Can technology KILL your business?
I know, I know…it sounds dramatic and a bit like overkill, but the truth is, the answer to that question isn’t as simple as you might think.
With motivated seller data available to us as investors now more than ever and seemingly cool technology, productivity tools and apps around every corner promising to “scale & automate” your business, the question we need to be asking is…at what cost?
Things have changed…
The ways in which businesses reach consumers has changed drastically over the years.
We’ve gone from mass marketing with newspaper ads, fliers, billboards and radio ads to mass-targeting with Facebook and Google ads, email marketing, autodialers and so on.
But, there is one form of “new school” marketing that seems to bring up the question…“Is this legal or not?” more than any other.
And that is text messaging and/or using robo-dialers to contact leads…or in our case as a real estate investors..text messaging and robo-dialing your seller or buyer leads.
…and there are 3 big questions that need to be discussed.
- Is it legal?
- Even if it’s legal…is it the right thing to do?
- Is it effective and getting us the results we’re looking for?
There are many differing opinions on this topic and that’s why it can seem to be so difficult to find the right answer.
From the research I’ve done, the answer is quite clear:
Texting or robo-dialing your leads (especially mass texting) can be detrimental if not down right DEADLY to your business!
Listen, I’m not delusional, I know that the idea of sending out a text blast to hundreds or thousands of potential sellers sounds like an “easy button” strategy, but be warned…relying too much on easy button technology in a business where developing a personal relationship is KEY, can be costly…If not deadly.
Let’s take a look at some of the finer points…
What the Law Says About Mass Texting For Business…
According to the United States Telephone Consumer Protection Act (better known as the TCPA), all businesses and organizations must receive written consent from the consumer before sending text messages, even if there is already an established relationship between the business and the consumer.
Not only that, but there are a few other rules to know…
- Consumers must receive “clear and conspicuous disclosure” of the text messages they will receive from the organization
- Texts may only be sent between 8 am and 9 pm in the receiver’s time zone to avoid inconvenience
- Texts must include the sender’s identity and opt-out instructions
- The consumer must be able to opt-out by directly replying to the text message
- Opt-out requests must be honored for at least 5 years
- Companies must maintain a Do Not Call list of those who do not wish to be called or texted
Failure to abide by these rules can lead to major penalties (in fact, you could be charged anywhere from $500 to $1,500 per text message that did not have prior written consent!)
I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty risky to me!
Robo-dialing is a hot topic in Congress!
As far as the laws and penalties on robo-dialing, at the moment they are in a state of flux, but we know that people are SO tired of it. Congress is addressing it and that’s not good. I expect a federal law with very stiff penalties to be hitting the books in the not too distant future. So, if it isn’t at the moment, it’s very soon to be a “do not touch” in my book.
Sure, Sending a Mass Text Sounds Easy…
However, if you ARE going to reach out to your seller leads this way, you need to ensure that you have prior written consent from the seller and be certain to abide by the above rules…but, in all reality, what’s the likelihood of you ever having a problem? Sure, getting nailed would require you to “tick off the wrong skunk” but it can definitely happen and let’s face it, the more you send, the greater your exposure.
No matter if you’re following the rules or not, it is my personal recommendation that you DO NOT text blast or “robo dial” your seller leads anyway.
To me, this is just not an ideal way to reach out to someone about buying their house.
Think About This…
1. Would you trust a random text message from an unknown number asking to purchase your home out of the blue? I know I wouldn’t and I can almost guarantee that any seller wouldn’t either.
2. Can you tell when you’re getting a robo-call? Of course you can! Do you like it? Do you give the caller anything close to what they want or (more likely) do you give them a solid piece of your mind…if you answer at all? Are you sick and tired of robo-calls like I am? Enough said.
3. By using the “automated technology” to “make your life easier”, you’re inadvertently burning through all of your seller leads and leaving MANY potential deals on the table.
The truth is, there is a finite number of seller leads in your market(s) and if you load those contacts into an auto-dialer or text-blast software and rip through all of them in a matter of a few hours or days…you’re going to get a few responses…but the real gold is still sitting in the list that you’re now calling “dead” or “already contacted”.
PRO TIP: The game we’re playing as investors isn’t “how many leads can I dial in an hour”…don’t let anyone selling text-blasting or auto-dialing tools, or Real Estate Training for that matter, fool you. <<– This is a mistake most people make.
If you want to build a long-term, profitable and sustainable business, the game you need to be playing is, “how can I help the seller solve their problem and create a trusting relationship with them”. Always remember, like any other business, Real Estate Investing is a relationship business and when your focus is on how you help or serve the seller, you will do deals others simply will not.
In fact, let’s talk about what you could/should do to reach out to your leads…
More Effective Options…
By now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “If texting or auto-dialing isn’t a good option, then how should I reach out to my seller leads?”
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
First of all, you want to be sure that you have a consistent and reliable source of motivated seller leads to reach out to. I, myself use the Motivated Seller Data Feed [which you can learn more about here] or the Vacant House Data Feed that you can try here.
Once you have your list of potential prospects, here are a few great and effective ways to reach sellers that will help you steer clear of hot water and close more deals.
- Ring, ring…who’s calling? That’s right, calling your seller leads (one at a time) is still one of the best and most effective ways to reach out to sellers. A phone call is much more personal than a text message for a number of reasons and is more likely to end on a positive note. Now, if you take your conversation from there to texting, great. But it’s one call or one text to one seller.
**Keep in mind, there will always be times when a property owner is simply not interested in selling and may or may not have a nice way of showing it. Trust me, I’ve had a few hangups myself by cold calling sellers, but you simply have to shake it off and move on to the next lead.
- Direct mail is alive and well! This option may seem a bit old school, but trust me, when you have the right list and the right campaign…it works like a charm!
In fact, I even wrote an entire blog about direct mail and how to utilize it to inject more profits in your business fast. Click here to check it out!
**Direct mail is great for those who despise cold calling.
- Virtual assistants. Calling sellers is one of the best ways to get deals, but no one ever said the person calling HAS to be you. Virtual assistants (V.A.) are a great way to automate a part of the business that takes time and, for many, is a less than favorable way to spend that time.
I am a big proponent of using well-trained and seasoned virtual assistants to help grow your business. Click here to learn about the system I’ve set up that gives you EVERYTHING you need to start doing more deals, including some virtual assistance!
If you have a V.A. do your cold calling, the benefit is that YOU only speak to those that are interested in selling. So, they deal with the hangups. If you do this, be sure your V.A. is on your “page”. The idea here is for the V.A. to be kind and in search of a simple answer to the question…“would you be interested in selling?”. We talk a lot about this at the 3-day Rapid Results Investor Summit. You can learn more about that here.
You might argue that both a V.A. and a robo-dialer are an ideal 1,2 punch because the V.A. only talks to people that answer and saves the time (your money) that would be wasted on busy, disconnected numbers and voicemails. There’s truth to this, but a seller can spot a robo-call a mile off and there are substantial consequences in the making. And make no mistake about it, voicemail is where the V.A. + robo dialer combo really falls short in terms of effectiveness.
The robo dialer can only leave a generic message on the seller’s voicemail, where you or your V.A. can leave a very specific message that mentions the seller’s name, the address of the property, etc. This is MUCH more personal and a much better way to start a relationship. Plus, since we are now trained to recognize robo-calls and, in general, do NOT answer our phones when we don’t recognize the caller ID, we’re going to have to leave a ton of voicemails. Without question, a specific, personalized message is much more effective.
Now of course, there are rules and regulations for all of these methods, but they certainly aren’t as restrictive or potentially damaging as mass-text messaging or robo-dialing.
I suggest you read up on all regulations before starting any of these options. It’s simply good practice and will allow you to reach out to customers with less worry and hassle.
What Do You Think?
Please leave a comment with your thoughts. I love hearing your opinions/stories and I personally respond to any and all comments!
Kinkade, R. (2018, August 1). Is Mass Texting Illegal? Retrieved July 7, 2019, from https://www.call-em-all.com/blog/is-mass-texting-illegal.