Imagine a road with a toll booth every 10 miles. You enter the highway, pay to go through the toll booth and then drop the hammer.
Within a few mind-blistering minutes you get to the toll booth…
… Where you slam on the brakes and you skid to a halt in line, waiting.
You watch in yawn-ish boredom as the slow-moving Sunday drivers root around in their ash tray for change. Finally it’s your turn and you throw your coins at the toll booth collector and then you drop the hammer again.
Another mind-blistering few minutes and you’re at the next toll booth… waiting.
Sure, those few minutes between each toll booth are moments of the purest joy as the scenery blurs past your peripheral vision. Sure, for those few minutes you are a bullet — passing grandpas and soccer moms and delivery trucks. Sure, for a couple of minutes you are Superman.
It seems like you’re going faster… but those toll booths are like cold water on your joy, giving all those other slow-pokes a chance to catch up.
THIS IS HAPPENING IN YOUR INVESTING BIZ RIGHT NOW
You are tweaking each of the pieces in your biz, maybe testing new postcards, investing in better response copy, experimenting with multiple mailings, speeding up your ability to close a reluctant seller… whatever.
Your marketing is returning better and better responses…
But then you channel all those callers to your phone.
Your marketing is becoming a high performance sports car but YOU are the toll both.
More sellers and better sellers are getting in touch but you are still there, answering the phone — interrupting that sexy date to answer the phone or pretending that you’re not in a public washroom when a seller calls.
And what happens if two motivated sellers call at the same time? Or three? It happens: They get home at the end of their busy day, they see your awesome postcard and, because they’re motivated, they dial your number. So when 5:30 pm rolls around, your phone seems to ring off the hook for a few minutes. You talk to two or three and the rest go to voicemail.
THIS APPROACH SUCKS
Okay, maybe that was a little critical. I get it. That’s what you have to do early on in your biz, until you can put together some $$$ to hire someone to answer the phone for you.
But it’s a problem. And as long as you are THE person in your business — the one who answers the phone and signs the contracts and faxes stuff and inspects the properties and whatever — as long as you are that person, you are a toll booth slowing down the potential galloping pace that your business could be running.
I’m not saying this to dissuade you from investing in better marketing (for the same reason that I don’t like poking myself in the eye) but I am saying this to tell you: You can invest in better marketing all you want but until you also invest in better systems, your better marketing can only achieve so much. It will give you a bump in the deals you do but it’s not a silver bullet on its own.
HERE’S THE SOLUTION
Think of your business as being built on two things: Marketing and systems. Each one needs your attention. A business with great systems but no marketing has no customers (and that’s a topic for another day). But often in this biz, investors end up with great marketing but no systems and they scratch their head and wonder why they aren’t seeing a huge bump in business.
Dude, it has very little to do with the marketing. A predictable return from marketing is great, and you should work at improving it. But when all of that high performance marketing speeds customers to you… only to have them wait in line at your toll booth… your business is broken.
Before you invest in more marketing, more branding, a better website, a higher-returning mailer, think about this: What will happen when more people start getting in touch? What systems do you have in place to handle the increase?
Systems are not my area of expertise. I have systems in my investing business and I work with clients who have them. I can give you some advice on what systems might be helpful for you. But it depends on your business and your goals.
What you need to do right now is outline the steps that your sellers take as they move through your sales funnel and determine what parts are going well and where YOU are the bottleneck. Then set up systems to eliminate the bottleneck.
Invest in high performance marketing but, at the same time, tear down those toll booths.