When you’re building your business, you can only stretch your time and energy so far. That’s what happened to us when we first started investing in mobile homes. And we realized the only way we could level up further to reach our next audacious goals is to automate and delegate some of our tasks.
What a lot of our mentors told us is that most of the time YOU are the bottleneck of your business. It’s you as the business owner, you as the entrepreneur, that needs to get out of your own way. And the way that you do that is by utilizing other tools and other people to help grow your business.
So in this blog we’re going to introduce you to the top ways that we automate and delegate certain tasks within our mobile home investing business.
- Why is Automation important?
- We’ve found delegating these tasks works for us
- Customer Service
- Acquisitions and Dispositions
Why is Automation important?
First and foremost, it helps your business grow and scale. Without automation, there’s no way you can actually grow. There’s no way you can scale because you’re doing so many things on your own.
As a business owner you can’t focus on EVERYTHING. Of course you want to have a good understanding of what’s going on in every area of your business. But that doesn’t mean you should be doing every single job, driving yourself crazy and getting nowhere fast.
You need to be able to utilize and leverage other people’s time, other people’s brains and other people’s resources, to be able to help you grow and help your vision grow.
Another huge importance of automation is to be able to track your metrics, to predict trends. And our accelerator students know about the metrics because we guide them on their metrics in their business.
What are you doing each and every week for marketing? How many inspections are you doing each and every week? How many sellers are you speaking with? How many park managers? All of those are things you want to be tracking. And being able to automate that through systems is going to help you save you a lot of time instead of trying to manually track things.
Usually, some people might say they’ve got 20 hours per week to give to their business. But if you’re not actually tracking what you’re doing, you’re just merely saying you have 20 hours. And you’re not getting to success because you can’t measure what you’re not tracking. You have no idea what tasks to do more of, or less of, every day in order to get to success.
Automation is going to help you focus on what you do best, which should be serving clients and closing deals. As an investor you want to be focusing on finding more deals, finding more people to serve and closing more deals.
Outside of that, answering the phone, doing emails, and a lot of that stuff is not the best use of your time. So, we want to get that off your plate as soon as possible.
With automation tools you will find that inefficiencies and manual errors will also reduce. This is going to help reduce clerical mistakes or admin errors, and reduce the chances of you misplacing information.
When we were starting out, we made so many errors in our work every day. We were writing information on envelopes, losing the envelopes… we were everywhere. And that’s just part of the human error of having everything on your own plate and not having the tools and the technology to help you.
It’s also going to increase consistency of output and productivity. When you guys start delegating certain items within your business, you’ll be surprised how fast you can really grow and how better you feel throughout the day, because you have more energy. And then honestly, you’ll be looking for more things within your business that you can delegate.
We’ve found delegating these tasks works for us
What most new investors do is they’re the head in charge and they’re the head of everything in their business. Most people start here, but it’s not always a bad thing.
Because when you’re first getting started you need to know the job. You need to know the responsibility before you delegate it. You have to figure out what works, what doesn’t work, how to present yourself and your business and your brand in front of your customers.
There’s a lot of things that you experience and learn by doing it this way. You wouldn’t get the experience or learn if you just tried to outsource it from the beginning. And you don’t want to necessarily trust someone that’s just doing a job to build your business. That’s just not how it works.
That same someone might not trust you either if you’re delegating a role and they’re doing the job. Let’s just say they’re having some obstacles and they’re not doing it as well as you would like them to. They might not respect your judgment because you haven’t necessarily done it yourself.
As a new investor, this is normal though. This is where a lot of people start off.
But what we want to transition to, and what we’ve found actually works best, is delegating certain areas of our business. One of them being marketing.
Of course, this is the lifeblood of our business. We have to be consistent with marketing. That is huge. As a new business you have to get your message out there. We have to be consistent with our marketing and track our metrics. This includes online and offline marketing.
Tracking is going to be able to help you figure out what you need to cut and what you need to change before it’s too late. If you’re just throwing your marketing out there and crossing your fingers, that’ll only get you so far. Tracking is huge.
Another big area that we love to outsource is our customer service. So this is really just keeping all of our clients organized, making sure that we’re having consistent communication with them, and the right communication with the right person.
We want to make sure someone is available when you’re not. That’s the biggest way to gain more trust with clients. When you’re starting out it’s okay if you at least have a voicemail when you’re not available. But there’s nothing like that human touch.
Someone should be on your team who can pick up the phone when you’re not available, or at least some sort of email or text response. The constant availability of communication gives the impression of professionalism. So that the client doesn’t feel like ‘Okay, I called, I’m trying to reach out but I get nothing.’
Another area we love to outsource is acquisitions and dispositions. Acquisitions is where we’re trying to actually purchase the property and get that under contract. And disposition is when you’re selling the property. So, both of those we look to save our time as much as possible.
We love having virtual assistants to take over repetitive tasks as well as boots on the ground for inspection and pictures. Again, we want to focus on what we do best.
One of our very favorite tools that we’ve been using since the beginning is called Call Rail.
It’s basically a phone system that allows you to have multiple phone numbers, to be able to track your marketing, and also record your calls.
For every single campaign we put out, it allows us to have a different phone number on it and track the responses. So based on the different territory areas or the type of marketing (offline or online) we keep separate phone numbers so we can track how well each campaign is performing compared to the others.
Finding what works best in marketing is all about testing. Whenever you’re running your test, whatever’s performing best is what you’re going to keep hammering away at. That’s how you make sure you’re just focused on the best marketing campaigns that you’ve had.
And the other good thing about Call Rail is when you’re utilizing other people to take phone calls or make phone calls for you, they can record the calls and listen to them.
We did this a whole lot in the beginning just to make sure we weren’t missing anything. Let’s just say you take 24 hours to get back to your client. Before you call them back you can quickly go over that previous call and check if you’ve missed anything that can help you close the deal.
It helps you improve your call quality as well. The recordings can be used to coach team members on how to handle calls. And the metrics can be used to find out why certain calls are taking longer than others.
So we use them for both of those features all the time in our business.
The next tool that we utilize in our business a lot is Fiverr.
Fiverr has changed a lot since we started using it. Everything was $5 before but not so much anymore. For the most part you can really find inexpensive assistance to help you.
Fiverr is great for things like creating websites, creating sales pages, even online marketing and email marketing. We find a lot of our data scrubbers are just using Fiverr.
So, there’s a lot of people on this site in other countries that are willing to work for a fraction of the price that you would pay somebody in America – we’re talking $3, $4, or $5 an hour. They’re willing to do a lot of these manual tasks.
If you’re sitting there creating your own website right now, please don’t. Pay somebody $10 to create a website for you.
You can get really inexpensive data scrubbing, website design, branding for your business, business card design, flyers and anything else you need to make in order to reach out to your buyer’s list. All you have to do is search for what you need.
So don’t take your time doing this. For anything that can be done on the computer, that can be outsourced to someone in another country, take advantage of Fiverr. Because what you need to be focused on is revenue generating activities. If it’s not a revenue generating activity you need to ask yourself if it’s something that you can delegate.
You guys might have heard us talk about this tool that we use called Active Campaign.
We love Active Campaign because honestly this one tool alone saved our business. We used to write things down on the nearest envelope or nearest sticky note or a piece of paper. And Active Campaign helped us get rid of all of those bad habits.
The main thing with any type of customer relationship management tool (CRM) is you’re trying to keep your customers organized and you want a place where you can communicate with them very easily. So Active Campaign has a ton of those features.
Active Campaign helps you automate your messages. We’re talking about emails and texts, even follow-ups. The key to getting some of the best deals is simply following up. But when you’re doing everything in your business, writing things on multiple pieces of paper, it’s hard to keep up with that and simply just follow up.
So, you can actually set tasks and due dates for each particular client that you speak to. And it’ll send you a reminder that these tasks are due.
And as you start to build your team, you need a place where you can communicate with multiple people about the leads going on. This is going to help your ability to build your team and collaborate on different things.
You can also take notes about the client. You might have not talked to them for 2 months, but you can easily pick right back up because you’re able to make notes in there and track your inventory.
We got so many calls every week where buyers ask us what is in our inventory. So when it comes to inventory you can just take a second and say, ‘Hey, give me a moment. Let me pull that up right now.’ And literally in that tab, go through all your inventory, possibly set up a buyer and close the deal.
We’ve tried a bunch of other CRMS and this has just been the most user-friendly out there. So, we can’t say enough good things about Active Campaign. There’s also a free CRM out there called Streek if you prefer starting out that way.
The next service that we absolutely love and have been using pretty much the entire time we’ve been running our own business is PATLive.
We’re talking about a 24/7 call center, guys. Some of you are working full time jobs, some of you are working overtime, but you still have calls that randomly pop up. And nothing beats the human touch.
The great thing is that the representatives at PATLive can actually take your calls for you. They can actually fill out all the information in a form. They can email that to you. They can put it right into your CRM so that you literally just see a new deal pop up.
And don’t worry about writing the script. You can literally use the same script that’s in our program. We’ve done that and it works really well. We have been using the scripts that you guys are getting in our program. That’s why they’re tested, proven, and tweaked until we’ve got the right formula. So don’t make this complicated.
If you use our link for PATLive you’ll get 5% off.
This is one of the very first things that we outsourced. Because as you’re out there looking at properties, and doing more things for your business, stopping to answer the phone every time can really get in the way. And you’re missing opportunities if there’s no one to answer the phone call.
It’s not cheap. But as you’ve done a couple of deals and you are starting to really build your business, invest in something like this. Invest in saving your time. This has been super helpful for us to be able to scale.
Acquisitions and Dispositions
When it comes to acquisitions and dispositions, we love Upwork. We use it for hiring virtual assistants to do manual tasks.
We get a lot of our virtual assistants from Upwork. It just seems that they have a little bit more qualified long-term help than Fiverr. With Upwork we’ve actually found some really great virtual assistants that have been on our team for months, even longer that you can utilize right through this app.
You’ve got to pay a little bit more with Upwork, but you’re going to have a better quality person, as well as better communication. It’s going to be a lot easier to communicate with them each and every day.
It’s very similar to Fiverr. You can search for people, you can also put out your own job posts so that people can respond and apply to the jobs that you have.
And when we’re talking about jobs we’re talking about things like scrubbing data, doing research on your market, responding to the buyers, making follow up calls, updating your calendar, setting up inspection appointments.
We even have them send out paperwork when we’re using DocuSign to sign documents virtually. We have them do all that. We train them very well and we have them take away all of those tasks that would have us in reactive mode.
Virtual assistants have saved us so much time over the years. They’re just able to help you provide that consistency that your business needs, especially when it comes to posting up ads consistently on different listing sites, making sure they’re posted up quickly and responded to quickly, as well as sending out priority communication to the best people on your buyer’s list.
You can bill and track their time straight from the Upwork website.
And finally, one more service that we like to use is called We Go Look. It’s pretty much a service where they have a team of people that can actually go in and inspect different properties for you.
Now they do a lot of cars and RVs and things like that, but they will inspect mobile homes. And you can basically get them to inspect it pretty much anywhere in America. This is great if you’re out of town because it helps you keep moving the deals forward.
They do a pretty good inspection of everything. They’ll even inspect the titles for you. They’re professional inspectors so you’re going to get good quality photos that you can use for your ads. And their inspection reports are about $100 a piece. However, the last time we called you had to buy a certain amount of inspection reports upfront.
Nonetheless, if you’re going to be doing a lot of inspections and you’ve got leads coming in, this is a great service to have on your team. And it’s going to save you a ton of time from having to drive out to every single inspection. They give you a ton of pictures and a ton of information on the product.
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