Starting a real estate investing business ain’t easy. But you know what’s even more difficult?
Scaling your business so it reaches heights you can’t wrap your head around. This is where many investors trap themselves in the mundane parts of their business, which suffocates true growth.
But you don’t have to fall into this trap yourself.
In this episode, real estate investor Matt Bell joins me and reveals his strategy which helped him close 112 deals in one year. Best part? His business is less than 3 years old!
Listen to the episode now if you want to take your investing business to heights most real estate investors never reach!
Show highlights include:
If you’d like to connect with Matt (or see why his business is booming), you can check out his website at https://apollohomebuyers.com/.
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For more actionable advice like this episode, check out the REI Nerds YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/adwordsnerds.
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. How are you?
Look, if you need help with your online marketing strategy to find more motivated-seller leads and deals online, you know where to go. It is AdWordsNerds.com. What are you waiting for? Go there, check it out. We'd love to have you. [01:04.8]
This week, oh, man. Now, I love this interview so much, I am so excited for you to get to meet Matt Bell from ApolloHomeBuyers.com. Look, I’ve talked to a lot of real estate investors. I talk to clients every week. I talk to people for this show. I'm in masterminds with investors, right? I’ve met a lot of investors and Matt is one of the nicest, most open, most giving investors we've ever had on the show.
He shares his journey, which is absolutely mind-blowing, absolutely mind-blowing, doing 112 deals just in the past year in a business that's less than three years old. This is a person who has a mind for business and a mind for real estate, a mind for systems that is just incredible, and there is so much that we go over, so much that we talk about, from the beginning where it was almost completely knocked out of the market to today where Apollo Home Buyers is wildly successful. [02:10.8]
I cannot wait for you to get to listen to Matt Bell. Without any further ado, here is my conversation with Matt.
Dan: All right, I'm here with Matt Bell from Apollo Home Buyers. Matt, how are you? Welcome to the show, man.
Matt: Doing well, Dan, appreciate you having me. I’m looking forward to catching up a little bit.
Matt: Yeah, man. We were talking before I pressed record and I was like, I have to actually record this because we were going over a whole bunch of stuff. For people that don't know you, I think you are really fascinating to me because, one, you are an absolutely world-class operator in terms of how you run the business that you run. You are super-ambitious in terms of what you want to do with Apollo Home Buyers and I’d just love to dig into this with you. [02:59.6]
I would love to start with kind of a little bit about your backstory. We were talking about it a bit before the call. Apollo is kind of your sort of new entry into real estate, but you've been doing real estate for a while now. Give people a little bit of context on you. How did you get started in real estate investing? What is Apollo Home Buyers kind of right now as it stands?
Matt: Sure. Yeah, kind of the re-entry, if you will, reboot kind of thing here. But my history, I kind of have an eclectic sales, mostly sales-focused background in medical sales and pharma, and that was you years ago. I got into real estate, just feeling kind of unsatisfied, unfulfilled, whatever you may have. I also kind of wanted to be in a position to maybe have a little bit more control over my own destiny, right? Working for somebody else, you really just don't have any control, and so that was a big part of the decision to move into real estate. [04:03.7]
I got into real estate at the very end of 2012 and kind of moved to Augusta, Ga. I was living in Louisville, Ky., at the time, moved to Augusta, Ga. One of my best friends that I had grown up with in Louisville had been in Augusta for the previous probably six, seven years, had a turnkey brokerage, and so the idea was to move to Augusta, learn the game, and then I was going to go back to Louisville, Ky., and kind of put my own spin on some of the concepts that he was working on in his business.
I moved to Augusta, Ga., on a wing and a prayer, took out a loan against my 401(k). My mother gave me a chunk of change out of her 401(k) and, yeah, moved to Augusta. Flipped a couple homes, did a couple creative financing deals.
I'm a sponge, anything that I'm kind of all in on, I just can't get enough of it, right? I was investing in myself from the very beginning, reading a ton. The first event I ever went to was actually Keller Williams Family Reunion, which was kind of life-altering. [05:09.4]
Dan: Wow, that’s cool.
Matt: And as you know, we've since been in Collective Genius and a handful of other things in the investor space. Anyway, I was in Augusta, had just kind of started to function and, thankfully, I was fluent enough where a large fund came knocking in Augusta. I had a phone call with one of the principals and set an appointment to sit down with him and his partner. Then, Tyson and I, my friend that had the brokerage, sat down with the two of them, closed them on working with us as their operating partner in Augusta.
I was functioning kind of as a buyer's agent at the time and it was a buy-and-hold fund, so they were buying, renovating, and then renting, and so I was functioning as a buyer's agent. Tyson was functioning as the property-manager side of it. [05:58.0]
They came in and they were like, We're going to buy 100 homes from you this year. Of course, I'm the sales guy and I'm like, Yes, and Tyson is like, cue the eye roll, I've heard this 10 times already and I’ll believe it when I see it kind of thing. Anyway, long story short, they did. They bought 130, I think, the first year.
Matt: And that was my first full year in real estate, so it was crushing almost from jump. Yeah, I mean, it's not to say that the few months prior to those kind of life-altering moments weren't super-hard, right? I had already whittled through almost everything I moved to Augusta with. We had kind of the whole come-to-Jesus conversation, like, are we going to try to stick this out and get to the other side of the tough times or am I going to move back to Louisville with my tail between my legs and try something else?
Anyway, thankfully, I stayed the course and started to crush it with the fund. We started to actually consult. I remember meeting week after week after week with a couple of the big agents that we were good friends with, and then Tyson and I, and trying to figure out how we could do more with these guys. [07:06.7]
We remembered them saying that they had spent something like six months on the road, interviewing and vetting potential property managers and agents, and so we had the lightbulb thought, which was like, Why don't we go do that for them and they get all their time back? Oh, and by the way, we'll do it free of charge. Right? We'll do it on our nickel.
How we set that up was we did broker-to-broker referrals, right? I would go into a market or Tyson and I would go into a market, figure out who we thought would be the best fit, train them up and we're basically spoon-feeding them 100 deals, Year 1, pretty administrative really from a work standpoint for the agents and, for that, we commanded a referral. We did very well with that. The fund got their time back to go, do what was the highest and best use of their time, probably raising capital, build infrastructure, etc., and, yeah, so we opened up seven or eight cities for them. I think that earned a little bit of credibility with the Wall Street guys. [08:10.5]
Dan: Yeah, it's such a win-win situation, right? It's like everybody wins in that scenario.
Dan: I want to stop you real quick.
Matt: Yeah, go ahead.
Dan: Because this is all fascinating. I want to go back to the come-to-Jesus conversation where you're basically eating through all your savings. You're trying to decide whether to stick it out. Now you are just on the cusp of these giant life-changing deals, but you don't know that, right?
Matt: We didn't know that. Correct.
Dan: Yeah, and you mentioned earlier in our conversation before we started talking and you were talking about one of the big things with you, which is this idea of failing forward. Right? Put me back in that situation.
Why did you decide to stick it out? Because I think a lot of people would look at that situation and say, It's very precarious. I'm right on the edge. The potential downside is we lose everything, so let's just take what little we still have and at least we'll have that. [09:15.2]
Why did you decide to stick it out? And how do you think about giving someone who may be in that situation now some advice about what they might want to do or how they might want to think through it at least?
Matt: Yeah, I mean, it's a complicated—or complex anyway—answer. I was a little bit shielded from probably some of the normal entry risks given that I was working with and for one of my closest friends, and so I was a little insulated, right? It wasn't like I was just completely on an island by myself.
Matt: Although when you're under duress, you certainly feel that way. But I was with somebody that I love. It's literally like a family member, so that was part of it. The other part of it was there was very much a synergy between us, right? A one plus one equals three kind of thing, and he and I both recognized that, and he was further along in his kind of leadership development, his business development from a business acumen standpoint, so there was the synergy. [10:15.3]
Then, lastly, the cost of entry in Augusta, Ga., is so attractive from an investment standpoint. I mean, when I first got in, legitimately, this is going to blow your mind a little bit, we were all in or maybe not. I know a lot of operators from back in the day, but we were all in at 35k renting for $700 or $800.
Matt: I mean, that return on investment is insane, so to be able to buy a house in 2013 for 25 grand, put 10 into it and have it rent-ready, knowing what I know now, I wish I would have bought everything. In hindsight, it’s always 2020. Anyway, so those were kind of the big things that were going on that I felt were favorable for me to stick it out. [11:06.4]
Just from a paradigm standpoint or philosophical standpoint, the people that succeed at the highest levels truly are people that stay the course and fail forward. My perspective on that has always kind of remained the same, in that as long as it's not a catastrophic mistake and as long as you don't continue to make the same mistakes, that you learn from something and you pivot, then, really, it's just a learning lesson.
From a business build-out standpoint, from a career standpoint, from even a personal standpoint, that's what our entire lives are spent doing. It’s just really failing and learning and pivoting, and then trying something else and failing and learning and pivoting. [11:54.6]
Most people don't jump into anything and just start hitting home runs. I mean, it's just not how it works. It's hard work. It's perseverance. Yes, there's some talent, but you don't see, and I’ll use an analogy from the book Grit, which I'm a huge, huge fan of, Angela Duckworth, if you’ve read it, anyway, people don't see the 10,000 hours that Tom Hanks spent becoming Forrest Gump behind the scenes. They just see the movie.
Matt: Right? They don't see the 10,000 hours in the gym of Michael Jordan hitting jump shots. They just see the game-winning shot. It's easy to make the assumption that success is more driven by talent than it is hard work, and that’s an absolutely false narrative.
Matt: And it’s not to say that, if everybody's a hard worker, if you and I are both hard workers, that talent doesn't come into it from a “what level can you achieve?” standpoint. Sure, it does, but, by far, I mean, from a 90:10 standpoint, maybe even greater than that, it's much more about learning iteratively, getting better as you go, and staying the course and failing forward. [13:03.6]
I'm a huge [advocate of that]. I mean, that's a part of our culture at Apollo within the team, which is that I don't care if you make mistakes, let's just not make the same one over and over. If it's a big enough decision that could really impact the future of the company, then let's at least have a conversation about it and make sure we're all willing to go down whatever road it is together.
Dan: Yeah, I could not agree with you more, and you've hit on these two real core principles, which are, one, you're talking about understanding and capping your downside risk, right? You're saying, Look, I was in a company with my friends. I knew that the downside risk was not like if you didn’t do a deal tomorrow, you'd be executed. Right? It's like the downside risk was manageable.
Matt: That's right.
Dan: Then, two, you were open to feedback from the universe about how things were going, right? You weren't saying, I know exactly the right way to do it, and if it doesn't work this way, then everybody else is wrong and I'm right. You were willing to change. Like you said, at Apollo, you guys believe in pivoting when you get that feedback that says you need to do that. [14:15.5]
Dan: That's such a powerful kind of combo, that sort of one and two combo for making sure that you succeed long term. I think it's super-super-important. I didn't want to divert you too much from your story. Basically, you guys had just struck this deal where you were going out. You're finding the property managers. You'd constructed this kind of win-win structure with the fund that you were working with. How did you get from there to Apollo?
Matt: Yeah, so we were consulting for the fund essentially and opening up new markets, and hiring and training and vetting and bringing partners on for them, so they could continue to expand, which, again, I think gained some credibility, adding value without adding any kind of cost -
Dan: For sure. [15:01.0]
Matt: - or overhead or whatnot. They actually approached Tyson and me to take over the renovation division. They had figured out how to raise capital, right? And they had figured out how to buy homes, which, bear in mind, in 2013, 2014, 2015, I mean, it was still pretty easy to be picking stuff off on the MLS.
Again, the capital was there, and if you're looking at a curve, it's like acquisition is doing this and renovation is staying kind of flat, right? And so, the delta between the two was making them really nervous. They were starting to own a ton of homes that were just sitting there because they couldn't figure out how to scale renovation, so they turned to guys that had, I think, added value, but also had shown that they had some expertise. Tyson and I, legitimately, he left his turnkey brokerage in Augusta and moved to Charleston with me, if that tells you how big of an opportunity this was.
Dan: Yeah, that’s a big deal.
Matt: This was basically walking away from it. It was too early, really, for him to replace himself and then let that team fail forward. I mean, there were definitely some rough years for him, just given the timing of everything. But anyway, so we did it. [16:11.6]
We moved to Charleston, became co-directors of renovation for the fund, and we renovated just about 5,500 homes in a four-and-a-half-year period. We were in 17 cities in 11 states. In the last couple years we were there, he had pivoted into property management, started building out their property-management side. I stayed in renovation.
Ultimately, we both parted ways with the fund about three years ago. My business originally was meant to be a feeder for the fund. I saw the MLS was starting to tighten up, and so we approached the guys again from a value standpoint, just saying, “Hey, why don't we do some off-market activities to try to supplement some of the acquisition?” which is what happened, but the activity and the fund, as you can tell by the 5,500 number, went vertical. [17:01.8]
I mean, we had no time. I was managing 17 cities. I was on an airplane just nonstop, and so the team we had in place with our off-market acquisitions was essentially like, Hey, you guys can either figure it out and fail forward, which is what we hoped would happen, or we’ve got to shutter the thing and just put it on the shelf until we can dedicate and allocate resources to it.
Anyway, when we left the fund, it really hadn't gotten the traction we had hoped for over the couple of years with that team in place, and so, I don't know, maybe six months after I left the fund, it was just time. Right? I no longer have a big cash-cow consulting gig and I needed to build the business to support, not only my family, but some of the other families that had become kind of involved and dependent on our efforts, and so a hard reset about three years ago, new team. [18:00.8]
I think we did the first marketing that we had done over a year in July 2020, and I think we bought our first home in September 2020. Anyway, fast forward through ’21, where we're starting to get some traction and we've purchased about, I said 100, over 110, so 112, I think, homes in the last 12 months in Augusta. We have since opened up Columbia, South Carolina, which is about an hour east, and we're starting to get some traction there. Then we've also opened up the south side of Atlanta, marketing to a couple of counties in that MSA as well.
Yeah, we're really excited. Everything has been kind of priming the pump for ’22 and the goal is to buy 300 homes in 2022, and hope to continue to partner with you and help those efforts, both from a system standpoint, but also from a SEO and PPC standpoint. It's a big deal, and even more so, right, with the COVID stuff. [19:12.8]
I mean, I think you’ve got to be able to reach people via computer and via kind of traditional means of marketing, too. I haven't turned this on yet, but radio and television, I mean, the boomer generation, they're television, and so I actually have a really cool chart that I'd be happy to share with you, but just kind of about the different mediums that each generation.
Yeah, pretty cool, so we're excited about ’22 and we're just getting ramped up with you, and as we talked about before, we've got another couple of businesses and websites that we look forward to partnering with you on as well, kind of all systems go.
Dan: Yeah, I'm super-excited to kind of keep it going. I love it, too, and so I totally agree with you, right? I really believe we are in this period now where ubiquity is really the kind of marketing buzzword. You just kind of have to be everywhere. It’s a diverse population that digests media in all these different ways, so absolutely. [20:12.4]
My mom, for example, is the boomer generation, watches TV every night, watches the news, right? That's what she does. My kids don't understand that the way that TV works is not everything is on whenever you want because they only understand it like they think Netflix is TV.
Matt: Totally, yeah.
Dan: They don't understand how channels work or whatever, and it's like I keep being like, these two groups, they just kind of coexist. This is a really interesting time. Now, I have so much that I want to talk to you about. To reiterate this, if people miss this, 112 deals in the last 12 months is amazing because, like you said, it's a new team. Apollo is basically only three years old at this point.
Matt: It’s less than that, yeah. Apollo is less than that. [21:01.2]
Dan: Yeah, you’ve made so much progress in so little time. The thing I'm really, really curious about is how you think about or how you thought about building that team, because obviously you are amazing at what you do, but you have to have support in order to do the kind of business that Apollo is doing and, certainly, the kind of business that you want to do. Like you said, you want to triple in the next year.
How did you think about building that core team started with and how are you thinking about scaling that team up? Do you have a process that you use for culture? I mean, how do you think through that process? Because, ultimately, for investors that are listening to this, there's going to come a point, if they want to keep growing, where they have to grow their team at least a little bit.
Matt: That’s for sure.
Dan: What has your experience been like with that?
Matt: Yeah. I mean, the wing and the prayer technique just really doesn't take you all that far. I mean, you can only elbow grease yourself so far as well. There's, definitely, I think a pretty large population in the investing space that is a school-of-hard-knocks group, right? I respect that. I think it's great. I think to each their own. [22:12.5]
I try to bring a little bit more of my business background, some of my scale experience to it, and try to be a little bit more systematic and intentional with what we do. We're an attraction-based company, and so we've defined a lot of different metrics, our mission, our purpose, our core values, and it's who we are and it’s how we live, and so it's important to bring people on, I think, that, at their core, line up with those values.
I'm a big believer. I think it was Good to Great or a book like that where it's like, look, I’m, I'm trying to get talented people on the bus and we'll figure out where they sit kind of as we go, but as long as your heart is in the right place and you're willing to show a little bit of grit and fail forward, and do things the right way for the right reasons, I think that there's a lot of opportunity in the space and, certainly, with our team. [23:14.6]
Traction-based is, I guess, maybe the structure that we've started to build around Jim. We have one holdover from the previous team. Brittany is fantastic. She has been with me for years. She does contract to close, drives almost the entire administrative side of the business. She really needs help. We’ve got to get her some, as talented as she is.
Dan: If anybody is listening to this and this is your skill set, you can reach out. Brittany needs help. We need to help.
Matt: Brittany needs help, yeah. We have a team of VAs that do a lot of our outbound marketing and we have a CRM that we use. Actually, we text, we cold-call, we mail. We're leaning into SEO and PPC. Again, I'd like to lean into some traditional media like radio or TV sometime in ’22. [24:09.8]
I'm very contrarian, right? The market is crazy tight. I believe it's going to shift in the next 12 months at some point. I don't know what that shift looks like, but I can tell you my opinion is that it's going to be a good bit different than the last shift in kind of ’08, ’09 and ’10. The supply and demand ratio, the macroeconomic kind of, I don’t know, picture is completely different than it was back then. Even if we do get a big chunk of supply dropping back into the market, I mean, where are we going to go, from 12 buyers per property to seven? I mean, it's not going to shift it completely.
Anyway, so it started with Jim Garrett, to get back to your original question. Jim was a McDonald’s franchisee for 25 years, very, very talented, super guy. He has been a godsend, really, and we get along really well. He and Brittany were kind of the core components and the three of us have worked very closely over the last two and a half years. [25:13.0]
We have since had a couple of salespeople on the ground in Augusta. We have a construction manager on the ground in Augusta. We will need those things in Columbia very soon, probably right now, frankly. We're kind of TBD on Atlanta, right? It's a primary market. Our experience and successes have been in secondary and tertiary markets. Hopefully, we’ll get traction in Atlanta, but if we don't, by the end of Q1, I will pivot. I mean, whether it's Macon or Brunswick or Columbus, Ga. We'll probably stay in Georgia just for a logistical standpoint, but that’s it, man.
Dan: It’s like you said, fail forward, right? It's being open to feedback and not being so married to a particular way to get to the goal that it's do or die. [26:00.0]
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Dan: I'm curious. You mentioned Jim. We work with you guys and I’ve spoken with Jim many times and really interesting dude, and as you mentioned, his background was in McDonald’s franchising, but you mentioned this before the call, he didn't have any real estate experience when you guys started working together on Apollo.
Matt: None, yes.
Dan: I'm curious, from your perspective, why did you choose to work with Jim? Why Jim, particularly? What did you see in him or was it a particular skill set that he brought to the table? What made you think that he would be a great partner early on? Because obviously it has worked out incredibly well. [27:11.2]
Matt: So far so good.
Dan: Yeah, if you're listening to this, Jim, don't get cocky, okay? It could go at any time. But just in general, what made you make that decision? How did you know that he was going to be a good fit?
Matt: I'm a data-driven person, I mean, to your point about getting feedback and making decisions based on that feedback. Look, I mean, my gut was good. We had a connection. We actually met while playing golf. We were members at the same golf course and had played a good bit, and got to know each other personally while I was going through this reset process, and so he heard a little bit about the pain, but he also heard a little bit about my vision. I think he was interested in real estate. I think a lot of people are interested in real estate because it touches so many people's lives in one way or another. [28:01.7]
Matt: I think he had an abstract interest in real estate. We connected personally. I'm a big believer in Predictive Index, which is kind of the latest and greatest version of the DiSC tests that people used to do, and so we did this Predictive Index and we took some guidance from how our personalities could work together, what might be friction points.
I think the opportunity was big enough to attract him. I mean, you can imagine, he was pretty successful. I think he had five locations with McDonald’s. I mean, it wasn't like he was just a one-shop guy. A lot of different things, I think, kind of were signs to move forward.
I think one of the big things, I’ll never think the same since I worked for the fund. I don't want to be a big operator in one market. That just doesn't excite me and he thinks very similarly. He's not scared of scale. In fact, I think he’s attracted to it in the same way that I am. I mean, it's a big challenge. We're building the airplane while we're flying it, frankly, and that comes with a lot of challenges. [29:11.5]
But, again, I feel like he's the right guy to partner with, and given his core skills and, I don't know, his history with McDonald’s, I'm like, look, again, let's get the talented person on the bus. I can teach people real estate. Real estate isn't rocket science. It’s just a lot of trial and error and learning what not to do as much as anything. He's just about there.
Now bearing mind, this is two and a half years and we've been going really fast. His learning curve is probably shorter than most, just because he's a mature grown man who has run businesses and has a ton of experience and maturity and wisdom already. But still every day, he has questions like, How do I do this? What would you do here? And we're just now at the point where I need to start pushing it back to him and stop giving the answers, and let him kind of make some mistakes and fully take control of the business. [30:15.0]
Most of my time really needs to be spent raising capital at this point, I mean, if we're going to buy, and bear in mind, if we take down a multifamily or something, I mean, we could go from our 300-home goal to 600 or 700 pretty easily. We've partnered with a national lender and we have access to a ton of capital right now, so, really, it's go time.
I mean, we're all queued up for ’22 and we're excited about it. A lot of challenges. From a construction standpoint, our construction manager has shown that he can run one city. It's awfully hard to run a renovation in a city you don't live in. That's going to be the next iteration for him to prove himself. It's the same thing with Jim, right? Marketing to different cities, we don't know what's going to work, what lever to pull. [30:57.1]
I don't know, but I get juiced up by it and I'm sure you can hear the passion in my voice. I love what we do and I love helping the families that we help. I love positively impacting people's lives through real estate. That is our vision statement, our mission statement, and that goes for the people that we're helping out of sticky foreclosure type situations to the team as well. I want to create generational wealth for everybody that we work with, and so that's the opportunity at hand.
Dan: That's so cool, man. I love that as a vision statement and, specifically, the generational wealth thing. I can see it, how you were talking about your hiring process as kind of attractive, in the sense that you really define the kind of person you want to work with and you create the environment that's going to attract that person to you. I think having a vision like that is just really attractive to a certain kind of person. I want to talk a little bit, specifically about follow up and, more broadly, about process. [32:05.0]
Dan: And you were talking about your vision. My whole goal for 2022 is to really reach out and kind of help the sort of average real estate investor adapt to the kind of market I think we are in now and going to be in for the next foreseeable future, for the foreseeable future. You talked a little bit about shifts in 2022. Off camera, we talked a little bit about 2021 and 2020, and we've just gone through these really kind of tumultuous years.
I think, in many ways, the market right now for an investor, the sort of ecosystem that they are coming into is more competitive. It is difficult for someone who doesn't have their ducks in a row to really make it work.
Matt: Sure. There's no inventory, right? We're all fighting for less. [32:59.0]
Dan: Yeah, it's fascinating because I'm talking to you and I’ve talked to a bunch of my clients over the past couple weeks and I'm going to continue having these conversations on the podcast, specifically because we have clients that absolutely kill it, that do deals left, right and center, and we have clients that go in with very similar budgets into very similar markets and just implode.
One of the things that, as a company, we came together and we were like, This whole year, we are not going to work with anyone that we don't think has a 90 percent chance at least of having a lot of success, which means it's taking fewer clients, to be fair. The reason that we're doing that is the market has shifted. The clients that used to have a ton of success are having a harder time now.
In any case, part of why I'm asking this, I tend to zero in on follow-up because follow-up is a process that pretty much every investor gets that you’ve got to follow up the leads in order to close them. It's something that's fairly obvious. But different investors have very different approaches, but follow-up is also a window into how you think about process. [34:12.4]
Let me ask that as kind of a more general question. Processes and systems, and putting these things in place, are so critical. We could talk about follow-up, specifically, or we could talk about process more generally, but how do you think about putting systems in place for your business that are going to allow you to succeed? For example, when you take more of a step back and you sort of bring the people in your team a little bit further forward, how do you think about that? And that's a really general question. We could take it into where you want to take it.
Matt: I mean, I would just say, maybe the most concise way that I could verbalize it is I look at follow-up and/or conversion, if you will, as a marriage between automation and manual effort. I think there are a lot of things that you can automate and then there are a lot of things that just really need to be driven through effort. [35:09.0]
As I mentioned earlier, we text, we cold-call, we mail. We are leaning into SEO and PPC. The idea from a follow-up standpoint really just has to do with the number of touches, right? It’s a couple of things. We want to touch everybody in a handful of different ways, what I refer to as being fully layered in our marketing approach, and so we want to touch them in several different mediums. Frankly, some people are going to reply via text. Some people only want to talk. Some people want to email.
Really, you just have to figure out how it is somebody wants to communicate and then stay there with them, once they've raised their hand and are open to having a conversation anyway. Not only are we looking on the front end or on the outbound end to touch people in a handful of different ways. [36:01.5]
But then to your point, how do you keep that being or from not being a kind of a one-hit wonder, right? You don't want to kind of come out of the gate hot and then just never talk to somebody again if they didn't say yes or sign a contract, or give you an appointment. I mean, you’ve got to stay there. I mean, sales. Actually, right now, it’s just the same thing as saying not yet, right?
Matt: If ever we get any engagement, they immediately go into our follow up process, specifically the number of touches and the type of a touch, whether it's a text or phone call. That's a Jim question, frankly. I'm not in the systems like he is every day. But, conceptually, that’s what we try to do. We want to touch people in a variety of ways. [36:52.3]
Then, if there is any level of engagement that is not like, Hey, put me on the do-not-call list, or whatever, if there's positive engagement, just “I don't want to sell now” or whatever, they go into a long-term follow-up drip and that's some combination of a text every few weeks or whatever it is and then maybe a cold call at a similar pace—we're just trying to re-engage—and, hopefully, earn the right once the person has what I refer to as, and I’ll keep the expletive stuff out of the podcast--
Dan: This is a family podcast, man. Come on.
Matt: Yeah, when the people have the “Oh, crap moments”, like, “It's go time. I didn't realize the bank was serious” moment, I mean, you’ve spent all this time, energy and effort getting to that moment, and when somebody's like, Okay, it's action time, I’ve got to deal with this, you want to be there. I mean, if you’ve spent all this time, energy and effort, and then they're going through their mailers and they call yours and you don't answer, they go to the next mailer and you’ve just totally lit all your efforts on fire. [37:56.8]
I mean, follow-up is massive and, frankly, the conversion concept is why we just hired a director of sales. We're probably close to $100,000 a month in marketing right now across the three markets. We're pouring a lot into the lead-gen side and we need to start to convert. We need to have somebody that has kind of that singular focus on getting and setting the appointments, and then going in and seeing if the person is somebody we can help or not, and if so, let's put it under contract and see if we can set up a win-win. That's another one of our kind of big four. It's win-win or we're not in. I mean, I'm not interested in the predatory version of real estate.
Dan: I love that.
Matt: Frankly, I think that those hacks give us all a bad name and we won't operate that way. Yeah, we stay in there with them as long as we can, until it makes sense to either move forward or to move on away from the person or the property or the situation. [39:00.0]
Dan: I am just so a hundred percent stealing “It's win-win or we are not in” because I’m kind of sick of trying to explain the whole “we're working with less clients because we want to make sure that they're going to have success” and it took me 10 minutes to get it out. That's much more succinct, so I'm just going to steal that.
Matt: By all means. It's not patented. Copyrighted. Yeah.
Dan: That's good. Matt, I just want to say all the information you've shared here today has been amazing. I am so excited for what you guys are doing at Apollo. If you're listening to this, you want to go check out Matt's website. You absolutely should go and look at what they are doing because it is working. It is at ApolloHomeBuyers.com. Apollo is A-P-O-L-L-O. ApolloHomeBuyers.com. Is that the best place for people to kind of learn a little bit more about you guys? Is there anything else that you want people to check out online? [39:57.4]
Matt: I mean, not right now. I think that's kind of the focus, getting the home buyers, the genesis for all the companies. Ultimately, we'll have a brokerage and it will have a website, and we'll have a construction company and it will have its own website, and we'll tie them all together ultimately.
But, yeah, as far as the core team and our core home-buying competencies, that's definitely a great place to go. I think we've got some good content there and, certainly, you can reach people on the team if you want any further engagement with anybody on the team.
Dan: Yeah, I highly suggest that you guys go check out ApolloHomeBuyers.com and check out what Matt and Jim and the rest of their team are doing.
Matt, thank you so much for being on the show, man. I really appreciate it and have a wonderful end of 2021 and I'm looking forward to the 300 deals in 2022. That's going to be awesome.
Matt: Thanks again, Dan. I appreciate it, man. Have a great holiday as well.
Dan: I hope that was useful. I hope you get some value out of this podcast, and I really deeply appreciate you listening every week. [41:01.0]
Hey, you know we have a Facebook group, right? You can get there by going to AdWordsNerds.com/group. I'm posting content in there every single day and I would love to have you. If you’ve got a question, post it in the group. If you’ve got any marketing questions for you, I would love to talk to you. AdWordsNerds.com/group is the place to go, or just go on Facebook and type in “REI Marketing Nerds” and you will find us as always.
As always, I really truly appreciate you listening to the show, and I will see you next week. Cheers.
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