Day 31-60 Day Quick Start Challenge…July 31, 2017

I did some database work today I added about 27 new property records to my database and linked pictures and owner information.

One of the things that you must get in the habit of doing is getting your records in your database when the pile is small. The tendency is to what till you get a break in the action and then come back and backfill. The problem is that it takes more time than you think and that pile is getting bigger by the day.

I may have mentioned this earlier but what is the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
Your database is your bank account and if you manage it properly you can go into your database and make periodic withdrawals. If you really master it your database will be serving up opportunities on a regular basis. What do I mean by that? If you do your “databasing” correctly your database can send you alerts when a prospective seller should be ready for a call.

Further, if you set it up correctly your data base can even produce your daily call list for you and help you keep track of the A, B, and C prospects as they rotate into a position to do business. In my data base, there is a record for each owner, property, and company. That is an important distinction because unlike residential real estate a principal can have more than one property, one ownership entity, and company that presides over it all. The beauty of that is that once you have it in the data base and linked you can send one letter to one owner and not sixteen of the same letters to the same owner.

Another important aspect is that you can keep track of what they own and where and how they own it remember they often try to hide the ultimate owner. I have one guy in my database that owns 7 different properties in two different entities. Another neat thing is that I can link agents to properties so that if there is a price change or I list a similar property I can go back to my data base and alert them by doing a group search or property specific search.

When I got started my database consisted of 3 x 5 cards, a Rolodex, and manila folders everywhere. My data base allows me to send broadcast emails, individual emails, group emails, it links to social media and sync’s with my iPhone and iPad because it is actually in the cloud.

They say that “cleanliness is next to godliness…keep your database clean”!

Day 30-60 Day Quick Start Challenge…July 30, 2017

Got out a bunch of “2nd Letters”. I know you’re saying what is a second letter? A second letter is just a general sales letter that I put together to utilize the second photo that we developed because of our “Secret Weapon Letter” campaign.

First, the sequence. When you are trying to build out your market the first thing that I recommend you do is declare a major. If you will recall I decided that I was working on industrial buildings in the 10,000-square foot and up size range. I was only working in Broward county and I was conducting my search by zip code.

As you will recall I printed the property record from our local system called Imapp, and followed that with the county assessors record, and finally added the Florida Corporate record for my complete property record. I then went over the weekend and took my pictures and had two 4 x 6 prints developed one for the “Secret Weapon Letter” and one for my data base.

I have gotten more sophisticated and now I also upload the pictures to a file so I can link them to the property record in my data base. But now what do I do with all those extra pictures? You guessed it…I get another opportunity to reach out to the owner.

I developed a very brief sales letter that I call cleverly enough…the “2nd Letter”! After I load the property or refine the data in my database I don’t need all those pics hanging around so why not send them out and get another “bite at the apple”.

I have written a “2nd Letter” for each of the main property types. I simply print the letter on Astrobrights or similar fluorescent colored paper, put it a business card and a picture in the plain #10 envelope and viola…! Another contact with the potential seller.

A couple of rules still apply. I use a plain white envelope, hand addressed, stamped, with my home return address. No letterhead, metered postage, or other indications that it is a piece of advertising.
I have experimented with different colors as well. The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) says the most “read” color is blue. I like to increase my chances of getting a positive response. I also tried “screaming yellow” it seems that blue gets the most calls.

Today I added another 20 properties to my database and got out about a dozen 2nd Letters.

Day 29-60 Day Quick Start Challenge…July 29, 2017

Today is going to be a much-needed day of rest…sort of!

As you can tell I have been working continuously for the last 29 days without a break so today I’m going to take a little time for some R & R. Don’t panic as you can see I am still getting my blog written.

I also managed to get another 25 records together for pictures tomorrow. I have them organized, mapped, and clipped and ready to go. I am also going to spend a little time “sharpening the saw”. What do I mean? There is a story that is attributed to Abraham Lincoln that he was once asked if he only had 4 hours to cut down a tree what would he do? Lincoln was reported to have said he would spend 1 hour sharpening his axe (saw).

I read a lot, in fact I read one or more books a week and I couldn’t tell you how many articles, reports, and whitepapers. I look for ideas from a great number of sources even fields that have nothing to do with commercial real estate. I do this because it intrigues me but I can’t tell you how many times I have come across an idea from a different field of endeavor that I can apply in my business.

So without further ado I am going to “sharpen my saw”!

Day 28-60 Day Quick Start Challenge…July 28, 2017

Today I wish I had something pithy to report but…

Today turned into contract negotiations day. First, I had a conference call with one of our sellers to discuss the workings of a 1031 Tax deferred exchange. Our client couldn’t get the notion that a seller has 45 days after closing to identify a property and a total of 180 days to close.

He also had a difficult time understanding the concept that the Buyer made an offer we countered the offer and the Buyer countered…out counter offer. He thought that once we countered them that should be it. The real killer was that he decided to get emotional about the counter offer.

This week must have been one of those rare celestial alignments or something. For some reason, everyone got “emotional” about everything. The Seller above got emotional when the buyer dared to counter his counter. We have a tenant representation deal and the Tenants upset because the city doesn’t want to budge on parking requirements. Here are a couple of facts… ”Life isn’t fair!” If somebody told you that they lied to you. The city isn’t out to get you…they enact rules and regulation to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Sometimes these rules can seem arbitrary and capricious… ”You can’t fight city hall” not unless you’ve got more money than god and all the time in the world.

Herb Cohen wrote an excellent book on negotiations called “You Can Negotiate Anything” one of his strategies is “to care…but not that much”. I forget who said it “Love is zero in tennis…it’s zero in real estate too” when you fall in love with a building or location you lose your objectivity and your ability to negotiate the best terms for yourself.

Back to my transaction…the Buyer’s agent didn’t get why my Seller insisted on having two 30-day closing extensions in the contract in the event he couldn’t find a replacement property. Further he got indignant that my seller should want the extra time. The bottom line is that it’s all negotiable and not personal…in fact it has nothing to do with the brokers at all.

After resolving those two issue (each about an hour) I had an appointment outside the office to try and find a building and the contact information for another potential client. I had to do some “brokerage by windshield” and drive to the property, get the street number, and look at the surrounding physical aspects of the site. Then back to the office, look at aerials, to find the folio number, owner, and owner contact info.

In short never a dull day in the “wild world of commercial real estate

Day 27-30 Day Quick Start Challenge…July 27, 2017

That tears it…It’s now a 60-day quick start challenge!

Today I got caught in proposals, property reviews, and comparable searches. I got to the office and had an appointment that lasted from approximately 10 until noon. I then had a new 1st appointment for a tenant representation assignment.

Got back to the office after lunch and had to redo the search for the tenant representation assignment that we just completed. Finished up doing a complete review of nearly 30 properties for the potential client.

After the research, I had another appointment that lasted nearly two hours and now I am home speaking with a fellow author, speaker, and seminar leader about business and the gap in commercial real estate. So, in short I made no calls, mailed no letters, and followed up on absolutely nothing.

By necessity I have to make this a 60 Day Quick Start Challenge because I have so much I want to cover and report on…so stay tuned.

Day 26-30 Day Quick Start Challenge…July 26, 2017

Just before I left the office today I got a call back on one of my “SWL’s” the owner says that they would consider selling for about $1.8MM. Think about that that is another call from the batch I dropped the other day what’s that put me at about 5 responses out of 37 letters.

I dropped 19 yesterday and despite my best efforts I only got 5 out today. That’s a total of 24 letters for the week…that’s weak! My call total isn’t exactly spectacular this week either I better get on the stick. One of the beauties of this 30 Day Quick Start Challenge is to see exactly what I am doing and how well.

I am going to bring up the excuse that I am trying to do all this while being a sales manager and supervising 22 agents. So, there is little spare time. But if I am going to be completely honest with myself I need to get more done.

But even so in the “pathetic” month I had I still managed to get 1,200 different activities done in the month.

Just thinking out loud but I think I am going to change it to the 60 Day Quick Start Challenge…just so we can really see what kinda’ numbers I can put on the board.

Day 25-30 Day Quick Start Challenge…July 25, 2017

In contrast to yesterday…

I started my day doing a quick lease analysis for one of my agents. Looking at whether the Landlord should accept an assignment of his current lease on n laundromat and/or cleaners or do a new lease. What rates should be and what increases the Landlord should put into the new lease.

Followed by an agent having trouble with their BNI networking group. Someone in the group isn’t playing fair and following the rules. There is to be only one person in the group representing each trade or profession. In this case there is a residential agent and she is “dabbling” in commercial and business sales. My agent doesn’t know what to do…I told them to take it to the board and make everyone follow the rules.

Now, after those earth shattering negotiations I got to write, assemble, and post 19 new “Secret Weapon Letters”. If I can manage another 19 or so tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday I will hit 80 letters for the week putting me squarely on track for my goal of 50-100 per week.

I had a new 1st appointment out of the office at 2 today, this one doesn’t count for the challenge but I will record it anyhow. I met with the owner and partner of a pizza business that has been in town for at least 20 years. The location was recently appraised for $1,100,000 and has two additional parcels, a store and a warehouse that were not included in the valuation. Additionally, the restaurant is grossing $40,000/mos. If that is indeed the case he has a pretty good business going.

I also had a 2nd appointment at 4 pm. I spoke to the owner last week and he was a little hard to pin down for an appointment but we got him to commit to this afternoon. We met him at his warehouse which was about 100⁰ and it was pouring at the time. The building was like a sauna to say the least. However, we established rapport by talking about his business, and his hobbies, and our mutual love of fine cigars.

Postscript to the story is that we are out for signature on a $750,000 warehouse at a full 6% fee. He also gave us the number of one of his neighbors who wants to sell her two warehouses, he told us to call her and to make sure we used his name in the call. He also tipped us to the neighbor behind his location that wants to sell and further shared with us that he thought the property was worth about $3-4 Million dollars.

The “genesis” of both those appointments? If you guessed the “Secret Weapon Letter” you’d be correct.

Tomorrow is my weekly sales meeting and it looks like I have another 1st appointment to pick up a tenant representation assignment. Part of my personal business plan is to help residential and new commercial agents get into transactions quickly.

Day 24-30 Day Quick Start Challenge…July 24, 2017

Today turned into one of those days where you just want to go back jump into bed and start all over again.

I had all these plans to send out “Secret Weapon Letters” and get all the phone numbers researched and make a productive day out of it. I got to the office pulled out the package of research that I was going to send out the letters only to find I had grabbed the wrong pile. I had already sent out the letters and only needed the numbers researched.

The pile that I needed to send out was sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to have the photo’s matched and the letters written and addressed. I opened the package of picture to discover that they were printed without an index print. What is an index print you may ask? Well, the index print is a one or two sheet prints with every picture taken and developed and its corresponding JPG number. The same JPG number that I write on each property record so that I can match them to the correct property when I get them back.

That shouldn’t be a problem just look at the camera, right? Not so fast immediately upon printing the pictures I remove them from the flash drive so I have plenty of room for the next batch of pictures. There is some good news…I saved the pictures to my laptop at home before having them processed so I had to take them home and match them with the newly created “SWL” file on my machine. So, what should have been an hour or two took about four hours.

I had my “Sales Manager” duties make an appearance as well so I spent the balance of my day reviewing contracts and arguing over the commission split on a transaction that hasn’t even happened yet. In fact, if most real estate transaction has a “Hail Mary” pass this one is so far removed from being a transaction that the game hasn’t even been invented yet. We’re debating a commission that could happen in about 5 years.

Abstracting the days results I had so very lengthy conversations and a potential client meeting and got about 50 “Secret Weapon Letters” ready to go.

Day 23-30 Day Quick Start Challenge…July 23, 2017

Today was a photo-finish kinda’ day! What I mean is that I got two packs of pictures taken in just about three hours and a few minutes. That’s a total of 42 out of 50 pictures taken and being developed at Walgreens even as we speak.

You’re probably asking why only 42 out of 50 pictures? Well, true to form things change that is one of the most important reasons to drive the market. Two of the buildings no longer exist one was torn down as part of a retail assemblage and the other building now appears to be the berm of US 441 in Hollywood.

Both buildings are still showing on the tax records but the only way to really know about the property is to physically lay eyes upon it. In this case the aerial pictures told the tale in one of the aerials there is the building and in the next there is a parking lot.

The second one was at the corner of a side street and US 441. 441 is now much wider and the building that used to sit directly to the rear of our subject is now fronting directly on US 441.

What we are doing is gathering what appraisers call primary evidence, material facts that we have independently confirmed ourselves. The remaining buildings were “duplicates” where the building may be two buildings with two separate folio numbers, legal descriptions, etc. but the property looks like one continuous building. For example, 2375 SW 34th Avenue and 2395 SW 34th Avenue one end is the South end of the Building and one end is the North end. There is a separate legal description for each and if you look at the tax roll map there is a line between the two but that line exists on paper only.

You’re also probably wondering why I stopped at two packs of 25 properties each. Well, the answer is that the next package of property has nearly 100 records and is in a different market. That different market isn’t in some foreign country it is just another market area and I like to keep them separated or together as the case may be. So, I completed one zip code before I move onto the next larger more populated one.

Tomorrow will be a picture matching and “Secret Weapon Letter” day, plus I will get some calls in on the prior property packages I did last week. Part of the magic of the system is layering of activity, I have calls going out, letters going out, proposals going out, calls coming in and all the while I am building my book of business.

Day 22-30 Day quick Start Challenge…July 22, 2017

It is raining again this afternoon! No problem, I’ll just do some more research.

I think I might have mentioned this earlier but it’s the rainy season in South Florida and if you don’t like the weather all you have to do is wait about 15 minutes.

I lieu of driving all over the place I am going to do some research this afternoon I am going to check out an entirely different zip code as I continue my march across the county.

Ideally, you should have about 1,000 fully researched records in your database that way you’ll have a steady stream of leads to work on. Back to the “arithmetic” of the process if 6-7% of all property trades in a given year that means 60-70 transactions in my chosen field of endeavor.

If I had just a 10% market share that would be 6-7 closed transactions each year and at an average of $20,000 on the low end that means $120,000 to $140,000 each year without breaking a sweat.

You see how with a little insight and planning you can map out your career pretty easily. Will you have the same results that I have? Doubtful, you could do much better or you could do worse. You need to understand your market and your product and you can back into the number of activities or touches you have to make to hit your numbers.

Anyhow, tomorrow is supposed to be bright and clear and I have 85 fully researched records organized for my tour-du-jour. Stay tuned for another update tomorrow!