I have had a question from Adam who was asking about leafleting. He was specifically saying have I ever used leaflets, the We Buy Houses Fast type leaflets, and if so what sort of success rate would I expect with my leaflets and what sort of discount would I get from a price if I actually managed to find a motivated seller.
All of those are great questions but I think we need to take a step back because probably in the real world it doesn’t quite work like that, because there are so many different variables. It is not like all leaflets are the same.
Critically, the wording that you have on your leaflet, the size of your leaflet, the colour of the leaflet, the colour of the printing on the leaflet, all of this is going to make a difference. Why? Because the leaflet is like a little advert.
If you go to one of the big advertising agents, if you go to Saatchi & Saatchi or Ogilvy, they will tell you about the power and the importance of a) communicating the right message and b) testing the message for your marketplace.
So, there is so many different variables. There’s the leaflet itself. What does the leaflet actually say? What is the leaflet offering? That is going to make a difference to the response rate.
Where you actually deliver the leaflet is going to make a difference. If you are after a particular type of deal and you are after a particular type of seller you need to think about the area in which you a delivering your leaflet and what the people who live in that particular area are going to respond to on a leaflet, that is going to make a difference.
Another variable which we probably don’t even think about when we are thinking about doing leafletting is what actually happens when somebody rings up.
At the moment, although I know we are into high tech I wouldn’t send somebody to a website because if they go to a website they will probably disappear. I would probably still use just a mobile number on my leaflet, and I would expect people to text. If they text, I would do they initial conversation either by text or offer to ring them and see whether they want to speak on the phone. If they ring even better.
But whether you are going to be able to do a deal with somebody or not, part of the process is what happens when they contact you? How do you vet them? What questions do you ask them? How do you treat them?
If you make them feel safe, secure, and don’t forget if somebody is going to ring you or text you the chances are the have got a problem that they need to resolve. They don’t want to deal with somebody who they think isn’t going to be looking after their best interests, so you need to treat them with courtesy and respect. That is going to affect whether you are going to be able to do a deal once you’ve popped a leaflet through the door and somebody has got in touch with you.
Coming to the last point on this, because we could probably talk about this all day as there is so many different things that we could be thinking about. One thing to remember is that somebody is only going to respond to your leaflet if at the moment they receive the leaflet they need to respond to you.
I do hear stories of people who go out leafletting and then 2 years later somebody will ring from a particular leaflet, but it is very, very rare. What is usually going to happen is if that particular day when the leaflet goes through the letterbox the person who receives the leaflet has no need to call you, they wont call you and the leaflet will go in the recycling bin hopefully (as opposed to the general landfill). There has got to be a reason why they want to call you.
So, there is a timing issue as well. This is why when you leaflet an area you don’t just do it once. You might have to leaflet your investment area a dozen times before you start getting meaningful leads. Or it could be that if it just so happens that your leaflet goes through the door of someone who is highly motivated, that they’ve got a particular problem they need solving and they think you might be the person to solve that person, you might get a call there and then.
I have had calls within 10 minutes of putting a leaflet through a door, I’ve also had calls months after putting a leaflet through a door. It all varies. But probably it is going to need repeated regular leafletting until you start getting any kind of meaningful response.
What am I trying to say Adam? What I am trying to say is that it is really not the case that I can say to you ‘if you use leaflets, you’ll get a 10% response rate and 1% of those will become deals’.
One last variable is when you actually go round to somebody’s house, you sit there and you talk to them, you find out what their problem is and you try to structure a deal, the variable there is how good are you at structuring deals? Do you want to structure a deal which involves you putting some cash in, or are you going to try to structure a deal which involves you putting no cash in? That may affect whether you are able to do a deal or not.
All of these things, cumulatively, mean that there are no hard and fast rules. You cannot just say ‘if you do leafletting you will get a 10% response rate or a 5% response rate and 1% of your leaflets will result in deals’. It just does not work like that.
You need to test. You need to test the wording of your leaflets, you need to test where you deliver the leaflets, you need to test the type of deal and strategy that you are trying to undertake with the leaflets. You need to test how you respond to people who respond to your leaflet, and you need to test how you actually structure deals when you sit down with people face to face in their front room having a cup of tea with them.
Here’s to successful property investing.
Peter Jones B.Sc FRICS
Chartered Surveyor, author and property investor
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