Posted on: June 26, 2020

During this time of uncertainty, many deem it wise to just watch from the sidelines and brainstorm the perfect plan. For others however, now is the right time to double down on their marketing efforts and take massive imperfect actions. Our awesome guest today belongs to the latter.

Greg Berny is not letting the current crisis get to him and slow him down. Rather than letting the current situation paralyze him into inaction, he used it as a motivation to lay out specific plans and goals so he can continue to provide for his family and serve more people.

In this episode, you’ll not only be inspired by Greg’s hard work, resiliency, and out of the box thinking, you’ll also be motivated by the massive results he generated for his efforts (3 deals totalling almost $35k in revenue!). If you need proof you can still find great deals despite the current situation, this episode is for you!

Key Takeaways

  • What he’s doing that has helped him find and close deals
  • Where a lot of his deals are coming from
  • Where he gets his lists from
  • The marketing channel he used to find the last 3 deals
  • The importance of being specific when setting goals
  • How setting specific goals has helped him despite the current situation
  • The crucial role consistency plays in your wholesaling success
  • His thoughts on doing deals during this time
  • Why you need to be aware of the consequences of your actions or inactions
  • Why extending your contracts is ideal right now

RESOURCES:

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Episode Transcription

Cody Hofhine:
Whoo whee. I’m excited to be with you guys because deals are still happening in today’s market. Today, we have Greg Burney who is doing deals. Greg, what market are you in?

Greg Burney:
I am in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Cody Hofhine:
North Carolina. Tell us a little bit about you and what got you into just real estate in general.

Greg Burney:
Yeah, so I’m a social worker by background. I was working in healthcare, and two and a half years ago lost my job. I’d started doing real estate a little bit on the side. I’d flipped a house with a friend and did an accidental seller financing deal that worked out well, but jumped into wholesaling full time at that point. Like I said, it was about two and a half years ago, and haven’t looked back. I joined the tribe maybe a year and a half ago, year and a half to two years ago.

Cody Hofhine:
Okay. So, let’s talk about some things that are happening. You lose your job, you just get out there and start taking action. Recently what’s really cool is, before we got on, guys, I was sitting here talking to Greg and I said, “Hey, what’s going on for your market?”

Greg Burney:
Yeah, I’ve got three under contract just here in the last three weeks or so.

Cody Hofhine:
Hold on, hold on. We’re going to do our little version of the podcast, but since I’m not in my office you’re going to have to hear this like school teacher bell.

Greg Burney:
That is a sweet bell. I like that.

Cody Hofhine:
It gets the job done, it’s loud enough.

Greg Burney:
Dynamite.

Cody Hofhine:
Three deals under contract, and let’s go a little bit deeper. I think it’s time to realize that we have to stay consistent. We have to get out there, that these deals aren’t going to happen, and you can’t let off the brake during this time. You actually have got to pump the gas. In fact, do you feel like you’re doing more today, or do you feel like you’re just staying consistent like you’ve always done?

Greg Burney:
So, I’ve kept the consistency there, but it ups the amount of marketing I’m doing. In my first year in this, Cody, it was like trying to learn to get out of the habit of, “Okay, I sent out a bunch of direct mailers,” and now I wait months and months and months. Instead, getting into whatever marketing channel you’re doing, getting it to a place where it’s like every week something is going out. So, I’ve had that in place already, and then over the last month I’ve just said, “Okay, I need to throw some more money, and attention, to this marketing,” because I think we’re starting to see a shift where it’s just there’s going to be more opportunity to help folks.

Cody Hofhine:
So, what are your main focuses when you’re talking about marketing? What’s going on right now that’s allowing you to get deals under contract?

Greg Burney:
So, I’m still seeing houses. I’ve upped my marketing, started pumping the gas, as you said, around absentee owners, because I’m starting to get calls from, and I think we’re going to see a lot more of folks who have one or two rental properties. They’re not “investors,” they’re just maybe accidental landlords. I spoke to a guy yesterday, he said, “I’ve got a tenant in there at 500 and my mortgage is 450, and the tenant lost his job and I don’t have the ability to pay that mortgage.” I think we’re seeing deals like that and seeing sellers like that kind of pop up more and more, with everything that’s going on.

Cody Hofhine:
Yeah. These are good points. So guys, listen to what’s being said here. A lot of his deals right now are coming from absentee owner, meaning people that own the home but don’t necessarily live in the home. This has been a hot list for him, and you can get that. Is that one that you’re just getting from ListSource or where are you getting yours from?

Greg Burney:
Yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly right, ListSource, and then we’re hitting Driving For Dollars for finding absentee owned houses that way.

Cody Hofhine:
Fantastic. So, what was your way of reaching out to these three deals? What’s your form of marketing for these last three deals? Was it cold calling, was it direct mail? What was it that allowed you to put three deals under contract? I feel like that’s big. I mean, is this a normal month for you? Do you normally do two, three, four deals a month, or do you normally do more than that, less than that, what does that look like?

Greg Burney:
Yeah. I would say per month, my goal this year is 35 closings, so I guess that works out to three a month, right?

Cody Hofhine:
Okay.

Greg Burney:
So, I’ve been anywhere in the one to three per month over the last year. So, I’ve got three under contract in the last few weeks is definitely above- [crosstalk 00:04:53]

Cody Hofhine:
You’re like, “Yeah, let’s do it.”

Greg Burney:
Yeah, yeah. It’s fantastic. It’s fantastic. So all direct mail.

Cody Hofhine:
Everything is direct mail?

Greg Burney:
Yeah. So, I’ve started just here in the last quarter amping up cold calling and texting, but these three under contract were all direct mail.

Cody Hofhine:
So, do you feel like, because here’s what we’ve noticed directly with our numbers, there was a moment where I believe direct mail, we’re seeing almost like a little bit of, getting a little ineffective. There was a moment where it was dropping down. It was still doing deals, don’t get me wrong, it just wasn’t producing like it always was, but over these last two to three weeks we’ve seen a re-engagement on direct mail that we haven’t seen since like 2015, 2016, where it’s like smoking hot right now.

Greg Burney:
Yeah. Here’s the other thing that’s happening, Cody. Two of these properties are, I knew from my tracking were properties that I haven’t mailed in the last two months, two to three months. So, I know you and your partner have found this I’m sure, you go into a house and there’s a stack of 10 postcards in the house. People hold on to these things and that’s the case with two of the three of these is they held onto it and now the time has come where they’re feeling some pain.

Cody Hofhine:
Are those are the ones you put under contract, the ones that held onto these cards, or are these fresh mailings?

Greg Burney:
A couple of them. One was a fresh mailing, two were … I need to check that, but one was a fresh mailing and I think either one or two were ones that I haven’t mailed here in the last eight or 10 weeks.

Cody Hofhine:
Holy cow. So, this is something that remains true regardless when it comes to direct mail, is the fact that the ones that hold onto it the longest, the ones that take the longest to get ahold of you, they are also the hottest leads out there.

Greg Burney:
Yeah, absolutely. They continue to be the hottest ones out there. It’s just I think, again, it proves what we know about direct mail. Again, at the beginning of doing this I used to be like, “Well, I sent out one mailing and I only got a few calls from it. That didn’t work,” and I really kind of had to learn that this is a numbers game, and a consistency game. If you keep pouring into the marketing, you keep it consistent, you’re going to have … Consistent action leads to consistent results.

Cody Hofhine:
I love it. I love it. So, you have three deals under contract. Do you even know what that ballpark will equate to in like fees, in like making an assignment, or however you’re going to … [crosstalk 00:07:16]

Greg Burney:
So, … Yeah, so one I know is 17,000. That’s the buyers, have the buyer in place, so that’s great. Keep ringing that bell. One is going to be around 12, and the other will be somewhere in the, a smaller one, 5-7 range.

Cody Hofhine:
Okay.

Greg Burney:
So, what’s that 30 …

Cody Hofhine:
[crosstalk 00:07:33] 12-

Greg Burney:
35, something like that?

Cody Hofhine:
Call it 5 to be safe. So, what is that? 29 and 5, $34,000, $35,000.

Greg Burney:
Right. Right.

Cody Hofhine:
Holy cow. I guess what I also want to ask, is that above average months, or is that like spot on with what you try to shoot for? I mean, is this like turning into where it’s like getting good, and you’re getting better results right now? Or is this like it’s still the same?

Greg Burney:
Better than where it was, and I would say it is tracking with the goals I set for the year that scared me, and I said, “I’m not quite sure how I’m going to hit that.” It’s consistent with those goals.

Cody Hofhine:
I’m going to share something. I talked about this with my team, so many times, and it will follow with what you just said, you were talking about how your goals, like you set your goals, and you’re like, “I don’t know how I’m going to do it,” but you set … Goals, really in all reality, is a destination. When we put a destination out there we begin to map out the road how to get there. Most people don’t know their destination. They don’t know their goals, and so they just go through life, just doing whatever path they want to do. They never really have, know what path is right, what path is wrong. They’re just going through every single day the exact same and wonder why they never hit their goals, because they never had a goal. They never had a destination.
It’d be the same as if I got my wife and kids in the car and said, “Hey, we’re going on vacation?” They’re like, “Where are we going?” It’s like, “I don’t know. We’re just going to start driving.” You’re never going to end up anywhere because you don’t even know where you want to go. So, every road just starts taking you wherever it wants to take you. So, I think this is crucial is the fact that you set goals, you set a destination, and it’s been able to allow you to map out the path to get there. I believe mapping out those goals has been crucial to your success.

Greg Burney:
Well, and the more specific … You know this, I’m preaching to the choir, but the more specific you get the more possibility you can see. So, I went from, “I want to do as many deals as possible. I want to help as many people as I can and make money doing that,” kind of a nebulous, to like this year, “I want to do this many deals. I want to make this much per deal.” Well that sort of forced me to look at my marketing numbers and say, Okay, well, to be able to get that per deal I need to send out this many mailers. I need to do this many calls. I need to send this many texts. It allows you …
I think there’s another good point. Especially in times like this where things can feel out of control, I come into the office I know exactly what I need to do today because I’ve set out, here’s what I need to do today to accomplish what I want to accomplish this week to hit my monthly goal, to hit my … It takes somebody who tends to get in his own way sometimes, it takes me out of the equation and just lets me execute on it.

Cody Hofhine:
Do you feel like setting these goals has helped you through COVID-19 so that you don’t get caught up in all the media, and all the negative that’s going on? Do you feel like because you know your goals, because you know your destination, that’s helped you stay on track, and in purpose, with each and every one of your days versus reading into the media?
I think what’s happened is most people have read into the media. That’s why I think these are so crucial right now, and so inspiring, is because so many people have bought into the media, and I’m not saying they’re right or wrong, but they’re only viewing the negative. Because of that I believe many people have scaled back on their action, have scaled back on getting the results, because it came down to like they’ve stopped their marketing. But because of it, those that are staying consistent, like yourself, like me, and many people that I’m going to keep interviewing, because of consistency we’re starting to see some results that we haven’t seen in years. It’s been incredible. I feel like it’s that old saying, The last mile is always the least crowded. It’s during this time that we need to step it up, because right now if you can step it up you’re out performing majority of your competition that’s slowing down right now, and the last mile is the least crowded.

Greg Burney:
So, in times of uncertainty, which is what we’re living in right now I think we tend to, it’s just too conditioned to think about all of the things that we can’t control.

Cody Hofhine:
Yeah.

Greg Burney:
The way I try to manage that is just, Okay, what are the things I can control today? I can’t control when the Governor’s going to lift stay-at-home orders, but I can control how many calls I make today. I can control what I read and choose to consume today. I can control what time I get up and get to the office. So, I think having those goals, and the strategy, the plan, in place to meet those goals absolutely makes it easier.

Cody Hofhine:
Yeah. Dude, Greg, so three under contract, direct mail. Do you feel like you’re doing anything that just like, No, I’ve done so much more that this is the results, or do you just feel like it’s just, Nope, I’m staying consistent with the basics, and the basics are continually providing deals?

Greg Burney:
I’ve upped my marketing maybe 10 or 15%, so I’ve certainly put a little bit more money to it, nothing crazy. I’m focused more on absentee owners, [inaudible 00:12:31] types of lists. Yeah, I think just the consistency. It’s interesting with the response rate, I’m actually … I haven’t looked at the numbers but my gut tells me response rate is down a little bit, but the sellers that are calling are more motivated.

Cody Hofhine:
That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic. So, take faith, take courage but, more importantly, get out there and start getting consistent. I will tell you, if you will stay consistent you’re going to find out that just getting out there and staying consistent, staying focused, staying positive, is going to help you get deals during this time.
Another topic I’d be curious to see your thoughts are, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. There’s been talks of like, Oh man, why are you going out there doing deals during this time? My rebuttal to that is this, and I want to see what yours would be. My rebuttal to that is, I’ve got to take care of home base. As a father, as a husband, I’ve got to take care of home base, and when home base is taken care of that allows me to also make an impact, and contribute, back to those that also need my help. If I’m able to get out there and take care of home base, make enough money to take care of home base, there’s going to be still leftover money where I’m going to be out there helping my neighbor, or my friends, or my family, that they might be having a hard time. Maybe they did just lose their job, but sitting isn’t going to allow me to make an impact, and sitting is not going to allow me to contribute to these people.
So, I feel it responsible upon my shoulders right now to get out there and serve as many people as possible, get as many deals under contract as possible, so that I can continue to take care of home base but, more importantly, impact more lives and go bless other people’s lives with the money that can be made from real estate.

Greg Burney:
Yeah, absolutely,. even know that I can add anything. Got to take care of home base, and doing this work in a responsible way. So, obviously, what’s great about wholesaling, a lot of it you can do … I’ve gone to see a house. We have that conversation on the front end and over the phone. When I get there, sorry, I’m not shaking hands, although I’m usually a handshaker and a hugger. I am going to be at least six feet away. Let’s chat in the front yard and then go in and look around. I won’t touch anything. Make sure all the lights are on.

Cody Hofhine:
Yeah.

Greg Burney:
So, we’re just managing that, and that’s going to be the new normal for a while regardless of what happens with some of the restrictions being, we’re not going to go back a month from now to things exactly as they were. So, it’s how can we pivot and shift in this normal?

Cody Hofhine:
Yeah. Well, Greg, my man, I sit here, we’ve been chatting back and forth through Messenger, and we’ve been talking through just text on the phone. When I saw you post the other day in one of the posts in just REI Freedom in the Wholesaling Inc Facebook page, I was just like, “Oh my gosh, I got to get this guy on,” because you’ve always been someone that’s positive. You’ve always been someone that just keeps pushing forward. You’re always going out there and doing, and I attribute that to your success. Your success is a byproduct of you just getting out there and just staying consistent, and going out there and taking a ton of action, imperfect action, but action. We’re all just taking imperfect action.
Right now we can’t build a perfect plan, but that was the same thing in the past. If we’re building perfect plans we’re not ever going to take action, because perfect plans never exist. Today even more so is the time to just get out there and be like, Well, how do we do deals? We’re supposed to be like being social distancing. How are we doing deals with we’re supposed to be doing this? It’s like, I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out. I’m just going to fail my way forward. I might look like an idiot a few times, but it’s going to help me figure it out. More importantly, what you shared, just like, “Hey, I won’t touch your lights. I won’t do this. We’re just going to walk through. I’ll keep my distance. I won’t touch anything.”
You didn’t know that going in. You’ve learned this by doing it, and now you are miles ahead than your competition that are sitting back still saying, “Well, what do I do?” What’s going to happen with COVID-19 and with all this social distancing? I mean, what do I do? So, I’m going to sit here and wait awhile until I figure out what it is we need to do. You’re just saying, No, no, get out there, just go do it. You’ll figure it out on the fly. That’s what entrepreneurs do.

Greg Burney:
Having a win or learn attitude is what’s going to make you successful. Those that are stopping mailings now, or stopping marketing now they’re going to feel that two months from now, right? That’s when the impact is going to be. So, it’s just-

Cody Hofhine:
Yeah.

Greg Burney:
Execution of an imperfect plan over being on the sidelines planning the perfect plan any day of the week.

Cody Hofhine:
100%, and I think you nailed it on the head, and that is you’ve got to be doing something consistent today, because 30, 60, 90 days is really when you see the joy of what’s going on with your action today, meaning you’re going to get the onesie twosies right now. But 60, 90 days out from now you’re going to start seeing the fruits of all of your consistent action that you’re taking today, and/or lack thereof. If you don’t take action right now, over the next 30, 60, 90 days there’s going to be a drought. There’s going to be a direct impact on what you do and how many deals you do during this time because of your inaction. So, it’s important, and crucial, to understand your action today is actually seen in 60, 90 days from now. Your inaction is what’s going to also be felt in 60 or 90 days. You’re going to be like, Crap. What’s going on? Well, you got to look back 60 to 90 days when you stopped doing action. So, I love this message, Greg, that’s everything.
When do those deals close on those three deals?

Greg Burney:
One is next week, and then the other two are supposed to be first week of May. We did have a little bit of a slow down just with attorneys being able to process, and the title companies being able to process. I’ve built that into my contracts, one of those win or learn things. It was like, Oh yeah, we’ll be able to close this in a week and a half, two weeks no problems. That was when like everything got shut down. That’s, again, just proceed with intention, [inaudible 00:18:45] called the seller and said, the attorney needed to go to the courthouse to get some title work done. Well, they were making appointments one attorney at a time, and like multiple days before he could get to do it. So, that’s maybe really one critical piece is I’ve just added time to the contracts and said, I’m sure we can make this happen and normally it would be two weeks but it’s now [inaudible 00:19:05], give it four weeks. If we can do it faster, great. That’s been something we’ve changed in our process a little bit.

Cody Hofhine:
So good. So good, guys. So, extend your contracts, give it time. I think that’s a gold nugget worth writing down right now. Extend your contract right now. Now’s the time to make sure that you have a closing date, or a settlement date, that’s longer than normal, because it may take the processes of the title company attorney. So, thank you for sharing that because I think that’s something that a lot of people that maybe haven’t done a deal in the last maybe two weeks, or what’s coming up in the future, don’t have any under contract, that they got to recognize that that’s going to take something. It’s also good for giving time so that you don’t have 10 cash buyers showing up to a property inspection, and it’s like we may have to slow how this happens, and one meet at this time, one meet 30 minutes later, one meet 30 minutes later, so that we can maintain the social distancing, but don’t let that scare you. Just let that be the new process.
Normally it’s this, I have all my contractors, I have all my people come at once to look at this, but because of this it’s going to be over the next four hours, and there’s going to be about four people over the next three hours that are going to come. People are going to understand. They’re going to be like, Yeah, that totally makes sense. Don’t overthink this. Don’t create problems that don’t exist. Most of the time we say, Well what if? What if this happens? What if this happens? The sad thing is 90 probably 5% of those what ifs actually never happen?
How much mail are you sending out every week?

Greg Burney:
So, I am sending, let’s see if I can do quick math in my head. I was at around 5,000 pieces a month, and I am now at, let’s call it 6,000, 6,500 a month, so divided by 4, 2000 or so.

Cody Hofhine:
Okay. Is that, do you send that out all in one bang one month, or are you sending it out weekly?

Greg Burney:
The system I built for myself that works is, because that’s the work I don’t like doing. I prefer being in front of people, and so I have marketing Monday. So, on Monday mornings my job is to get all the marketing out. I know that 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. is blocked. Again, rather than sending out, nailing a whole list at once, and this is partially for my need because I’m a one-man show, so I’m getting the calls, as well. If I mail a whole list I’m going to get people calling that I don’t get back to in a timely manner, and then I have wasted that money, so I …

Cody Hofhine:
So true.

Greg Burney:
… instead will take up a list and break it in just that are getting mailed every Monday, every Monday, like clockwork.

Cody Hofhine:
Fantastic.

Greg Burney:
It’s a really … Yeah. It’s not necessarily sexy, it’s just right, it’s just –

Cody Hofhine:
Consistency.

Greg Burney:
Every week, just the same thing every week.

Cody Hofhine:
Consistent marketing weekly leads to consistent conversations weekly, consistent appointments weekly, consistent offers weekly, consistent contracts weekly, consistent paydays weekly. So, it all begins with that consistent marketing going out weekly, so I agree with him. That’s why I asked it because I actually agree with him. It’s got to be done weekly. It can’t be just done one blast.
So Greg, my man, thank you so much for adding value. Thank you …

Greg Burney:
You’re welcome.

Cody Hofhine:
… for taking your time because I know you were busy, and I know you actually have appointments today, and you squeezed this in. So, thank you so much for doing so.

Greg Burney:
Cody, thank you for having me. Thank you for just the value you’re putting out there. I know social media is filled with a lot of negative. I appreciate what you’re doing.

Cody Hofhine:
Well, you’re a rock star. I can’t wait to have you out in Utah.

Greg Burney:
Yes, Sir.

Cody Hofhine:
It won’t be long before you’re out here. This is going to be lifted, man. You’re going to get out here and we’re going to keep going to the next level.

Greg Burney:
Wait, I got to show you what’s right on the side of my … This is what I look at while I’m working.

Cody Hofhine:
Whoo. I love it. We got the rhino out there. Well, I’m excited to meet you face to face in the near future, and thank you again, and go out there and keep doing deals, my friend.

Greg Burney:
Cody, thanks buddy. Be well.

Cody Hofhine:
Take care. Guys, what an incredible, incredible, incredible time to be in real estate. That’s something that I want you to have comfort in, have confidence in, is that you can do this. This is something that you can do. It’s just staying committed. It’s staying committed during a time when there’s this uncertainty going on, staying committed to the process, staying committed to that small and simple actions, because really it’s just small and simple actions that bring to pass big, big results. That’s the crucial thing to understand. It’s not any one big thing. Nah, it’s just staying consistent, it’s just doing the small and simple things. It’s staying to the basics, and because so many people have let off the gas and are pumping the brake, now’s the time where you’re going to shine. This is where you’re going to be leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
More importantly, the last mile is the least crowded. This is where you can get out there and serve a lot of people, help a lot of people, because at the end of the day we’re just problem solvers. If you need help being able to build that real estate business where you can go out there and start finding these deeply discounted properties, just like Greg shared today how he has three under contract and that’s going to make him, it was $35,000 that he’s going to make on these deals. Guys, if you’re looking to do the same thing where you can get out there and just find the deeply discounted properties in your market, head on over to wholesalinginc.com, fill out a short questionnaire and get on the phone with us and let’s see if it’s a good fit. If so, let’s get you going.
That’s exactly what we do. We’re excited to help as many people get into the game, and we have a price point that fits most people’s budgets. So, head on over there and get excited about real estate. Now’s the time to be in the game. It’s going to take care of home base, but more importantly you’re going to be able to help other people in need. So, get out there. You can do this. Take massive imperfect action, and I hope to hear from you guys on the phone. Take care guys.

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