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The Ant Farm Strategy Find Hot Leads on a Shoestring Budget
I am a huge fan of guerrilla marketing in real estate investing. These are marketing strategies that don’t require a big budget, can be pulled off by real estate investors of any experience level, and produce big money in real estate. This month, I’m sharing the secrets behind a specific guerrilla marketing strategy we call “the ant farm.” Picture an ant colony: There are worker ants who go out to bring food back to the queen ant. In this analogy, the “food” represents leads and you are the queen ant — or king ant, if you prefer. When you use the ant farm strategy, you have different people all over town looking for leads in the form of “for sale by owner” (FSBO) signs. They send these leads to you, and you can start closing deals. When I started my real estate investing business back in 2003, I used the ant farm strategy and saw great success. It’s not a big investment, which means you get big returns, and the ant farm strategy brings you very specific deals you won’t find otherwise. This means you have a competitive edge over your competition, because you’re getting leads on deals other real estate investors often completely miss. The ant farm strategy is also one way of automating your real estate investing business. You know I’m big on automation. This strategy is very easy to systematize and automate, and when implemented, it brings in consistent seller leads every week. And as you may have heard me say before, having consistent seller-lead flow is critical to staying in business. Step 1: Choose the Neighborhood You Want to Target You can’t run a successful ant farm strategy without a specific target market picked out. I recommend targeting what we call a “bread and butter” neighborhood. These are first-time buyer homes with entry- level price points. Don’t send your ants through high-end, luxury neighborhoods. This is something I teach both brand-new and seasoned real estate investors. Entry-level properties are a better target because this market has the biggest pool of buyers. You’ll have a better exit strategy. Step 2: Hire Your Ants At this point, you’re probably asking, “Well, Jay, how do I find ants?” There are a number of places. I like to find ants in my warm market, people I already have some sort of relationship with. These are people I Here are five simple steps to launch your ant farm strategy.
go to church with, people I see regularly at social events, and people who are in my cellphone. You can also find your ants online. There are plenty of people looking for extra income. Jump on Craigslist or some other online job site and put up ads promoting “Part- time income. Set your own hours.” Remember this is a job, so when people respond, take the time to interview them and make sure they’re reliable. This strategy doesn’t work if you fill your ant farm with flaky workers who aren’t consistent.
Now, I want to share my secret about two awesome ants you need to have in your ant farm strategy: your mailman and your garbage collector. Both of these people travel on a regular, set route, stopping by almost every house in the neighborhood. Work on building a good relationship with your mailman and your garbage collector, and invite them to be part of your ant farm strategy. Step 3: Set Goals and Expectations for Your Ants If you don’t train your ants and set goals and expectations right away, you’ll have people flake out and do their own thing. The ant farm strategy doesn’t work when people only do it on their terms — I learned this the hard way. The first expectation is how often they will drive their neighborhoods. In my experience, an ant should be able to canvas their neighborhood really well in about 2–3 hours weekly. It’s important that your ants are canvassing their target market every week. FSBO signs go up and come down every week. It’s not a monthly thing; it’s a weekly thing. If an ant misses a week, you could miss out on several potential leads. Continued on Page 3 ...
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‘The 5 A.M. Club’ Own Your Morning to Elevate Your Life
“Take excellent care of the front end of your day, and the rest of your day will pretty much take care of itself. Own your morning. Elevate your life.” –Robin Sharma, “The 5 A.M. Club” I was recently given a copy of “The 5 A.M. Club” by Robin Sharma. Sharma is a bestselling author and one of the world’s top leadership experts. I knew the book would be great, but I didn’t anticipate how truly valuable it would be.
As you might have guessed, the first step of joining the 5 A.M. Club is to wake up at 5 a.m. This might sound terrible and exhausting, but as Sharma explains, it’s the best way to take control of your day. Getting an early start allows you to set the tone for the day and take time for your physical health, your emotional well-being, and your spirituality. This extra time empowers you to improve every area of your life by putting yourself in balance. Sharma’s theories are all backed by science. If you’ve ever scoffed at the idea of meditating first thing in the morning, then you should know that research shows enjoying peace at daybreak can increase dopamine and serotonin, helping you feel energized for the rest of the day. I started reading “The 5 A.M. Club” the night I got it. By the next afternoon, I had devoured the whole thing. This book inspired me in a way no other book has in a long time. Ever since reading “The 5 A.M. Club,” I have been up at 5 a.m. every morning. I’ve reinvented my day to pray, meditate, and journal before having coffee with Carol Joy, and I’m still able to get in the shower 45 minutes earlier than I would have previously. My whole day has been transformed by setting my alarm a little earlier.
“The 5 A.M. Club” isn’t your average self-help book. Sharma is famous for his fable “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.” He uses his writing skills again in “The 5 A.M. Club” to weave a tale about two struggling strangers — an artist and an entrepreneur — and their eccentric, billionaire mentor. After joining the 5 A.M. Club, the artist and the entrepreneur find themselves exploring the world, from Italy to South Africa, learning how to harness their abilities and achieve self- mastery.
Robin Sharma has written an incredible book that I cannot recommend enough.
Let the Robots Do It Automation Has Come to Small Business
Running a small business means wearing many hats. More often than not, CEOs find themselves moonlighting as marketers, customer service specialists, human resources representatives, project managers, and just about any other job that needs doing. That’s why more and more entrepreneurs are exploring automation to free up their time and focus on growing their business rather than just keeping it afloat. Automation on Your Level In the past, automated systems were solely within the purview of big businesses. Applications for organization were either too expensive or too wide in scope to fit the needs of smaller companies, but those days are over. Plenty of tools have been developed to help you and your team reduce workloads and run more efficiently, no matter your company’s size. Reducing the Chaos Unless your business is large enough for several project managers, chances are that every employee is responsible for their own organization. This quickly leads to miscommunication, conflicting schedules, and roadblocked projects. Thankfully, many basic functions of a project manager have been automated thanks to applications like Apptivo.
With features to track tasks and submit timesheets, this scalable tool allows everyone to stay up to date on the logistics of business and make coordination a breeze. Response Time Is Everything Many small businesses hesitate to bring “bots” into customer-facing operations because they don’t want to lose their human touch. But humans are busy, and an unanswered request for a quote or a delayed response to a question will quickly give current and potential customers a bad impression. That’s why software like Keap exists. Keap allows you to send automated email responses at the first point of contact. This message can be as simple as an acknowledgment that their message was received and will be answered soon. The important part is that your customers are reassured that they are being heard. Far from making your business more robotic, automated tools allow your team to focus on what they do best. That means more time for thoughtful customer service emails, personalized interactions with customers, and well-executed projects. That’s something you and your clients will appreciate.
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... continued from Cover Be sure to teach your ants exactly what they need to do when they find a FSBO sign. Instruct them to use their cellphone to take a picture of the sign in the front yard with the phone number clearly visible. Next, they need to take a picture of the house with the street number in view. Then, they send an email with both pictures and the physical address of the property to you or your acquisitionist. Your ants aren’t calling the number or talking to sellers; that’s your team’s job. Ants just need to look for FSBO signs and send that information your way. Step 4: Offer Compensation How much should you pay ants for their work? $10 per lead. Every time an ant emails you the pictures and address, that’s a lead. In my experience, it takes around 15 of those leads for me to buy a house. On average, I’m paying $150 to make tens of thousands in profit. That’s not a bad investment in the ant farm. What if it takes 25 leads before you buy a house? Well, that’s $250 to make five figures. Fifty leads? $500 for tens of thousands in profit. The math shows how ant farms pay off. I’ve found that it’s also good to offer ants bonus compensation. When an ant sends me a lead that I actually buy, I’ll pay them an extra $500 to $1,000. Not only do they get the $10 per lead, but now they have incentive on every home you actually buy.
Be aware that there might be a challenge with that kind of bonus compensation. In some states, the Realtor association could construe paying bonuses as a form of commission, which would be like paying someone who doesn’t have a Realtor’s license for Realtor work. You have to be careful. Check your local laws first, because I don’t want any of my readers to get a cease-and-desist order from the Association of Realtors. If you aren’t able to pay bonus compensation in your state, I recommend paying your ants $20 a lead. You’ll still have a huge return on investment. That said, I like to give my team members bonuses when I can. So another way to compensate reliable ants is by paying them bonuses when they send a certain amount of leads. Once an ant has proven themselves by consistently sending in leads, pay them an extra $1,000 for every 15 leads they send in. Since there’s no payment on sales or purchases, you don’t have to worry about these bonuses being viewed at Realtor commission. Step 5: Have Your Team Follow Up The ant farm is a two-part strategy. When ants send in leads, you, your acquisitionist, or someone else on your team needs to follow up on those leads right away. When my acquisitionist or I receive a lead from an ant, the first thing we do is pull up the tax information from the public records. This gives us a good idea of the heated square footage of the property. Then we start making those outbound calls to fill out the property lead sheet and begin the negotiation process. To recap, in order to run a successful ant farm strategy, you must do the following:
Have You Heard the Good News ... As It Relates to “Working Hard”?
1. Choose your neighborhood 2. Hire ants 3. Set goals and expectations
4. Offer compensation 5. Follow up on leads
Oh, my lands! I almost forgot the most important step!
Proverbs 6:6-11 (NIV) 6 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7 It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, 8 yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 11 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.
Step 6: Close Deals and Make Money The ants brought in the leads. Now it’s your job to close the deals.
When done right, guerrilla marketing tactics, like the ant farm strategy, can pay off huge for your real estate investing business. These are the kinds of strategies I’ll be covering at my upcoming Live Event on Oct. 9, 10, and 11 in North Carolina! Turn this newsletter over to get all the details or get registered now at JaysLiveEvent.com.
I look forward to seeing you in person at my last Live Event of the year!
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PO Box 1276 Morehead City, NC 28557 INSIDE THIS ISSUE Guerrilla Marketing for Real Estate Investors pages 1 and 3 How Setting Your Alarm Can Change Your Life page 2 Automation Has Come to Small Business page 2 Don't Miss This Exclusive Mega- Money Event! page 4
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