Having a well thought-out marketing plan is critical for your success in the note business.
Whenever you plan a marketing effort, you want to achieve quick, maximum results. You want your phone to ring, quote and close transactions. However, I found that real success comes with long-term thinking and planning. A great deal of your planning must be geared to all of the note holders with whom you did not do business. This means all of the people who were not ready to sell, did not respond to your marketing piece or did not accept your offer. This is future business, and is at least as important to your success as the transactions that you closed. My experience tells me that 75% of my completed transactions are with note sellers who initially were not ready to do business. These people represent seeds that you planted, and you can either cultivate them or allow them to rot in the ground. Most people in the note business do not a good enough job of cultivating.
Getting potential note sellers to remember you is paramount. My motto is “give them something they will keep”. When it comes time for them to sell, they must have your name and contact information. If they do not, someone else will get the business. There are some very basic techniques you can use to further this end, such as adding a “PS” at the end of all of your marketing letters. Instruct the note holder to keep your letter with the rest of their mortgage documents. Does this work all of the time? No, but you will be surprised how often it does work. That’s as basic as it gets. Let’s go to the other extreme.
I do mortgage note (not real estate) appraisals. I started experimenting with this idea several years ago with great success. It became obvious to me that some of the note sellers I was talking to were not really interested in selling now. They were only interested in determining the value of their note.
At the time, nobody was providing this service to note holders. Appraisals are needed by note holders for estate planning, partnership valuations, inheritance situations, divorces, etc. It’s amazing how much demand there is once you know where to look.
There are many benefits you will realize by using this strategy. Let’s briefly explore some of them.
A Continual Source of Referrals For Your Note Business
Note appraising is a great entree into the most desirable market available to paper players today – financial professionals. In order for you to make substantial money in the note business, it is essential to have attorneys, accountants, financial planners, etc. referring business to you. Note appraising is the single best way of developing the professional sector as a continual source of referrals. As a note appraiser, you are dealing professional to professional.
Note owners do not discard their appraisals. When they decide to sell, they are going to find your appraisal along with the rest of the important mortgage documents. You will be the obvious person that they or their financial professional will call. Your credibility is far above all those note buyers who sent “I buy mortgages for cash” letters. The finished appraisal provides all of the essential information regarding the loan, the parties involved and the copies of the documents. In other words, all of the information you need to buy or broker the note. Is this ethical? Yes, you see the appraisal document (which I authored) discloses and allows you to have an interest in the loan.
You Get Paid for Doing Note Appraisals
One of the best benefits of doing note appraisals is that you can get paid. Fees range from the low hundreds for a simple residential loan on up for larger loans. Remember, the whole idea is to put something in a note owner’s hand that they keep. If they paid for it, they not only keep it, but they take you seriously.
I have designed an entire marketing campaign around note appraisals including letters and brochures. I had the appraisal document that I use professionally prepared. The basic document is seven pages and is nicely bound for presentation to the client or is easily emailed in pdf format. I do not expect you to go to that kind of expense and effort immediately. You can start the way I did. You can do your appraisal in letter form and call it a Letter of Opinion. It’s a great way to start. I encourage you to start now. Note holders will remember who you are, you will develop important relationships with financial professionals, and after a while you will even get paid.
Supercharging Your Note Business- Part Two: Create Urgency
One of the main problems note brokers experience is convincing note owners to take a discount and sell now. Many note buyers have told me, “No matter how hard I try I can’t persuade note sellers of the time value of money, the desirability of a Caribbean cruise, etc.” I will confess that in my approximately 25 years in the note business, I was never very good at convincing unmotivated note sellers, either. If the only motivated note sellers you are dealing with are those who receive your marketing piece simultaneously with an IRS lien, pink slip, wage garnishment, etc. your note business is in big trouble. To be successful in any selling endeavor, you must create urgency. Once you learn how to create urgency, your profitability will take a dramatic turn for the better.
Note Owner’s Manuals
One of the most successful marketing resources which will help you SUPERCHARGE your note business is something called a Note Owner’s Manual. I got this idea from Fred Foote at a convention several years ago. It took a lot of time and energy to implement this idea, but it was very worthwhile.
What I am talking about is an owner’s manual for people who own notes. It is similar to the owner’s manual you get with a car, appliance, etc. What struck me about this idea is that people do not throw away owner’s manuals, and also it is an authoritative written source. The written word is a powerful tool. Years ago, there was a segment on the TV show CANDID CAMERA. They posted a sign on the Delaware state line- “DELAWARE IS CLOSED TODAY-DO NOT ENTER”. Motorists read this sign and pulled off the road. This is an example of the power of the printed word.
My Note Owner’s Manual, like any other owner’s manual, is a primer on what note owners need to know about the asset they own. The Note Owner’s Manual is easy to read and to understand. Scattered throughout the Manual are highlighted areas called “helpful hints”. These helpful hints work like magic in doing the one thing that is essential if you want to make money in the note business- and that is create urgency.
One of many helpful hints deals with insurance. The Note Owner’s Manual discusses in detail the importance for the note owner to be covered by insurance. This hits a lot of hot buttons. It is amazing how many calls you get from folks who were blasé and uninterested about selling their note. Now there is an urgency, at least to get more information. “Why do I need insurance”, they want to know– “..didn’t my attorney take care of this?”, etc. I have made the following statement to many note holders (and I mean
it,) “do not go to bed tonight until you know you are adequately covered by insurance”. I have even helped place insurance binders for note owners. But the important thing is that you never would have had the conversation about this unless they read about it in The Note Owner’s Manual.
It is almost impossible to create urgency in a note owner who is naive and uninformed; who thinks the only thing they have to worry about is depositing the mortgage payment. It is easier to deal with an informed seller. One who has some understanding about the need for insurance, record keeping, legal issues, inspection of the collateral, etc.(of course, these topics are all covered in The Note Owner’s Manual). If the potential note seller is informed and still wants to keep their note, that’s fine. But you will soon discover that many hard core ‘I won’t take a discount’ types become much easier to deal with.
My original goal in using the Note Owner’s Manual was for the long term marketing benefits. I never anticipated the short term immediate results that this resource generated. I have actually had note owners call in a panic seeking more information about various topics covered in the Note Owner’s Manual. Talk about creating urgency- wow!
There are many additional benefits you get when you use this powerful resource. Getting potential note sellers to remember you is critical if you desire long term success. The Note Owner’s Manual works as good as or better than any marketing tool in achieving this goal. My marketing motto is “give them something they will keep”.
All of your marketing efforts are wasted if the note seller does not have your name and contact information when it comes time for them to sell. Because note owners as a rule keep these manuals, you have achieved a major marketing goal. Even better, people will actually pay for your Note Owner’s Manuals. If they paid you for it, they will almost certainly keep it.
To SUPERCHARGE your note business, you must have entree to the professional market. Note Owner’s Manuals are your ticket. Distribute them to financial professionals such as Attorneys, Financial Planners and especially Real Estate Brokers. This is one of the best ways I have found to get your foot in the door.
This resource places you way above your competition and gives you an important competitive edge. This is not an original idea. Why aren’t more note brokers using Owner’s Manuals? I believe the answer is simple. It takes time, effort and money to produce this asset. It took a lot of time to create a resource that can be used in all markets i.e., mortgage, trust deed, land contract, etc. and is economical to produce. I would encourage you to get started now. If you do not want to go through the effort of creating a Note Owner’s Manual immediately, you could create a marketing letter with a theme such as “Ten Things Every Note Owner Must Know”. That would at least get you started.
I hope you use the Note Owner’s Manual idea, as it will help you to SUPERCHARGE your note business and dramatically increase your income. The benefits of incorporating a Note Owner’s Manual into your marketing plan are huge long and short term. For creating urgency and generating income, this little gem cannot be beat.