Using Promotional Items To Locate Motivated Sellers-Part 3 (Lumpy Mail)

One of the most effective ways to get a motivated seller’s attention is through the use of “lumpy mail”. Lumpy mail is anything that is a dimensional mailing or that makes noise or looks different than a normal mail piece. There are several different ways to use lumpy mail in your real estate investment business.

One way a lot of real estate investors use lumpy mail is when they are going after the pre-foreclosure market. These people are getting stacks of mail and post cards every day from mortgage companies, attorneys and other investors. You need to do something to make your mail stand out and look different from the others.

There are several ways to do this. One is to simply insert something into the envelope if you are mailing a letter. It might be a piece of candy or gum with information about your business with a tag line of “In a sticky situation? Call us first”. Or, if it’s a piece of candy, “Call us first, we can make you a sweet deal”. It just needs to be something that makes you look different and stand out from everyone else.

There are also specialty boxes available that stand out because of their shape, dimension, and the fact that they look like priority mail or express mail. These generally will get opened 80% of the time according to statistics. This greatly increases the chances of that motivated seller calling you first. In addition, when you send out these mailers, insert a penny into them. Anything that makes noise will arouse the seller’s curiosity. Just one warning though, if you implement these techniques, make sure you are ready to handle the responses since they will increase dramatically.

There are many items that are lightweight and small
that can be added to your mailings to increase the response rate. Let’s face it, you have competition, especially in the pre-foreclosure market. You need something that will set you aside and get your offer opened and read. You can use a post it note pad as an envelope stuffer or a small calendar. These are items the seller will hold onto and they will contact you first when their circumstances dictate that they do so. There are many items like these available for you to choose from.

I personally mail to a lot of out of state owners and in my mailings I have a response mechanism that I want the seller to send back to me either by mail or by fax, so I include a flat pen in my mailings. This significantly increases the response rate in two ways. One is that they wonder what’s in the envelope and the other is that they have the pen immediately handy to fill out my response mechanism. It just takes away one more step for them. Anything that makes it easier for the seller to respond will cause them to do it sooner as opposed to later. Plus, they will keep the pen to stick in their purse or check book. Once again, they have my information immediately handy when they are ready to contact me.

Don’t send out more pieces than you can realistically respond to since your responses will increase significantly. And don’t forget to tie the specific verbiage in with the market you are targeting with your mailings. For example, if you insert the penny into your pre-foreclosure mailings, use a headline on your piece that says something like “Tired of getting penny ante offers? Contact us for a fair offer” You will want to use different verbiage for lists containing divorces, military transfers, pre-foreclosures, job relocations, etc.

One of my specialties as a marketing expert is to help my students create the most effective lists and locate the best list brokers available; in addition to providing many ways to increase their response rates with their mailings.

Using a direct mail letter campaign is one of the most highly niched and cost effective ways I know to get motivated sellers contacting you in droves so you can pick and choose the deals you want to do with absolutely no competition for the deals whatsoever.

For more information on locating motivated sellers using promotional pieces, direct mail and list brokers, check out my web site at

Using Promotional Items to Locate Motivated Sellers-Part 2 (Signage)

Signage is an important tool for you to use in your real estate business. There are several different kinds of signage you can use. You can use magnetic signs, or vinyl lettering for example on your vehicle. You can also “wrap” a vehicle with signage. This is a little more expensive and a little more permanent, however, it can be easily removed should you decide to sell your vehicle. Something I do in my personal business is to supply sun shades to friends, relatives and vendors such as my pool person and lawn man that say “We Buy Houses, Quick Closings and our phone number. That way, anytime they are parked somewhere, their vehicle is a billboard for our business.

Some of the other types of signage are yard signs, and street signs. These are the smaller signs that you can tack to posts or stick in the ground. Every property you own should have one of your signs in the yard letting the world know that you buys houses. If you have a rental property your signs should be in those yards as well. One way to avoid the “sign police” when placing signs is to keep them off main roads and keep them in subdivisions where you want to buy houses. Or, if you know of a home in pre-foreclosure in a particular subdivision, place one your “avoid foreclosure” signs at the entrance and exit to the subdivision. If you know of a house that sits at a busy intersection, you can knock on the door and ask the owner if you can place one of your signs in their yard and pay them with a free pizza coupon once a month. This is another inexpensive way to get your message out to the public.

Other types of signage include door hangers, flyers and banners. If you see a vacant house simply place one of your door hangers on the door. Go back a week or so later and recheck the property. If the hanger is gone, replace it with another one. Sometimes a neighbor will pick them up because they may need your services also. You can also have someone hang these or place flyers door to door for you. This is a great way to canvas entire neighborhoods where you want to buy houses.

Banners are another great tool to use. I use these in two ways. One is to put them up in local parks where there are baseball, softball, soccer games, etc. The parks usually sponsor your putting up these banners and it is fairly inexpensive to do so. Another use for banners is to contact store owners who own properties on main roads with fences around them such as car lots. Ask if you can pay them a small amount each month to place a banner on their fence. This is a good way to get signs up on main roads without any hassles.

Remember that anytime you are using signage the message must be short and to the point. The person walking or driving has only seconds to see your message. It needs to be something like “We Buy Houses” and your number and web site address, or “Avoid Foreclosure”. Remember to give your potential seller more than one way to contact you. This makes it easier for the seller to choose how they want to contact you. If you do have have a web site, this gives the seller the opportunity to “check you out” before they actually call you.

For more information on these and even more great marketing ideas, go to my web site at

Resources For Creating Mailing Lists

One of the Questions I am frequently asked by students wanting to implement a direct mail campaign is where to get the lists of sellers to mail to. While there are several resources available, I find they vary greatly in price quality of the lists.

There are a couple of resources for lists that I find to be especially reasonable in price and the quality of the lists are excellent for our use. One of those resources is very easy to find and use. Simply go to your property appraiser, auditors, or assessors office and ask them to put the list together for you. If your county is online this is usually pretty simple for them to do. Another source of lists is mailing list services which you can locate by going to your local yellow pages and looking under “mailing list services”.

One of the best sources of mailing lists I have found comes from a program called Real Quest. This program is a part of the services provided by First American Real Estate Solutions. Their program is designed to do a variety of things and mailing lists is just one part of it. Some of the things this program does is regarding lists to help you find the owners of properties that are vacant or rented, in divorce or partnership splits, properties recieved in an inheritance, properties in foreclosure, out of state owners and more. You can custom create your mailing lists in your own office or home at your leisure.

Some of the other attributes of this program are that it gets comprehensive information on any property including mailing address, phone number, purchase price, taxes, assessments, legal data, and mortgage information, all of which can help you determine what kind of offer you will make on a property.

Also available with the program are Document Images, Automated Valuation Models, Flood Maps,Neighborhood Demographic Profiles and Comparables.

Basically, this program provides you with a one-stop shop for all the items you need to create mailing lists, finding sellers who need to sell, and the information you need to create a win-win solution for yourself and your seller.

For more information on Real Quest, go to and click on “Information on Mailing Lists”.

How to Use Promotional Items to Locate Motivated Sellers- Part 1 (Business Cards)

Finding ways to attract motivated sellers in your business is one of the most important tools in your business, since without the motivated sellers, there are no deals.

There are several different ways to find motivated sellers using a shot gun type of approach to locate as many sellers as you can. Some of these are yard or vehicle signage, business cards, t-shirts and hats, door hangers, pens, buttons, business card magnets, flyers or auto shades.

One of the things I did early on in my real estate business was to order 1,000 business cards. I will tell you that if your business cards are sitting in the box, they aren’t helping you find any motivated sellers. The first thing you need to do with business cards is to give them to everyone you meet- your grocer, cashiers at stores, toll takers, vendors such as your pool person, your lawn care provider, pest control person, waitress, etc. You can give them to your children’s teachers, other parents at sporting events or PTA meetings, healthcare providers, pretty much everyone you come in contact with. Make sure you stick one of your business cards in your bills when you mail them out.

If you have signage on your vehicle, I would suggest putting cards under your windshield wipers and in the slats by your windows every time your vehicle is parked. This makes it much easier for a potential seller to get and hold onto your phone number when they need you. As they pass your vehicle in a parking lot, they will simply pick up your business card.

If you have magnetic business cards, you can stick them to soda machines, or on metal cash registers at your local dry cleaner or butcher shop. If you have rental properties, be sure you have a magnetic business card on the refrigerator. Tenants can be a good source of leads for you as well.

You can give a stack of business cards to vendors who are out seeing people all day such as your pool person, pest control person, lawn care person, carpet cleaner, surveyor, home inspection person, anyone who is in contact with people, especially those who might be moving.

Just remember that business cards are one of the cheapest, easiest ways to reach motivated sellers, so make sure they are not left in the box. You can easily go through 500-1,000 cards per month and do lots of deals just from business cards.

The main resource I use for business cards including money cards, magnetic cards and the florescent cards is a company called Planit Promo and Design. Barbara does a great job, her prices are reasonable and she has all the verbiage on hand for the real estate investor. Take a look at some of the items available at Planit Promo at Click on “Promotional Items”.

How To Find Motivated Sellers in the Spanish Market

One of the things I have discovered in my business as a real estate investor is that there are many ways to reach many types of motivated sellers. The main way I like to reach specific sellers in my market is by using a very targeted approach, which for me is primarily direct mail. I also discovered that there is a whole other market place outside the English speaking market with folks who have homes they need to sell for a variety of reasons. The market I am talking about is the Spanish speaking market. The obstacle was that many of these folks don’t speak any English and I don’t speak any Spanish.Many of my students had also contacted me to find out how they too could use direct mail to reach the Spanish speaking market in their areas. They are finding, as am I that these folks have homes they need to sell and no one is tapping into this market. Part of the reason for that is the difficulty caused by not speaking the language and not being able to make ourselves understood. I found the way to solve that problem.

I have recently taken all of the direct mail campaigns that I do to find motivated sellers and had them translated into Spanish. Then I send these letters to the specific market areas where I want to buy houses. I send them out English on one side and Spanish on the other. One of the things I discovered quickly was that while I was getting a lot of response from the Spanish market, I couldn’t understand any of them.

I solved this problem in two different ways. The first was to send the calls to a 24 hour recorded message I had recorded in Spanish. I used a professional interpreter to do this for me so that the grammar and the language were correct. The other way I solved this was to use a Spanish answering service to take the calls and translate the responses into English so I could read them. I then used an interpreter to put the deals together with me. They are very reasonable in their costs and easy to locate. I found mine in the yellow pages. By putting a system in place to deal with this market, we were able to do deals, make money and solve the seller’s problems.

The other thing you can do is to use a Spanish speaking realtor to help you with your deals and then pay them a fee for doing this for you. If you already have a realtor on your team performing a variety of services for you, this shouldn’t be difficult to do.

Once you get past the language barrier, there are lots of great deals to be made. I also had Spanish business cards and signs made to increase the number of motivated sellers I could locate. In my system, Marketing Magic-Spanish Upgrade, I have samples of all of my marketing pieces, both in English and in Spanish. I have basically done all the work for you so all you have to do is get busy and find some houses to purchase.

Check out this and other products at