You're listening to the “REI Marketing Nerds” podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of AdWords Nerds, a high-tech digital agency, focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition, and live a freer, more awesome life. And, now, your host, Dan Barrett.
Dan: All right, hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the REI Marketing Nerds podcast. As always, this is Daniel Barrett here from AdWordsNerds.com, and, look, if you need help with your online marketing strategy to find more motivated-seller leads and deals online, you know where to go. It is AdWordsNerds.com. [01:04.0]
Now, this week, man, this interview that I have for you guys is absolutely awesome. This was one of my favorite interviews I’ve ever done and I'm talking this week to Robert Syfert.
Now, if you don't know Robert, he is truly a Renaissance man in the real estate investing space and, in fact, he is involved in so many different projects that I almost don't have time to go over them in this introduction. I'm going to let Robert talk about a lot of what he does in the actual interview. But if you are thinking that his name sounds familiar, you might know him from RealEstateInvestor.com. Robert is an incredible source of information on what it takes to be successful, how to run a successful business in real estate and otherwise, how to live your life so that you are constantly growing and improving. [02:00.8]
I’ve got so much from this interview and I'm so excited for you to hear it. Without any further ado, let's get into my interview with Robert Syfert.
Dan: All right. I am here with Robert Syfert, and Robert, you can find more about him at IAmRob360.com. Robert, how are you, my friend? Welcome to the show.
Robert: I am great, Dan. Thanks for having me today.
Dan: All right, before I say this nine million more times, do you go by Robert or Rob? Which do you prefer?
Robert: I go by both. Robert is the most common in the industry because, really, I just started going by Robert when I got into business, and everyone else, all my close friends know me as Rob.
Dan: All right. No Bob.
Robert: No, my dad goes by Bob, so, I don't know, I think I left that to him and I'm a junior, so I'm Robert and he's Bob. [02:55.2]
Dan: All right, that is perfect. Welcome to the show. I'm super happy to have you. You have a sprawling resume, which I'm super excited to touch on in a bunch of different ways, but for people who don't know you, aren't familiar with you yet, let's start with your origin story. All right, so how did you get into real estate investing? What was your into this kind of your industry that we both share?
Robert: Yeah, I'll give you the short long short version, cap down what could be a long story into some bullet points.
Robert: I fell in love with real estate when I was 18 and saw Russ Whitney commercial and it was just basically like if his parents only owned a house besides theirs, they would have retired totally differently. From that moment, I would drive up and down streets, going to school and just being a kid like, Ooh, look at that ugly house. That could get fixed up and make the town beautiful, and they could rent that out, and just my mind started wandering on it. [03:58.0]
Now, I was the epitome of a kid who grew up in a household, blessed. My parents had been married for almost 45 years or 45 years now, somewhere around there, so blessed in that regard—and sabotaged as an entrepreneur, in the sense that I had to go to school, I had to get good grades, I had to go get a good job and that was the only way that you could get ahead in life.
So, I just always looked at houses, drove around, never really did anything with it, and then spent a decade always just fascinated by it, got into the Carleton Sheets programs and got all these things, and studied more and studied more and read more.
I eventually read a Rich Dad, Poor Dad book, and then read all of his series. Still just kept studying and thinking real estate was awesome, trying to convince other companies as I escalated corporate ladders in finance and mortgage and insurance, and just never crossed the bridge. I even went to a Rich Dad, Poor Dad seminar as a treat to myself for one of my birthdays right back before the crash. [05:02.4]
Then eventually something clicked. A mentor that I had in the finance industry in actually what would be considered the worst time in my life to get into real estate—because I was dead broke, about to get evicted, about to lose our cars—I made the decision to burn all my bridges and go a hundred percent into real estate, because there was an epiphany that I was always studying, thinking that I needed to know more and that I didn't know enough and that it was that, that lack of additional knowledge, like, Oh, the right LLC, the right contract, the right script, the right ______ (fill in the blank), that was holding me back.
Something he said clicked to say, Oh, the secret is I just haven’t poured all of my focus into actually doing this, because I had actually attempted real estate, too, right before that and failed miserably and then closed a deal. Then when I went all in, I mean, everything changed. I'm not telling anyone to go do what I did, but that is my origin story, so I went one hundred percent into real estate and never looked back, and that was 2013 transitioning into 2014, and that was it. [06:08.2]
Since then, obviously, everything you see on that resume I think is me taking all the years of study and learning and not taking action, and flipping it upside down and rewiring my own brain to go in such a massive “yes” action mode, almost like my attempt to make up for all the years I lost out on in my way.
Dan: Yeah, that's fascinating to me because, one, you mentioned being clearly drawn to it even really young, right?
Dan: And the other thing that jumped out to me was you going to this Rich Dad, Poor Dad seminar. First of all, it's a treat, which is really funny to me because that's a hundred percent I'm like, Oh, for my birthday, get me this program I have to work through that's going to be awesome. Going to the seminar is a treat. Literally right before … you're talking about right before 2008, essentially, right before the crash. [07:01.8]
Robert: It was during. Yeah, it was in ’07 or ’08. I'd have to look up the certificate from when I passed it, but, yeah, somewhere during the crash. I was in the mortgage industry at the time, so it was a little different for me.
Dan: Oh, no.
Robert: But, no, I'm sorry. I think it was ’08, because I think I transitioned to auto mortgages. Yeah, I did transition because I was at a finance company at that point, so the crash had already started to occur and the mortgage industry imploded on me.
Dan: Yes, it really imploded, right?
Robert: It did.
Dan: I'm curious, what about real estate attracted you so much to it? Because it's not just that it attracted you early. You also maintained that interest and that drive, and enough of an interest in drive, just like you said, to go all in through these really volatile periods. It's not like this was a period where every single person is getting rich and going into real estate seems like the best idea ever, right? You had to keep that interest through these kind of up-and-down periods. What do you think it is about real estate that makes it so interesting to you or so attractive? [08:06.4]
Robert: I'm going to answer this question in a very odd way, only because I have the advantage of now looking through the lens of where I'm at and being able to look backwards, and because I would have given you a different answer in those moments, right, like, wow, it's just the math. I think the math side of my brain was drawn to the mathematical formula of the rental property and the cash flow and the return on investment.
Then, as I got into other things and got into the finance industry and mortgages, I could more clearly see that real estate was the opportunity to amass real wealth and generational wealth through my family and take care of my kids at a different level than I had. My parents worked and they both had middle-class incomes, so I was never starving or not having a roof over my head, but I also didn't have stuff I saw other kids have.
There's that part of the answer, which is the part that everyone expects or wants to hear, right? There’s massive money in real estate. There's a lot of work that goes along with it to create it. That’s the part most people don't see until they get into it. [09:04.8]
Dan: Yeah, just skip that part. Let's just go back to the building money part.
Robert: Yeah, just skip that part. I did. When I went all in, I didn't think it was going to be a lot of work. I thought it was just you just clicked a button and you’d make a bunch of money. I learned the hard way that that was not true.
But I would tell you, now looking back at all the culmination of things I’ve been through and where I'm at today, the biggest thing that has connected me to real estate is that I believe we're all born with a sole purpose in life. I believe it's implanted in our DNA and it's who we are, and so I believe that became obvious to me at 18 and I was not getting ahead in life to the level that I could have because I was, as I think most people do, suppressing that calling that I had inside of myself.
It's the reason I was drawn to it no matter what. It's the reason it never became a thought that I didn't think about. It was the reason I always wanted to go do more or learn more about it. Yet that voice in my head was continuing to say, You can't do it for this reason, that reason, this reason. That was the calling, right? Other people have whatever theirs is. I love fitness, too, but I don't have that same calling or drive. [10:09.8]
I believe there's just something in all of us that, if we really sit down and get quiet with ourselves, we know what that thing is because it's the thing that we've avoided most of our life. Hopefully, we go all in at some point on that, because that's the thing we're supposed to do. I believe it's the thing we're meant to do. Then, as you go down that path, the sprawling resume I had is nothing more than me starting to go down that path I was called to at a young age and avoided, and doors continuing to open and open and open. Me now, especially now being very aware of that, that I'm very aware that this feels like I'm supposed to go in this direction. There's a voice in me saying I need to go this way, and so now I do.
Dan: Yeah, and if someone is listening to this and they feel like they don't know what their purpose is or what their thing is, if you're going to talk to someone like that, would you say that the way that you know you found it-- or let me rephrase that question. [11:08.6]
How do you know when you’ve found it, when you’ve found that thing? Because, obviously, it's not always easy. It is like you said, there's a lot of hard work in real estate. I'm sure there are days when it's like, Oh, this day didn't go great and it wasn't the best time. How do you know that you are on the right track in terms of finding that one thing that is really going to be your purpose?
Robert: I think it's a double-edged sword and it's very hard to get it until you get it. First and foremost, I think it shows up as the thing that makes you uncomfortable, right? That thing that you avoid is almost always, ironically, the thing that you're supposed to do.
Robert: That's why you're avoiding it, and when you know that it's right, for me, I find that once I do that uncomfortable thing, it may not become easy. It may not be like, Ooh, I'm wealthy overnight, right, like that massive shift, but I do find extreme peace. [12:05.8]
Almost like there's a ton of stress. I'm avoiding this thing. There's a ton of stress. I'm avoiding this thing. I do this uncomfortable thing, and I can be afraid, but I feel very peaceful in that, that moment, almost like the stress goes away and it's almost like a reaffirmation for yourself to say, yes, this is the path that there's a reason why you feel very comfortable. Not comfortable and that maybe isn't the right word, but peaceful.
You're very peaceful now and you don't feel the same stress that you did by trying to avoid it. It doesn't mean stress won't come in that, because there are definitely stressful moments, but I find a lot more peace as I continue to make the decisions that I think align with what I'm supposed to do.
Dan: I love that, right? Because it's not so much about the outcome per se as it is the feeling you have when you're pursuing the outcome, the right outcome.
Dan: Let me ask you, because we went immediately from real estate to sort of high-level stuff, which is a hundred percent what I like. Let me ask you about something I noticed. We were sort of joking when you were coming on the podcast, sent over the media sheet that has got your bio on it and everything. [13:13.7]
One of the things that I immediately noticed was for RealEstateInvestor.com, which is one of the websites that you are a part of, you are listed as the chief visionary and I really want to ask about that title. What does a chief visionary do? What does that mean to you?
Robert: It means I do absolutely nothing. No, I'm just kidding.
Robert: No, actually everyone gets this or I guess it depends. I take that back. If you've ever read EOS or Traction or anything like that, there are definitely strong suits and people that are suited for certain roles. Everyone likes to think that they're a visionary and/or everyone likes to think they're an implementer, right? I think there is all of that in every person. [14:00.5]
But as you become more peaceful and as you become more aware of what you are supposed to do, one of the other things that I would encourage you to do is to take the time to look at what your real gifts are. A lot of people try to teach people to look at your weaknesses, identify your weaknesses, and go improve those and you'll become a better person. I think that is the stupidest advice I’ve ever heard.
I think the best advice is to find out, what are you strongly gifted in? What are the things that you're naturally skilled at doing? And then focus all of your energy on getting better at those things and finding people that are great at your weaknesses.
Being a visionary, one, it's a title, right? That's just on a website. The main thing behind that, with that company in particular, is we merged. There were a couple companies that came together and, obviously, in that, you had two companies that were surviving and thriving on their own, which have visionaries for both. We actually went through and hired some experts to analyze our skillsets, our abilities, our internal-- [15:12.8]
Dan: Really? That's cool.
Robert: Yeah, we went deep into that because we had. We had four. We had a visionary and an implementer in both businesses. How do you merge two of them together? And you can't have four. You still need two. We went through a lot of studies, and, really, what it came down to was one of us was more visionary/engineering style, which is more suited towards a skillset of someone who can see a vision and they can map it out and take implementation plans towards it, which is a very strong implementer at another level.
Then mine, all of my studies just came back to show that I was really just, off the charts, visionary. I mean, take your Kolbe or color-code tests, or your EOS Traction tests. Every single test all came back with a very similar pattern, which was that I'm just really off the charts in that regard, but my weakness is the implementation and the follow-through. [16:10.8]
So, chief visionary was more of, look, if we're going to follow a vision for where this company is headed, we need to follow the vision of the guy that can see the biggest broadest possible vision in the clearest detail, and that happened to be me. That's really the name of the title.
Then where it comes into play everywhere else is that that would also mean, and suiting and backing up with my strengths, is my ability to be the vision of the brand, to go out and talk about where this brand is headed and what it's going to do for the people, the value that we add to people. I'm going to more likely clearly articulate that better than anyone else for our company.
From an internal perspective, that maps out where every team is headed to. From an external perspective, that maps out the brands you want to be a part of because I'm telling you where we're going and that's where we're going, right? I really work around that. [17:02.8]
Dan: Right. I mean, I love that you were so deliberate about that whole process. I think the CEO of RealEstateInvestor.com is Gary Boomershine, is that correct?
Robert: Yeah, correct.
Dan: And I’ve met Gary who is just one of the nicest people and also a giant wall of a man, right? Just a super-nice dude. But it's like, so it would be easy, right? Just knowing Gary very little, met him at Collective Genius or whatever. Having met him, though, I can imagine that it would be easy if we were like, Hey, let's start a business together. It would be easy to just assume, hey, he's a nice guy and I'm a nice guy. Clearly, we're going to get along and everything is going to be awesome. Right?
But you guys were so deliberate about making sure that the way that you worked meshed well together, and I love that because I think so many business partnerships don't go well. They’re intense, an intense relationship, right? They can kind of explode. [18:02.5]
Tell me more about RealEstateInvestor.com. I mean, I think there are a lot of different things going on there, so give people kind of a high-level overview of that business and what you guys are doing.
Robert: Yeah, the simple thing is if you're a real estate investor or looking to become a real estate investor, so an agent trying to switch over or hybrid yourself, which is a smart move, by the way, then we're literally the one-stop shop. What we did is we brought together amazing services, or I'm sorry, the amazing software business that I built, which was the foundation of my own real estate business that helped me scale and grow, and it’s the foundation of what everyone needs because it's the culmination of your tracking and your follow-ups and your lead flow.
As you scale that business, the natural inclination is to start hiring, training and managing people, and so Gary's previous company that we merged with provided all of those services, so you didn't have to figure it all out. There was already a roadmap and people in place that were managed, hired and trained for you, so you could start to scale your business and just become a CEO. [19:05.5]
Behind that, the natural thing that people have is themselves in their way, so we have a CEO coaching that goes along with it to coach you, from wherever you're at to where you're looking to go, and literally run by Fortune 500 CEO coaches. We're basically the tools, the services and the mindset coaching that are needed for you to have all the things that you need to be a successful real estate investor.
No matter if you're just starting out or if you're somewhere in the middle of that journey, we'll just take your hand just where you are and hold your hand the rest of the way, and there's no other tool or service that you need once you're at RealEstateInvestor.com.
Really, the movement with RealEstateInvestor.com is, if there's anything else, title companies, attorneys, access to funding, insurances, etc., that complement your business, you'll find it at our umbrella, because we, obviously, between two of us, are probably in every mastermind there is. Our network is fast and broad, so those connections allow us to know a lot behind the scenes for, what's real? What's not? And what should you do? You know that if you go to RealEstateInvestor.com, anything you're going to find there is the really vetted things that are working in today's market. If they're not, they're not on our site. [20:15.2]
Dan: Yeah. I love the fact that you guys have the tools, which are great, but that you also provide coaching. Here's how you use these tools, but also here's how you deal with the second- and third-order consequences. Hey, by the way, if you start using these tools, your business is going to grow, and then, all of a sudden, it's like people have run into so many [problems].
Robert: The new problems.
Dan: Yeah, it's really fascinating. I'm sort of like you. I'm in a lot of different business groups. I'm in a lot of different masterminds and you see people have very different reactions to success or difficulty. Some people have more trouble dealing with success than they did with the difficulty, right? [20:57.5]
I'm curious as someone who works with so many real estate investors, knows so many real estate investors, people starting out, people who are really successful already, are there patterns that you notice that tend to drive people off track? What are the sort of things that you've seen in that experience where you're like, this is a common obstacle where, if you can avoid it, that's going to get you most of the way past this stage? Are there patterns there that you've noticed over time?
Robert: There are, and so I'm going to say that they start to differ at the different levels and stages that you go through.
Robert: Because there is some truth in that. There is also some commonality across the things and patterns that you'll notice even at the different levels. No matter if you're just starting or you're scaling to the next level, there is the paralysis analysis, right, where you just overanalyze. Really, all it is it’s the un-comfort-ness of the next level that you're trying to go to, whatever it is, and it's the fear that starts to come in, the what ifs, “I'm comfortable where I'm at.” [22:04.8]
Robert: It is the self-talk of talking yourself out of that calling that is trying to lead you down the path you're supposed to go. I believe we're always supposed to exponentially grow and I think we're put here on Earth to just grow every day and every way that we can. Even our failures or troubles that happen are an opportunity for us to learn something and grow from it. I totally believe that.
That's number one. That's a common thing. It doesn't matter which level you're at. It happens to everybody. You start to run multiple businesses. It's still there before you do the next thing. That’s a common trait that I’ve noticed in myself and in others.
The other big one, big, big, big, big, big one—I'm trying to think of the right word. I want to use a cool word to say it—it’s the chasing rabbits, sort of the shiny objects, right? It is, by far, in my opinion, from looking from a higher level and identifying it in myself, is the thing that prevents most people from getting anywhere, because they think that they’re going to join 10 different YouTube channels and they're going to buy 10 different courses, and they're going to buy 10 different tools and they're going to sign up to 10 different services, and yet they've done no focused attention on any of it. [23:18.2]
Then they wonder why that didn't solve their problem, and the reality is, they're chasing and searching for “If I just click a button, I have a million dollars in my pocket.” It doesn't exist and, finally, when they stop and they choose to focus, there's a great saying someone else said—every marketing channel in real estate works. Every course that someone sells that's actually doing real estate, it works. The only way that it doesn't work for you is because you've chosen not to focus everything you have on it and make a committed choice to do it.
I can tell you that anytime that I’ve scaled a level or watched a student scale to another level, it was because they got narrowly focused on one thing, and then they went all in on that thing and they succeeded, and then it could open the doors to more things. But I’ll tell you that I say a common one because it comes up everywhere, right? [24:12.0]
Even in myself, I started to expand through different businesses all tied to real estate, but anytime that I start to separate my focus on the bigger picture of it being one direction, I have failures. People see a bio sheet and look at all the success. What they don't see is the five, 10 things that failed and cost tens of thousands of dollars in failures, and those were just lessons. Those were lessons of, yep, that was me not focusing and thinking I’m gold and, if I touch it, it turns to gold, so it must work out. That thing fails and this thing starts to go down because all focus has been taken off it. Right? Focus is a massive thing.
Dan: Let me ask you about that real quick, because this is the subtle point in the podcast where we shift and Dan tries to get free therapy from his podcast guests, because I want to ask about this because I deal with this problem all the time. [25:04.0]
Robert: Oh, yeah.
Dan: As a business person, the reason I'm in business is not because I naturally was drawn to business. It's because I love learning new stuff and I love building stuff, right? I'm the guy that’s like, I love the beginning of every project, and then as it starts to get successful, I'm like, Yeah, what about that thing?
Robert: “I’m bored.”
Dan: Yeah. A question that I'm always thinking about and I’m very curious as to how you think through this issue. How do you tell the difference between a distraction and an actual opportunity? Because you run multiple businesses, which, by the way, completely blows me away because it feels like mine is more than enough most of the time. You've got multiple projects, multiple things going on, and not little things, but software development, complicated projects.
At some point you had to say, Okay, this thing over here, it's not a distraction. It's an opportunity. How do you tell the difference? How do you tell the difference between somebody who is growing and expanding, and someone who's just getting pulled away from the thing they really should be focused on? [26:12.3]
Robert: Yeah that, my friend, I need therapy on.
Dan: That's good. That's good.
Robert: I’ll give you my answer. It's not a great answer, but it's what I’ve personally learned along the way so far and, unfortunately, I say it's not a good answer because sometimes you just don't know or don't see it until you're down the path and making a mistake. Right? [26:33.2]
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Robert: Everyone wants the answer from the “How do I avoid the mistake?” Sometimes, unfortunately, it just won't and it’s a lesson learned by the failure that, I believe, you had to have, or at least I like to tell myself that. [27:18.8]
Sometimes I'm not aware because here's the challenge of being a quick-start, which is that, or enjoying starting things, but not following through, and being a visionary is I can have a hundred great ideas; I can also envision how they all tie together and they work. That's a challenge, right? Because then I can make the excuse as to why this matters, so it has to happen. This is just a natural part of all of it.
Yet, where the awareness comes for me is sometimes it's too late, and “too late” is a broad word, right? I have to learn a hard lesson that it's too late and, usually, I’ve lost some money as a result and that's usually where the lesson comes in like, Hmm, my other thing over here is going down own in revenue and profits and losses, and this thing over here I'm just putting money into and it's not really going anywhere. [28:11.8]
At some point, there's also the challenge of persistence will take you to the next level, right, and you can continue to push through that. That's the sword you have to be of. Now, let me take a step back from everything. I find the time when I’m able to get the clearest is when I can step back and say, Okay, clearly somewhere I got bored and wanted to go down a bunch of paths. Does this really align with where I'm going right now?
I have to double-ask that because I could say yes and it makes sense, but then I have to ask, Is that the real truth? Right? For me, especially, I’ve had to let go of some things that I'm passionate about that I really, really, really wanted to do, but they're taking my attention, so they can't happen, and so you have to look at that, right? [29:02.6]
I have one business thing that I’ll persistently continue to do something with because it doesn't really take my time, and so that's e-commerce stores. I'm not passionate about it. It's supposed to be an income source. It hasn't worked for me yet. It has irritated me more than anything. Yet I'm going to put a little bit more money into it because I do believe and I’ve seen that it can work out. It's just going to take-- I have it on my board. It's another thing of, okay, you’ve got to go take this one hour to set up this other thing, and then, once you do that, they should be able to take it off from there without your attention.
Dan: Right, yeah.
Robert: And so, I'm hopeful. Now, I will say, if it fails again after that, I'm out. I’ll cut the losses.
Dan: That’s good. Tell me if I'm wrong here, because I also feel like, for people like you and I, at least, we share this tendency. This is basically what we do instead of going on vacation or like buying a boat or whatever. It's like, I'm going to start sometimes--
Robert: We’ll start another business. [30:00.5]
Dan: Yeah, I could start a trombone repair shop. That's something I could totally do. You learn something and there's a kind of joy in that. But there is kind of a point where it sounds like what you're saying is, one, you’ve got to weigh the opportunity cost. If I'm going to do this thing, I can't do something else.
Then also you’ve also got to weigh that multiplicative effect on everything else that you do. If you notice, hey, my nest egg here is going down and there's nothing really to outweigh it. Maybe that's kind of how you can tell. But it does make me feel a lot better that you have this same time.
Robert: It’s the time, right? The first thing is your time. Do I really have time? If I sit down and look at my calendar, what time I have, how much time is this new thing going to take of mine, and do I actually have that? Hopefully, that can prevent you from doing the thing and stuff.
It's the thing that I'm using more as a filter now to say, Okay, yeah, I have to say no to that right now, and I find that you've got to learn, especially as you scale and do more, how to say no to more things, because just the reality is the answer is no. You don't have more time. Is this something that I can-- [31:07.5]
Dan: You said yes, but the answer was no. You just said yes, but it was not.
Robert: Yeah, exactly. I did that. I did that in one thing. I started something I'm very passionate about, so it was very easy. I could, today, debate with you how it fits into every business, which gives me the excuse to start it, so I started it. Now, the good thing is I quickly realized a couple weeks into it like, Oh, I can clearly envision now how this thing would take off if I hired a team to do all this stuff that I do not have the time to do, so I need to cut my loss now and realize this is an idea that I could come back to later, if I'm prepared and have the time hire the staffing or the person that can run and oversee it all, or partner. Some of it could be partnering with someone else that can take your vision.
I look at things like, Can I just play a visionary role? I’ve literally said no to more things recently than ever before, and it's because I took [coaching] this last year, and part of it is coaching, having a coach to help you say, No, dude, you're lying to yourself. Okay, you're right. I know I am, but I needed someone else to tell me I am. [32:11.0]
Robert: That's one of the biggest things for me. I just hired the biggest investment in a coach I’ve ever made in my life.
Robert:: It’s really helping me learn how to say no more than ever before, which is probably the best lesson I can get, and it’s just being real with myself. I don't really have the time. That's not really a hundred percent aligned with where I'm headed this next year, so maybe next year, maybe another time. Maybe if someone would come in and do it all, I’ll partner with you and be a voice for that, but that's the most that I can do if it's aligned.
I look at, is it in alignment with what I'm currently doing? Is it in alignment with the mission that I'm after for the outcome, for the people, the clients, the customers, whatever they are? If all that is true, then it passes those kind of sniff tests. Then it's how much is going to take up mine. Could someone else do it without my time? If I can get all good answers on that, then it's yes. Most of it I’ve answered no to one of those already, and so that's kind of my new filter right now that's working well. [33:14.2]
Dan: Yeah, I think it is. Everybody's criteria is going to be different and everybody's lives are different, and everybody's amount of time is different, but it seems like the most important lesson that I'm taking from you on this is just to have a set of filters to pass everything through and saying, It's got to check every box. Otherwise, like you said, I end up -
Robert: I'm going to end up losing money.
Dan: - working at the counter at the trombone repair shop all day and not working on AdWords students or whatever I should be doing.
Robert: Yeah, exactly.
Dan: I want to ask you about coaching. Obviously, coaching is a big part of RealEstateInvestor.com—and, by the way, if you're listening to this, “investor”, it has got an “O” in it, which I’ve run into sometimes in my life, so RealEstateInvestor.com—but coaching is a big part of it. You just mentioned you made a big investment in coaching. I'm a huge believer in coaching, but I haven't personally had a coach for a while. I've actually been thinking about maybe it's time to kind of get back into working with a coach. [34:10.3]
I am curious, give people a sense, how does coaching fit into your life? And when you are making the decision to invest in a coach or invest in this coach, in particular, how did you make that decision? What were you looking for? How do you think about getting into coaching, if somebody has never done that?
Robert: Yeah, first and foremost, I look at the elite-level athletes or elite-level anything, and they have coaches. They don't do it all on their own. They don't figure it all out on their own. They hire coaches to strengthen the things that need to be strengthened on their mission. That's first and foremost.
Secondly, I recognize, and this just became how I scaled so fast in real estate, I recognize that if I could identify where I want to go, so first being very clear about where I want to go, then looking for a coach that's there, been there or going there and way ahead of me, and then looking at what have they overcome because they may have already overcome the things that I think I'm going to have to overcome. [35:19.7]
That's kind of like I'm giving you a filter on how I decide who I might hire, but, for me, it's the thing like-- I have a few coaches. In particular, I’ll give you examples of some of the coaches that are the most recent in my life. One that has been there for a while that is part of a mastermind and coaching series is predicated around my software business. Why do I hire a coach? You're into building a software business. I wasn't a software guy. I knew nothing about the software industry. I had no clue how to get there. I've hired.
Dan: You didn't have any software background before you decided to do it?
Robert: Zero. I still have none. I know at some point I’ve been building software for years, so I know some coin-a-phrase words that I could probably have an educated conversation with a tech guy longer than most anyone else could, but I still don't understand most of what he's going to say. I know enough, though, right? I know enough to protect myself. [36:10.5]
Why? Because years ago, I had tons or I had several real estate investing coaches who helped me scale that and masterminds that I got into after that. When I got into the software business, the first thing that I did was realize, Okay, seriously, I just wrote the check to build a software business. I only know enough to get past where I'm at today. I'm going to have to find a coach who is the best at what he does, who is going to help me eliminate all the problems that I'm going to run into, especially the ones that I have no clue that I'm going to run into. I went and found [a coach]. His name's Dan Martell. He's the best. He's a world renowned SaaS mentor, SaaS being software as a service.
Robert: I’d hired him years ago and I’ve had him as my number-one coach to continue to build and raise my software business. [37:00.0]
Robert: Now, I also have a health coach and I’ve had a health coach. I've had a few different ones over the years, but I recognize that and the funny part is I love and I'm passionate about fitness. However, I will chase squirrels in fitness. I know that about myself. I will start a program and it's getting great results, and then I’ll see an article about a new program and be like, Ooh, I should be doing sprints, too, and so I’ll do sprints. Then, oh, but this really cool program has got deadlifts and I should be deadlifting, and so I’ll throw that into my program.
Years ago, I recognized that, left to my own devices, I'm going to change programs every week because that's exciting to me, and it's a new thing and I get to build a new process and I get to challenge myself. I’ll stay in shape doing that, but I'm going to get progressively forward every single year by just simply hiring a coach, who now I get to just tell him all the great ideas I have, and then he says, Okay, so for the plan, the plan for this week is XYZ. Go, do that.
Robert: It’s cool, because now my most recent coach I’ve had for a couple years, so I get to actually read my article still and then I get to say to him, “So, why don't we do this, this and this, too? Because it sounds like this makes sense,” and he gets to say, “It does, just not for you today and here's why,” and then I get to learn, right? And then I get to follow this plan. [38:13.8]
Dan: Yeah. Again, it’s a filter, right? It’s a filter that things can pass through before you spend the effort.
Robert: A Coach helps you. I told you I just invested $250,000 into the coach that I currently have.
Robert: Because he's got a massive level of business success, while also staying extremely healthy, while also having an amazing relationship with his wife and kids. For me, I said, “Man, how the heck do you run multiple eight-figure businesses and keep all that in line? I need to hire.”
I’ve also heard his problems along the way, the challenges he has overcome, and I recognize you went through a lot of the shit I'm going through, trying to get these things going and losing time at home, forgetting to eat right, all these problems. [39:00.5]
For me, some people would look at it and go, No way, I'd never pay that for a coach. Okay, and I look at it and say, how many years is he going to shave off my lessons of learning that? And that $250,000 is going to make me $5 million this year. I'm all in.
Dan: Yeah, right. It’s fascinating to me, right? Because the higher up you get on whatever ladder you're talking about, so fitness or business or whatever, the fewer people are ahead of you and the harder it is to find people that understand the obstacles that you're trying to get into.
I would just say to anyone, I mean, I'm fascinated by this whole story. I think it's awesome and I’m a big believer in coaches and I just hired. I just switched weightlifting coaches, because what was happening was I kept trying to get into lifting weights and then I would hurt my back. I had a recurring injury in my back. It just occurred to me this fourth time I had spent three months sitting out. I would lift for two months and then I would have to sit out for four months, because all I could do was sit at that point. [40:03.3]
It just occurred to me, I was like, I work on the internet. Everyone is on the internet, especially now. I mean, 2020 just made this whole thing. I found a competitive [coach], who was a coach who was specifically for competitive powerlifters, which I'm not.
I mean, if you're not watching the video, I'm huge. Just picture me as absolutely ripped, giant muscles. But for everybody else, I haven't gotten into competitive powerlifting, but she's a coach for competitive powerlifters with recurring back injuries and that's all she does.
Robert: There you go.
Dan: It’s like, wherever you are at in your journey, you can find a coach that's two or three steps ahead of you that knows, just like you said, the obstacles you're going to run into, the problems that are going to come up, that can save you so much time. I just think it's awesome. Yeah. I just think it's awesome.
Yeah, tell me a little bit about it. For RealEstateInvestor.com, you guys have multiple coaches. I think I saw you had an EOS coach. Do you break down kind of the different types of coaches you guys bring in to work with real estate investors? [41:05.7]
Robert: Yeah, and it's really broken into stages, so it depends on where the person is at in their journey. To your question earlier, we know what challenges each level is going to present itself, so there’s a different type of coach that is going to be needed to get you to break through, first and foremost, if you're trying to do deals and build a business that's actually doing any deals or any level of consistency in then just do a deal and then with three months with no deal kind of thing.
It's mostly a mental game more than anything, and so we need very strong coaches that are going to work with you to break through your mental barriers that are in your way, and be able to talk to you in a way that's going to help you figure out what they are, unlock them and get over them.
Robert: Then once you're past that, you're getting more into the level of scaling and scaling becomes more metrically-based KPIs, the tracking measurements, right? There's still a mental game. There's always a mental-game component, but now it’s shifted in how, right? It's not as aggressive mentally as it is the knowledge of how to look at data, metrics and numbers, and work with people and your communication skills, so it takes a different coach. [42:15.0]
The same thing there. Instead of you going out and identifying what coach you need, you needed someone who was going to overcome your back problems. I need someone who is just going to keep me focused and give me the results I want. Maybe you're someone who doesn't need to lift weights, why are you hiring a weightlifting coach? Maybe you need a body weight coach. Who is the best at that? Right? Maybe I want to train for a triathlon. Then you should have a coach that has done and does triathlons, right? Whatever it is.
Dan: I know something about that.
Robert: Yeah, so you should invest in the coach that's doing the thing that you want to become very good at, right? At RealEstateInvestor.com, we know what those are at each level, so we have those coaches for those levels.
Dan: Yeah, I think that's so cool. I mean, if you're listening to this and you're thinking about checking out the site, literally, I was looking at some of the people that you guys have there and it's like the cost to hire these people separately would just be bonkers, right? I mean, just the fact that it's a part of what you guys do is so, so cool. [43:11.2]
I want to start to wrap things up because I don't want to keep you for so long. I have to ask about this. This was on your media sheet. I have to ask about this.
Dan: I've heard that you have a saying and your saying is “All leads suck.” I want to ask about this, because we have this whole thing at AdWords Nerds. If you don't know, at AdWords Nerds, we do PPC marketing, SEO stuff for real estate investors, and lead quality is a massive issue for us, so we're always thinking about, how can we get better lead quality, lead quality, lead quality? How can we improve it? How can we track it?
It's hard to track because we will have some people that will say all these leads were bad and we'll have some people that say I just made a hundred billion dollars or whatever, right? It’s like, it was the same thing that sent the leads, and so we've really tried to dig in with people on, how are you following up and what are your processes? and it's this whole area of learning for us. [44:04.0]
I had to ask about what “all leads suck” means, and what this means to you, specifically? For people that are shaking their heads right now or scratching their heads or whatever, what does “all lead suck” mean to you?
Robert: Yeah. Simply it is a mindset, and it’s because of the same thing, right? We provide services and marketing for people all over the country, so you could have one group of people who are scaling successfully and then you have the next person getting the same leads from the same marketing, from the same messaging from the same lists, but those leads are no good and they all want XYZ and “I can't close the deal. You guys suck.”
There comes a time where you come to realize that's just not possible. What's the commonality, right? And so, it's a mentality. If you start with the premise that all leads suck, then, number one, you're going to stop looking for that. We call it a “bluebird.” You're going to stop looking for that one in 120 leads that's laid down, wants $50,000 for their $200,000 house because they're stressed out and ready to sell right now, and you’re the first one with the opportunity to close it if you send a contract today. They're going to sign it and you can close it, and you're going to make a killing. [45:13.8]
It does happen. It's about one in 120 leads, period, across the nation. That's just what it is. We call it a bluebird. That's what everyone's looking for when they say your leads suck. I just say, start with the mentality that all your leads suck. Now, go work them all like you're supposed to. Follow up with them because that's where all the money is made. Do the work you don't want to do because that's where all the money is made. Improve your skills in talking to people because that's where the money is made.
If you just take every lead that comes in from Google, so the guy that is failing at Google, it’s because the leads are coming in and everyone that comes in from there says, I saw on Zillow that my house is worth 250, so I want 255, and you say, My lead suck. Okay, the guy that got that deal for 175 was told the same thing in the first conversation, so what's the difference between him and you? Follow-up and skill set, and a mentality that, I don't care, they're all good. [46:14.4]
If you filled out a sheet on Google, wouldn't you tell the person that talked to you for the first time that you want the most money that you can get for your house? Of course, you would. So, that’s it, and so leads suck because they don't suck. It's a lead. Someone is interested in talking to you. They filled out the form for a reason. They picked up the phone, they answered the text, they called on the postcard, whatever it is, it doesn't matter, they reached out to you. There is a reason why.
It's very rare, I would say, and we'll use the 80-20 rule, 20 percent of those are tire kickers because all leads suck. The other 80 percent are going to tell you the same thing as the tire kickers. There's the challenge. You've got to improve your listening skills so you can find out why they want to sell. There's an emotional reason behind it and, as soon as you can find that and get off the number game, you'll get the number you want. [47:04.8]
Then, two, follow up. I think Google says one in 36 touches it takes in follow-up. There's a Harvard study that says it takes 12 on average. Somewhere between 12 and 36 times is where you'll actually get to where you need to get, where the crossroads of them having enough stress and ready to move is there and you building enough rapport with them and trust that they'll do business with you. It's not in the first conversation, which everyone hopes. Everyone that says leads suck are saying, “I talked to them on the phone today. They didn't want to do a deal. Your leads are garbage, man. Go, get me better leads.” No, keep following up with them because that's how that works.
Dan: Yeah, if they don't pick up the phone, call them back, I guess, is how I feel about it. But I do get it because I think there is an assumption among many investors, not everybody, but many investors, that if you run a marketing campaign a certain way, people are going to reach out and those people know what I do. They read my postcard or they saw my ad, right? I set up my houses. They have a house. They're going to reach out and we're going to transact. [48:11.3]
That's not a totally rational assumption, but I also think that just the market that we're in is much savvier than it has ever been. People know who investors are. They know what you do. They've seen HGTV before. They all think they could flip a house if they do it, too, right? There’s this process of, just like you said, establishing rapport and connection, which I think is so critical. I think as an industry, we lose sight of a lot of that all the time that it's about having a connection with another human being. I mean, it sounds kind of woo-woo.
I am an agency owner. I buy stuff all the time. I just dropped $10,000 on a program. It's just something I want to learn and I dropped that $10,000 because I had a connection with the person that was selling the thing and I was just like, I believe this person has my best interest at heart. I know they're good at what they do. It took a while, but I dropped that money, right? [49:04.8]
I think we want to skip that and we want to get to that deal-signing as quickly as humanly possible, and it kind of sets people up for frustration. I really, really appreciate you saying that and I'm going to steal it. I am literally going to steal this entire back half of this podcast and send it to people. I'd be like, Look, I'm not saying it. Robert is saying it. You’ve got to listen to him. He knows what he’s doing.
Robert: Yeah, you’ve just got to listen to him.
Dan: Right. For people that want to learn more about you and, by the way, folks, if you're listening to this, I barely scratched the surface of what Robert does. I mean, we really just barely, barely dipped our toe in. If people want to learn more about you, all the stuff that you're doing, where should they look you up online to learn more?
Robert: Yeah, the easiest to just always stay up to date and what's going on or connect with me anywhere is IAmRob360.com because you can connect with me on any social media choice of your liking. Follow my YouTube, see what I'm doing in real estate or other business ventures. My book that was released, everything is available there. It’s a simple click of a button and you go this way. [50:08.6]
Dan: All right, awesome. IAmRob360.com. Definitely go check it out. It will tell you how much stuff we had to talk about, because you put out a book and I didn't even mention it. I didn't even get to it in this whole thing. Robert, thank you so much for coming on the show, man. This was a blast and I really, really appreciate it.
Robert: Thanks for having me, Dan. It's been a pleasure today.
Dan: As always, I appreciate so much you listening every week and, hey, if you have a second, I would love for you to leave us a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Whatever you're listening to me on right now, leaving a review just helps other people find the show and I really, really appreciate it. I read every single one. Yeah, if you wouldn't mind doing that, it would be a huge favor to me.
As always, this is Daniel Barrett from AdWordsNerds.com signing off, and I’ll see you next week. Cheers. [50:58.2]
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