Posted on: March 07, 2019

If you’ve been wholesaling for sometime and have no problems finding and closing deals, it is likely that you’re ready to move on to the next level—scaling your business big time. If that’s where you currently stand, you already have something in common with today’s awesome guest.

Tag Thompson is a phenomenal wholesaler from Chattanooga, Tennessee who’s looking to scale his wholesaling business dramatically. Currently, he’s active and doing amazing in 3 markets—Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Charlotte. He aims to be active in at least 10 markets by the end of the year. For some, that might seem like a tall order but not for Tag whose team averages at least 6 to 9 deals a week, thanks to TTP.

If you’re curious about the winning formula Tag employs, you’ll surely love today’s episode. Always the go-giver, Tag generously shared many beneficial insights, wisdom, and actionable tips so you better have a pen and paper handy!

Key Takeaways

  • How he determines which markets to get into
  • Resources he uses to check markets he gets into
  • What his team structure looks like
  • The roles he and his business partner takes on
  • How he compensates and incentivises his employees
  • Average number of contracts his acquisition managers get each week
  • What he does to fill up his pipeline
  • What “hunting” is and how they go about it
  • His first deal and how much he earned from it
  • His first huge TTP (Talk to People) deal and how it went
  • The unique system he uses to sell his deals
  • Typical issues he runs into
  • How he finds his “boots on the ground” and the key qualities he looks for
  • The importance of paying employees well
  • His advice to new wholesalers in terms of mindset

RESOURCES:

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Episode Transcription

Brent Daniels: Hoo-wee! Welcome everybody back to the Wholesaling Inc podcast. My name is Brent Daniels, and again, it is my pleasure to host this episode. Now on this episode, usually when I start out these episodes, I go into a rant of two or three minutes of ideas or thoughts that I’ve had or maybe something from a book that I read, but not this time. Because this time is going to be 100% focused on the man that I’m interviewing here today having a discussion with, because he is doing amazing things in Chattanooga. I want this to be all about him and what he’s going to give in the value. So without further ado, I want to introduce Tag Thompson to the Wholesaling Inc podcast to the world. Say “Hello.”

Tag Thompson: Hello everybody from Chattanooga, Tennessee. What’s up, Brent Daniels?

Brent Daniels: TTP. Well, listen this is exciting for me, Tag, because we’ve been talking for a long time and you, I have seen grow your business from something that was just getting going, starting to build a momentum, to now it’s an absolute beast. So kind of give us your journey, your path, your background, kind of your two minute who are you?

Tag Thompson: Yeah, so my actual real estate adventure started 14 years ago. My wife came home from a seminar that she went to. We were newlyweds, she was looking for a job, she went to the seminar, and she told me, “Hey, I went to this thing and they said you can buy houses with no money,” and I laughed and laughed and laughed at her about how gullible she was, there’s no way that’s possible. And she was pretty embarrassed. Later, I’m the embarrassed one because that’s pretty much what I do for a living.
Fast forward about 10 years, I met an awesome guy named David Olds who really just taught me the whole thing. He’s my business now and we’re wholesaling in Chattanooga. We switched to TTP from postcards a little over a year ago and it has completely changed our business. We’re pretty much exclusively TTP. We do some other kind of interesting things too, but we’re in three markets from Chattanooga, Atlanta, and Charlotte right now and plan to be in 10 markets by the end of the year.

Brent Daniels: 10 markets.

Tag Thompson: Yeah.

Brent Daniels: Excellent. Where is home base? Is Chattanooga where your home base is?

Tag Thompson: Yes. Yeah, we’re in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Brent Daniels: Is that bulk of your business?

Tag Thompson: It is. I mean it’s probably 75% to 80% at this point. We want to get our systems perfected and grow in scale, as we really felt our systems were good. Had a couple of missteps in a few markets, didn’t understand them very well, but we’ve perfected our Chattanooga system. Doing really, really well in Charlotte,, and doing well in Atlanta as well now.

Brent Daniels: So let me ask you this, because this is just something that I personally thought of, because I’ve just stayed in Phoenix and I’ve been thinking about going into different markets, or at least it pops up into my head every once in a while. I think it pops up, everybody said, once they start getting a lot of momentum in one place. But how do you determine which markets to go into? How do you determine to go into Charlotte and Atlanta?

Tag Thompson: We pick markets that are both heavily populated, have a lot of cash buyers, but not as much wholesale activity, because a lot of our systems are based off Todd Toback’s system of actually selling through realtors and using buyers in that area. So we look for areas that have a lot of cash transactions and not necessarily a lot of wholesalers, so Charlotte hit that, Atlanta hit that market really well, so doing good. There’s still a lot of competition out there but we’re doing really well.

Brent Daniels: That’s awesome. Is there some sort of data resource that you use? I mean, are you looking at … There’s got to be something that says there’s a lot of cash transactions, but not a lot of wholesale. What do you look at when you focus? And I’m really asking you for everybody, but I really I’m asking for myself. If I were to go online and say, “Hey, I want to go into a different market and I want to check out Reno, Nevada,” you know what I mean? Is there a way to see if that’s a good market or maybe not so good?

Tag Thompson: Yeah, there’s some good resources out there. You can use ListSource to pull out cash buyers. You can use a lot of different resources that are kind of free. But the best thing is to talk to a realtor, ask them specific questions, get the data points you’re looking at from them, because they can pull a lot of that off of MLS, courthouse records. And getting some good realtors on your side is always a good thing. Always.

Brent Daniels: It kind of gives you boots on the ground, so maybe reach out to a few different ones in different brokerages and see what the climate is with fix and flip, with a buy and hold, with people that want to wholesale, all of that, and kind of get a feel for what their responses are?

Tag Thompson: Yeah, and depending on where you’re actually looking at, a lot of them can actually give you renovation costs, like which houses are actually flip, how much the flips were, and they can give you a lot of information. So give them specific data points, let them do the research for you.

Brent Daniels: And it’s actually amazing how much realtors are willing to speak to you-

Tag Thompson: Oh, yeah.

Brent Daniels: … And other investors aren’t.

Tag Thompson: Yeah. No, you’re absolutely right. Yeah.

Brent Daniels: I think it’s a tragedy out there that a lot of investors don’t network more with each other. But if they know that you’re new or you’re thinking about coming to the market, they’re either going to tell you the exact opposite of what’s going on, or they’re going to not tell you anything, which is more likely, which you know, that’s why you go to a realtor. Because a realtor at some point thinks that they’re going to represent you as either a buyer’s agent or a listing agent, which they certainly could. Plus, the advantage of having an agent in your pocket, or at least the advantage to them, the value to them is as you’re going through and getting leads in their market that you can’t buy because the numbers aren’t right, you can refer them. You can at least do something just depending on if you’re licensed or not or whatever the state allows, but there can be some sort of collaboration there. At least they can list your properties if you do decide to flip them, or bring in clients.

Tag Thompson: Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve ever asked a question to a realtor that they weren’t willing to give me the information, but nothing has changed. I mean, I was just talking to a realtor here in Chattanooga and I think there were 10,000 transactions in Chattanooga last month and there’s 2,100 realtors, so these guys were desperate to get deals. They’ll work their butts off for you. They really will.

Brent Daniels: That is awesome. That is awesome. So you determine which places are solid. You guys have already hand-selected another seven you’re going to be rolling out. Tell me what your team looks like. Who works for you? You mentioned you have a partner, right? Did you say Scott?

Tag Thompson: David Olds.

Brent Daniels: David, David, I’m sorry, David.

Tag Thompson: David handles all of my dispositions, so we’re pretty well bifurcated in our business. I focus on regeneration and acquisitions and then David actually disposes of all the contracts, so he’s got a few assistants, people that work with him. I’ve got a team of cold callers. We’ve got, I think, six seats here. I’ve got two that work from home. I’m about to hire my second acquisition manager, actually my second and third acquisition managers this week. So we’ve also got one, two, three, four, five people on the boots on the ground in each of these markets.

Brent Daniels: Awesome. So you’ve got six cold callers. I assume you’re paying them hourly, right?

Tag Thompson: Yes.

Brent Daniels: Or you bring them in and-

Tag Thompson: No, we pay them an hourly wage plus a spiff if one of their after-leads closes.

Brent Daniels: And then what about your acquisition managers? Commission only?

Tag Thompson: We pay them a direct payment as soon as they get a contract, so they get $200 a day to get a contract, and then we pay him 5% when it closes, so yeah.

Brent Daniels: Awesome. Awesome. Good. And so with 5%, I mean, because these things range with acquisition managers. With 5%, that is obviously a calculation, because you guys do a lot of volume.

Tag Thompson: Yes. Yeah. Our guys do three contracts a week.

Brent Daniels: Three contracts a week. That is what I’m talking about. This is why … We’re getting good. We got all the, who are you, what do you do? Right? You’ve connected to whoever’s listening to this. They’re kind of feeling your vibe and then you just dropped, “Oh, I have two and three … I have three acquisition managers getting three contracts a week.” Boom, right? That’s what I’m talking about.
That’s why this is so important to have Tag on here because one, he’s in three different markets, which a lot of people are interested in being in different markets, and they’re frightened of it and they’re scared of it and they’re not sure how to do it. So he showed you how to do it. Go find where the cash buyers are. Go talk to agents. This isn’t education, these are instructions. Go do these things. Stop just thinking about it. So go do those things. And then you’ve got acquisition managers that are getting three contracts a week each.
How are they getting their leads? What are you doing to fill up your pipeline?

Tag Thompson: Yeah. One of my early mentors, well before real estate, told me that you need to find your goal, find the data of somebody who has done your goal before and then just reverse engineer it into what you can do. So, we figured out that X amount of leads equals X amount of contracts, so our lead gen department works really, really hard to make sure that our acquisition managers are overflowing with leads. They have so many that it’s hard for them to manage. Now we never lose a lead. Never ever, ever, ever, ever lose a lead.
But every week, anywhere from 10 to 15 fresh qualified leads to work through, as well as just a mountain of follow-ups to get through. We’ve broken it down into a pretty specific system. We always want to have 40 leads in, what we call the new or unqualified lead bucket, So we want to have 40 in there. We want to have 20 leads that are qualified leads, but there’s just something that keeps them from signing a contract, whether it’s a timing issue or maybe our price is not really close on where we want to be. So, we’ll have 20 in that bucket.
We want to have 10 that we call our hit list items, so these are 10 deals that they could close today. It’s just where our numbers are just a little bit off or maybe they’ve got to get some mortgage information or maybe they’ve got to get permission. That’s one of the things we talk about a lot is some of these people need to get permission from a son or a parent or a cousin or somebody. They need get permission, so we talk a lot about those. Those are the ones that are on our hit list and every day we sit down and say, “Who on this list is going to sign a contract today?” If you keep those buckets full, it’s almost impossible not to close three a week. It really is. It’s almost impossible not to.

Brent Daniels: That’s it. Yup, that’s it. And it’s just bringing them in. Right? It’s just constantly bringing in, and you’re on the phone. You’ve got eight people on the phone bringing in these leads, right? What else are you doing to bring in for the inflow of your pipeline?

Tag Thompson: We do cold calling all of our lists, obviously. We also do some text blasting. We’ve gotten into that recently and that’s been incredibly successful.

Brent Daniels: Yup.

Tag Thompson: We do a thing called hunting, which is people we find. We isolate the people that we haven’t been able to get on the phone and their mail was returned, so these people aren’t reachable through mail or through calling them. I have a team of callers who essentially stalk these people down. We call relatives, do whatever we have to do to get in touch with that person, and I’ve probably gotten five contracts this year from people who were completely unreachable by traditional methods. We always track them down.

Brent Daniels: I love it. What do you call it? The hunter list?

Tag Thompson: Yeah, we call them our hunters. They’re our hunters, so-

Brent Daniels: How do you find them?

Tag Thompson: Each of these hunters has access to things like peoplefinders.com, Whitepages. They go through all of that. They go through the easy stuff first, so they make sure that all the phone numbers have been reached out to, make sure all the mail can’t get to them. If those are nos, then we go through all the email addresses that are listed. If nothing works there, then we try to find them on social media. Can’t find them on social media, then it’s on to relatives, so we’ll reach out to near relatives, find their information. I mean we’ll go as far as we have to, but the harder they are to find, typically the easier the deal is and the better the margins are.

Brent Daniels: The better … Yup, that one is huge. Guys, listen to this. That is huge. If you can’t find their phone number, if you can’t find where they’re at, you can’t get them by mail or phone, don’t give up. There are ways, and we’ve got Cory Crain in our TTT program who owns American Tracers that can find anything on anybody. I mean, he probably knows your exact location right now.

Tag Thompson: Yeah, Cory’s awesome. [crosstalk 00:13:44]

Brent Daniels: They can pull a lot of information there. And I’ve been hearing about people sending people direct messages on Facebook, on Instagram, on all sorts of things to try to get a hold of them because they can’t get their phone numbers. They don’t know where they’re living, but they still own property, and these people, they end up selling their houses to people that just go that extra step. So that is huge. I love that you mentioned that. That is really, really big for sure.

Tag Thompson: Yeah. I actually just came from an open house for a contract we locked up last week and we’ll make a $50,000 assignment fee on it. But it was one of those that he had his mail, his tax mail, going to a PO box that he never checked, had no phone numbers that worked. And we tracked him down through a relative and he essentially gave the house away because he didn’t really know what else to do.

Brent Daniels: Yeah, he didn’t want it.

Tag Thompson: I got a great deal. Yeah, I agree. Got a really, really good deal on it.

Brent Daniels: Awesome. Absolutely love it. You have an office, right? So you have your people come into your office, make some calls, and you guys are all set. You’re building a culture of being really, really proactive and getting all over these leads, right? Do your people come in? Do your acquisition managers come in to the office? You said you had six people that make cold calls, so is there just phone calls going day after day, I mean, just going all day long?

Tag Thompson: Yeah, it gets pretty exciting when everybody’s in the office at the same time.

Brent Daniels: It does, yeah.

Tag Thompson: It’s just a constant … Yeah, it really does.

Brent Daniels: It really does. I mean, I encourage even if you’re just a one shot or whatever, or you have a couple people in your business, get a group of you guys together and just go to Starbucks or go somewhere where different businesses are making calls, and I mean, different wholesaler investment businesses. But just get into that flow. Downstairs, I’ve got eight or 10 people right now literally making calls, going through emails, following up, lead follow-up, going crazy, and they go hard from 9:00 to 4:00 every single day. Then it’s done. But they actually put work in, which is important.

Tag Thompson: Yeah. Yeah, it really is. We have two callers that don’t work in our office, but other than that, everybody’s here, and it just does. That makes it for … The days are really exciting. The little bit of competitive nature kicks in. I mean, it’s great.

Brent Daniels: I want a bell ringing moment. I want a victory bell ringing moment. I want you to talk about a big, fat, huge deal that you put together, okay? I want to know where it came from. I want to know what you made. I want to know how you contacted them, okay? Your biggest, and let’s go biggest TTT deal, because you know I’m going to be biased.

Tag Thompson: Let me talk about my first one, which was a $35,000 deal.

Brent Daniels: Okay.

Tag Thompson: It was my very first one. I barely started, and David Olds, my now business partner, called me while he was on a cruise and said, “Hey, I’ve got this guy. He wants to buy this duplex. Can you go show him around? I’ll spiff you some money on it.” He said, “I want to get $75,000 for it.” And I said, “Okay, great.”
So I met this guy out there, had no idea what I was doing at the time, and I got out there with the guy and I couldn’t remember how much David said to sell this thing for. And David’s on a cruise. I couldn’t get in touch with him. So, the guy asked me how much we wanted for it. Couldn’t even get inside because it had tenants. I didn’t know how to do any of that. So I showed him some pictures on my phone of the inside of it. We’re in the driveway, and I said, “Well, David needs at least $85,000 for it.” Just pulled the number out of thin air. So it turned a $25,000 deal into a $35,000 deal. We closed the next week, bing, bang, boom, easiest thing in the world, and that’s what convinced me to get into wholesaling full time was that transaction.

Brent Daniels: Yup. I love that. That is awesome. And that was one from the [inaudible 00:17:34] what about a big TTP deal?

Tag Thompson: Let’s see. Man. We’ve had a bunch of 35s and 40s. Honestly, one of our best one was our very first official TTP deal after we finished the program, hired all of our cold callers. The very first day was so exciting. We had six people in there and the first person that got a lead just kind of stood up. We all celebrated.
It was a lady that had a house that was eaten up with termites. She lived in Florida. She’d had this house here forever. It was eaten up with termites. She owed $25,000 on a mortgage still on this house, and for our numbers to work, we had to have it at like 15, I think. And so our acquisition guy went out there. The lady brought $10,000 to closing to get rid of the house. We were making $25,000 on our very first TTP deal. That was awesome.

Brent Daniels: What was list?

Tag Thompson: I think we started with an absentee owner list.

Brent Daniels: Awesome. Awesome.

Tag Thompson: Yeah.

Brent Daniels: For 25,000 or your first TTP deal.

Tag Thompson: Yeah.

Brent Daniels: Good. My man. I love it.

Tag Thompson: Wow, that’s awesome.

Brent Daniels: But now you’re cranking, right? Now you’re doing a six to nine deals a week. You’re building this thing up. You’re going, you’re going, you’re going and going. How do you go into a new market and build a cash buyer database? Because I get it, we can pull lists, we can get the phone numbers. We know what to say. How do you sell your deals? You’ve got a unique system for this, I think.

Tag Thompson: Yeah. Now our system is, we have two boots on the ground, people that are vital to our virtual markets. The first is an employee that we have, and this person, they’re the one that interacts with the seller. They take pictures, they’re the point of contact for everything. Meet them at the title company. This person does everything on the ground in our virtual markets. And then we have a realtor. Todd Toback will tell you they need to be your employee. They work for you. They do exactly what you tell them to, and they’re the person that helps us get it sold.
So, we go into a new market with no buyers’ list. None at all. Everything goes on the MLS, everything gets sold through MLS with a realtor on the ground.

Brent Daniels: Awesome. And that leverage is the biggest buyer database there is.

Tag Thompson: Sure does. Yeah. Yeah. One of the great things is-

Brent Daniels: Is there any issues that you run into, or do you look at the market and make sure that the MLS is okay with listing these wholesale properties on the market? You know what I mean? I think that’s the big fear with people.

Tag Thompson: Yeah. And there are some states we have to avoid completely, like Ohio, we can’t get anywhere near that. There’s some states you have to avoid, but a lot of the states are getting a lot more comfortable with them.
In North Carolina and in Tennessee now, doing a wholesale assignment contract is actually part of the course you have to take to become a realtor. They actually have this written into the licensing courses that you have to take, so it’s becoming more and more common. But the best thing we love about it is that a lot of times when you dispose of a property as a wholesaler, you can’t negotiate the price up. So if you list it at $100,000 and someone says, “I’ll give you $100,000,” you’re going to take $100,000. But with a realtor, well, if they offer $100,000, we’ll counter at $110,000.

Brent Daniels: Yeah.

Tag Thompson: Because you’ll have multiple parties involved in it and really drive that number up. So it’s made a lot of our $10,000 deals, it’s turned them into $30,000 deals because of that.

Brent Daniels: That’s incredible. And does your agent do all of kind of, what I call it in my business is a disposition checklist. They take pictures, they get access by either putting a lockbox on it or scheduling with the owner or tenants? Does your agent do all of that part?

Tag Thompson: No, and again, it’s part of our own hangup that just kind of the control thing, so our boots on the ground person, they’ll take the pictures, they’ll put the lockbox on. And I’m not sure exactly why we necessarily do it that way, but it just works a lot better. Honestly, if we have an agent that’s not performing like we need them to, we keep control of the deal no matter what.

Brent Daniels: Yep. So then your boots on the ground person, is this somebody that you put an ad out for? Is it somebody that you reach out and you say, “Hey, who has family out here that can be trusted?” How do you know? You know what I mean? How do you find that person?

Tag Thompson: Yeah, we go through a pretty rigorous interview process, so we’ll put some ads out through Indeed, Craigslist, those things like that. We’re looking for somebody, hopefully with some real estate background just to make the transition a little bit easier, but somebody who’s responsible, incredibly presentable. You’re looking for a personality, because we’re handing off a contract to these people and they need to kind of babysit it all the way through the process. So, we put out ads. David, our disposition guy will actually go to that city, hang out for a little bit, go through all the interviews, find the right person, and hire them at that point.

Brent Daniels: Awesome. Awesome. I love that. You do all the work up front to make sure that you pick the right person.

Tag Thompson: Yeah. It’s incredibly important. If you don’t have a good boots on the ground person and a good realtor, it’s not going to work.

Brent Daniels: That’s awesome. Yeah. Usually, it’s really interesting. Once you find somebody that you can give consistent business and keep them busy, then they’re going to be with you forever. They’re going to go above and beyond. As long as it’s consistent and you’re keeping them in the loop, the communication is excellent, you know what I mean?

Tag Thompson: Yeah. I mean, and especially if you tell a realtor, “Hey, I’m going to hand you one to three contracts a week,” you’re their best friend now, best friend. They’ll do whatever they have to for it.

Brent Daniels: Yeah. They’re obviously just putting it on there. I mean, they’re not getting a full 3%. Are they putting 3% out on the market?

Tag Thompson: Some people do it differently. We give our guys a full 3%, so we pay 6% on it.

Brent Daniels: Both 6%.

Tag Thompson: Yeah, we do 6%, and some people, they try to get a discounted rate. We’ve just found it to be very successful and very smooth. If you pay well, they’ll work really, really hard for you.

Brent Daniels: Wow. That’s incredible. Yeah. I bet those real estate agents love you. Oh, my gosh.

Tag Thompson: They do.

Brent Daniels: They’re going to go to war for you. I mean, you get the right one in there that’s basically, they’re your employee, because you’re going to keep them busy? Oh, my gosh. That’s the way to do it. That’s really, really cool and really smart. I love it.
So what advice, as we close the show here, what advice would you give to anybody starting out or anybody thinking about going into a new market, just to get going? And more from a mindset standpoint. You’ve given unbelievable value from a technical instruction standpoint on what you do, and I think that this podcast, we could probably charge thousands for it, to be honest. I’m not being silly. Not being ridiculous here. I mean, there’s a lot of really great stuff here that I kind of pulled out, but really, what advice would you give from a mindset standpoint?

Tag Thompson: Going into new market, two things are really important. First of all, do your research, so know the market really well. Talk to a lot of people. Understand the zip codes, so you need to know what areas are really hot, what neighborhoods are hot, what areas to avoid. Know the market very well.
But the second thing, go very slow. Don’t try to rush into it. Scaling too fast will kill you in virtual markets. Again, we’ve made that mistake before twice. So the markets that work are the ones that you approach with understanding of the market, but then also go slow. Spend your first marketing dollars on the hottest neighborhoods. Don’t go overboard because you might get too many leads to handle to test your systems. Because essentially, you’re starting a whole new business when you’re in virtual markets, and you’ve got a whole new business, probably can’t handle the amount of leads that your kind of concrete business can handle. So start out a little slow, work a few deals through, work some systems out before you really crank it up. That’s my biggest piece of advice.

Brent Daniels: Huge. Absolutely huge. Thank you so much for being on here. Tag Thompson, everybody. If somebody wants to reach out to you, how did they get a hold of you?

Tag Thompson: Facebook, Instagram, Tag Thompson. There’s really only one of me out there so-

Brent Daniels: T-A-G, yup.

Tag Thompson: … Facebook, sorry. So, Tag Thompson, best way to do it.

Brent Daniels: Awesome. Awesome, guys. And if you are interested in joining the most proactive group in real estate, it is the TTP program. Not only will you get everything you need to run your market, your cold calling marketing channel, the best, the absolute best, most successful proven around the country, not only will you get that, but you get access to a network of people like Tag Thompson that are going bananas with their business, people that reach out through our private Facebook group. And just, I mean, it is extremely … The Facebook group has just been beyond my wildest imagination on how much support and cheerleading there is in that.
So, if you are interested in that, go to wholesalinginc.com/TTP, that’s wholesalinginc.com/TTP. Until next time, I encourage you to talk to people. See you guys.

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