Welcome to the CEO Nation podcast, where we believe that true freedom is being able to do what you want, whenever you want, with whoever you want, by building a business that works for you rather than you working for it—and, now, to start uncovering how to get out of your own way and start building that business of your dreams, here's your host, Steve Richards.
Steve: Hey, guys. It's Steve Richards. Welcome back to The CEO Nation. I'm excited about today's episode because I'm joined by my good friend, Richard Roop. Hey, Richard.
Richard: How are you doing, Steve? Good to be here.
Steve: I'm good. I’m good. I'm excited about this because it's a couple of weeks in the coming here, because we’ve got together prior to doing this and we hadn't talked in so many years that we spent an hour and a half catching up and we didn't even record the episode.
Richard: That's right. That's right. It was great catching up with you. It's good to see you doing so great with the CEO Nation and your real estate and all that. [01:00.5]
Steve: Yeah. Before we jump in, I want to tell you guys, Richard was one of the first coaches that I ever had when I got into the business for myself back in 2004 going into business. I think it was in 2005 that I heard of Richard and I was like, Man, do I want to stroke this check? I kept listening to the material and I'm like, This is really good.
Then what caught my attention, which is really ironic and interesting about where I am now, was that it wasn't just real estate. This was back when I was focused on going full-time into my real estate business back in 2005, but I realized that you were teaching systems and processes, and some of it stuck enough that I had it in the back of my mind that it was probably seeds that were planted. Not probably. It was 100 percent seeds that were planted then that later finally blossomed after I did it wrong enough long enough and I'm like, Wait, you need to actually build a business, not just be a real estate investor, which ultimately led me to be able to get out of the day to day of the business, which has led me to own multiple businesses now. [02:02.4]
And Richard and I reconnected and, honestly, quite frankly, I mean, literally this will be one of the more iconic guests that I have on the podcast because definitely, in part, this is going on because of you, Richard. No pressure, but you're going to need to bring it today. Let's do this.
I want to start with people just getting to know a little bit about you. If you can just spend a couple minutes and explain your background and what you've done over your career.
Richard: When you came to my events, you listened to my materials and everything, you realized that I wasn't teaching real estate investing. I was teaching you to have a real estate investing business, okay? I started out as a marketing entrepreneur. In fact, I've been an entrepreneur since I was eight years old, finding lost golf balls on the [unclear 02:52.5] golf course and selling them back to the owner for 10 cents a piece. That was when I was eight. All right. [02:59.2]
But I joined the air force when I was 19. I was there for five years, and when I was in the air force, I started getting involved in my business opportunities, reading those magazines. I’ve got involved in the chain letter. I thought it was actually going to work. I’ve got on all these lists and started getting all this junk. But I saw, hey, there were exciting ways to make money on your own as an entrepreneur, as a business owner.
I started studying all the great success people out there like Brian, Tracy, Earl Nightingale and W. Clement Stone, old success audio cassettes, right? And then I started learning about marketing and sales, and I started my first business while I was in the air force, Richard Roop Marketing and Advertising in Fairbanks, Alaska. I was on the air force base and there was an army base and there was no way to advertise on the bases, and I got this $10 book that told me how I could make $1,000 a day publishing coupon books, right? [04:03.0]
But what I did, 1984, remember when the Macintosh came out?
Richard: I got the Mac. You could do all this graphic stuff. I published the coupon book. I went down to Fairbanks, Alaska, and I sold pages in the book to business owners for $300 a page. I didn't know anything about sales rejection. I just knew I had a good service. I went in there. It didn't bother me if they didn't want to do it. It's like, if you don't want to do it, that's fine, right?
But later I learned I didn't like sales rejection, so I started studying that, and then I got more into marketing because I hate rejection. I’d rather make an offer to a thousand people and then measure the response versus calling people, asking people, Do you want to buy or not? Right? It became a numbers game.
Marketing and salesmanship multiplied and I think it's the key to any business, sales and marketing, but marketing is key. It all starts there. I studied with all the gurus, Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, Ted Nicholas, Gary Halbert. In fact, I did a JV with Jay Abraham back in 1984. He wanted to market to our list and we did a JV together. [05:13.5]
That's how I became a marketing expert, mentors, books and audio. That's in my MBA, mentors, books and audio. So, I’ve got an MBA on entrepreneurial marketing. I’ve got an MBA in creative real estate, and I’ve got an MBA in personal growth and development. I used to be the director of marketing for NLP.com from 1988 to 1994.
Then, in 1996, I started buying houses, bought over 500 houses with none of my own money, none of my own capital or credit, using creative financing, and I did that until about 2015. I had a lawsuit with the state of Colorado, which still nobody can figure out. I lost a $6 million portfolio of properties. I went into a funk for a couple of years and did nothing, even though I was… [06:04.8]
This was at the time when I was working with people like you, Steve, that were getting into the real estate business and we were helping them generate leads, negotiate deals, structure offers, get their houses occupied quickly, got some of the best stuff on that, but it threw me for a loop when I had that lawsuit. For two years I was in a funk, which if I did anything differently, I would've pulled myself out of that a lot quicker and I would've defended the lawsuit because they kind of pushed me into a corner.
But then I spent a couple years meeting with business owners that wanted to sell their business for sale by owner and they needed a buyer, so I offered them a marketing program to help them find a buyer, and that allowed me for the first time to get really good at evaluating businesses. I'd go meet with a business owner, make sure it was some type of sellable business, and I'd get to go through their financials and look at all their numbers, and it wasn't until then, Steve, that I actually got really good on the financial side of looking at the numbers in a business. [07:08.6]
Now I know how important that is to do on a daily basis. Everybody needs to be looking at their numbers. In fact, we would teach this in my coaching program. As you’d recall, we wouldn't focus in on the metrics, the key performance indicators, so we would tell people to do that, but it was never my focus. I was Mr. Creative. I tried to hire other people to do that for me, like a general manager. I failed at that several times, just hiring the wrong people, I guess. It's hard to give up that control if you're an entrepreneur.
Steve: Well said. Let's pause there because that gets us up to most of the [unclear 07:42.3] in daytime when you're kind of--
Richard: Yeah, I got back into this space, helping entrepreneurs, business owners and real estate investors overcome the obstacles that came about with the lockdowns and the virus and all that stuff. I had just started getting back doing consulting a few months prior to that, so about a year ago, I decided to get back in the game. [08:09.8]
I had some old coaching clients call me asking for help and it's like, I love this. I'm good at this. Why am I not doing this? So, now I'm back kind of focused on what I was doing before.
Steve: That's really cool. I think what's interesting about that, by the way, and we're not going to dig too much into that story in this podcast much more than we already have, but there aren't any successful people I know who didn't have some kind of challenge like your lawsuit. Sometimes it's a business partnership. Sometimes it's a divorce. Sometimes it's a cancer diagnosis. But the reality is those are so pivotal in shaking things up for us kind of when we come back.
I had mine where I had built a business and when I tried to eloquently unwind it to restart, I realized I had weaved the web ever and it all came crashing down around me and it was really hard to deal with. But, literally, the things that we have in our business going forward, many of those are built out of those lessons, right? [09:07.0]
I think that if you're listening to this and you're going through something that, I guess I just want to let you know that, although it seems cliché and it probably doesn't help a lot when you're in the middle of something, like you said, you were in a funk, Richard, which was probably not just business or financial, but it's mental. It's depression and anxiety.
Richard: It was mental, yeah.
Steve: Yeah, and this is just part of it. I just wanted to bring that up. One of the reasons why at my last event, Richard, I don't know if I told you about this, but the last mastermind we did during COVID, which is the only one we've done, literally the powerhouse speaker, and I brought a couple of different people, the guy that brought the house down was my family therapist. He came in and he talked about the neglect and shame loops, that we’re in one or the other, neglect or shame, and we get in these loops.
As business owners, we put ourselves in worse positions than people that have normal lives, and if we get in one of those loops, we start creating, the people around us like our spouse, we push them harder into their loop that they have, too, and we push our employees and our clients, and we can get in these ruts. [10:06.5]
I just wanted to point that out in your story, Richard, that it's awesome that you pulled yourself up out of it. But I want everyone to know that's just really normal. That's part of the deal. In fact, I don't know anyone that's really successful that hasn't had something like that. Do you?
Richard: I’ve got to tell you, one of my first consulting clients from 19…after I built the Advanced Neuro Dynamics in Hawaii for six years until 1994, I became a marketing consultant for different types of businesses, and the first marketing consultant that hired me called me last December a year ago and asked me if I wanted to help him sell his house in Bel air, Calif., a $9 million mansion.
I did very well buying a couple of properties in Hawaii when the Japanese housing bubble was going on, and I bought a couple of small town homes and they doubled in value in a couple years and I sold those and bought a high-end luxury home overlooking the ocean. I made more money buying real estate than I was in my successful business. That's what got me the real estate bug. That's why a couple of light years later, I’ve got more focused on that, right? [11:13.1]
But he remembered I sold my house when I saw the bubble changing. I saw the market turning and I had all my wealth in this house, so I decided to sell it very quickly using my marketing background to get 60 people to one open house, have them bid up the price, and then I sold it for more than any other property in the neighborhood because of that process. He remembered I wrote a book, How Do You Sell Your Home in 9 Days, right -
Steve: I have that book.
Richard: - where I find the strategy? I gave a copy to Burt when I did consulting with him and he wanted me to help him market his house. I got excited about how creative I could be selling a $9 million house in the Beverly Hills area, so I started working on that. [11:58.2]
I'm in Texas and I was traveling to California and back in December to see family, and then in January to see family and meet and work on this project, and then I came back in February and then back in March. When I was there, I was meeting with my old contacts in my social media, LinkedIn, because I had just let everything go. Remember I was out of the picture, right? So, I started contacting all these people that I knew that were in LA that might help me out. Very, very successful people, names if I mentioned right now, you would probably recognize, and they all gave me that same thing.
I would tell them my story and they would give me their story. Everybody's that super successful typically goes through something where they have to come back, bounce back, and that's called life. Okay? So, if you haven't had that big thing, just maybe prepare for it, do whatever you can to protect yourself, but those things happen. Bad things happen to good people. [13:02.1]
A lot of the real estate investors back in the last financial meltdown, I created a strategy to help weather through that. In November 2007, we were warning people about the mortgage market meltdown and we started teaching this buy and hold long-term, getting owner financing, 0% interest, don't rely on banks, all that stuff. But a lot of people did get hurt with the financial meltdown and now some people have bounced back, but a lot of people are actually coming back now. They’re getting back into the game and after that last pickup in the market, and that strategy that I used back then to protect people, that's what people need today, so that's another reason why I'm back.
For real estate investors, that's a way they can make a lot of money. There are a lot of opportunity to help people, as well as I think it's important that if any type of business that you're in, Steve, I think you need to have a virtual component of it. That’s something I've done for decades, virtual business, okay, virtual partnership. In fact, I’ve got VirtualPreneurship.com, okay? [14:07.4]
But if someone has a brick-and-mortar business or an in-person business that requires in-person sales, like speaking or face-to-face selling, those type of businesses need to create a virtual component of their business, so that if there is a lockdown, if they are restricted, they can still survive and thrive, and so I've been helping people do that, some big names that you’d probably know.
Steve: That kind of segues into what I wanted to bring up next with you, because not only do nearly all successful people have that fall story, actually, some have many, right, but…
Richard: There's a problem there. If you've got too many, it's a pattern. Go ahead.
Steve: Yeah, but we see them.
Richard: You’ve got to kind of analyze that a little bit and make some changes.
Hey, guys, Steve Richards here. After 20 years of consulting and coaching, and scaling my own businesses, I get asked by people to pick my brain all the time. Not only would I never have time to connect with each of you individually, but several years ago, I stopped doing lunch, dinner and drink meetings for business appointments just to better protect my time. The problem is, to serve my purpose of creating impact, I know you guys need direct access to me to get help tackling issues and to take advantage of opportunities.
So, what I’ve done is make myself available every Monday at 3:30 Eastern to connect live with all of you. During these sessions, I not only deliver in-depth trainings, but most importantly, I make time to engage in live coaching Q&A. What's awesome is that these are all totally free via Zoom and they're piped live into the CEO Nation Facebook group.
To gain access, just go join “The CEO Nation” Facebook group. In the group, you’ll be able to sign up for these sessions and you'll find replay videos to all past sessions, too. We'll drop a link to the group in this episode’s show notes, so be sure to get joined up in the Facebook group and I’ll see you on a live session soon.
Steve: That's kind of why we're here in the CEO Nation. I think the reason they do is they don't take control of them. They never learn what their purpose is. They don't know how to build the business to support them and serve them. They don't know how to hire the right people. They don't know how to study the KPIs, so they can turn their business into a math equation. [15:13.8]
I hope to put a dent in that process for a lot of people, so that when their business is giving them the time and money freedom, so that when life does happen, it doesn't affect their business, so they can step away and have the money and time to deal with things.
But back to what I was going to say is not only do people share that kind of up and down story, but I know that one thing I wanted to cover with you is you have a unique view on the different levels of business and I think we want to hone in on one other key thing that nearly every single business that's scaled… We were joking before the show that maybe if your dad owns a manufacturing company, you would still have to find clients, but we were talking about, there is no business at scale, hardly ever. Maybe somebody could find one exception that didn't learn how to be a student of and become a master of marketing. If you dabble in marketing, you're going to dabble in revenue, right? [16:06.0]
Richard: Yeah. That's where revenue comes from. You think, Oh, it comes from sales. Where do sales come from? They come from leads. Where do leads come from? Marketing. And marketing is just not generating leads. Marketing is your persona out in the marketplace, your niche, your brand, so everything you do is marketing, how you answer the phone, how your letterhead looks, I mean, little things like that.
But what's more important is what do you want to say? What do you have to say? What can you offer folks and who can you offer it to? What is your message and who is that message for? And then you need multiple ways to get that message out consistently and be congruent about it, and being very focused. [16:52.2]
Steve, there are four levels of entrepreneurship. Level 1 is school. It's like the doctor is going to medical school, right? He's not making any money. He's learning how to do it, so he's not doing any business yet, right? Level 1 is school. There are a lot of people that get stuck in Level 1 and we call them seminar junkies and they learn, they learn, they learn. They get this dopamine from learning, which is great, but you've got to take action, okay?
Level 2 is you're actually taking action. You have marketing systems and you have sales systems, and you're actually making some money, but we find that you can be like that's your profession, your business. You're running the business, maybe a solopreneur, trying to do it all yourself. It's like being in a profession. We’ve found that a lot of people, their income is kind of limited to about a quarter million dollars a year if they're trying to do it all themselves, because what happens is you get so busy doing the business, you're just running out of time. You’re just running out of time, okay? [18:04.4]
Now there are other ways you can leverage yourself and make more money, but you want to go to level three, and so when I teach people how to get into real estate investing, yeah, they might be Level 1 or Level 2, a lot of Level 2 people come. They're already doing something in the space and they want me to take them to the next level, but regardless of Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3, I want them to think about Level 3.
Level 3 is systems automation, delegating and outsourcing. That's your expertise. It’s how to create a real business, a business that can actually make money without you. That would be the goal. It’s to set up a business that can actually… Now you’re like, I want a real business, so you're making money as the owner of the business, not the operator. If you're operating, yeah, pay yourself a salary, okay? But you can make the millions come from owning that business, and so that's where you need those Level 3 skills. [19:02.0]
Level 4 is financial freedom. That's where we're all headed. It's kind of like, where do we want to go? We want our income, our personal financial needs supported by our assets where we don't have to work. We're financially independent and, of course, we love what we do, so we'll continue to provide value to the marketplace because that's where we get our fulfillment, right? You never retire if you're doing something you love or like, right?
So, Level 3 is super important and marketing is kind of Level 3, meaning that you want to create those systems and those automations. What I do with real estate investors is we set up the marketing. We have a system that works, so we just implement it and outsource it, and then they don't have to worry about the marketing. They've got those leads coming in. Now their job is to convert those leads into deals, talk to sellers, make offers, negotiate, close deals. Then you can bring on an acquisitions person to do that for you. [20:08.0]
The first person I hired, Steve, was a personal assistant. I tried to do everything myself for a year and a half and I was doing well, but remember that I was being limited, right? I finally hired my sister to be my personal assistant and I scaled myself five times just by getting all this junk off my plate that I don't need to be doing. I don't like to do it. I'm not even good at it and my sister, Lori, she's very good at it and she loves to do that and supports me. That was a mistake, waiting so long to hire an assistant and then I had numerous assistants after that.
The second person I hired was someone to sell my properties or get them occupied, because if you do this business right, occupying properties is just running a checklist. You can get a lot of different people, good people, to run a checklist and to answer the phone and do some of the stuff, so you can focus in on [more]. [21:04.0]
We talked about this, Steve, you should focus in on more in your business as the CEO of a multimillion dollar business, whether you put the money in your bank account or not, or it’s going that high, that's how you’ve got to act. You want to be what you want to become now, be that multimillionaire CEO, okay? If you're doing that, what should you be doing? I suggest you should be doing what you love. I think you should build a business that supports your lifestyle that you enjoy. It takes advantage of your talents. You should be doing more, which if you're not doing these things, then you’ve got to be managing them.
Here's what I'm talking about, Steve. Do what you love in your business, but your job is to do M.O.R.E. That's an acronym. That's M-O-R-E. [21:56.8]
If you write this down, “M” is marketing. You’ve got to be focused in on the marketing. That's a high-level activity that you should be working on, concentrating on or at least managing. You’ve got to have that focus on marketing. We talked earlier about a lot of my older students that are now just celebrities out there because they continue to focus in on getting better and better and better at marketing, so they take it into other industries.
“O” is for offers, making offers, making offers to sellers in real estate. It’s making offers to sellers, making offers to buyers, making offers to private investors, so making offers.
“R” is raising cash. Your job is to raise cash in your business. That can come from sales. That can come from other types of ways to influx cash into your business. You’ve got to raise that capital for your business goals. Okay? That's your job. Now, of course, you can have someone help you with that. [23:00.0]
Then “E” is your exit. In real estate, when you buy a house, you don't just go buy another house. You've got to get the house fixed. Maybe you’ve got to get it occupied. You’ve got to get it sold. Whatever you’ve got to do, work your exit.
You want to be doing M.O.R.E., M-O-R-E, and then actually you want to be doing—here's another acronym, [S.H.I.T.]—specialty high-intensity training. You need a special high-intensity training, so you’ve got to be doing more specialized.
Steve: You guys can all [hear it]. Everyone listening can hear that, that special high-intensity training. That kind of -
Richard: You’ve got to leverage this stuff.
Steve: - actually goes downhill, by the way.
Sieve: Every good marketer has got plenty of acronyms. I love it. I love it. Let me ask you this. I want to try and keep us on track here because I know you and I could spend hours, and maybe we'll do another sit-down interview, but what I want to do is get to the end where we can ask some personal questions, some rapid fire get-to-know-you-better questions. [23:57.8]
But before that, I think it'd be really important, and we didn't talk about this, so I know I'm putting you on the spot a little bit, can you give us the two or three things that if I came to you as a client said, Hey, Richard, I own a business and I've been doing some business, and I've been just doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, I've been getting some business, but I want to take this thing seriously and I need to do some marketing so I can get some steady deal flow if it's real estate or steady business if it's another business, whatever that is, clients, to the point where I want to grow that so I can hire a salesperson, and so I need to do some marketing. I've never done it formally. What are the top couple things that I would need to do to effectively decide where? Because people get inundated with opportunities to spend money with vendors, platforms and different channels, what do you need to know?
Richard: Yeah, it's shiny object syndrome, by the way, what you're describing.
Steve: Yes. Two or three things that they can do to prepare themselves before they start researching all the ways to do marketing, so they can more easily make a decision. What do you have to know before you can start picking the channels and the marketing? What are the top couple of things? [25:04.3]
Richard: Yeah, there are three elements of a marketing campaign, your message, your market and your media. When you say channels, those are the different types of media and that's the shiny object. People are saying, Hey, look at this new media, look at this new shiny object, right? This new thing, new-fangled thing. Direct mail still works. It's not new. There are all kinds of ways to get your message out. The question is what's more efficient and what's more cost-effective?
You can really leverage any type of media, any type of marketing channel by, number one, deciding who your avatar is. Who is your ideal customer? Who is your ideal market? I think you should go for a small tribe, the smallest viable market. Don't be like… Steve, you told me earlier that CEO Nations is for all types of business owners, all types of entrepreneurs, all types of industries, but two thirds are in the space of your background as a successful real estate investor. [26:05.7]
So, I think it's sometimes better to kind of niche what you're doing, okay, as opposed to being or going wide, and you can really serve a small niche and have that tribe grow with the right type of people that you love that are just the perfect client.
I read a book recently, Steve, and even though I'm a marketing expert, it changed the way I thought about marketing. About a year ago, I read a book by Seth Godin. I’d never read any of his stuff before or followed him. The book is called This Is Marketing by Seth Godin. I highly recommend it and it got me thinking about the concept of targeting the smallest viable market and just dominating that niche.
I do that for real estate investors when they're picking their market, their geographic market. I want it as small as possible to get enough leads to achieve their financial goals and be a big fish in a small pond. [27:04.6]
All right, same if you're going to niche. Right now, a niche that we go after is free and clear houses. We know all the things about people with free and clear houses. We know that avatar, so we know what's important to them and we can speak their language and all of that.
That would be one thing. The second thing would be to put together your absolute best sales presentation, who you are, what you offer people, all the reasons why people should do business with you. Write a 16-page sales letter. I'm a copywriter. Write a 16-page script, just selling the heck out of you and your business, right? But what's in it for them? That's your entire message.
Now get that entire message out, which is entertaining and it's interesting, and it keeps them engaged and all that, but you get that out as a presentation. You get that out as a letter, as a web page, all those different channels that we talked about. You have your good marketing message. Now you duplicate that in all those channels. [28:09.3]
If you recall, that's what we did with my marketing tools. We didn't change them every year. We'd use the same ones because they worked. But we'd get that same message out as an oversized postcard or as a flyer, or a web page or an advertorial, or a video or a presentation, or a free recorded message line script. Same message, different channels to our ideal avatar, speaking about what's in it for them, so message to market match. Your message and your market, really big, and then you can figure out all the different ways to get that out.
Hey guys, hope you enjoyed part 1 of this episode. It’s just too good to limit to one show. Join us next week to hear the rest.
We hope you enjoy this episode of The CEO Nation. Be sure to give us a rating, leave a review and subscribe on iTunes. And to connect with Steve and learn more about this movement, visit TheCEONation.com. That's TheCEONation.com. Until next time, take care, be safe and live free.
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