Threats about being reported to the FTC
I've been sending out yellow postcards and every once in a while I get someone that threatens to report me to the authorities (FTC, BBB, etc.) if I don't remove them from my mailing list. How are people handling these things? Are you removing these people or do you just ignore them and keep mailing?
Matthew Jones I built a CRM for myself and within it I have a “Do Not Mail” attribute. If someone calls in upset asking to be removed from the mailing list, I just check that and mail will no longer go out to them.
It seems silly to ignore them and keep mailing. They’re obviously not interested at all. Seems like a waste on 50(ish) cents!
Dado Vucak Thanks. I'm still new to all this and I don't have a CRM set up yet where I can easily find them in my leads to remove them. How did you build your own CRM?
Matthew Jones as long as you're sending mail to thousands of people who didn't ask for it, there will always be a small trickle of responses from those who are angry and issue threats like this.
Most of these angry responses can be disheartening to hear, but it will rarely, if ever, result in anything bad happening to you or your company. Even if they do report you to the BBB, you didn't actually do any business with them, so their complaint, however angry they are, doesn't hold much weight.
And remember, you're not technically breaking any rules by sending them mail. Even if they've added their name to the DMA's do-not-mail list, this only applies to marketers who are part of the DMA, not you. The only way I know that they would legally have a way to "get you back" is if they filed a prohibitory order with the USPS and you STILL kept sending them mail.
Keep in mind, in order to do this, the recipient has to pass through several steps, and the first few are as follows:
- Addressee receives mailpiece
- Mailpiece must be an offer to sell something, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. § 3008(a)
- Recipient must believe the offer is "erotically arousing or sexually provocative," pursuant to 39 U.S.C. § 3008(a). Recipient may declare any offer "erotically arousing or sexually provocative" without explanation, pursuant to Rowan v. United States Post Office Department
You can see the rest of the numerous steps here.
My point is, people can and will get mad at you, but there's a pretty small box for anyone to take any action against you, and considering what most real estate investors are doing, it's really a non-issue.
If your biggest concern is about keeping your name clear, you might want to considering using a fake name or just omitting your name altogether from your mail pieces. We discussed this a bit in this forum thread: https://retipster.com/forum/topic/443/using-a-fake-name-on-my-direct-mail-letters
Matthew Jones Nothing fancy, I just built my CRM with pretty simple tools that most people know how to use - MS Excel/Access. Excel displays my UI (user interface) while access maintains all the data I have in a relational database format. I still have a ways to go until I'm done with it. I'm probably going to add additional features/functionality as I continue grow and learn more as a land investor.
For now, it's working great though! David Ludwig I know you asked me to keep you posted on what I ended up doing for a CRM solution.
Here's some screen shots with sample data:
Dado Vucak That's really cool. I'm not quite at the point where I need a CRM but I am getting there. I like what you have set up. It looks pretty simple and and easy to use.
Matthew Jones I’ve only bought two properties. Sold zero. I’m not much further head of you! Lol
I just figured if I do the leg work now, it will make life easier in the long run. If I put it off, it’s likely that I don’t have time to do it later on.
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Dado Vucak Man that seems pretty amazing....i am more a "PC whisperer": I kindly talk to my PC when it doesn't do the things I would like it to do, hoping to change its mind
Dado Vucak Holy cow! That's impressive!
Matthew Jones There was a similar thread about this today in "another" Facebook land group. I had a guy who said he was reporting me to the Secret Service for sending out fake currency! I used to send out million-dollar bills with my company name and contact information on it. People LOVED IT; they'd ask for extras. And it's 100% legal. I've had countless nasty calls voicemails and letters; I had a BBB review that complained that my letter wasn't professional enough, suggesting how I should market my service and change my messaging. There will always be haters. Personally, I wouldn't spend time taking them off a list. Managing multiple lists, including a "do not mail" list, is actually fairly complex and expensive. $0.50 or not, it's going to take away your time, money, and resources from interacting with people who want to sell. You've already spent the $0.50 on the mail, and in all reality unless you mail that list again, or that area again... the issue is over with. If you routinely work an area, then maybe, but the problem is that the ownership records are updated regularly. We just re-pull the data, with the cost, after more than a year or so. I do update their lead status in my CRM to "Bad Fit " so that I don't take the time to answer their call in the future. Send more mail!
Robert Dow Thanks!
What CRM are you using? Sounds like you have an integration to your phone system? I can see how that can add tremendous value!
Dado Vucak We use Close.com. I've been with them for 5-6 years. There are thousands of CRMs options. It's a very personal choice, although some do work better in certain industries and applications. We started with Google Sheets, but knowing the productivity gains, especially if this is a side hustle, my #1 recommendation would be to get a CRM ASAP. Close syncs with Gmail, it has integrated VOIP, and SMS. I can use templates. I can drop people into email sequences. It has tasks; the calendar syncs with Gmail. I can tell it to remind me if you don't respond to an email, or I can automatically have it send you an email or email sequence if you don't respond. And you can set infinite types of searches. Oh... and lots of native reporting... open rates, calls per day, SMS in and out, etc. in fact, I was using Close in my day job, and when I was hustling land on the side in separate accounts. I just didn't have the time at night; it forced me to develop high efficient processes, templates and sequences to maximize conversion.
Dado Vucak #2 is don't send and process your own mail; find a cheap and easy to interface mail shop. #3 SEND MORE MAIL!
I’m curious, in terms of mailers sent per month, at what point did you feel that it was worth investing in close.com, or paid subscription service CRM for that matter.
FWIW, I’m a data engineer/developer in my day job. I’ve actually built out my CRM to do a lot of this automation, or at least have plans to.
However, building it, testing it, ensuring your code accurately reflects the intended action takes time. Like A LOT of time. I feel like in a way, I might bet better off just buying something and investing my time into growing my business. Then again, if I spend the time on it now and build it correctly, I’ll (likely) never have to worry about it again.
What I have now works great but I think I’ll definitely want to migrate to some pre-built so I can focus on the business and not the technology in the long run.
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Dado Vucak To me, even at a smaller mail volume, it about the force multiplier of a CRM. I am not pushing Close.com per se, but I'll use it as an example. It costs me $120 per user per month. My CRM is my #1 most important piece of software; it's my central command for all of my marketing, land data, calls, emails, texts, etc. Can I save $120 worth of my time per month and/or can I increase my revenue by $120 for the month? YES! As an example, when I first started buying land, I only had ~2 hours at night after the kids were put down. I didn't have the luxury of phone calls, and I was FORCED to develop templates and text snippets (using TextExpander) that saved a TON of time. I still use them today. It's hard to pinpoint an exact mailer count, but you'll want to have a system where you can house your property information and your phone numbers and emails. Yes, Google Sheets will work, but it's not the best solution... it's hard to consolidate that information and follow-up in in the future without an integrated solution. You need to hit those numbers and emails again now that they are connected to a property. Yes, you can manage 10 responses on your mobile and Gmail, but if you grow, you'll quickly lose control of the data. There are a lot of free CRMs too. I hear good things about Hubspot's free product. FollowUp Boss is popular. I use REI Conversion too. I am not a developer, but I have had custom software developed. I will NEVER do it again. Maybe something that connects, a webhook, script or macro, but nothing bottoms up. No disrespect, but you can't tell me that you can have a CRM like Close.com developed for $120 of your time. Just because you can technically do it, doesn't mean you should. With Zapier, you can connect a TON of applications in minutes. Don't reinvent the wheel. That's one of the most powerful things that we are all experiencing today... there is SO MUCH affordable software today that can do crazy things for not much money. Take advantage of it!