As you grow your real estate investing business, there’s a lot of pressure to delegate tasks. The more successful you become, the more money you make, and the less time you have.
But popular delegation advice for real estate investors is misguided and dangerous. This advice says you must outsource everything that isn’t worth your time — but it makes you disconnected from the reality of your business and market. The more disconnected you are, the easier it is to make money-eating and business-killing mistakes.
There’s a smarter way to delegate so your business continues to grow instead of racking up debt that could bankrupt you.
In this episode, you’ll discover how this little-talked about delegation strategy protects you from killing off your business. Listen to the episode now before you outsource another task.
Show highlights include:
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You're listening to the “REI Marketing Nerds” podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of AdWords Nerds, a high-tech digital agency, focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition, and live a freer, more awesome life. And, now, your host, Dan Barrett.
Dan: All right, hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the REI Marketing Nerds podcast. As always, this is Daniel Barrett here from AdWordsNerds.com.
You know where to go if you want online marketing strategy, tips and tricks, and help for your market. That's AdWordsNerds.com/strategy. Go there. Talk to my team. We will help you. We are looking forward to it. [01:04.7]
All right, now, this week, I want to talk a little bit about delegation and we're going to start a delegation and we're going to end at postmortems, which is going to sound morbid and spooky—and as I'm recording this, I don't know when you're listening to this, recording this close to Halloweenish, so I'm in a spooky mood, so we're going to talk about postmortems, but let's start with delegation.
I recently posted on social media, and you can find me there. Daniel Barrett, Dan Barrett, search for me. I'm the bald guy with glasses or whatever, but I recently posted on social media about delegation. I said I work with a lot of real estate investors. I work with a lot of entrepreneurs, right? I don't just work with real estate investors, although AdWords Nerds is only for real estate investors, but before this, I worked with small businesses of all shapes, stripes and colors. I worked with pizza parlors and I worked with an emergency services kind of vehicle company, and I worked with plastic surgeons and dentists. I worked with foot surgeons. I worked with everybody. [02:10.0]
I’ve worked with everybody, so I've been around and I’ve seen a lot of different businesses. Actually one of the reasons that I like real estate investors as clients is because they tend to be very focused on the back end, focused on process, focused on systems, so that's really, really good for the kind of marketing that I do, which is pay-per-click marketing. Really make sure that they can follow up and close those deals and so on.
But I’ve worked with a lot of investors, worked with a lot of entrepreneurs, and I’d say that generally entrepreneurs are divided into two camps. There are entrepreneurs that have the money, but they don't have the time, and there are entrepreneurs that have the time, but they don't have the money. Okay? [02:55.1]
Now, if you've got time and you don't have money, it basically means you're early on in your process. You are getting started. You don't have a team. You’re doing everything yourself. You don't have a huge budget to spend on marketing and hiring people and so on, and that's totally fine. Actually, when you get to the point where you have a big team and you have all this stuff going on, a lot of people in that position, they want to go back, go back to the early days where it's just them. That's very, very common, right?
If you're in that phase, there's nothing wrong with that. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, nothing wrong with staying in that phase if you love what you do, right? You're in it. You're doing those things. You're doing those tasks. You're doing your own marketing. You're getting your hands dirty in a way that can be really joyous—and I know people use the word “joy” to describe work very often, but that's how I feel about it. I love being involved in the marketing process. I mean, I love that, right? So, that's one type of entrepreneur. They've got time, but they don't really have the money. [04:04.7]
Now, there's another type of entrepreneur who has the money, but they don't have the time, and this is sort of a natural progression. If you start with time, but no money, and you're good at what you do, eventually you become someone with money and no more time, right? At some point you run out of hours in the day. You run out of time to write another blog post or do another video, or check on your Google Ads campaign or your Facebook ads campaign or your direct mail campaign.
This is where things start to get a little hectic, things start to get a little tiring, and things start to get a little stressful. It's a totally normal transition. It is at that point that it is probably time to delegate tasks and I want to talk about delegating tasks because there is a lot of stuff out there about delegation that I think is simply wrong. [05:05.3]
Okay, now don't get me wrong, I am absolutely in love with automation and building teams, using virtual assistance, using new tools. I mean, I love it. That's what I do to procrastinate. Literally, the way I procrastinate in my work is I go on Zapier and I try to build some weird automation to email me when it's my wife's birthday or something like that, right? I love that stuff, so I'm not saying it's wrong overall.
But if you look out at the types of materials that are targeted to real estate investors, you see a lot of things like figure out the amount of money you want to make and then divide that by the amount of hours you're going to work, and that's your dollars per hour, and if it's below that, you've got to delegate. I mean, really? You’ve got to delegate it? You have to delegate it every single time? What if it's something you love? What if it's something that you are uniquely good at? What if it's something that's critically important to the health of the business? [06:09.7]
I could, for example, completely outsource for very cheap looking at my own businesses’ underlying key performance indicators, metrics. I could outsource, for example, paying my team every week. I pay my team manually every week.
Now, I could easily automate that. In fact, I wrote a standard operating procedure document for it just in case I'm ever in the hospital and people need to get paid and I'm not around. Absolutely, my team could do that right now. I could hire a VA to do that right now. It's certainly below my dollars per hour sort of rate or whatever people think I should be looking at, so why do I do it? [06:53.7]
I do it because it's a way of keeping me connected to reality and this is a concept I think is very important, connection to reality—the extent to which you are able to navigate the business landscape around you, the housing market, your competitors, what's happening online in terms of Google Ads and Facebook ads, and how those platforms are changing, how the direct mail and the response rate is going up or down, all these things. This is reality. It is hard, objective fact.
If you become disconnected from reality, if there are layer upon layer of other people and reports and analytics and blah-de-blah-de-blah between you and the actual facts of the matter on the ground, then your decision to make agile, flexible and accurate decisions goes down. [07:58.3]
The reason that I still pay my team manually every week, even though this is a process I could easily delegate or easily automate, is because I want to have my finger on the pulse. I want to really know how much everyone on my team gets paid. I want to really know how much cash we have in the bank. I want to really know that my taxes are being taken out in a certain way. I want to know those things, and while I could get a report on those things, I am more deeply connected to that underlying reality, that beating pulse of my business, when I do it myself.
Now, it's not to say that everything is like that. Of course, there are hundreds of things in my business I do not do. For example, if you come and work with us at AdWords Nerds, if you come work with us as a PPC management client, we take over all your ads. We do all your online marketing for you. We're getting you deals online. You will not talk to me. I don't do client calls. I don't. I don't do the regular management calls. I don't do that. [09:15.0]
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Now, I do stay intimately connected to how my clients are doing by looking at their accounts, by auditing random accounts every month and every week, by getting on the occasional call and talking with someone and seeing how it's going. I track key performance indicators on how my team is doing, both in terms of leads generated and cost per lead, but also surveying my clients and seeing how they feel about the service that they receive. These are all ways I try to stay in touch with reality. [10:19.4]
I could stay in deeper touch with reality by getting on every single client call and, in fact, I did that in 2020. But I don't do that now because simply the amount of time it would take is too much, right? So, there's a balance. But what I want to say is that, and I’ve gone through this, there's sort of a mania of delegation that you can go through.
There's sort of this pressure to say, if you're a real business owner, you're a real entrepreneur, you shouldn't be connected to this at all. You should basically just get an email with your stats every week. Maybe that's possible for most people. I think for most entrepreneurs, if you are the one that's in charge of setting the vision and the direction for your business, you need to stay in touch with that core reality. [11:10.0]
I'll give you another example from my business. I coach real estate investors. We have a coaching program. Real estate investors come in and I coach them on their SEO and their PPC and all this stuff, and I am in those accounts. I am looking at those accounts manually. I get on calls with those people. I get into their ads and try to make them better. That's how I stay in touch with the reality of ad management, so I know that my skills are sharp.
Not only that, I run ads for my own business and I'm in there every day, checking things out and looking for new features, trying to figure out what's going on. That's a way for me to stay in touch with reality.
Now, I promised, I would end with postmortems, and this is a new practice for me and it's been an incredibly powerful one. I'm going to share this with you because this is me being a little bit vulnerable and I’ll explain why. [12:09.5]
A postmortem is a process that I undertake as the CEO whenever a client leaves. Some of our clients leave because they didn't get results and, look, if anybody ever tells you that every single one of their clients gets results, they are flat out lying to you. PPC is market-based. Some markets are harder than others. Some clients are better or worse at closing than others. Some clients have higher profit margins than others. There are a million and one reasons why PPC marketing might not work for any given investor.
Even though I know we're the best at what we do and I know that the majority of our investors do deals and make money on our service, we are not perfect, and anybody who says they are, is full of it. That's the vulnerable part. [13:02.8]
When a client leaves, and by the way, they could leave for any number of reasons, right? Clients could leave for any number of reasons. We literally had a client make $180,000 in profit and still leave because he said basically he was too busy now and couldn't keep doing it, right? People could leave for all sorts of reasons. But when people left in the past, they would just kind of leave, and we would be sad and we would help them transition and everything, but that was more or less it.
Now what we do is I do a postmortem and a postmortem essentially is that I open up a document and I start creating a timeline. I go all the way back to the day that that person became a client. I put that date at the top of the timeline and I go through every single day of that project. I go through every single change in the Google Ads account that we made. [14:01.5]
In Google Ads, there's something called your change history. It's literally timestamped, every single change that was made, so I can get a list of every single change that my team made and I put those changes on the timeline.
Then I go through every single note that our team made. We have a project-management software for every single client and the team makes notes. They make notes on performance. They make notes that they want to send over to the client. They put tasks in there. Every single note, every single task, I put in the timeline. Every single comment from the team, I put on the timeline.
Then I go through every single email, every single email sent to the client from the beginning to the end. I put those on the timeline. At the end of that process, what I have is a complete timeline of not only everything that was done for the clients, but every single piece of communication between my team and the client. [14:58.4]
Then I read it like a story and the answer I'm looking for here is, what could we have done better? Did we make a mistake? Did we miss something? Was this not the right client for us? Should we have known in the beginning that we shouldn't have taken this person on? Because we turn a fair amount of investors away, to be frank.
If we don't think they can close, we don't think they have a budget and that's going to make working with us worth it, we will tell them that. But sometimes people get through either because they misrepresent themselves, or maybe just that they were being honest at the time, but their risk tolerance wasn't what they thought it was or whatever. Was there something we could have done better? I go through and I make comments on that doc on everything that I see.
Then I make every single member of my team do the same. What could you have done better? What could you have done better? What could you have done better? Every single client that leaves gets this treatment. [16:04.3]
I have to tell you, this has been a transformative process for us. It has brought a level of care and consideration to what we do that I don't think we've ever had and we care a lot. But what ends up happening is in the sort of rush and bustle of the everyday, things get missed, and when they get missed, you don't know you’ve missed them, and so some of your biggest areas of improvement are kind of invisible, unless you go back and make them visible.
For you, as a real estate investor, if you had a deal that was coming through the pipeline and looked like it was going to happen, and then it didn't, consider doing a postmortem. [16:52.8]
Go back and listen to the recordings, all the recordings of the calls that your team had with that client, that potential seller. Go back and look through what was added to the CRM, when and why. Look through the emails and the marketing that you sent to this person. Look through the notes. Look through everything. Put them on a timeline and ask yourself, What could we have done better?
Now, this is a process I can certainly delegate. It's a process I could certainly hand off. It's a process that would be easy to kind of give to someone, put it all in a report and summarize it for me. But I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to do that because what this is is a connection to reality.
It has helped me see that there are things in our communications we could absolutely do better. It has helped me see that there are parts of our process that we change every time and we can just do it that way from the beginning. It has helped me see where we are weak and where we are strong. [18:00.8]
I said in the beginning, nobody's perfect. No matter how good you are, no matter if you are the top investor in your market, you could be doing better. You could be doing better and so could I, and staying connected to that reality is how we are going to find success as entrepreneurs over the long term.
I hope that makes sense and I hope this was useful. As always, I would love to have you in our Facebook group. It's at AdWordsNerds.com/group. Go there. I’m posting videos and guides and all sorts of stuff every single day. I would love to have you. AdWordsNerds.com/group, or just go onto Facebook and type in REI Marketing Nerds and you will find us.
I appreciate having you here so much. Thanks for listening every week, and I will see you next time. Cheers. [18:49.0]
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