Posted on: April 29, 2022
WI 940 | Land Buying Business

 

Are you looking for simple ways to manage your land business but don’t know which platform to use? Do you want to control your pipeline, keep it full with leads and gain access to a functional CRM that is especially geared towards land investing?

Well, you’re in for a treat because in this episode, the power duo, Jesse and Kevin, are here to talk about their powerful CRM and give you some exciting updates on the new REI Pebble. If the money is in the database, you’ll want to pay very close attention to this episode as they share how REI Pebble can exponentially increase your real estate investing profits!

 

RESOURCES:

 

Turning Problems into Solutions – How to Automate and Scale Your Land Buying Business the Right Way

Episode Transcription

Do you have pride in your work as a professional, as an American, but do you feel you lack control or feel limited and your time? If you invest in land, you own land, land that is American land, you can experience freedom, freedom of time, finances, and geography. Join me on my show, where each and every episode, we learn how to invest in land and make money with American land as a real estate investor so you can earn the freedom you want and deserve.

What’s up, Rhino Nation? I’ve got an awesome episode. I’m super excited about this one because these guys have absolutely changed my life. I’m going to share with you an episode where there are two land investors and both of them are investing from outside of the country. One is in South Korea and the other is in Canada. They were doing pretty well on their land business. They were handwriting their letters and tracking them via spreadsheet, but they had a problem.

The problem was managing all this and getting it all done. They turned this problem into a solution, an automated system that does it for them that allows them to send out their offer letters and neighbor letters. In this episode, I’m going to share how it’s helping me and my business is helping them in their business and how other land sharks and other Wholesaling Inc. students are using REI Conversion. I don’t want to let too much out of the bag. I’m going to go ahead and get started with this episode.

Thanks, guys, so much for jumping in. I know you weren’t exactly prepared for this, but I get the question all the time, “Brent, what’s the best CRM? Brent, do I need a separate CRM for my buyers? Do I need a separate CRM for my sellers? Brent, who’s the best mail house? Have you heard of RocketMail? Have you heard of 3D Mail? Have you heard of all these things?”

Jessey, thanks so much for reaching out to me. I know that a lot of Land Sharks community, Wholesaling Inc. students have been coming your way. Even Michael McLeish sent me my way, so I feel like our paths have met. God has orchestrated it. Kevin’s on the other side of the world. Before we started, Kevin said he had two hours of sleep. These guys are working on this. Kevin and Jessey, introduce yourselves, the two geniuses behind the scenes here.

I’m Kevin. I live over here in Seoul, South Korea. It’s far away, but I got into land investing because I found it a way to do investing outside of the country completely remotely. That’s something that not a lot of asset classes are easy to do. With land, I was like, “I don’t have to be anywhere in the country to be able to do this.” That’s how I got started. As a software engineer, I built a product to help me facilitate my business. Jessey and I partnered up a few years ago and took this into a public product that we now have as REI Pebble.

I’m Jessey. I’m the other Cofounder here at REI Conversion. We started land a few years ago, but I had gotten to land accidentally. I’m a Canadian. When I do you land investing across the border, it’s not something we can do up here in Canada and it was totally fascinating. I was so skeptical of land and it turned out to be an insane model. I come from a background on the digital side of things and that’s how I fell upon land. That’s how I met a couple of other land investors. They got me started and I started to build out products like our website and then started working with Kevin on Pebble. It brought us here.

I assume this Pebble REI Conversion came from a problem you are facing in your land business. How did you guys come up with this?

Both Kevin and I realized that land was a scalable business. We both are doing this remotely. I immediately saw that and I started helping other land investors in mini masterminds we were paired or grouped into. It wasn’t something I was thinking that I’d be continuing to help, but we recognize, “This can be systemized.” That’s where it all started. Kevin, it might be a little bit different for you, but that’s how it started for me, at least.

I went into the land investing path in the traditional way. I learned about it on a podcast. I did some research and education and dug into it. I did a few deals the old-fashioned way with spreadsheets, handwriting letters, and stuff. I realized that if I was going to do this right, I needed to get some systems involved.

I built a little program to help me organize everything, keep track of everything, and do my mailers. I realized I was saving myself a ton of time and was able to do a lot more deals as a result. One thing led to another. I shared it with some other land investing Facebook groups, and people were like, “This is incredible. How can I get my hands on it?” That’s where it started.

Land is a scalable business you can do remotely.

I know a lot of people ask me about CRMs and mail. How do I put all the data? How do I keep it all together? Let’s talk about how REI Conversion and Pebble will make our lives easier to systematize to scale or land business. A lot of people come into this business and they already have full-time jobs. We’re not looking to replace it for another job. How do we make this system work for us, team members, or another employee who doesn’t complain or gets sick?

The most common thing that people want it to systematize or build out processes is the difficulty of how data lives everywhere, your mailing list, your lead information, where you are going to record your due diligence, and your document generation. Everything had a disconnect. What we’re seeing as people tried to bring all this together. That was where it became a real struggle. A lot of people building up their own system are now maintaining their system where they have a full-time person building out something for them in order to keep up with their business.

That’s the underlying factor of what REI Pebble is. It centralizes your data. When you can centralize your data, you can now build in a lot more fluidity in your operations, whether you’re doing your mailing, generating documents, or running automation to alert team members. Because your data is in one centralized location or what we call One Source of Truth for your data, it makes this a lot easier to be able to then build processes.

We approach it that way once we have the processes. We can then scale a business, either time outgrowing your business or buying back time for yourself. It doesn’t have to mean you’re taking on a bigger business, but it can definitely mean buying back time for yourself to run your business. That’s essentially why we’re all here at the end of the day. We want to build something where we can have a business that we can scale up or have more time for ourselves and our family. That’s the underlying of how Pebble operates. It’s centralizing all that data.

There are a lot of things Pebble can help with. It’s an end-to-end thing where Pebble will assist with everything from mailing campaigns all the way to document generation, then lead management, on the seller side, the buyer side, acquisition and disposition side, wherever you want to call it front and back. Also, when we’re talking about scaling a business, we’re leveraging two things. It’s software and leveraging people.

We’ve got the people side of things. Be able to alert each other, keep conversations per property record, and team management inside of there. There’s a lot that Pebble does, but we can dive into a couple of the main areas of how Pebble assists with land investing if you want to go in that direction.

Absolutely because I get this question all the time, “Is this list provider better than that list provider? Should I use Price? Should I use PropStream?” I understand that REI Conversion is friendly to ListSource, PropStream, and Price. You upload it into your system and now we can choose which mailing document we want to use. We want to use a postcard, land offer, or neutral letter. We were even talking before we got on here.

I don’t want to spill the beans. I know you guys are working on something huge. What about those property owners that own more than one piece of land? You guys already have this figured out. I know you’re working on that, so I’ll let you tell whatever you want to tell about that. I don’t want to spill the beans. You have it all. It’s all here. You have the land sales website. You provide the websites too. I’m wondering, what do you not do with REI Pebble and REI Conversion. I keep saying both names. I want to take some time to clarify that.

WI 940 | Land Buying Business

Land Buying Business: We look at mailing from a scaling standpoint.

 

We’re going through a big rebrand and that’s the thing. We started off as websites when we first launched. That’s REI Conversion. The two websites we first launched were REI Landleads and REI Landlist. That’s the acquisition website and that’s the marketing and selling website. We eventually added Pebble as part of that.

We’re going through a rebrand, so the way that we look at everything is that Pebble is your core system. Pebble is where your operation is running out of. Your websites are marketing extensions. Pebble will help you get out your mailing, organize your leads, and all that. They drive traffic to your website and your website will then capture that traffic and convert that into leads and it’ll feed it right back into Pebble. That’s how we visualize things. Pebble is that core engine, and the websites are extensions of that engine.

Let’s start at the beginning. We need to get our mailing out before we can get anything started in land, so Pebble is all over that on mailing. We were agnostic to the style of strategy you want to use. We know that everybody approaches land a little bit differently and we are huge advocates of also optimizing your mailing. We may be taught a certain way, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve on that.

We make it easy for you to bring in your list, whether it’s coming from wherever like PropStream, Price, DataTree. It can come right in here, even from the county. At that point, you’re assigning it to a template you’d like. What I’m doing with our is something called an Arranged Offer Letter. We’re doing a split test. A letter versus a postcard. We want to see which one performs better because there is a strategy to the oldest chaoticness. How can we improve that response rate? How can we get better response rates on that?

I don’t want to glaze over that. We’ve got to repeat that. Split testing, A/B Testing, or whatever you’re familiar with. We’re in six states. I don’t even know how many counties we’re in at this point. We’re mailing multiple counties and some counties, I know for a fact, because I look at data that the postcard works better for us.

On the opposite side of the coin, I know that my land offer letter, where we give an exact offer price on that 3.85 acres, works better in that county. If I had this to show me real-time data, almost like a GPS, showing that my postcards are doing better in this area than that area, that’s phenomenal. I understood that you have that with REI Conversion.

What you’re seeing here is one of our practice accounts, but you’re going to see when we do mailing campaigns, we capture the response rate, the rate at which the amount of seller leads to the total amount of mailers you’ve sent out. When we can capture that, we can make improvements. We have the ability to print out, for example, the map of every property you’re mailing out to. We have a user who did a letter versus a postcard with the map with an arrow that points, “Is this your property,” for every single letter.

He saw a six-time increase in his response rate. It went from 0.6 all the way up to hovering between 2.5 to 3.5 response rate. That is a huge jump and these are wins we should continue to make because the landscape of land continues to shift. Every county is different. Data is important. When we have data, we can make decisions from there. That’s one part of our mailing. We don’t know what works best for every single county. That’s why it’s important that you take the time.

Once you have processes, you can then scale a business by growing it or buying back time for yourself.

What you’re learning from Brent over at Land Sharks, you’re going to take that and see how you can optimize. It might be a little bit different for this county. It might be a little bit different for this county. You’re going to figure out your way in your path with that. Coming back to the mailing, we’re flexible as to how you want to run your mailing. A couple of key things we do differently from any mail house, we look at mailings from a scaling standpoint. How do we build predictability in the lead flow coming in and keep your pipeline full?

We drip your mailing out every day rather than blasting out 2,000 at once or 5,000 at once and getting bombarded with a business that looks up and down now have a little more steadiness again. Coming back to building our processes. We can have steadiness in our lead flow and predictability. That means we can have processes. That does not have to be complicated. They’re simple processes, but we need to start from somewhere. When you can build out processes, you can look forward to scaling your business.

Jessey, on that page, you’ve got a photo of the postcard with a map on there. That’s a feature we launched.

You have full control of your mailing up until the minute it gets up to the printer. That’s on the mailing side of things. That’s where things get started inside of Pebble. Once your mailing goes out, leads start coming in. Here’s an example. You can bring in your own design, but we can print the map of every property in there. Once your leads start coming in, now we can start managing our seller leads and managing our buyer leads.

They come into what we call a Kanban Board. This is an example here. You can build out your stages. It’s very visual here. Every stage allows for automation, whether you’re zapping something out, assigning to a team member, or auto training task list, but it keeps everybody on the same page. You’re moving those leads across the finish line. As soon as you end up purchasing a property, we capture things like how much the property costs you.

Now that you’ve acquired the property, we’re going to start marketing. We’ll now get buyer leads in the door as well, so we’re also managing our buyer leads inside of here. The cool thing about Pebble is that leads can come in from anywhere from your websites or different places like Zillow, Lands of America, and Land.com. All those leads can get routed into Pebble.

I love this because you’ve created a CRM, a customer relationship manager, or whatever you call it. You’ve almost quieted the storm, all this chaos going on around us. We got LandWatch, LandHub, LandCentral, Craigslist, Facebook, and all these things. You put it all in one pretty little spot. I like that this is super simple because I’m not an engineer. My eyes cross when I see spreadsheets. This looks clean and powerful to me.

Another thing I want to mention is you talked about getting the mail out the door because that’s almost the point of no return. We got to get the mail out the door to get the sellers calling, sellers emailing and texting, and all that. I loved your pricing for your postcards, your neutral letters, and your land offer letters because it’s inexpensive. What I also love is I used to use PostcardMania. I’ve gotten some good discounts on mail before, but you’ve got to buy 5,000 at once.

WI 940 | Land Buying Business

Land Buying Business: It takes 10 seconds to get out all your neighbor letters.

 

You have to send them all at once, too.

I hate that. My phone is ringing off the hook and next week it’s not ringing at all. I’m such a firm believer in mailing a certain amount every single day of the week.

If we can build consistency, that’s a lot easier to keep things running than, “It’s time to do my mailing again and get everything ready.” We allow for a lot of flexibility. There are no minimums. You can send off one purchase agreement still with this same base price to 50 neighbor letters. We’ve got a tool inside of Pebble. I heard you’re a huge advocate of neighbor letters. I heard it from some of your coaching students. You can come into Pebble. We give you a map, you could circle that map of all the properties running and get that neighbor letter and all the images. In an instant, you’re talking about ten seconds getting out all your neighbor letters. I don’t know about you guys, but when I did neighbor letters, I did the adjacent neighbor letters. I typed it out.

It’s time-consuming. Let’s say I buy a piece of land in Wichita Falls, Kansas and I want to mail the surrounding one-mile radius. I’m not a tech guy. I’m not super good at technology. How long would that take me? I keep thinking of houses. I sent this to my acquisition manager. We also buy houses, too. She goes, “Can I use it for the houses?” I told her, “Yes. Why not?” Who is this not for? Do this work for house buyers and multifamily buyers?

We’ve looked at a lot of the nuances of how the land investors run their business. There are a lot of small things that cater to land, but we have people who are using this for houses as well. I’m not sure how house users are using it, but a lot of people are doing houses and land and they’re running everything out of here as well. It is possible.

I want one system. I don’t want multiple systems.

When we’re looking at a property here, let’s say we’re ready to get out a neighbor. Let’s say I own this property and we give a code for every property. We can come into the documents and add a new document here. I’ve got a template library, so I’m going to generate the document. I’ve got the data of this property already sitting inside of here. I’m going to go ahead and select this neighbor letter template that I’ve added here. This is my neighbor letter. You can fill out everything here if you need to. Most of the information we pulled, you’ll hit save here.

If this was a property that had images on page two of this letter, you’d see all the images that you have.

REI Pebble helps you get out your mailing, organize your leads, and drive traffic to your website.

That’s so much better than neighbor letters. I’m sending a little letter, saying, “I own 123 Main Street. If you like to buy it, call me. I might even finance it.” That’s it.

There should be images. We’ll hit send and we’ll scroll down right into the recipient and select from the map the address. We‘re essentially selecting the properties around my property. I’ll zoom out here. What we’ll do is we’ll lasso the area, select these properties here, and I’ll hit add addresses. It’ll pull that for all the addresses for me. It instantly goes out. There you go, you got your neighbor letters out.

I have an inventory of a massive amount of properties. We’ve been on a buying spree. It’s been so much that I have to go out and borrow money. The reason why we have so much in inventory is that I lost my land sales specialist a while back ago and we’ve been training another guy. He’s amazing. I used to have a lady that could sell almost nine parcels in five days. I had an inventory problem at one time. I couldn’t get it fast enough. Now, I have too much because I was getting it fast. I’ve got probably 30 or 40 parcels sitting and ready to go. I could turn around and mail neighbor letters to unload inventory. It’s super quick.

This would take you ten minutes to send all those neighbor letters.

I’m excited. I’m happy about this. This is crazy. I’ll let you keep going. What else do you have here? You’re going to make my life easier. I work twelve hours a day. I’m an Army officer. I got to come home and see my wife and my three children. How can REI Conversion help me run my land business to make this more of a passive business?

One thing that I like when I come into my land is I don’t want to have to think, “What do I have to do about this property?” It’s the management side of things when it comes to leads. At every stage that we can pull a lead into, we can generate a task list. I’m fed what I need to do. Let’s say I am the person responsible for due diligence. I need to get it out to that next stage.

For example, this one is a contract out. I come into Pebble and I’ve got to work through everything here. This account doesn’t have it, but it’s a blank list. I can essentially create a checklist of items to do and it would automatically generate that task list for me every time that I need to. I’ll come in here and I need to check off all these boxes. I know the deadlines. I can assign deadlines. That automatically generates for me every single time. Functionality like that is a huge plus for me. I want to operate as little mind power as possible.

Do the thinking upfront, figure out what your checklists are, and then, later on, you don’t even have to think.

WI 940 | Land Buying Business

Land Buying Business: Functionality is a huge plus because you’ll want to operate with as little mind power as possible.

 

I’ve hired virtual assistants in India with PhDs at an affordable hourly rate. I can give them a checklist and say, “Here’s your checklist when a piece of land comes in. Here’s your checklist on acquiring a piece of land.” That’s what we do. I can even put it in here for them to follow.

Another tool that we launched came into the properties page. Now, we don’t have to go to the county’s GIS site. We have the data here. This makes it easy for you. Your property is there. Maybe I need to do some research here. You can pull up the property’s data here at any time to do your research and avoid having to go into the actual county’s website.

I try to avoid the county’s website at all costs because they’re not all created equally. Some are okay and some are amazing. Some I want to smash the computer.

You can come in here. Also, if you have a website, you need to grab some images for your map. We can easily turn on our satellite view here and grab images from here. Kevin, any tools that you can think of that you want to talk about?

We’ve got documents. You can upload your images. If you’re sending photographers out to your property, you can have all of that all in one place.

Kevin, that documents side of things, I know what it was like when we had to usually keep all our documents and our templates and merge them to generate that document. Now, you’ve got your own library, any property. As you saw with the neighbor letter, we can generate a document in an instant. That will go out on the next day’s mailing or it’s accessible at any time for your team. We’re talking about the source of truth through data.

You guys now don’t need to log into Dropbox or don’t need to go into Google Drive. It lives here. You can zap it out to get into DocuSign and sign now. We can print it out. You can access it anytime. The documents are another huge one. The data lives in here. It’s an instant generation of any document that you need. You can bring in your own documents as well.

I also want to emphasize that this is not a system that stays static. I’ve used systems in the past where I signed up and I thought things would change as we got better. Maybe two years later, it looks the same. It does the same things that it did when I signed up. We’re not like that. Jessey, I, and the whole team here are pushing to incorporate new things.

Starting out doesn’t have to be complicated; keep it simple and lay your foundation first.

We’ve teased a little bit about a new way of organizing multi-property owners or owners that have multiple properties so that we can send these targeted portfolio letters saying, “I’d like to buy multiple properties. Here’s an offer that wraps up each property into one offer.” We’re shipping new features all the time. We have a great community that we’re constantly talking to and asking about things they’d like to see. We’re evolving this product pretty quickly. If you sign up now, you’re locking in a bunch of new features that are going to be coming over the long-term.

As I’ve talked to Jessey the first time, you guys are already adding stuff. That’s true.

We have wireframes here. Kevin is like, “No.” To bring you behind the scenes here, we are working on things like this all the time. As Kevin said, how are we handling multiple properties? Every month, because we’re a cozy team here, even though we’re scattered around the globe, we hold ourselves accountable to you guys by going on live on YouTube and Facebook.

We share what we’ve launched. It’s a slideshow and we talk about it and we demo what’s coming up. Both Kevin and I are super excited about a lot of the different things. We launched back in July of 2020. Since then, the team has put a lot of hard work into the product. From when we launched until now, it’s almost unrecognizable when we first launched.

It’s completely unrecognizable.

I love the fact that you guys are also active land investors as well. You’re on the front lines. You’re seeing what we as investors see. There are always going to be improvements and changes. We’re running close to time here. Any final thoughts you want to add as far as helping that person get started or maybe they’ve been in business for a while or they’ve got a couple of million dollars a year house wholesaling company? What would you say to these guys?

Whether you’re starting or you’re a veteran, people start getting excited about terms like CRM and automation. At the same time, a lot of people freeze up badly. They don’t ever go that route. Although they’re excited, they’re not sure where to start. One of the big things is to take a deep breath. Don’t feel the FOMO. You can start simple and that’s what Pebble is all about. How do we start simple? Lay your foundation first. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

You don’t need to come in here and figure out, “What is Zapier? How do I do this? How do I send an automated email to my photographer to take photos of my property without him hitting a button?” You can do all those fancy things, but the foundation is centralizing your operation and centralizing your data. Let’s clean up the room first before we start even thinking about those things. You can get so far by doing that alone. That’ll buy you back so much time.

WI 940 | Land Buying Business

Land Buying Business: Let’s get everything organized and consistent.

 

Even doing that has made a huge change in the way that I run the operation of my business. There’s more consistency. There’s less sense of panic. That’s totally fine. From there, take small bites and don’t try to get everything set up at once. I find that a lot of people come into the space and want to figure out how to automate. The main thing is, let’s build the foundation and let’s start that from day one. Let’s get everything organized, get everything consistent, and then we can think about it down the road.

For those who are starting out, we have some great plans. If all you need to do is get your mailing out and you don’t need all of the fancy automation and team members, it’s you and you’re starting out, we’ve got a great starter plan that gets you those great mailing rates. You can start small. As you scale things up, as you start adding team members, you can start upgrading to some of our more pro plans if you want to bring those people into Pebble.

If you’re wondering if this is even a good fit, Brent, come to the site. If you hit the little, silly face talking to you, or hit the book a tour button, jump on a call with me. It’s me. A lot of people sometimes are like, “You’re the one doing it?” “Yeah.” You’re going to get to hang out with me. We’re going to see what your challenges are and if this is even a good fit for you. We’ve got tons of resources here and we can go from there. I’m always excited to chat with others, get to know their business, and see if this is a good fit for you.

Thank you so much for doing this. I’m excited to use this. My marketing director will probably send you gifts on Christmas and the holidays because this will make her life so much easier. Thank you very much for jumping on. I know it was impromptu. You weren’t even expecting this. I’m happy we did this.

We’re super appreciative. Thank you very much.

Thank you so much for reading. I’m sure now you can tell why I’m excited about what REI Conversion is doing for me and my business and also what it can do for you. If you’re interested in checking it out and trying it out for free, I’m going to offer you a fourteen-day free trial as well as a $50 mail credit. You can mail your neighbor letters for free. Mail those landowners for free. Even use it for your house business. That link is REIConversion.com/landsharks.

If you’re interested in seeing if land is a good fit for you and your business or maybe you’re getting started and you want to see if land would be a good fit for you, head on over to WholesalingInc.com/land and schedule a call with me and my team and we’ll see if we’re a good fit. If we are, I’d be honored to coach you. That $50 Mail credit as well as a fourteen-day free trial to REI Conversion is REIConversion.com/landsharks.

 

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About Brent Bowers

863Brent Bowers, is an investor and coach with a focus on buying and selling vacant land. As an Army Officer with over 8 years of service, Brent was spending a great deal of time away from his family, and he knew he needed to make some changes in order to be more present with his wife and children. In a short period of time, Brent was able to expand his business, hire a team, and (most importantly) spend quality time with his family while still working hard and helping others. While Brent invests in many different types of real estate, his favorite investment strategy deals with buying and selling vacant land, and he enjoys sharing his expertise in this area with his coaching clients. Brent chooses to live his life based on Bob Burg’s quote, “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.” He is passionate about helping other people find success in real estate investing, particularly in land investments.

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