’t spend money I didn’t even have I had a library card. I would even buy books, like I just go to library, rent books, and read those. So for me, I would I went to some REIA meetings. And what I found was, there’s a couple different people in the REIA groups, you’ve got the people that are doing a lot of business, and they’re successful. And then you’ve got the people who are doing a little bit like they’ve done maybe one deal or they’re educated. And then you got the people that just show up all the time to like punch the card that have the social hour, those kind of things that say they want to do stuff, but they’re really not committed. And so there’s kind of three people. So every REIA that I went to, I would I recognize this after it was probably taking me like six months of going to REIA meetings to understand that there’s there’s like a it’s not neccesarily a class system, but there’s like groups of people there. And I want to be in the group that is doing the most at that REIA. So I would try I realized this and started recognizing it as people that are standing up saying they’ve done this or they’re doing this many deals, like I want to be around there and, and socialize with those people and kind of suck up some information and some knowledge from them. So that worked for a long time. But what I found is there’s there’s there was a whole nother group of people that don’t seem to show up there. And those are the people that are doing like hundreds of deals, and 200 deals like they just like, I’m not going there, because you’ve got these other couple people that like they just pounce on you. So when I when I didn’t even realize that until because at the time, I didn’t know what a mastermind was. So the cap was like 10 or 20 deals a year seemed to be at least in my world of real, like the reason that I was going to their small town like smaller reaches. That’s about where those folks were and so I was like, Okay, I want to get from one deal a year, I was a one deal, your guy was in that middle pack right to 12 deals a year. And then when I started the I was introduced to masterminds when I was listening to podcasts, and people were talking about doing hundreds of deals. And I was like, I’ve never met anybody like this. That’s, and I don’t even know how to find those people or look those people up. And what, what I found was, there’s people from around the country, that are the top people that are going to these meetings, they’re going to a different meeting. That’s like a national type meeting. And so when I realized that that was the case, I was like, Okay, how can I get I, I want to, I want to figure out how to be the dumbest person in every room that I’m in. Like, I want to do the least in every room and I’m still that person, I still am looking for the kind of rooms to get in, that people are doing. Because I don’t really have a cap like I don’t have a limit. And so it’s it’s a it’s a plus and a minus. And I don’t know if we want to go there, but it’s really hard to dial back what I want to do and where I want to go. But when I go into these rooms, I want to To figure out how not to be the person who is doing the most, I want to be the person doing the least. Or maybe just a little bit above that, because you want to be pulling somebody up and you want to be being pulled up. Because being able to pull somebody up and giving some giving something back, that gives you something that that like, for all the givers that are out there, like you need to have that like you need to be able to give, to be able to receive so. So those are that’s my take between the two. I have nothing like I don’t will never bad mouth or Ria meeting or a group like that. Like I just spoke at one last night. That is one where I where I started attending in the beginning in Pensacola, and I’m really partial to them. I mean, I I think they’re amazing. I think there’s a lot of great people there. And then I will I will always anytime I’ve done a pet school and there’s a meeting I go, like I’ll go sit in the back. I try to be like kind of low key and see who see who’s doing what see if there’s somebody there that that might be like an up and coming star, somebody that we can support that can support us too. And I think they’re great. I think they’re, there’s a, you kind of grow and there’s Rios that do a ton that are that are big that are that are phenomenal with, with training. And then there’s, there’s there’s two kind of concepts of rheas. One is like, they’re gonna sell a bunch of stuff and do like Thursday meeting to a weekend seminar and stuff like that, and for profit, and then there’s the ones that just give a ton of value and content and things like that. So the ones that sell a lot of stuff turned me off a little bit, just because I feel like they’re only giving you like a little bit information. And the ones that really like training and teach and coach, I really love that stuff. So I’m, I like it. I think masterminds are there’s a point where you just kind of like, like, move up into the big leagues. And that’s what it did for me. Like I went from doing one deal a year to doing 67 deals the first year by joining and I had paid a bunch of money, like I had to stop being cheap and I had to write a check for $25,000. And when I did that, I said you know what, I just pay $25,000 I’m going to get $100,000 out of this. And it made me work like 10 times harder than I probably would have if I showed up to me for free, so there’s some, there’s some value in all of it. And it’s different for everybody like everybody’s a little bit different of what they need or where they’re at.
Aaron Norris 54:07
Part of why I strategically wanted you after Eric Bee, which is airing before you is that he was part of the Fortune Builder brand. And to be fair, I’ve actually heard decent things about that brand, but you spend the money on, you’re in a room full of people who aren’t doing the business and you sort of rely on the coach concept where a mastermind has a lot of people doing the business. And it’s sort of like the open the kimono moment where you have people willing to share a lot more the things that help you scale, it’s the operational side, when you’re in a mastermind setting. Do you find that it is a lot more about the operations, the soup and nuts of it? Or is it you sort of brought up the three categories? You said operations people, what was the other one?
Bill Allen 54:47
Well, marketing sales and operations.
Aaron Norris 54:48
Sales and operations. Is it a specific mix that you find in the mastermind setting?
Bill Allen 54:55
You know, I think the most powerful thing that I found in being apart and just full disclosure, I own a mastermind, right. So I bought the mastermind that I joined when I paid that $25,000 about a year ago, a little over a year ago, I bought it from the previous owner, so I own one. So, but I want to say like, a lot of times you listen to a podcast, and somebody’s like selling something, so they’re gonna talk about something about how awesome it is. And you don’t know that like, if they’re selling Facebook marketing, they’re telling that one story where they made $100,000 on Facebook marketing, but you don’t know that they actually spent $200,000 to get that hundred thousand dollar deal. So like when we’re on these podcasts and stuff like you can’t sometimes you can’t tell what’s and so maybe this is caution for everybody out there like what’s what’s true and what’s not. But for me, like so full disclosure, I own a mastermind but I bought by no means am I the best salesperson or the best like pitch man out there of the stuff for me. The thing that I get from this group is like the vulnerability and like true honesty that shows up inside of this kind of tribe of people that have similar core values. So people ask all the time Like, the tangibles are obvious, like, okay, you get this these coaching calls that we do you get these accountability group that we set up in small groups, every quarter. There’s these meetings that you can attend. There’s the documents and video training and stuff like that. And there’s a Facebook group where people are always asking questions and answering, and we’re lending money around, we’re kind of just like passing money all over the group and stuff, right? And like ideas and concepts and strategy. But the intangible thing is that you like when you get to a point where you’re running a seven-figure business or even a multiple six-figure business or you’re doing 100 deals a year or whatever it is. There’s this there’s this loneliness that happens in where you are like you’re in an area of Nashville, and there’s not a lot of other people that are doing what you’re doing in Nashville and you feel alone. A lot of times you’re like, man, nobody thinks like me, I go to these parties and people are talking about like, what show they watch on Netflix, and I’m talking about building an eight-figure business and trying to like, like, grow and scale and try to get from 200 houses to 300 and It’s like, it’s just totally different and you get in the room or around people that think like you, they have the same struggles as you do like we have, we have trouble turning it off, I have trouble putting my phone down, I have trouble stop, check my email being actually present with my family, like building the relationship with my spouse. And what I found over the last year of owning this mastermind group is the more like real and not like Facebook, fake and Instagram pictures about our lives that we can share in the human side of things like the relationship side like I’m, I’m working on a lot of that stuff myself personally right now. And I last meeting that we had I opened up and shared a lot of what’s going on in my life. And it encouraged a lot of other people to talk about some addiction, and some different things that has happened in their life. And we just dropped the real estate and talked about life and it for like two and a half hours. One night we did a late night session. And it was really just about being like open and honest and vulnerable with each other. And because that’s where we build the foundation like we think that all the training and coaching and stuff is what we need. But ultimately, like the mindset, and the foundation that our business and our life is built on, whether it’s founded on the rock, or it’s founded on the sand if you if you read the Bible and like, follow Matthew. So like, there’s, there’s a whole concept there of building out that foundation first. And I think that’s what it did for me. Like it got me around people who are my people. And I don’t feel lonely because I have somebody to reach out to. I have a support network. I think about it, like I was in a fraternity at Georgia Tech. And it’s like, you’re paying for your friends in the fraternity. So a lot of people will joke around like, Oh, you just by your friends. And yeah, we had to pay to be in the fraternity and stuff. Those are like friends of mine for life that we went through this, these five for me five years of college together. And it’s kind of like that, like I really feel like these are people that are the closest people in my world. They understand the problems and the struggles that I go through. And I never really feel alone because I can reach out to them. So there’s something really intense About surrounding yourself with people like that. And we’re all lending a hand and helping each other grow. And we’re all kind of going in the same direction with the same, same end goal.
Aaron Norris 59:09
I know several people just so you know, that have been either are or have been part of the 7 Figure Flip when it was Flipping HQ with Justin and you’ve taken over and a lot of people that I respect that have been doing a lot of volume, and they’re nationwide. I think that’s another unique thing about the national mastermind concept is that at the local level at the REIA is you have some people that don’t want to share because they want to be the number one in their game. Looking nationwide at COVID-19 and a lot of the members are in your group are doing volume, Opportunities? Worries?
Bill Allen 59:45
Yeah, so the biggest thing that we got hit with was lending. And that was like real quick and just shut down. And then they were like, Well, okay, we shut down a little too fast and started opening back up again. So we’re actually back where we were with hundred percent financing with our lenders and stuff like that. But that shutdown fast like it was That was fast. And so that I feel like from the wholesale side that that caused a bunch of concern. And so I actually built out a training to like, at that time, I was like, Look, this is never going to happen to my members again, I’m going to show them how to go raise a bunch of private money. It was like build something out. I was like to two months. And I said, You’ve got to, you’ve got to have like, 20 options for money. Like you cannot rely, even though we have we had great terms with lenders like I’m sorry, 100% purchase hundred percent rehab, right? And so everybody was like, why should I even go out and continue to raise money? I’m just gonna do this all the time. And you get it’s, it’s like a company saying, hey, Walmart is going to be my, my 80% of my business, I’m going to be supplying them and when they don’t buy that next purchase order, they’re like, I’m going out of business. So figuring that out. That was one thing that really compressed on us. And but now it’s like, we don’t have enough inventory right now. And like houses so when you read the headlines in the news, They’re talking about how like, the listings are shrinking and all this stuff. And it looks on the surface like, oh, there’s a big real estate problem. Well, the thing is there’s a listing problem, like people are just not listing their houses. So what we’re seeing now is if we have inventory to fix up and flip, like, we are getting 2030 offers, and the cool thing is, when the houses are vacant, they’re easier to show right now. You have to like move people. So we have like the top notch product baking houses, it’s we are like the top 5% of every listing on there, they’re gone like that, like, we just had one that got bid up so high that our appraisal came in $15,000 lower than the highest bid that we had. So now we’re like, Man, what are we going to do? Are we going to continue this contract? Or are we going to put it back on the market and hope the next appraisal comes in better? You know, so it’s a I think it’s, it’s interesting of what’s I think there’s a ton of opportunity. I also think, you know, you know, we did the podcast I did with your dad, and talking about how foreclosures really are driving the marketplace. So that’s one thing that we’re really doing. Watching is the default rates, the foreclosure, what’s happening with the cares act? How much longer are they going to keep the moratorium on, on these kind of things? And where is that going to end up? And then what’s that going to do to to the environment. So what I’m recommending to like to my members is go out like build a foundation right now to know how to raise a lot of money, like figure if you can have cash is going to be king down the road, if anything happens. And let’s, let’s just keep evaluating, like get in and out of the properties. We have this seven day flip concept where we’re, we’re showing people how to flip houses in seven days. And so like, that’s another thing get in and out of the properties really fast so you don’t get caught, and just, you know, plan for, for what’s going on and don’t think that everything’s going to be great all the time. So I do think that there’s opportunity here. I think a lot of people also like couldn’t weather the storm for those three to five months. And so they were dropping out of business like they were marketing and going out my marketing is not working or I’m not making enough money, and the some of the competition went away from the wholesale side. So we were able to pick up and continue to spend money and compete. Can you market and picking up that inventory. And for us, I was losing money during those months. But I had enough money in reserve in my company to be able to not lay people off. Like I kept everybody on staff. And what happened was in kind of March, April, May, people were putting pause on their sale of their house. And so it was kicking into June and July, and now August. So now we’re seeing this, like, we call it the pig in the snake in the Navy. And if there’s an area inside the pipeline, where everything gets jammed up, and it was all just jammed up and not closing, but we still had people that wanted to sell, they just needed to pay just to wait to go find another house to move into. So now we’re seeing a lot more contracts where we had this construction before. So there’s a lot of I think the biggest thing is just to be agile, and like constantly, if you’re, if you’re looking at the data like right, data driven kind of business, and you’re looking at that, then that’s going to give you the answer that you need. Like I don’t have a crystal ball, but I’m gonna be looking at the data. I’m going to be looking at the numbers Watching a little bit more news and headlines that I used to before, but they have an agenda too, right? Like the podcast that I was talking about. So I’m kind of like, obviously leaning on some of the experts like you guys, you know, some of the experts and say, Hey, what are we going to do? What does it look like? And how are we going to navigate this? So it’s important, I think, I think, you know, next year, we’re going to see some interesting things in the real estate market. And hopefully, like, you have the skills you have the understanding, you have the knowledge, you have the people around you to make the right decisions as you go into that and, and you have the support and the I like, it’s just like a giant think tank that we have, which is really cool. Because when stuff slows down in San Diego, Pensacola is like three months behind that. So I can kind of leverage some of the some of the people that are in the bigger markets to start, you know, saying, hey, my houses are sitting on the market a little longer. It’s interesting, like pre-Covid, but we were seeing that we’re seeing some of that stuff like some of the people’s houses are sitting on the market a little longer. They’re starting to freak out now they’re like, I need more houses. Like I just think We don’t have enough inventory. And it makes sense.
Aaron Norris 1:05:03
Well, we are at that time it always I always have this huge list of questions I never get to you have a great podcast 7 Figure Flipping calm is the website and the information is there. I’ve been a listener for a while. Um, you’re also I did want to bring up the Flip Hacking Live. It’s an event I’ve always heard good things about. It always conflicts with other events that I’m doing. I’m really trying hard to go this year. Where What is it? And how can people find out about it?
Bill Allen 1:05:30
Yeah, so we have an event in October. It’s the 15th 16th and 17th. And it was supposed to be in Orlando, Florida this year. And we had I had to make a decision about you know, so I plan this event for seven months. And we got to a point where we had to go all in with like, I was planning three events. I was playing 100% virtual event, partial virtual partial in person and then all in person event. And when the hotel came back to us in Orlando, like they opened back up, right, and then all these cases Florida went crazy. And so I was like, you know what I don’t want I my event that we have is not people sitting six feet apart, wearing masks, getting their temperature taken every morning before they come in, after lunch. All this stuff and the security restrictions that they were going to put on it. I said, You know what, we have to make a decision. Let’s go virtual. So we’re doing something really cool. This year, we’re building out a studio in Charlotte, North Carolina, where I’m gonna fly two speakers out, I’m gonna fly out there. And we are going to present the event from stage just like we would at flip hacking live every year. This is our fifth year, and we are going to stream it to people’s houses, their computer, they wherever they are, we’re going to bring the event to you. So it’s kind of cool because people don’t have to miss it. Like Aaron, you don’t have to miss it. Like it’s three days. It’s and it’s not an extended Zoom meeting. It’s not a webinar. It’s not those kind of things like it’s gonna be interactive. We can do breakout sessions. We can do networking, and we have we have the same team that’s running this for me that did Tony Robbins UPW event with over 40,000 people a couple weekends ago. So really cool team that I have behind me hired the best. These are the event planner that I’ve had for years. They do a lot of huge events. And I can see everybody, we actually have a ton of TVs and monitors in front of me, where I can see everybody that’s on stage, I can bring the keynote speakers in. And we have over 20 speakers that speak at this event. I’m actually bringing in three keynote speakers this year from outside, because it’s cheaper, like I can bring people in that I couldn’t afford before, to come in and speak in event like this, to change mindsets to change, kind of success metrics to change concepts to think about all the stuff and then we talked about all the like tactical things, all the all the sales, all the marketing, all the operational side of the business. For anybody in real estate, really it’s wholesalers flippers primarily but I mean, we have a ton of multifamily investors that come we have lenders, all kinds of different people. It’s really a great event for anybody in the real estate space. So that’s it. That’s my kind of quick sales pitch, but it’s not like I’m actually attending one starting Friday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, this weekend. So I can see from a user from a customer standpoint of a friend of mines event who they’re running by same event planner to see what it’s like. And to make sure that we like we get to learn from Tony Robbins a 40,000 person event to take all the things that went right went wrong into ours a couple months later, like three months later. So I think we’ll be at a point where I want to argue that this will be the best like virtual real estate event that you have ever been to. Because it’s an experience, we’re sending a box of stuff ahead of time, we get this nice swag box, all the materials that you would get when you were checking in, you actually check in one on one with a person. We have some of the sponsor booths, and you can go check out and network Question and Answers during lunches and things. breakout sessions take people down different tracks actually do more this way than we could do in person, because we can actually be more intimate and more kind of one on one in this atmosphere and have I’m able to, to be there more often than like going to my room and all the stuff that we can do before. So pretty cool. I’m excited about it.
Aaron Norris 1:08:56
Well, I know one of the trainers that did that event that you’re talking about Tony Robbins she was one of the ones that it was over a bunch of people and how they pulled that off. So it’s it’s really good lessons on building relationships through screens. So here we are, well, they want to find out information on that. I want to make sure I post the right link on that it’s flip
Bill Allen 1:09:14
Yeah, you can just go to fliphackinglive.com. So Flip Hacking Live, I think I have my shirt on. So if you if you go there, you’ll see and the other cool thing is you don’t have to pay for a flight you have to pay for a hotel. I am recommending some people like if you need to remove yourself from your house for a couple days, go get a hotel, go get Airbnb, like be focused on this. This is not like show up for a little bit and then don’t show up for the rest other half. You want to be there and be engaged. You don’t have to negotiate five days away from your family and stuff like that. So it’s, it’s going to be a good event so and it’s cheap. It’s a lot cheaper than it was in person. I think we’re at $297 right now for ticket and we will go up. You know we have a couple of kind of step ups as we get a little closer, but usually a ticket for this event is like 1000 Then you get a plane ticket in a hotel, you’re paying somewhere between two and $3,000 to come to this event every year, so the people that couldn’t afford it that are in different time zones around the country, they can attend. So…
Aaron Norris 1:10:10
Very good. Well, I’ll make sure to post links. And I am hoping I have one other event that I’m speaking at that might but doesn’t mean I can’t do the other day. So it’s something that I am looking at. But I really appreciate your time today. Thanks for joining us. Thanks for having me. This was awesome. I love to talk about data and numbers. So good. Thank you for listening to the Data Driven Real Estate Podcast, you can find show notes and links to some of the resources mentioned in the show at datadrivenrealestate.com click that, join the community, and you’ll be forwarded to the property radar community where you can ask questions about the current show and even see upcoming guests and ask questions there. We’d love to engage with you in the community. So check it out. Please don’t forget to like favorite, subscribe and share on your favorite platform where you’re listening to the show. It helps us out a great deal. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you next week.