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In this episode, we have a special guest, Justin Dossey, the CEO and co-owner of Call Porter and Ballpoint Marketing.

In this interview, Justin shares his journey from working in the car warranty industry to becoming the CEO of two thriving real estate marketing companies. He talks about the challenges he faced along the way and gives insights into how he manages to run multiple businesses successfully.

If you're looking for inspiration and practical tips on how to grow your real estate business, this episode is a must-listen.

Let's get started!

Show Highlights:

  • From employee to director in three months [00:06:14]
  • Unlock the recipe for unforgettable family moments [00:10:04]
  • Do I need a car warranty? [00:12:04]
  • How to answer all of your calls if you’re paying for marketing [00:15:50]
  • Then Call Porter way and what makes us different [00:18:51]
  • Mastering the art of team building [00:23:02]

Be sure to join us for Part 2 of this interview next week!

For more information about Justin Dossey, go to https://callporter.com/ or https://www.ballpointmarketing.com

To get the latest updates directly from Dan and discuss business with other real estate investors, join the REI marketing nerds Facebook group here: http://adwordsnerds.com/group

Need help with your online marketing? Jump on a FREE strategy session with our team. We'll dive deep into your market and help you build a custom strategy for finding motivated seller leads online. Schedule for free here: http://adwordsnerds.com/strategy

Read Full Transcript

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

0:39 All right, hello, and welcome to this week's episode of the REI marketing nerds podcast. As always, this is Daniel Barrett here from AdWords nerds.com. And look, you know, if you want to get more leads and deals online, the place to go is AdWords nerds.com, where you can jump on a free call with my team and we will help you put together an online marketing strategy for your market. Alright, folks, this week, I had such a fun, awesome and even more importantly, really helpful an informational interview with Justin Dossey. Now Justin Dossey is the CEO and co owner of both called Porter and ballpoint marketing, you can go find those companies at cole porter.com and ballpoint marketing.com.

And you may be familiar with those companies you may not be but they are two of the companies that AdWords nerds we refer people to most often they do direct mail over a ballpoint they do sort of call center answering your phone calls at Cole Porter. And one of the reasons that we at AdWords nerds as a digital marketing company refer so many people to them is not because we've got like an affiliate agreement or like we don't make any money for referring people to them at all. We refer people to them because we have found over the lifetime var business that those companies help our clients thrive and do well. I mean, this is like, as far as I'm concerned, the highest recommendation I can give a company is sending my own clients that way because I really you know it AdWords nerds, we really treat our role as trusted advisors. Importantly, like that, that is core to our vision and value as a company.

And so these are two of the companies I respect most in this space. They are very well run and Justin is truly a world class operator. And that is what he brings to the table. Right? He is someone who is able to come into a business, grow it, scale it make it efficient. He's got so much to teach. And I cannot wait for you to get into this interview with Justin Dawsey from Cole Porter and ballpoint marketing. With me today we have Justin Dossey. Now Justin is here from both ballpoint marketing which you can get to at ballpoint marketing.com and Cole Porter over at cole porter.com. He is the CEO and co owner of both of those companies who are in a I would not say this if this wasn't the case.

Absolutely at the top of their game in what they do. Real estate marketing. So Justin, yeah, man. Welcome to the show. Super happy to have you here. Yeah, thanks for having me, man. I'm excited to be here. I'm super excited as well. So you know, longtime listeners of the show may know that we had Ryan on the show now many, many months ago, a long time ago. So first time we've had you so I want to dive into a lot of things on this like whole conglomeration of stuff that you have going on, not the least of which is how do you do be a CEO of two companies? So I'm gonna see a one company sometimes I want to jump off a roof. So we'll talk about that. Yep. You mean both?

4:03 Okay. All right. Good. All right. You're not the only one. Let's let's start at the beginning of go back. I always want to ask like, what got you started in real estate investing. Where are you in real estate before you jumped into a ballpoint and car demo? I'll Porter like, Tell me your whole origin story of how you got into this industry? Yeah, great question. I did not start as a real estate investor actually started back in a call center Call Center Services for things since I was 18 is when I started it worked in the Car Warranty industry. So all those annoying calls, like I'm reaching you about your extended warranty. I used to do that. I started like at the founding company when I was 18. Really the original company that did that whole thing. Were your first one that made it popular. Yeah, there were, oh, okay, blew up and then made some bad decisions and went under and the owners went to jail. So you know, that was one of those bad decisions.

4:57 Yeah, I suppose in that industry. For a long time, like learned how to talk to people do customer service do sales. And honestly, I got tired of being in it because every company I worked for went out of business after a while. And growing up, raising a family being married is kind of hard to like, every eight months to a year and a half, like, Hey, we're closing our doors, like, cool. That's fun. Let me figure out what I can do. And so

5:24 I got to the point where I just got kind of tired of it and actually went to culinary school to become a chef, and was working at a factory during that time when I was in school, and was started working at a restaurant working towards becoming a chef. And, you know, I started to notice, like, a lot of trends among chefs, a lot of them are alcoholics, a lot of them aren't married anymore. A lot of them have drug problems. They work 80 hours a week for 60 grand a year. And I was like, I don't know if I want this. And then my wife surprised me and told me like, Hey, we're pregnant with our second child. And I was like, Cool, I can't do that on $14 an hour. And coincidentally, like a week later, I got a call to go back into the Car Warranty industry at a much higher rate than I used to. And I was like, Yeah, okay, let's do that seems like a good place. Ryan was actually the one that offered it to me, who had been working there for a while, and he's like, this place is solid, they're not going anywhere. So started there. And within three months, got a notice that they got bought out by another company.

6:23 After, after I had told my wife like, hey, this one is solid, we're not on any issues, like we should be good. Luckily, part of that merger was bringing over all the employees into the new company, or into the existing company, which is now the largest company in the country that does this. And I was one of two people that stuck around out of 50. And I ended up getting promoted to an assistant manager than a manager, and then the director of three departments. And that's kind of where I started to learn, like how to train how to manage teams how to lead, I just kind of got to the point where it's like, hit the ceiling couldn't go any further and was like, capped out at like 8090 grand a year, which was great at 26 years old, like was not mad about it. But I knew there was more value there, I wanted to make more money, I wanted to be more independent. And my dad was an entrepreneur most of his life, but was his solopreneurs. So he did everything in the business.

So they ended up bringing in a coach in to work with all the leadership in that company. And he told the owner, she's like, look, 99% of the people are going to improve be better managers be better than they were when you hire them. But one or two of these people are going to realize this isn't for them anymore, and they're gonna want to go and do something else that happened to be me. And I was lucky enough that Ryan had left that industry started real estate investing. And he had started his own call center, which was called Porter because he was missing calls. And so it was kind of a, you know, I was tired of where I was at, I was frustrated. He needed someone to help run that or he was going to close it. It was one of the two options. And so I took like a 60% pay cut to go and start this thing with him about five and a half years ago.

From there, we grew called Porter. And then about three and a half years ago, he had started ballpoint as well, and someone was running it into the ground, and stealing money, all that kind of fun stuff. So we moved it to St. Louis and I took over the day to day stuff from there. And yeah, for us is kind of history started investing myself probably about two years ago now in real estate in a couple of different markets. So you know, kind of a, an interesting path to get there because I didn't start in real estate. But now I know more than I probably should in real estate. And that's all I think about now. It's like I don't know if this was the case with you like I'm the same I didn't.

I didn't start in real estate at all. Right? So I just I was doing marketing is or found real estate investing as client base or whatever. But you definitely absorb a lot of it just being around investors all the time, which is always interesting. Alright, so I want to go I have a million questions I want to ask you, but I do want to go all the way back. And I'm curious, what if anything you took with you to today from culinary school, that whole experience, right? Because working in kitchens is like sort of a fascination of mine. I've never done it right. But it is this really sophisticated dance of like logistics and weird personal psychology and like all this other stuff.

And it's really like a, an intersection so many different things. Do you feel like you took anything from that experience? That's a really good question. I do. The biggest thing I took from it as I know, I learned why what I didn't want my life to look like very easily in from a business standpoint. I've never really thought about it this way until now. But you know, you can correlate back to the systems and processes that are built into a lion or into a restaurant and having like, each person does their role and moves on through the process it's thinking about it's actually pretty similar to how ballpoint stuff runs. For me though, honestly, like the biggest thing I've taken from it is just

10:00 like a love for cooking, I cook all the time make like my wife hates to cook, I love cooking. But I've, I've built that into our family life a lot. So we'll do like, we try and do once a week, each kid will kind of pick like a meal that they want to cook, and either me and that, that child or me and my wife, and that kid will, we'll get together and we'll make that meal for the whole family. And then there's times we'll all five of us cook together. And it's kind of like a cool little family thing that we're doing. Yeah, we're actually considering doing like a series on it of like cooking with kids or something like that.

I'm just like, because it's more than just like a grilled cheese, like we're cooking a little more sophisticated type stuff or mark what you would say like challenging type food, even though once you know the process, it's really not. But it's been it's a lot of fun. It's like something that my kids and I and my wife and I look forward to doing together, especially around the holidays, like we're always all wearing aprons, we're cooking bread from scratch, we're you know, making all kinds of soups, and dips, and pretty much anything you could think of. So that's probably been my favorite thing from it is just like, understanding how to cook pretty much anything you want. What that process is, and then teaching it to my family has been a lot of fun. That's super cool.

Yeah. My youngest, Max is seven now has been getting into cooking. And my wife and I use quite a bit before we had kids. Like after we had kids were like, you know, they don't eat anything or whatever. Right? It's like, it's always there's always some kind of some reason, but it does strike me as me and what a great survival skill and experience to have with your kids or you do something together. It's I mean, it's really, I think that's really incredible. That's a lot of fun. So now I have to ask, and then we will be us to your current life. Nope, I'm really digging into your past. I got it. What is the deal with these like warranty companies that call you was like I get these calls, like everybody else. I always hang up on them. I never listen to the whole thing.

Because I'm like, I don't know what this is. I don't have a thing. You're just calling me. I don't get it. What is it? Well, how does it work? Yeah. So in in a nutshell, like when you buy a new car, you have a warranty on there that covers things, if it breaks, right? It's basically that same thing for when that expires. So they're I think their model has changed a lot now where it's more like a smaller monthly payment. And it's just kind of like an indenfor indefinite monthly recurring model. But you know, if you're someone who has a brand new car with a six year warranty, probably don't need it is my personal opinion. But you know, for me, all of my cars, I always have one on them, whether if it's from the dealership or a third party,

12:30 I've seen firsthand, they pay out like billions of dollars worth of claims every year. But I think there's a specific use case for it like brand new vehicles don't need them. If you've got three or four year old vehicle, you need something like that you might not be able to get from the manufacturer or the dealer you bought it from that's kind of where they step in, you know, and clearly there's a need for it with the amount of business that they're doing now, from what I understand. So yeah, and that's the St. Louis is kind of like the mecca for all of those companies. They all started here. And so like it was an easy way to get in make good money. This fun, you know, it's like call center type stuff. You're in between calls, throwing footballs around and like, you know, just being kids essentially. But it was a good way to make a decent amount of money with like barely graduating from high school, which was nice. So basically, it's like insurance, but they're pitching it over the phone and then you're making you're making commission as the salesperson. Yep.

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13:59 The I always find the the opening line of hey, I was calling to talk to you about your warranty. Like the one that like really like I feel like that's always the one that I get. And I'm like, I don't know. You mean, just like for me. There's, I have my own issues with how some of that stuff is run because I don't find some of it ethical personally like the way things are worded. The last company I worked for did things pretty much aboveboard from everything I saw, but there is still a lot of them out there that are like, there's so much money in it. And they're just in trying to make as much money as possible. But there are a few outliers out there that do it right.

And those are the ones that like you see on TV commercials and that are sponsoring sports teams and all that kind of stuff. Like there are good ones out there. But there are also a lot of like really quick money grab in and out of business type thing. So I've seen that just being around it for so long, but there's definitely a right way to do it. Yeah, well, we've already established the hiring you as the touch of death for all the companies before you

15:00 Love you're in now, everybody went through this. No. Okay. Yeah, apparently like so you you transition. So you have all these really interesting transitions right here during the during the call center stuff. You go to culinary school you go back then you kind of move up the management sort of ladder you're managing people managing divisions, then you jump in you guys are doing called Porter didn't call border with Ryan, like you said he was ready to shut it down. So when you got so absolutely let me back up because because I really want to talk about this sort of lifecycle of Cole Porter and what it's been like to kind of grow that company because I think a lot of people are familiar with a noun, but in case anybody isn't, walk people through just like the the real quick, high level view of what Cole Porter does for real estate investors. Yeah, so like 10,000 foot view is, if you're spending money on marketing, you better answer your call, like, otherwise you're wasting your money.

So our whole thing is we will take all of your inbound calls 20 473. Now 365, we are closed on major holidays, but it's like 361, or something like that. But 24/7 They're gonna take all your inbound calls as a front desk receptionist for your company, is how they're going to answer using your name, find out what's going on or using your company name, find out what's going on with the property, how soon they want to sell. They have any motivation, what the condition is, and their asking price. And then their goal is to book an appointment for you and your team to then go out and view that. So instead of you like it's mind blowing still to this day, when we're calling out to investors that have reached out to us at ballpoint for being interested in it.

And it goes straight to voicemail and it's one of those Hi, you've reached so and so with once you three house buyers, if you want to sell your house, Baba Baba Baba blah, it's like I just hang up like if it was me selling a house, I'm not gonna leave a message because it's 10 minute long, voicemail first. But secondly, like I want to sell to someone that's answering my phone calls. So our whole goal is to help you capitalize on those leads, whether if they're from direct mail, they're from cold calling. They're from text messaging, PPC, online ads, whatever it might be. Our goal is to take all of those calls for you and book appointments as frequently as we can. Yeah, I think the this is one of the things I've mentioned on this podcast.

Many times people have listened to it a lot. But one of the most consistent sort of correlating factors to long term success for our clients are doing online marketing, right. So they're looking for motivated seller leads. The people who tend to do really well and have the most success have a high speed to lead right. Now the time between someone deciding that they want to contact the investor, the time it takes to the investor to actually talk to that person is as short as humanly possible. And the waste is pick up the phone. Right? So like you said, that's the most obvious money that's just sitting on the ground, so called Porter does this. You'd have mentioned this one of the things that I really liked about Cole Porter, which I'd love for you to hit on, is, let me let me tee you up. Okay, that sounds great.

You know, but what's the difference between that and me hiring a VA from the Philippines to do the same thing? Sorry, question. walk people through the the difference there. Yeah. So the big differences, and I'll be 100% honest, we tried that route when we open the company originally. Yeah, we tried hiring overseas VAs tried hiring. We tried a different call center. That's what they do before starting call Porter. And the two two biggest things that we ran into issue wise was lack of knowledge in real estate. So all of our team is completely trained on how to answer questions around a probate, a pre foreclosure and absentee property, a small multifamily, like they have questions and processes that they follow to make sure that everything is answered as correctly as possible. And it's a good conversation. Secondly, is all of our team is US based, which the

18:57 the concern we had when we tested it was, there's a little bit of language barrier, you can tell you're talking to somebody overseas, but a big thing was just like cultural differences. So a good example of this was sarcasm. Like Philippines, I guess, from what I understand are not super big into sarcasm. It's not a part of their culture, from what I understand. Where Americans are the most sarcastic people on the planet, I feel like and

19:24 one of the tests we did with a VA is we had calls coming in and the guy was like, Yeah, I'll sell my property when I'm dead. Like clearly being sarcastic, like not interested in selling. And the first response was like, Well, what do you think that'll be just just going through like a very matter of fact, like, Well, yeah, how how soon is that going to be like? So really like the clock we need to know about? Yeah, yeah. Like, do you have a countdown timer, what's going on? So our goal with that has been to not have those types of issues and to have our team trained specifically

20:00 To answer real estate, and the cool thing with them is like, that's all they do. So they're not taking a call for a dental office or something like that, like some other call centers, it's strictly real estate 24/7. Yeah, I think that is of all the stuff that you guys do. Probably the thing I bring up the most to people who are interested in potentially working with you, I think it's probably the single best, I don't know if it's your biggest selling point in terms of like, what really moves the needle of people making the jump. But for me as a as a marketer, working with investors, that's the thing I'm most concerned about, right?

Because I think VAs can be amazing. I use VAs for a lot of stuff. You know, there's nothing there to say that there's anything wrong with that. But what I am saying is like, when the whole goal is to build a very quick connection with someone and all you've got is your words, you don't even have facial expression, right? Right, having the same set of idioms having the same set of cultural references, just as a cultural norm, like sarcasm, or whatever, even really makes a difference, even if it doesn't feel like it's going to I mean, really, really does. So I think that's amazing. So like, Alright, so that's the call Porter way, I think it's an incredible service.

We use it for a lot of our clients, I think it's great. So that's today. So when you came in, you mentioned at the beginning, when you came into Cole Porter, Ryan, who had started the company, he was getting ready to use either gonna hand it off, or he's gonna shut it down. Now oh, what were the things when what I'm really interested in people who come in and grow company? So like when you came in? What was the situation like? And how did you decide what to do next, in order to grow it make it better scale it up? Like, what were your challenges? And like, how did you sort of? Yeah, yeah, great question. I mean, the first thing is, like I was I was desperate to get out of the position I was in. So I wanted to make it as good as possible, right?

The reason I was about to close it down was like a, he didn't have the time or the bandwidth to manage that, plus his real estate stuff he was just starting, that was still pretty early on. So there's a lot of like expensive lessons being learned, you know, just not necessarily failures, but like things that didn't pan out the way we thought, you know, so kind of like trying to build and grow that. And this and we can talk about running multiple companies later, it is a challenge. But with that, the thing that we kind of looked at first was like, What's the biggest, biggest need at the moment. And for us, the first thing we had saw was like we needed a dedicated staff, the staff we had, because there wasn't much management in place, or procedures, systems, things like that is like it was like herding cats is probably the easiest way I could describe it. Like just very challenging getting people there on time.

So over the course of like, 60 days, I completely replace the entire staff that was there, I think except one person. Wow, it was only five reps at the time. So it wasn't a huge amount. But after like kind of going through the changes that need to be needed to be made in order to get where we want it to be. We had to do things different than we had had been let me let me just stop you right there. Because this is literally I'm not going to this. I always say this in every podcast. Here's the part of the podcast where DNS selfish questions. Those are things that I want to know.

So there's, like literally just was reading was rereading principles by Ray Dalio talks about like, hey, when you're building your team, if you've got problems with like your team, you can divide basically, those problems that you have with people into problems of skills, which are things that you can learn, and people can get trained up in problems of capabilities, which you can't really change, right? So he's like, you could, but it takes a ton of time, a ton of investment, and it's kind of up in the air, whether it's going to take so you have to decide when you're looking at a problem, let's say that you think is with your team, is this a skills problem or a capabilities problem? So when you came into this situation, like you said, you have these five pre existing reps, it's kind of like herding cats. There's not a lot of systems or whatever, how did you just make the decision to say, we need to start fresh versus, well, if I just put the systems in place and train everybody up? It'll all be fine. Like, how did you at decision? Yeah, so I'm glad you brought that point up.

24:17 I look at it a little bit differently than that than the skills and the the ability aspect of it. Where what we look at our in our companies is the ability in the culture, like are they can they get the job done? And do they fit within the culture? Now, at that point, we didn't have like a culture established just yet. But I knew what we were looking for and what we needed. And for people just flat out tell you like, Well, no, I'm not changing my shift. I've been here for six months, this is what it is. And you have to do that in order to adapt with the business. Like that was some of the stuff that we looked at, like everyone was pretty capable and able to do the tasks that were needed. It was more like not a culture values fit of what we were looking

25:00 Four with people that wanted to be all in on a business with us as we're growing, because this is at a point where like, I think we were negative two grand a month in income versus expenses, and that two grand a month was going on interest bearing credit card that doesn't get cheaper. So it was like, we have to get off of that as quick as possible. Be cash positive, as quick as quick as possible not have to worry about that. So that was kind of like the big thing we looked at was like, Okay, who, who's the problem child, I guess, was kind of like the way we first looked at it. Like, who's not showing up for shifts? Who's not being a team player who's not helping others? You know, who do I need to replace first, and it was kind of like a gradual process for us. And we, I will be honest, like, I had hopes and goals for certain people that were on the team that just didn't want the same thing for themselves.

And ultimately, like, we didn't initially plan to let everybody go and switch them out. It kind of gradually happened over like a 60 day time period. But it was as we kind of got closer and more involved with the people that we're talking to versus what we needed to grow and scale like some of those. We wouldn't have been able to get that out of the people that were in the company at that point. Yeah, I think I have definitely run into that same situation in the past and I think if you are an ambitious person are kind of a self starter or you're a you know, a learner or whatever, you kind of naturally expect that other people can or will do that if you give them the opportunity, right? It's like, I hate being micromanaged or I you know, I hate when people keep me in a position if I give people the opportunity to grow they're gonna take that but it's it doesn't always work out that way. Right? It's just like sometimes it's not what they want, and you can make them want that.

26:42 Hey guys, hope you enjoyed part one of this episode is just too good limits one show. Join us next week to hear the rest

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