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 Berney 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 totaling almost $35k in revenue!). If you need proof you can still find great deals despite the current situation, this episode is for you!
The Key Ingredient that Led to a Deal Explosion in the Middle of COVID-19 With Greg Berney
I’m excited to be with you guys because deals are still happening in the market. We have Greg Berney who is doing deals. Greg, what market are you in?
I am in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Tell us a little bit about you and what got you into real estate in general.
I’m a social worker by background. I was working in healthcare and a few years ago, I lost my job. I started doing real estate a little bit on the side. I’ve flipped a house with a friend and did an accidental seller financing deal that worked out well. I jumped into wholesaling full-time at that point and I haven’t looked back. I joined the Tribe a few years ago.
Let’s talk about some things that are happening. You lose your job, you got out there, and start taking action. Before we got on, I was sitting here talking to Greg and I said, “What’s going on for your market?”
I’ve got three under contract here in the last few weeks.
Three deals under contract. Let’s go a little bit deeper. It’s time to realize that we have to stay consistent. We have to get out there. These deals aren’t going to happen and you can’t let off the brake during this time. You got to pump the gas. Do you feel like you’re doing more now or do you feel like you’re staying consistent as you’ve always done?
I’ve kept the consistency there and it ups the amount of marketing I’m doing. My first year was like trying to learn to get out of the habit of, “I sent out a bunch of direct mailers. Now I wait months and months.” Instead of getting into whatever marketing channel, you’re getting it to a place where every week something is going on. I’ve had that in place already and then over the last few months, I’ve said, “I need to throw some more money and attention to these marketing tactics because we’re starting to see a shift where there’s going to be more opportunity to help those.”
What are your main focuses when you’re talking about marketing? What’s going on now that’s allowing you to get deals under contract?
I’m still seeing houses. I’ve upped my marketing and started pumping the gas around absentee owners because it’s where I’m starting to get calls from. We’re going to see a lot more folks who have 1 or 2 rental properties. They’re not “investors.” They’re maybe accidental landlords. I spoke to a guy. He said, “I’ve got a tenant in there in $500 and my mortgage is $450. The tenant lost his job. I don’t have the ability to pay that mortgage.” We’re seeing deals and sellers like that pop up more in everything that’s going on.
These are good points. Guys, take note of what’s being shared here. A lot of his deals now are coming from absentee owners, meaning people that own the home but don’t necessarily live in the home. This has been a hotlist for him. You can get that. Is that one that you’re getting from ListSource? Where are you getting yours from?
That’s exactly right. ListSource, and then we’re hitting driving for dollars and finding absentee-owned houses that way.
What was your way of reaching out to these three deals? What’s your form of marketing for these last three deals? Was it a cold calling or direct mail? What was it that allowed you to put three deals under contract? I feel like that’s big. Is this a normal month for you? Do you normally do 2, 3, 4 deals a month? Do you normally do more than that or less than that? What does that look like?
My goal for the year is 35 closings, so that works out to three a month. I’ve been anywhere in the 1 to 3 per month over the last few years. I got three under contract. The last few weeks are above. It’s fantastic. All of it is direct mail. I’ve started here in the last quarter pumping up cold calling and texting, but these three under contract were all direct mail.
Here’s what we’ve noticed directly with our numbers. There was a moment where we are seeing direct mail getting a little ineffective. There was a moment when it was dropping down. It’s still doing deals, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t producing like it always was, but over these last few weeks, we’ve seen a re-engagement on direct mail that we haven’t seen since 2015, 2016 where it’s smoking hot now.
Here’s the other thing that’s happening. Two of these properties from my tracking are properties that I haven’t mailed in the last few months. You and your partner have had this. I’m sure you go into a house and there’s a stack of ten postcards in the house. People hold on to these things. That’s the case with 2 of the 3 of these is. They held onto it and now the time has come where they’re feeling some pain.
Are those the ones you put under contract, the ones that held onto these cards, or are these fresh mailings?
A couple of them. One was a fresh mailing, and either 1 or 2 were the ones that I haven’t mailed here in the last several weeks.
Doing things consistently leads to consistent results.
Something that remains true regardless when it comes to direct mail is the fact that the ones that hold on to it the longest, the ones that take the longest to hold you, are also the hottest leads out there.
They continue to be the hottest ones out there. It proves what we know about direct mail. At the beginning of doing this, I used to be like, “I sent out one mailing and I only got a few calls. That didn’t work.” I had to learn that this is numbers and consistency game. If you keep pouring into the marketing and you keep it consistent, it leads to results.
You have three deals under contract. Do you even know what that ballpark will equate to in fees, in making an assignment, or however you’re going to sell this property?
One I know is $17,000. It has the buyer in place. One is going to be around $12,000. The other will be a smaller one, $5,000 to $7,000 range.
That’s $35,000. I also want to ask, is it above an average month or is that spot on with what you try to shoot for? Is this turning into where it’s getting good and you’re getting better results right now or it’s still the same?
It’s better than and where it was. I would say it is tracking with the goals I set for the year that scared me. I said, “I’m not quite sure how I’m going to hit that,” it consists of those goals.
I’m going to share something that I talked about this with my team so many times, and it will follow with what you said. You were talking about how you set your goals. You’re like, “I don’t know how I’m going to do it,” but you set it. In all reality, goals are destinations, but when we put a destination out there, we begin to map out the road to how to get there.
Most people don’t know their destination or goals so they go through life doing whatever path they want to do. What path is right or wrong? They’re going through the exact same every single day and wonder why they never hit their goals. It’s because they never had a goal or a destination. It would be the same as if I got my wife and kids in the car and said, “We’re going on vacation.” They’re like, “Where are we going?” I’m 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. Every road starts taking you wherever it wants to take you. It is crucial that you set goals or a destination, and it’s been able to allow you to map out the path to get there. I believe mapping up those goals has been crucial to your success.
You know this, I’m preaching to the choir, but the more specific you get, the more possibility you can see. 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.” It’s nebulous to like, “I want to do this many deals. I want to make this much per deal.” That forced me to look at my marketing numbers and say, “To be able to get a better deal, I need to send out this many mailers. I need to do this many calls. I need to send this many texts.”
Here’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 because I’ve set out, “Here’s what I need to do to accomplish what I want to accomplish this week to hit my monthly goal.” It takes somebody who tends to get in his own way sometimes. It takes me out of the equation and lets me execute on it.
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 or destination, that’s helped you stay on track and on purpose with each and every one of your days versus reading into the media?
What’s happened is most people have read into the media. Why these are so crucial right now and so inspiring is because so many people have bought into the media. 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 actions and on getting the results because it came down to like they’ve stopped their marketing.
Those that are staying consistent like yourself, me and many people that I’m going to keep interviewing, we’re starting to see some results that we haven’t seen in years. It’s been incredible. I feel like it’s the 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 outperforming the majority of your competition that’s slowing down. The last mile is the least crowded.
In times of uncertainty, which is what we’re living in now, it’s too conditioned to think about all of the things that we can’t control. The way I try to manage that is, “What are the things I can control?” I can’t control the governor is going to lift stay-at-home orders, but I can control how many calls I make now. I can control what I read and chose to consume. I can control the time to get up and go to the office. Having those goals and the strategy and the plan and place to meet those goals makes it easier.
Do you feel like you’re doing anything that like, “No, I’ve done so much more that this is the results?” Do you feel like, “I’m staying consistent with the basics? The basics are continually providing deals?”
I’ve upped my marketing maybe 10% or 15%. I’ve certainly put in a little bit more money. It’s nothing crazy. I’ve focused more on absentee owners. It’s just the consistency. It’s interesting with the response rate, I have to look at the numbers, but my gut tells me that sponsors are down a little bit but the sellers that are calling are more motivated.
Take faith and courage but more importantly, get out there and start getting consistent. If you will stay consistent, you’re going to find out that getting out there and staying consistent, focused and positive is going to help you get deals during this time. Another topic that I’d be curious to see what your thoughts are, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot, is there have been talks of like, “Why are you going out there doing deals during this time?”
The fact that you set a destination allows you to map out the path to get there. And mapping up your goals is crucial to your success.
My rebuttal to that is as a father and a husband, I’ve got to take care of my home base. When the 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 make enough money to take care of my home base, there’s going to be still leftover money where I’m going to be out there helping my neighbor, friends or family, that they might be having a hard time.
Maybe they did lose their job, but sitting isn’t going to allow me to make an impact and contribute to these people. I feel responsible upon my shoulders to get out there and serve as many people as possible and get as many deals under contract as possible so that I can continue to take care of the home base. More importantly, it’s to impact more lives and bless other people’s lives with the money that can be made from real estate.
Even though I can add anything, you got to take care of the home base and do this work in a responsible way. What’s great about wholesaling is there are a lot of it that you can do. I’ve gone where we have that conversation on the front end over the phone. When I get there, “I’m sorry, I’m not shaking hands.” I’m usually a handshaker and a hugger. I’m going to be at least 6 feet away. We chat in the front yard and then go in and look around. I won’t touch anything. Make sure all the lights are on. We’re managing that. That’s going to be the new normal for a while, regardless of what happens with some of the restrictions. We’re not going to go back a month from now to things exactly as they were. How can we pivot and shift in this normal?
We’ve been chatting back and forth through Messenger and we’ve been talking through text on the phone. When I saw your post in one of the posts in REI Freedom in the Wholesaling Inc Facebook page, I was like, “I got to get this guy on,” because you’ve always been someone that’s positive and keeps pushing forward.
You’re always going out there and doing. I attribute that to your success. Your success is a by-product of you getting out there, staying consistent, and taking a ton of imperfect action, but action. We’re all 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. Now even more so is the time to get out there and be like, “How do we do deals? We’re supposed to be social distancing. How are we doing deals if we’re supposed to be doing this?” “I don’t know but I’ll figure it out. I’m 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, “I won’t touch your lights. I won’t do this. We’re 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 of your competition that is sitting back still saying, “What do I do? What’s going to happen with COVID-19 and with all this social distancing? I’m going to sit here and wait a while until I figure out what it is we needed to do.” You’re saying, “No, get out there. Go do it. You’ll figure it out on the way. That’s what entrepreneurs do.”
Having a win or learn attitude is what’s going to make you successful. Those that are stopping mailings or marketing now, they’re going to feel that two months from now. That’s when the impact is going to be. Execution of an imperfect plan and being on the sidelines, planning the perfect plan any day of the week
You nailed it on the head. That is you’ve got to be doing something consistent now because 30, 60, 90 days is when you see the joy of what’s going on with your action now. You’re going to get the onesie twosies now, but 60 to 90 days out from now, you’re going to start seeing the fruits of all of the consistent action that you’re taking and/or lack thereof.
If you don’t take action right now, over the next 30, 60 to 90 days, there’s going to be a drought. There’s going to be a direct impact on what you do and many deals you do during this time because of your inaction. It’s important and crucial to understand that your action now is seen 60 to 90 days from now. Your inaction is what’s going to also be felt in 60 to 90 days. You’re going to be like, “What’s going on?” You got to look back when you stopped doing actions. I love this message. When do those three deals close?
One is the next few weeks and then the other two are supposed to be in the first week of May 2022. We’re in a little bit of a slow down with attorneys being able to process things and title companies being able to process. I built that into my contracts. It’s one of those win-or-learn things. I was like, “We’ll be able to close in 1.5 or 2 weeks. No problem.” That was when everything got shut down.
Proceed with patience. Call the seller and say, “The attorney needed to go to the courthouse to get some title work done. They were making appointments one attorney at a time. It could be multiple days before he could do it.” That’s one critical piece. I’ve added time to the contracts and said, “We usually can make this happen in two weeks but now, we’ll give it four weeks. If we can do it faster, great.” That has been something we’ve changed in our process a little bit.
Extend your contracts and give them time. That’s a golden nugget worth writing down. Now is 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 and the attorneys. Thank you for sharing that because that’s something that a lot of people who maybe haven’t done a deal in the past weeks or what’s coming up in the future don’t have it under contract. They got to recognize that that’s going to take something.
It’s also good for giving time so that you don’t have ten cash buyers showing up to a property inspection. We may have to slow down on how this happens in one meet at this time. One meet 30 minutes later so that we can maintain the social distancing, but don’t let that scare you. 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. There’s going to be about four people over the next three hours that are going to come.” People are going to understand that. They’re going to be like, “That totally makes sense.” Don’t overthink this and create problems that don’t exist. Most of the time we say, “What if this happens?” The sad thing is 95% of those what–ifs never happen. How much mail are you sending out every week?
I was at around 5,000 in a month. I’m now at 6,500 a month. Divide it by 4, so that’s 2,000.
Do you send that out all in one bang one month, or are you sending it out weekly?
That is the work I don’t like doing. I prefer being in front of people. I have marketing Monday. On Monday mornings, my job is to get all the marketing, so 12:00 PM is blocked rather than sending out and mailing a whole list at once. This is partially for my need because our manager is the one 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. I have wasted that money. Instead, I will take up a list and break it in. That is getting mailed every Monday. It’s not necessarily sexy. It’s just consistency every week. It’s the same thing every week.
The last mile is always the least crowded.
Consistent marketing weekly leads to consistent conversations, appointments, offers, contracts, and paydays weekly. It all begins with consistent marketing and going out weekly. I agree with him. That’s why I asked it because I agree with him. It’s got to be done weekly. It can’t be done one blast. Thank you so much for adding value and taking your time. I know you’re busy and you have appointments, and you squeezed this in. Thank you so much for doing so.
Thank you for having me. Thank you for the value you’re putting out there. Social media is filled with a lot of negative now. I appreciate you having me here.
You’re a rockstar. I can’t wait to have you out in Utah. It won’t be long before you’re out there. This is going to be lifted. You’re going to get out here and we’re going to keep going to the next level. I’m excited to meet you face-to-face in the near future. Thank you again. Go out there and keep doing deals.
Cody, thanks. Be well.
What an incredible time to be in real estate. That’s something that I want you to have comfort and confidence in. You can do this. This is something that you can do. It’s staying committed during a time when there’s this uncertainty going on. It’s staying committed to the process. It’s staying committed to the small and simple actions because it’s small and simple actions that bring big results.
That’s the crucial thing to understand. It’s not any one big thing. It’s staying consistent. It’s doing the small and simple things and staying into the basics. Because so many people have let off the gas and are pumping the brake, now is 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 and help a lot of people because, at the end of the day, we’re just problem-solvers. You need help in being able to build that real estate business. You can go out there and start finding these deeply discounted properties like what Greg has shared on how he has three under contract and he’s going to make $35,000 on these deals.
If you’re looking to do the same thing where you can get out there and find the deeply discounted properties in your market, head on over to WholesalingInc.com. Fill out a short questionnaire. Get on the phone with us. 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.
Head on over there and get excited about real estate. Now is the time to be in the game. It’s going to take care of the home base, but more importantly, you’re going to be able to help other people in need. Get out there. You can do this. Take massive imperfect action. I hope to hear from you on the phone. Take care, guys.
- Greg Berney – LinkedIn
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