How to Grow a Real Estate Business with Deadline Funnel.
I recently had the chance to talk with Jonathan Rivera from the Podcast Factory, about using Deadline Funnel in some unique ways. He runs a successful podcast consulting business and a real estate business.
Watch the video, read the transcript, or listen to the audio below!
JR: Jack, thank you for having me here. Everybody who tunes in, thank you for tuning in. Hopefully we can maybe share a tip or two that are useful for you, but I got to correct you. I actually have been using Deadline Funnel for a much longer time than that. I used it in my real estate business first and then I added it into the marketing business. When we started talking about that stuff for that podcast, I had already used it before to build our account. I started a new account because I’m like I know how it works and I know that it works and I’m excited to see which different ways I can make it work for me.
JB: Cool. Well, I’m glad that you corrected me because I definitely want to talk about the real estate business. Let’s start it there. Let’s go in sequential order. Most of the people that we talk to, like our typical client is someone who sells an online course or something digital and so there’s a ton of great applications for that. We’ve interviewed a lot of successful entrepreneurs and given some really insightful case studies, but I’m really excited to talk about how it can be used in real estate. How are you using it in this non-marketing, non-IM world?
JR: Well, I wouldn’t say it’s non-marketing. It’s heavy on the marketing, but it’s not necessarily the way that we would think about this IM world and that’s actually I guess one of the biggest hurdles. You’re feeding into one of my big problems. You make good software and I love buying software, right? One of the problems I’ve had as an entrepreneur coming up and it’s been 13 years or so that I’ve been out on my own, was just making sure that I’m using the right tool at the right time in the right place.
What I did when I first got online is, I started just learning all this stuff, didn’t apply any of it and my results were delayed for many, many years to the point where I almost quit because it was like oh, why doesn’t this work?
I’m following all the brightest, shiniest objects. I’m buying all the software. I’m investing in all this stuff, but I’m not doing anything. I had a mentor who helped me out and it’s Darin Persinger from the Making Agents Rich Show. He actually just woke me up. He’s like, “You’ve got all these skills, right? You’ve got this copywriting. You’ve got this marketing. You have internet skills that you can put stuff together online and you’re sitting around playing games here trying to sell $7, $15, $20 products and you’re letting your real estate business sit on the sideline. Why are you doing that?” I’m sitting there like, “I don’t know why I’m doing that. That’s a damn good question. Why am I doing that?”
I turned around and used all the stuff I learned online from guys like Ben Settle with daily emails, guys like you with the deadline. I took all that stuff out of this internet marketing world and plugged it into a real brick and mortar business which is my real estate business. I started using email marketing. Obviously I was already running ads. I knew ads before that. Then I added email marketing. Then I learned about scarcity and coupons and we’ll talk about all that. I started seeing immediate improvements in that business. While internet marketers are playing around trying to sell under 100 bucks and spending all this energy on that, I’m over here on this side selling $700 a month subscriptions because that’s what a rental is, it’s a monthly subscription, on the land where nobody else even does this stuff.
It’s kind of exciting when these old school people that are trying to compete against me in the rental market see what I’m doing. They don’t understand it because I’m light years ahead of them by taking all this IM stuff and applying it to a real business. Did I ramble on too much there?
JB: No. You touched on something that I wanted to ask you because we were talking about the real estate business, but obviously that’s not specific enough. I just want to be clear. Is your business model around a buy and hold type of strategy? Like you buy rental units and then you rent them out as the landlord?
JR: Yeah. That’s really what we have is rentals. I’ve learned a lot working in the rental business and I’ve learned that there’s like a 30-day cycle where your leads, if they don’t convert in 30 days, they probably aren’t going to convert at all. I’ve learned that the timeline to talk to them is much quicker where you might be thinking of nurturing somebody online for months. For me it’s like two weeks because most people are looking to move between now and the next four weeks or so usually. Learning all that stuff and all those little nuances has been interesting and I’m figuring out how to work that into the marketing that we’re doing.
JB: Very, very cool. I’m dying to know how do you use deadlines and specifically Deadline Funnel in your real estate rental business?
JR: All right. I told that you that I’ve had some good mentors, Ben Settle, a mutual friend of ours is one of them. That’s actually where this whole turning my IM thing to IRL, right, and real life is what I’m calling it, bricks and mortar. The first thing I thought about was Ben, right? Ben taught me to write daily emails. That was the first piece I plugged into the business. I plugged in daily emails. It’s an email a day for 14 days and then it’s like a Dean Jackson 9-Word email like seven days later, “Are you still looking for an apartment,” kind of thing, because I know that that timeline that we talked about is shorter. The first thing I did was the daily emails. I was already running ads on Craigslist. I was already running ads on Google Pay-Per-Click so that’s my traffic source.
They’re going to my website, which, my website is like bare bones. Just like here’s some information. Here’s where you opt-in. Then I went and got some 1920s influence. I forgot who it was. I don’t know. Anyways, I started adding coupons to the business. Everybody out there competing against me is like first month, last month, security deposit, your left testicle. They’re asking for everything. They’re asking for everything for you to move into the apartment. I saw an opportunity there where I said, “Well, you know security deposits suck.” This is a real estate lesson and people are going to just crap when they hear me say this because what a security deposit is …
It’s so complicated because you have to keep that in a separate escrow account. You can’t touch that. Then when they move out, you have to have a checklist of what’s coming off that security deposit and you have to do the accounting for that and then you have to return the unfinished portion. If you use it all, they’re pissed at you because they were counting on that as a savings account. In my mind security deposits complicate things. I came up with a coupon that said “no security deposit.” That’s all, right? I’m just turning the idea into a coupon and people were like, “Wow. No security deposit. I got to use this. I got to use this.” That worked for a while and it worked really well for us. In fact, it’s still working to this day. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We still use that “no security deposit” special.
What we did was we added a twist because we wanted more people calling quicker rather than sitting on the fence and making sure that we were getting the phone calls because we need phone calls so that we have appointments, so that we can close deals. I think it’s like that in most any business. What we did was we added Deadline Funnel or we, me. What I did, I’m going to take all the credit. Jack helped me by providing the software, but what I did was I added Deadline Funnel to it. I didn’t like that sometimes people weren’t responding right away. When I found out about your software, I’m like, “Hmm, kind of interesting. Maybe I can do a little twist on this coupon to increase that urgency that they have to use it.”
I also used AW Pro Tools to make all this happen too because you used to own that one too. I’m using all your stuff, right? I started doing the first email where I dropped the coupon. I put a Deadline Funnel on it say, “You have seven days to use this coupon.” Now it’s not only that they have a coupon that’s saving them 700 bucks, but they have a very limited time to get that 700 bucks. When we added that to the front, phone calls just start coming in. “Hey. Hey. Hey. I got the coupon. I got the coupon. I want to commit.” People just acting totally differently than the nonchalant “I lost my coupon” people.
We’ve kept that in the mix with a deadline for seven days and then their coupon goes from … It’s 700 now. It goes down to 350. They really have an incentive to use it in those first seven days. People come in with that thing printed up like, “Here. Here. Here. I don’t want to run out of time. If I called you, will you just mark it down so I don’t run out of time?” Stuff like that that I never really … I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.
JB: That is just awesome. That is really great. Before we had this conversation, I did not know that you were doing that. This is just amazing to hear about. I know that this isn’t really the point of the conversation, but my curiosity I’ve got to go in this direction. How do you as a landlord protect yourself? That’s what the security deposit is for. You’re going to paint the house or whatever. How do you mitigate that risk? Is it something you guys built into the rest of your financial model?
JR: Yeah. It’s a way of looking at it. First of all, maintaining a separate account and maintaining accounting for all that. There is a cost to that for us as business owners with the bookkeeping, with managing that, with having that on the side. To me it’s annoying stuff. When you do this long enough, you’re going to realize that your security deposit doesn’t cover much. Like for instance, if we took the whole 700 bucks, just to carpet alone would cost that to replace. Not the appliances, not the paint, not the light fixtures. It’s really such a small little thing that it covers that I don’t think it is a big risk to us. Now I could be wrong, but so far I’ve seen it work out for us.
What happens with the way that we have our funnel set up based on kind of scarcity, exclusivity, because we only have so many units, we only have one available right now and we have a bunch of people applying for them because we have marketing, we have new leads coming in, cold leads, we have referrals coming in, we have renewals coming in. With all that stuff, it gives us a larger pool of people to choose from. What it has done for us in our place is help us elevate the game, right? Because if somebody is not of high quality, they’re going to probably ruin the place. When you get more and more applications, you get to say, “All right. These are our standards. These people meet or exceed the standards,” and then you choose the best one.
We start looking at more applications and we see, “This guy’s been at his job 23 years. Been renting his apartment for 16 years. Yeah, I don’t think there’s a risk there.” We’re going to rent to those people that are really well established. I mean we look at everybody that meets our criteria, but we have so many candidates come in that we get to choose the best if that makes sense.
JB: Yeah. You have better lead flow. You can be choosier. You mitigate your risk that way. From what I’ve heard, one of the biggest expenses in that business is having a unit sitting unoccupied. You reduce the time that it’s unoccupied. That’s brilliant. Very, very cool. Before we switch to your digital enterprises and podcasting and those sorts of things, is there anything else that we haven’t covered about how you’re using deadlines in coupons in your real estate business or should we move on to the digital?
JR: Yeah. I think it’s a matter of having a real world value and having something that they can lose for real. Paying no security deposit versus paying 700 is a big impact for middle-class income. Making sure that you have some scarcity in place around something that actually matters, that’s probably a key in why this works for us.
Making sure that you have some scarcity in place around something that actually matters, that’s probably a key in why this works for us.
JB: Beautiful. Why don’t you talk about your podcasting business or anything that you want to in terms of how you’re using deadlines in your digital market?
JR: Couple ways. Let’s see. Let’s start off with the geekier way, right? I’m going to give you credit because you and Anthony and your team and all that stuff, you guys are in that little bottom corner anytime I need help box like, “Come save me. I don’t know what’s going on.” You guys have awesome support. It allows me to do weird things with this software. One of the things that I was testing out for the last couple of months is I run The Podcast Factory. We do podcast production, products, all that kind of stuff, help people build their authority. I don’t have any info products. I don’t have any low-ticket stuff so to speak. My whole close is let’s do an application. Let’s find out if you’re a good fit for me and I’m a good fit for you and I can help you get the results you’re looking for.
I do that all by application and phone call. Not very techie, right? What I wanted to do was figure out how I can integrate a deadline because I know how powerful they are in my real estate business. I know that people won’t get up off their ass unless they have a hard deadline staring down at them and they have to make a decision. I wanted to integrate Deadline Funnels into my process. My funnel is very uncomplicated. You hear about me and you think you want to get a podcast done for you. You go to a page. You get on my waiting list because it’s not always open. It’s definitely not open the day you sign up. I can guarantee you that. I wanted to do a rolling, like a rolling type of thing.
What I figured out was by using a web hook with Deadline Funnel and my autoresponder that I could have a seven day deadline so that way I can open it up once every seven days and give them a countdown, right? I don’t even know how to explain this nerdiness. You guys walked me through all of this when I was setting it up, but somebody signs up today. It’s Tuesday or Wednesday. By Friday, well, they get hit with the web hooks so the countdown starts in the background. They don’t even know it, right? By Friday, I’m saying, “All right. Monday I’m going to take applications. Be ready.” Saturday it’s a couple more emails. “Applications opening up Monday.” Sunday, “Hey. Applications opening up on Monday.”
By the time they get there Monday, that’s the page where they first see the deadline and depending on where they signed up, it’s only going to be a seven day deadline. If they signed up seven days ago, the scarcity is this thing’s closing today. If they signed up four days ago, they still have three more days, but they’re forced into that zone of thinking, “All right. I signed up for this. All right. Time’s counting down. Am I going to take action on it?” It has increased by close rates like … I need to increase my prices I think because my close rates have gone up. Because it used to be like a 30% close rate and lately I’m running at like 50 or 60. I think that prices need to go up.
That scarcity and forcing them into making a decision has been really instrumental in getting more applications and getting me on the phone with more qualified people.
JB: Awesome. That’s fantastic. By the way, for anyone who wants to start a podcast, why don’t you talk a little bit about what The Podcast Factory does. Give out your URL and just give a short little I’ll call it commercial, but just tell people like what sort of needs you fill that are currently unmet if someone doesn’t get with you?
JR: Yeah. Look, there’s tons of people that do podcast and I encourage you to look at all them. That’s fine. What I do is I work with busy business owners who don’t want to build teams, who don’t want to get into the tech stuff, who just want to get their ideas out into the world as simply as possible. What we do is we plug our team into their operation. We help them have a podcast. Get all that stuff done for them so all they’re doing is talking into a mic. We’re taking care of the rest and then they get to market it. If you’re busy and you want to get your message out there, but you don’t want the learning curve, that’s kind of where we help out.
We usually work best with people that are established. Like you have to have an email list. You have to have products for sale. You have to have a marketing budget because it’s easy for me to help you amplify your results. If you have no results, there’s nothing to amplify. Plain and simple. You can find out about me at ThePodcastFactory.com.
JB: You got extra close to the microphone to make sure that came through nice and clear.
JR: I’m a pro. You know that. That’s what I do.
JB: The phrase that I always heard from Perry Marshall, from my years with Perry Marshall who would say, “You can’t steer a parked car.” In the same way I tell people all the time, so I’d be like, “Deadline Funnel’s going to amplify whatever you have going on. If you’ve got bad marketing and a bad product, you’re not communicating it right, it’s not a magic bullet. It does some incredible things, but it’s not going to take something that’s DOA and breathe life into it.” The podcast business, that’s another interesting application because that’s still outside the normal realm of what our typical client does. Like a typical client has someone who comes in and it’s …
Actually the way that you’re applying it is pretty similar because I’ve interviewed other people like James Schramko who do rolling launches and things like that. I kind of get the sense that there’s yet another business under the Jonathan Rivera umbrella. Is there another application for how you’re using Deadline Funnel?
JR: Actually not even another business, but maybe closer to what people are doing. I’m about to get all cliché on you. High-ticket sales. That’s the thing, high-ticket. I sell high-ticket, right? Let’s talk about high-ticket if you’re going stuff like that. Like our packages start at three grand and 600 a month and they go up from there. That’s probably high-ticket. One of the things that I’ve noticed is when I get on my sales calls because you won’t find anything on my website about what we charge, what we do or any of that stuff because I need to talk to you to make sure that you’re a good fit and we’re a good fit or else I don’t want to waste anybody’s time, but what I found in these calls is there’s usually about two or three things that people need. Actually I got this … Did Igor Kheifets have you on his show? I don’t know if you’ve talked to him yet.
JB: I think we talked, but I don’t think we’ve connected yet.
JR: Anyways, sometimes he schools me. I co-host a show with him, “List Building Lifestyle,” and he’s another Deadline Funnels user by the way. He’s like, “You got to get people something.” On the sales calls I used to not do it. On the sales calls it’ll just be like, “This is it. Is it a fit or not,” and that’s it. He’s like, “You’ve to give something that you can takeaway to help motivate them. You have to have some sort of scarcity there.” I didn’t really do that in the beginning probably because I was charging really cheap and people would always just sign up like, “Oh, that’s it? Yeah. Here you go. Take my credit card.” That’s probably part of it. As I went raising my prices, things changed. My numbers changed a little bit.
Igor told me you got to have some sort of takeaway. What I figured out is in most off the people I talk to they either want to build their authority further by using the podcast and leveraging that. They probably want to get interviews done or guest booking or stuff like that and there’s people that are looking for leads. They might be more motivated by a bonus, perhaps me helping them create a mini product to help them get there. Opt-ins. There’s yet another person every once in a while, I get flexible on this, it’s very rare, but if somebody’s got a little bit of a price sensitivity, sometimes I say, “Well, that’s the trigger,” right? If somebody wants interviews, I offer them as a bonus sign up the next 24 hours and I’ll hook you up with that one month of our podcast blitz.
Somebody wants the mini product thing or wants to come up with a product, sign up next 24 hours and we’ll do that. I took it to the price sensitive people because I felt like they needed more motivation. Every once in a while if they’re referred to me by someone who has my old pricing and has given it away, sometimes I’ll get close to that or honor it.
What I do is I have a deadline link. After the phone call I do a followup, your podcast show and I recap the conversation. I’m just sitting there taking notes when I talk to people. I recap our conversation, their goals and everything. I say, “It seems like maybe I might be able to help you make this decision a little bit easier. Here’s a link where if you sign up you’ll save 30%,” let’s say, right? 30%, but it’s only for the next 24 hours. They click the link. They get hit with my Deadline Funnel cookie and there it is right on my SamCart page, countdown. As soon as it disappears, the price goes up.
I have the second page set up for full price after they’re done with their countdown. That has been working interestingly for me. I don’t like to get too many price sensitive people, but I guess when it’s a referral, I will be a little more flexible because that’s a better deal for me. I have to pay for that lead. It’s been working for me quite interestingly to see people like tripping over themselves to give me money. That’s kind of a fun application as well.
JB: That’s awesome. Let’s finish up with … Would you be willing to talk about how we kind of work together with Kevin Rogers? I know that you said there’s numbers that you can’t share or you don’t have yet, but can we talk about how you’re planning on using that with Kevin Rogers, one of your clients?
JR: We actually used it and we used it for a very short time. We didn’t get to run it that long. We changed up the way we were doing things. The way it was set up is similar. This is where I got the idea when you gave us the idea of using it for Kevin like that, that’s when I took it and I implemented it into my rolling deal. I’m talking nerd talk. None of this shit makes any sense if you’re following along and all. It’s fine. The way that we did it was Kevin has Copy Chief, a forum, a community that you can join. Monthly membership I think it’s 100 bucks a month or something like that. What he does is he keeps it closed and he only opens it up three or four times a year, something like that.
We were trying to figure out how we could get more action from the podcast. When we were all sitting around at that table, you helped us come with the idea where we were going to go ahead and give people 24 hours to sign up for Copy Chief by following the URL we gave on the show. It was a special URL. Go to this URL. Skip the line at Copy Chief because there’s all these people waiting for the doors to open. You have 24 hours to join. It actually was working like from podcast to sale, right? That’s something most people can’t do. It was because we had something of real value just like I told you the coupon and saving money off that, off the security deposit was real-world value. These people couldn’t get into Copy Chief and now they had a 24 hour window. They already knew Copy Chief. They were interested in Copy Chief or they wouldn’t be listening.
They probably know it’s closed and when they hear that call-to-action on the show, they go there and they’re hit with the deadline like, “Join now. You got 24 hours because if not, it goes away and you can’t get in and you’re back on the wait.” It’s like taking the velvet rope, unclicking it. You coming in? We made some sales with that. We actually directly from the podcast started making sales. I wish we could run it a little longer to get some more data, but it did work.
JB: That’s great. Awesome. Jonathan, this has been really enlightening. Very, very enjoyable to hear you talk about all the different ventures that you’re in. I want to have more conversations with you offline about how you’re running your real estate business, but right now I want to say thank you for your time and sharing how you’re using it in your various different enterprises. If you could, lean back into the microphone and make sure everyone heard the podcast.
JR: It’s right here.
JB: There you go.
JR: ThePodcastFactory.com. If you like the Jack and you like the way that he thinks, a lot of the people that he hangs out with, a lot his contemporaries are over at The Podcast Factory. We’re just waiting for Jack to come onboard, but marketing, closing sales, all that kind of stuff, you can go there and listen to shows. We have something like 15 or 20 shows there that you can listen to right now. 15 different hosts talking about different stuff. ThePodcastFactory.com.
JB: Very cool. Thank you so much, Jonathan.
JR: Thank you.
Mentioned in this article:
The Making Agents Rich Show, https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/making-agents-rich-show-darin-persinger-jonathan-rivera/id668386075?mt=2
Ben Settle, http://www.bensettle.com/
9-Word Email, http://emailcashsecrets.com/
The Podcast Factory, http://thepodcastfactory.com/
James Schramko, https://www.superfastbusiness.com/
Perry Marshall, https://www.perrymarshall.com/
Copy Chief https://copychief.com/