When starting and building a business growth is an important factor. Emulating successful people can also be a shortcut to success, but keep in mind that doing the same thing as someone else that is in a different growth stage doesn’t make sense. Different tactics need to be used in different growth stages.
In this episode, I am talking with Steve Rozenberg from Empire Industries. Steve grew his business from zero to 700 doors in four years. Steve has a really interesting story that he is able to go out and share because he is supported by a really great team. We talk about Steve’s story, stages of growth, and more.
[03:24] Steve’s background as an airline pilot and how 911 was a pivotal point in his career and life.
[06:37] He was attracted to real estate because he liked the fact of leveraging time and money.
[07:11] He was doing well with houses and apartments, then he bought 20 low-income properties and got in over his head.
[08:32] While trying to solve his low-income housing problem he and his partner ended up creating a business model for property management.
[09:22] Their first hire was a business coach, then their first full-time employee.
[09:46] They are a sales and marketing company that trains employees to close.
[11:33] If you run a property management business you should be focusing on things other than the actual management.
[13:20] Having a strategic 30,000-foot view of your business.
[17:41] Helping your team in order for them to support you.
[20:12] Doing a time study to understand where time is spent. Time needs to be on strategic business.
[28:06] The importance of mindset and positive self-talk. We can talk our brains into and out of things.
[30:47] The transition of handing the reigns over to your time after being the person who did everything themselves.
[33:39] Growing a company to your level of incompetence, then you need to grow your level.
[38:23] The importance of looking at the numbers and the cost of marketing.
[43:40] The importance of branding yourself as an expert and building an awesome reputation.
[01:01:33] How your number 1 prospect is your existing customer. Asking for referrals is also a good idea.
Call Steve (888)866-6727
Jason: Welcome DoorGrow Hackers to The DoorGrowShow. If you are a property management entrepreneur that wants to add doors and expand your rent roll, and you are interested in growing your business and life, and you are open to doing things a bit differently, then you are a DoorGrow Hacker.
At DoorGrow, we are on a mission to grow property management businesses and their owners. We want to transform the industry, eliminate the BS, build awareness, expand the market, and help the best property managers win. If you enjoy this episode, do me a favor, open up iTunes, find The DoorGrow Show, subscribe, and then give us a real review. Thank you for helping us with that vision.
I’m your host, property management growth hacker, Jason Hull, the founder of OpenPotion, GatherKudos, Thunder Local, and of course, DoorGrow. Now, let’s get into the show.
This is episode number 33. In today’s episode, I have Steve Rozenberg of Empire Industries. Steve grew from 0 to 700 doors in 4 years. He has a really interesting story. He gets to go around and tell this story a lot because he has a great team behind him supporting him. Check out today’s episode.
One thing to keep in mind, which I thought is really interesting about this, take notice that doing the same thing as somebody else, that’s at a different stage in growth, doesn’t make sense. That comes out in this episode. Be careful before you start doing more aggressive marketing tactics. You want to do those at the right stage of growth. I think there’s some really great takeaways. Super stoked to have Steve on the show. Hope you enjoy it. Let’s get into it.
I am hanging out here with Steve Rozenberg of Empire Industries. Steve, hello.
Steve: Hey, how are you doing? Thanks for having me, Jason.
Jason: It’s my pleasure, I love having anybody on that’s had some significant success in growth. Because the reality is most property managers are struggling.
Jason: Most of them, and they’re all doing the same stuff. They’re all trying to do the same stuff that they’ve been sold, or told to do. They’re all struggling and not everybody has this level of growth that you’ve had. You’ve grown from a portfolio of nothing, to 700 doors in as little as about 4 years.
Jason: A lot of people hear that, and they’re like, “Okay, Steve is some sort of freak of nature. He’s obviously like, he’s really buff and strong, and he’s good looking.” They’re like, “I can’t beat Steve. He’s somebody that it’s impossible for me to be.”
I want to see if we can bridge that gap and help them understand what you’ve done, and so we could draw out of you what’s really worked. Why don’t you give us a little background on yourself, and who you are, and how you got into property management first.
Steve: Absolutely, this may paint even more realistic picture that I’m just an average person. My perspective is when I talk to people, I explain, I never even really wanted to ever get into real estate. I never wanted to be in owning a business. I’ve never thought I would be in this world.
My journey in this whole entrepreneurships started about 9/11. The reason that day impacted me so much is I am an airline pilot. I fly for an airline, still do. As you know, a lot of the ways that we viewed September 12 were a lot different of how we viewed the world on September 10.
For me, it was a lot more relevant because when you’re in an industry that’s downsizing and, “Hey things are not looking good. We’re gonna be cutting back.” You can see it coming. It’s like a hurricane, moving up the coast of Florida. You know it’s coming, you’re preparing for it.
When 9/11 happened, if you were an airline pilot, you worked your whole life to be this specialized person doing this one thing. That’s all you know how you do, which is fly basically a metal tube around in the sky or around the world. Next thing you know, it’s like an earthquake. Next thing you know, what you had and what you built your whole life is just ripped to shreds and you’re standing in the middle of nothing wondering what am I gonna do?
For me, it was like a bandaid was ripped off. Next thing you know, airlines were going out of business, pensions were being cut, contracts were being voided. I was basically about to be on the street, out of job, with about 250,000 other airline pilots. The thing that scared me the most is the fact that I remember thinking, “There is nothing else I’m qualified to do.”
I’ve spent my whole life focused on this one goal of being an airline pilot, and I can’t do anything else. I almost pigeon holed myself into this career that is basically dissolving because as many people remember the days after 9/11. What a lot of people don’t remember about 9/11 is that all the planes, wherever they were, they had to circle and land.
After that, about three, four days after, which is what I remember most about the days after 9/11. They sent all the airline crews to these places to pick up these planes. I remember walking through these hallowed terminals, these huge terminals—it may have been in Denver, or somewhere, I don’t remember. All these planes are parked like a jigsaw puzzle on the tarmac. You’re walking to these huge empty terminal, there’s no passengers, there’s no planes. It’s just like a dead zone.
I remember thinking to myself I’m so screwed. I don’t know what am I gonna do. I don’t know how am I gonna pay my mortgage. I don’t know how I’m gonna survive because life as I know it is going to seize to exist the way it was September 10, which was just a week ago. I remember thinking to myself, “I will never ever put myself in that position again to be stuck like that.”
Going back to the original question of how I got into this. I started studying, I started learning and I really got involved in real estate because I like the fact the I could leverage my time, leverage some money, and I cold still fly. Never wanted to give up flying. I always wanted to fly, but I could have something else for that retirement. What I did is I started buying real estate, I started buying houses, that went pretty well. Sold a couple, bought apartment complexes, did okay with that. Got a little bit cocky. Thought I knew everything I needed to know, and thought, “Oh I got this wired. I can do this.”
Me and my business partner, we bought about 20 low income properties in about a year. That was a huge, huge, tactical error. What we ended up doing is we had a lot of problems with these properties. We weren’t running them correctly, we were just getting our butts kicked. They weren’t making any money. It was just a huge headache. In our infinite wisdom, we thought for ourselves, “Okay, the only way we can get out of this is buy more properties.” We basically bought another 15 properties which was essentially putting gasoline on fire, and it just exploded even worse.
I remember my wife saying, “If you buy another one, it’s better be nice because you’re gonna be living in this thing.” It’s almost like being an addict, where I realized, I’ve dug my own grave and I can’t get out of this. Me and my business partner, we stack down. We said, “Okay you know what? Obviously, we’re not the smartest guys in the world because we put ourselves in the position. But we’re not the dumbest, so we can figure this out.”
What we ended up deciding was okay we can either hand these over to a management company, which we found out nobody wanted them because they were low income properties. That was another indication that we’re in a mess. Or, we said okay, we can run these as a business. If we sit down and put policies, procedures, instruction in place, and we can run this as a business. Essentially for the next eight months we did that.
What happened after that is our property stabilized. They never really made us money, because they were low income properties and we just cannot find the right business model for it to work. But we realized we had a workable business model that other people were coming to us, approaching us, asking us, “Hey, could you manage our houses?” The first thing we did is we hired a business coach which was probably the smartest thing we ever did. Because we realized, we were not educated enough on certain business models. You had mentioned earlier that people struggle being a property manager.
This was something we did not want to get into. We were gonna do this, we’re gonna run it like a business, we’re gonna do it correctly, and so we hired a coach. He assessed the business and said, “Number one, you have a market, you have an opportunity, and you have scalability, you have the business model. Now it’s a matter of creating structure for growth and making it scalable.” That was June of 2012 when we hired our business coach. In December of 2012, we hired our first FTE, full time employee, who’s our head broker now.
Essentially, the way that we’ve grown this things is we have realized, number one, we run it like a very strict business model. But number two, we realized that we are a sales and marketing company. We focus and invest our marketing, our money, vastly on marketing dollars and training our sales team to be closing machines. We test and measure everything we do, we’re very, very strict and diligent, and we have KPIs, and we can talk about hat a little bit. But I think, going back to your question, the biggest difference that we explained to people is, a lot of people identified themselves as property managers. That is who they are, that’s who they identifies themselves with.
I don’t identify myself as a property management. I’m a business owner that owns a property management business. It could be dog food, it could be dry cleaning. This is what I do, and what I’ve learned by being coached by many, many business coaches, and books, and mentors that I constantly invest in, listening to people like you speak and other stuff.
I’ve learned that the way to grow your company is surround yourself with much smarter people. Always go to that uncomfortable zone that you’re not feeling comfortable with. Test and measure everything, but most importantly, remember that you have a business. If you do what you’re supposed to do on a daily basis, it’s not doing one massive action, it’s doing a lot of actions continually over time, building up the wall with a bunch of bricks. That is what we have found has been the key to our success for our growth. In a long story, that’s how I did this.
Jason: Yeah. I totally agree. One of the challenges as property management people will think they’re business owner. The reality is, they’re really just a slave to this machine that they’ve created that’s taking over their life. Or they do perceive themselves to be just the property manager. The reality is if you run a property management business, you should not be doing property management.
Steve: That’s right.
Jason: That’s the worst idea ever. If you’re doing maintenance coordination, and showing property and this kind of stuff, that’s probably not what you should be doing. You should be focused on business development, improving sales, automation, systems, processes.
Steve: One of the first things we did, our business coach made us do is he made us create an org chart. That was one of the most vial things, as simple as that sounds. We created the org chart and what we realized is by having that org chart, even though me and my business partner Pete were the ones carrying all the hats in the org chart, we knew the growth of the company and where it was going to go.
We said, “Okay the next position, the next role we’re gonna hire is going to be this role.” It wasn’t a person, it is a role. You have to disassociate yourself emotionally. One of our main mentors, he tells us, “If you know your employees problems, you are way to involved in your business. You need to let them do what they do, you need to get out of the day to day operations, you have to take off your cape basically. Get your hero out of the way. Let them do what they do.”
The biggest challenge most owners have—I wouldn’t say just property management but small business owners—they have that self sabotage. Where somebody doesn’t do is as good as them, and they go, “You know what? Get out of the way, I’ll do it. Obviously, I’m the only one that can do it.” They’re basically self sabotaging to justify why they need to have a job.
Steve: One of the things I’ve noticed with a lot of property management companies, you talk to them about business 101 that I have learned from learning this new language. I realized that a lot of these people, they do not invest spending time on the business. They’re always in the business, they’re in the weeds, and they never have that 30,000 foot view to say, “What are we strategically doing to grow this 10x level?” They never think like that. All they think about is this, “Okay what do I have to do today? How many properties do I have to walk in?”
When I talk to people, I do a lot of speaking, and seminars, and mentoring of people. When I talk to them, I ask them, “How many hours a week do you spend working on the growth of the business?” When they actually do a time study, it’s little to none. Then they wonder why they haven’t grown.
Jason: I’m a firm believer in coaching. Every business owner should have a coach. The biggest mistake I think I made as an entrepreneur were the years and years of struggle where I thought I could figure it all out on my own.
Jason: I though I can read a book, or I could watch YouTube videos, I thought I could just figure it all out on my own. The second I really started investing in coaches and doing high level coaching, I spent money on coaches that I didn’t have. It was ridiculous. My wife thought I was nuts and she probably wanted to strangle me through the whole process. But it collapsed time dramatically for me.
Most business owners think that they need to learn how to do a bunch of stuff. All they need to do is get out of the way. They need to get people that can do those things better than them, and focus on their area of genius, whatever that is.
Steve: You hit on some very, very good points. That first of all, they say, “Your business will grow to your level of confidence.”
Steve: Meaning you will grow to about as good as you are and that is all your business will grow. We invest a lot of money in, whether it’s coaches, whether it’s audiobooks, I listen to audiobooks non stop. I have my sales team coached, it’s embedded in you, and you realize that you start pulling away from the pack. People say, “How did you grow your company?” “Well, we grew our company because we ran it like a business. We’re surrounded by millionaires and billionaires that are telling us, whether it’s and audio book, whether it’s a coach, whether it’s a seminar convention, all these people.” What you notice is they all are pretty much telling you the same thing. There’s no magic to what they’re telling you.
They’re saying, “Look, invest in marketing. If you’re gonna grow, you’re gonna forego profits, you’re gonna reinvest it back in the company.” You’re gonna do these things, you’re going to be, as you said, to grow your company you don’t need to be a specialist. You need to be a leader, you need to be a general which is a generalist. Meaning you need to know just enough about everything, but not anything specific. People ask me that question because I still am an airline pilot. I fly 787 around the world, and I still do that.
People say, “How in the world do you all those things? How do you manage 700 houses?” I say, “I don’t do those things. I don’t know accounting, I couldn’t even get into the Quickbooks that we utilize. I just need to hire the right person that knows those things.” It’s a matter of having the right people in place, and the role, and trusting that role by testing and measuring everything.
We have weekly KPIs from the sales team, from the marketing team. We have all those things that are constantly being hit on to make sure that they’re performing per the KPIs, and per the metrics. We have checklists and online checklists. We have virtual assistants in Mexico, Philippines, and India. Everybody’s working synergistically, rolling in the same direction so that we can keep our growth growing momentumally.
Our job as a leader is to be the one on the front of the boat pointing, encouraging everybody, not pushing their buttons but pulling their buttons, and encouraging them to move forward. That, as a leader, as an owner of a company, that really is your job. Your job is to grow the team, and encourage them, not say, “Get out of the way, I’m gonna do this better than you.”
Jason: That’s something that almost has to be learned. Most business owners start out, and they’re usually, what you hear is, “Gosh, if my team could just do what I tell them to do. If my team could just be better, I would get ahead.” They have this mindset, why can’t they just do what I say and do this.
Eventually, as they evolve in the space of being an entrepreneur, they get to the point where they recognize, “How can I help my team get ahead.” They shift from, instead of, “Why isn’t my team helping me?” They start realizing, “I’m not helping my team.” Your whole job then becomes helping your team, and facilitating your team so that they can support you.
Steve: Yep, exactly.
Jason: And giving them the freedom to do that.
Steve: More importantly, the team, they’re the front line of your customer service. They’re the ones that are talking to your clients, they’re the ones that are talking to your vendors, they’re the one talking to your tenants. You reinvest money back into your team and your employees, and it will come back to you in dividends. Most people are not of that abundance theory, they’re the […] theory of saying, “I’ve got this job, I’m paying all these people, and I’m working just as hard.”
Again, it’s growing to your level of incompetence. My question to a lot of owners that I talk to when I start telling them about the growth and they say, “I could never do that.” Because of your mindset, I agree. You never will do that. If you change your mindset, and you start thinking of abundance, and start thinking, “Okay, how can I help my sales team get coaching, and how can I help them get better educated to each their goals so that they’re happier in life?” Whether it’s a business goal, or a personal goal. The more that you help them, the more that you encourage them, the more they’re going to be apt to basically do for you. It’s that abundance helping them get up the hill, you get up there also.
Jason: Yeah. There’s a gap, I think some property managers, they’re listening to you right now on the DoorGrow Show. They’re hearing this, and they’re thinking, “Man, Steve’s at such a place that he’s so far aligned. I haven’t even hired my first employee yet.” The majority of entrepreneurs and small business owners out there in the US are in poverty. They’re struggling, the majority of them are gonna fail, half falling in the first year, first five years like 90%.
They’re thinking, “What if I could just hire my first employee?” They’re stuck in what I call the cycle of suck, and some of these challenges. Here’s my recommendation, because I think creating the org chart, it sounds exciting but I think for most business owners, it really creates this thing that’s so far away from where they are. It’s self-defeating. What one of my coaches had me do is do a time study. Just figure out my time.
We all have myths and lies about where we spend our time. We have no concept of time as human beings. We really don’t. We lie to ourselves constantly in our head about it.
Jason: You do a time study, you write down every 15 minutes where your time is going. Then you take a look at your time, and then you divide it up. What is strategic and what’s tactical. Where am I doing work that’s focused on doing the business, and how much time is spent on growing the business, or on strategic stuff, and what I want to do in the business.
I have a very high percentage on strategic time now, but everybody starting out, they’re doing almost none of that. Usually what they do is they hire people based on what they think they need. They start filling out the org chart instead of creating more space, their life becomes tactically harder.
Jason: If your life is becoming tactically harder as a business owner, you’re doing it wrong.
Steve: Yes. I agree.
Jason: I think some people have multimillion dollar companies but they are massively overweight, they’re massively stressed, they have no marriage, everything’s burning to the ground around them except the business, and they have money.
Jason: Their life is tactically insane because they’re the linge pin to everything. That’s a sure fire way to build a team, but not a team that supports you. It’s building an empire that’s like a house of cards with you as a linge pin.
Steve: It’s one of those things, it comes down to me, everything you said, comes down to one word which is leverage. What I realize is one of the things we did just like you had said, one of the first things we had to do with our business coach was do a time study. Where’s our time going? Then we said, “Okay, what are the low enjoyment, low return tasks that we are doing, and what can we off load?” Basically, we started doing that, we started off loading. Then it went to if it’s to gonna be an employee, it’s gonna be a virtual assistant.
For example, my property managers, I don’t need them creating management agreements. I can have a virtual assistant do doc prep for quarter of the price of what I’m paying them. It’s something that can be done, it’s done every way, every time, without a doubt, exactly the way I want it. It works really well.
If I’m paying a property manager x dollars, and I can pay a virtual assistant this much, and I can get double production. It makes sense. This is something that’s not worth their time, it has to be done. It’s necessary, but doesn’t have to be done by them.
Jason: You have the property manager do a time study, look at where their time is being wasted, or spent, or whatever, and what can be done. If you can leverage technology, systems, outsourcing, then there’s to do some of this tactical stuff. That doesn’t mean you’re gonna fire your team.
Jason: Are you gonna be doing less stupid stuff. Doing stuff maybe they enjoy doing.
Steve: Absolutely, because what you’re gonna be doing is they’re gonna be able to focus on the client retention, the customer service. For example, we have our property managers, each property manager has an assistant property manager that is in Mexico. These people have our phones, they have our phone lines, they’re an extension of our company. Fantastic workers, they are very good at doing work orders for basically a fraction of the price of what we’re paying our property managers, it’s not a fraction but a good percentage off.
However, then we have other virtual assistant in India that does all document uploading of invoices, and all that stuff. What I talk to the team about the property managers, the property managers use their brain, the assistant property managers use their mouth, and the virtual assistance in India use their hands to upload. I explain to them, “Look, you need to designate what tray this task goes into. Because I don’t want the people in India trying to make phone calls to an owner to describe a maintenance issue.”
Steve: Vice versa, I don’t want the property managers spending their time trying to upload invoices to the portfolio when that’s something that can be done overnight for a fraction of the dollar. That’s how you grow a company. You talked about leverage in a certain way, and getting things done. My business coach just spent a weekend at Richard Branson’s Island over at Necker Island with Richard Branson.
He had some very interesting things to say about him, that he runs, I’m gonna say, it’s upwards of maybe 300 companies. His day consist of windsurfing in the morning, he does three hours of computer work in his hammock in the beginning part of the day, and then he’s done for the day. You think to yourself how can this guy run 300 plus companies worth over $5 billion? How is he able to do that and go play all day long by just working a couple of hours from his laptop in a hammock? Where other people are slugging it out 20 plus hours a day for one company, making barely enough to survive. Like you said, are not surviving.
He’s not working harder, they’re working harder. It’s a mindset issue, it’s not a tool set issue. The biggest challenge I had found, and that’s something that I had to learn, is I had to change my mindset from being an airline pilot that just flew airplanes to saying, “Okay, I’m gonna be a business owner, and I have to learn the mindset tools of being that business owner.”
I am fortunate enough that I get asked to go speak around the country at property management conventions, because of the way I’ve changed my mindset. It’s not that I’ve worked any harder than I was working. I only have 24 hours in the day, I don’t get 25th hour. I’m doing something different with my day. Everyone else can do that as well to grow their company, but they have to be willing to change their mindset.
One of the biggest challenges I think people have is, 70% of all the words that got through your brain is negative self talk. You have 1500 words a minute going through your subconscious brain, 70% of that is telling you why you’re gonna fail or not do good. To me, if your doing that, that is an indication that you’re basically fulfilling your destiny by saying, “I can’t do that. I can never grow my company to 700 doors.” Anyone can, I’m not doing anything special. I’m just leveraging other people and other people’s time, that’s really all I’m doing.
Jason: Yeah. The brain is hard wired to do that. The logic side of our brain, its goal is to protect us. It’s fantastic, it has a fantastic imagination to come up with all the problems that could potentially happen.
Jason: The majority will probably never come true. But it’s great at creating stories, it create stories instantly any time anything happens to us. Between where we are, and what we want, this gap is the void. It’s the scary area that exists, that we don’t feel like we can jump into. But any time I’ve ever jumped into that risky area, that void, entrepreneurs were a bit more willing to take risk. But any time we do that, and jump into that void, it’s never as bad as we’ve imagined it would be.
Steve: Exactly. You’ve talked yourself into this. Basically, you whipped yourself into a frenzy, and the only difference of people who succeed and don’t succeed is that ones who succeed actually take action. The ones who don’t succeed don’t take action and they just sit there, and they, “I knew he would fail.” Business as you know, like me, we try many things that do not work. We’ve tried, we programed, we have failed many times.
I have learned more from my failures than I ever have for my successes. To me, growing to 700 doors, that’s great. I’d like to get to a thousand. We’re opening offices in Dallas, we’re opening other locations, and I just opened seven locations is in Houston. That’s a little scary. Now all of a sudden we’re expanding our company. That gets you the pit in your stomach saying, “Okay, am I doing something wrong?” Just by doing it, next thing you know you’re going, “Okay, that really wasn’t that hard.” It was mentally and my heart, I was trying to figure out all the reasons I would fail. You have that negative self talk, but the reality is just doing it is really the key. Just saying, “Okay, this works. It’s been working.”
I have millionaires that their coach is saying, “Just do it. It will work.” The only person that’s saying it won’t work is me who’s never done it. Once you’ve done it over and over again, you’re going, “Look. It works. Just do it.” I’m not sure, but I’ve never done it before. I’m actually convincing myself it’s okay not to do it, as opposed just taking action. It’s amazing what your brain will tell you, what you can talk yourself into or out of.
Jason: There’s two types of people on the earth. There’s only one that’s making a difference. That’s the entrepreneurs. The true entrepreneurs that are out there, they have a high level of desire to contribute, and create contribution. Like you, you’re an entrepreneur, you want to be out there making a difference, speaking. You don’t do that just because you have a big ego.
Steve: Nope. I love helping people. I love it.
Jason: It feels good to help and serve people. Entrepreneurs have a higher level of desire to contribute. They also innately have a higher ability, or willingness, or tolerance for pain and risk, but they’re also more sensitive. Generally, entrepreneurs are more sensitive to sound, to touch, to everything. In fact, I think my son is very entrepreneurial minded. He’s just hypersensitive, like the tag in his shirt, like everything. We tend to be more sensitive but also we can shut it off and start tolerating a lot.
Jason: We need to be careful as entrepreneurs to not tolerate, because we’ll make our days tactically harder, more difficult. I really, really dislike time management. I don’t even like the phrase time management, because time management means let’s make my life tactically harder.
I firmly believe in what I call energy management. It’s what makes me feel alive. Branson, he does what makes him feel alive. He doesn’t have to do anything that he doesn’t want to do. He walks into a room and millions of dollars are made. He can just walk into a function and people pay $10,000 ahead, or whatever. Money just happens wherever he goes, so he does whatever he wants.
Jason: To get to that point though, everybody wants to just be there. But if there’s a mass amount of work, and you have to build a team. That’s the hardest thing these solopreneurs will probably ever do, is build that initial team. I think getting to that point where they have a team that really is supporting them. What gets them to that point in growing their business, when they get to the point where they can afford a team, and they can start hiring a team, and building that out, they have to give all of that up.
Jason: They have to give up everything that took them there. They have to give up everything they had control over there. Their whole identity, they have to give that up. Very few people make it through that transition, that’s very difficult. They bounce there, and then they go back and go, “That’s ridiculous, I’ll just do it all myself and stay small.”
Steve: Yeah, very true. It’s self sabotaging. It goes back to self sabotaging in your identity, because that’s who you identify with who you are. As opposed to just saying, “I’m a business owner and this is what I do. I feed 20, 30 families who work for me because my job is to make sure that I am out there growing the company, not tactically doing things in the office. My job is to go to Dallas and open offices to keep the growth going. That is my job, that is my goal, and that’s my new role.”
Just like other people have to evolve, and you have to do things. You have to evolve as well as a leader, and most people had never been a leader. I’ve ever been in this role, I have to learn, I have to educate myself, I have to be around people, I have to ask a lot of question, I have to fail, I have to piss people off when I don’t do it the way they think I should be doing it, and I have to be willing to look at that and say, “Okay, what can I walk away, and learn from this to make me a better leader so that I don’t piss people off the next time.”
As you grow a company, you start growing tech staff and team. Before, I think when we would hire someone, we would analyze it to death. Should we hire him, can we hire him, can we afford him, can we not, then they’re not working out. Should we get rid of them, should we not, if we do this. Either side of the coin, we would talk ourselves into a frenzy.
Now, we just come in and the head of general manager says, “Hey, we just hired some more people.” “Okay, good.” “Hey, we just got rid of someone because it didn’t work out.” “Okay, good.” “Are you good with that?” “I’m good with that. Okay sounds good to me, goodluck. Let me know if you need anything from us.” That’s the role as a leader you want to be. Because a lot of people, they want to go for that dream of having this big property management company that they can relax and have a business.
They’re doing it not to be a property manager, they’re doing it for the dream of having a business produce revenue for them. What they do is, they get stuck to their level of their incompetence of saying, “This is really all I know. I’ve only been an employee, I only know how to do. I don’t know how to lead.” I’m gonna just go until I can’t go anymore. Then, I’m gonna dip back down because it’s not gonna work, because I’ve never learned how to lead. I’m gonna dip back down, and be an operator and go, “Yeah. I’ll just be an operator, and if this doesn’t works, and it sucks. You know owning it, this isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.”
But we know there’s people that are successful doing it. I know there’s people that are much bigger than my company. They make me look miniscule. They do the same thing. I know it can be done, I have grown my company to my level of incompetence, as far. I need to raise my level to keep it going. If I don’t do that, that’s on me to being a bad owner and a bad teammate to my employees.
Jason: Yeah. Reminds me basically of the Peter Principle in business. Everybody is promoted to their highest level of incompetence, or of incapacity. What happens is, and I saw this when I was at HP, I saw this at Verizon, everybody gets promoted if they do a good job. But they keep getting promoted if they keep being the best, or doing a good job, they get noticed. But eventually, they get promoted one step too far.
Steve: Yup. Very true.
Jason: Companies in general, larger the organization, usually it’s full of people that have been promoted to a level that they’re no longer functioning well at. But the only people aware of it, when I worked at HP, I had a boss down in Texas. I felt like he was clueless. I was clearly an entrepreneur in the closet. I didn’t realize I was an entrepreneur, and I probably shouldn’t have been underneath people at the time but anything that I’ve been I would do really well at, then I would move to a bigger company, or whatever. I probably should have just started a business, start failing quickly.
I would give ideas, and then he would shoot them down. Then a month or two later, he would come up with a great idea maybe, and it was my idea.
Steve: Yeah, very similar to the one I came up with.
Jason: Yeah, “Hey, I got this great idea.” Oh, that sounds familiar. There’s this natural inertia that tends to happen with an organization. But we as an entrepreneur, we’re the biggest cause of that happening because we run the show. If our leadership style is that, then we are the major Peter in this Peter principle, we’ve grown this thing to the point where we’re now stuck, and we’re not investing in ourself because what got you there isn’t gonna take you forward. You’ve got to be investing in yourself. That would mean coaching, it could be books, it could be trainings, it could be something, but you need to consistently be investing in yourself in order for the business to be growing. Would you say that’s fair?
Steve: Absolutely. More importantly, the one thing a lot of owners do not do which we are very, very big sticklers on that we’ve learned is we are very big into our key point indicators, our KPIs, our metrics of what our company is doing. When it comes to marketing, we know exactly what marketing campaign we’re doing, how much money are we spending, where’s our return, where is our lead generation coming from? We track everything so that we know where do we spend our money, where do we not spend our money. What programs on the property management side are working, what type of owner, because we have 50 to 60% of our owners do not live in the state of Texas. We have owners all up and down the West Coast, Australia, China, Israel, a lot of people are buying properties in Houston that utilize our services. We wanted to know which group is buying more, but more importantly, which group is the better buyers. Because we want to be able to track which ones are the good ones, so we can invest more marketing dollars in there.
Our website translates into multiple languages, our property management agreements do, we do a lot of things for our out of country owners because we can track where they come from, and we can be strategic. Of the big problem with a lot of smaller business, and I know property managers is marketing is some bad word. They don’t even really think about it. I love when I talk to people and they tell me, “Oh I don’t even market.” I think to myself that could be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard someone say. Because if I was going into your market, I would come in, I would market like crazy, and I would take you market share, and probably put you out of business because I would go after your clients. Because I know the value of marketing, I know the value of acquisition of a client, I know we’re the best bang for the buck, how to get recurring, and make them a raving fan to buy more because that decreases my acquisition.
But the only way I know that is by tracking everything that we do. It’s as simple as putting it on a spreadsheet. It’s really not hard. By doing that, it tells you a picture. Those numbers in a spreadsheet, and I’m not a numbers person but I do want to see what the numbers are telling me because they are telling you a story. You just have to be educated enough to know what that story is. I think a lot of owners don’t take the time to learn that part, they’ll think, “I’ll worry about that later, I’ll worry about that later.” Later may be when you’re shut down going, “I should have learned that before.”
Jason: Yeah. Let’s talk a little bit about marketing. This is one of the reasons why I created this cold leads calculator. You guys, anyone listening can check it out at doorgrow.com/coldleads but a lot of people, most property managers to grow their business, that’s the default they go to. They’re like, “I need to go do marketing.” Then, they spend all this money on marketing but they don’t really calculate or look at the numbers.
Jason: They don’t realize they have leaks there. The biggest challenge, I created this calculator simply so that they could see the real cause of the cold lead marketing that they’re doing. My recommendation is very counter. I’m a marketer, my degree is in marketing, I’ve focused all of my time and energy on marketing. I tell property managers initially, ‘”Don’t do marketing.” Which sounds really backwards, but I have a definition of what’s marketing and what’s prospecting.
I want to segregate those two because, most people call all of that marketing. But the reason I do that is because, property managers that come into the industry, they have under 50 doors, and they start spending thousands of dollars with APM, and they do SEO, and they go do pay per click, and AdWords, and they do all of this stuff. These guys are calling me up all the time. I talked to property managers that have thousands of doors, they’re doing all the same stuff, and they’re asking me for help because they have the same problem.
It’s this dirty secret in the industry, I called it the number one problem of the property management industry which is, they all say, “Getting leads and growing my business.” Because what everybody says, it’s the number one problem when I ask, “What’s your biggest challenge in your business?” They say, “That.”
The challenge is they’re small, and they’re trying to do all the same stuff big guys are doing. If somebody came in and tried to do all the marketing that you’re doing, without all the knowledge, and the resources, and the sale process you dialed in, and everything else, and tried to even to compete at all with you in the same marketing channels you’re doing, they have no chance.
Jason: These people have 50, 60 doors, they’re going to stay stuck at that forever because they can’t even afford to hire somebody. Some of the things I tell them is, “First, get rid of your bad properties,” I know that’s painful but they’re taking probably 80% of your time. Then I tell them, that’s like a milestone for them to fire their first door, their first client.
Jason: Do you guys fire clients?
Steve: We grade our clients A through D, and the Cs, try to move them to Bs, or they move to Ds, and the Ds get fired.
Jason: Exactly. You have a system in place for this. Then, they’re turning on this marketing spigot but it doesn’t make sense to turn on the spigot and add all these in the marketing channels. Because that’s what they’ll go and do while you have leaks throughout the whole pipeline.
Jason: Because at the end of that pipeline is revenue. There’s not gonna be revenue or profit margin if you don’t shore up all these leaks. They have a leaky website, they have a leaky branding, they have leaks in their reputation, they have leaks in their sales process, they have leaks in fulfilment, they have leaks in all these different things. I can take any property manager, and all we do is we take each of these individual leaks, and we just take a look at where they’re at in each of these. If we could just dial in each one marginally. Even a little bit, but each one we do a marginal improvement, we could double the amount of business we’re getting on.
Jason: Very easily. For property managers starting out, they need the right foundation, and then marketing makes sense. But here’s what happens, we’ve got marketing, we’ve got maybe website and maybe the fees in the sales, maybe that fees into fulfillment, and then business, and then yourself. What I think Steve and I are both trying to get across to those listening is the most important thing in that whole pipeline is you.
Jason: You start with you. You invest in you. You did this first, you got coaches first. You didn’t go to marketing first.
Jason: Everyone else does marketing first. I hear it all the time. They do marketing until it hurts. Then, they finally figure something out there, and then they realized their website’s leaky for example. They carry that next step, then they move on to whatever’s next. Eventually, and then they might just blame all the leads is terrible.
Jason: All the APM leads are terrible, the reality is that’s not the problem. The problem is they can’t handle it. They don’t know how to really make that work and shore up all those leaks. But if they started with themselves, and then worked outward, from themselves at the core, invested in themselves, and then worked on the business, and the team, and the processes, and everything that worked outward. Then they’re gonna spend far less money, have a business that can actually grow.
You’ve grown phenomenally, you’re doing a lot of things right, and things are working really well. This growth that you’re having, do you guys do any form of prospecting at all, or is all of it just handing money to different marketing channels?
Steve: Well, that’s a good question. It may be a whole other conversation, but I can do my best to tackle it. Everything you said, I 100% agree with. One of the first things I did is I wanted to brand our company as experts. If anybody looks on our website, we have hundreds of video blogs, of educational topics, of how do I know my house is being used as a meth lab. That’s something that somebody would want to know.
Video, after video, after video, we’ve taken those, we’ve SEOd them, geotagged, meta tagged, all that stuff. The next thing we did is we worked on our reputation management. We have over 320 Google reviews. Basically, we’re the highest reviewed company in Houston right now. Maybe 100 reviews more than anyone else.
Just like Amazon, when someone goes to our website, and they look, or they go to Google, we’re organically on page one of Google. We’ve done that by the SEO of the videos. That’s a long marinating process, as you know, Jason. It takes a while to get that going. We also had the website, the website is the educational tool.
Our challenge now with our website is we have so much information. It’s like 10 pounds in a 5 pound bag, that now we have to revise our website because I’ve got radio shows on there, I’ve got my podcast, and we have to segment it out. But when people look on our website, they say, “Man, I see so much information on your website.” You can’t just create that overnight. That something has to be created overtime.
Jason: It’s an investment.
Steve: It’s an investment. But the nicest thing is it’s me talking. It basically costs zero dollars to create except for having somebody geotagging and meta tag them. By doing all these things, there’s a lot of stuff that is handled for you that you can do to let it start marinating. After it starts marinating, and you do all of that. Again, then you start going after these other marketing tactics. That when they do find you, they want to click on you. When they click on you, they go to your website. You know the one thing people don’t understand is, in my opinion, and I could be wrong, but the only reason to have a website is to have it as a conversion tool. That’s all it is.
It’s for someone to basically say, “I want to use your services, how do I sign up?” People don’t realize that. That is the only reason to have a website, is to convert that client to say, “I’m interested in talking to you guys. How do I talk to you?”
Jason: Yeah. On the website, if you’re a property management listing, one of the biggest hurdles that people need to get over, because initially when they get a website, they’re just focused on operations. I need a website for tenants.
Jason: You’ve done everything that I outline in our flagship process that we take clients through. Very first thing, branding. You gotta make sure that that’s dialed in, because that comes before everything. Then reputation, which is a great way of getting warm leads instead of cold leads. Probably one of your best marketing channels are the review sites, which you don’t even have to pay for those in most instances.
Jason: Then, the website which is the next piece we have in our process we take people through. That needs to be focused on conversions, which means it’s converting the owners and potential clients into customers.
Jason: It’s facilitating and creating trust which is part of that branding piece you’re talking about. After that, after you get a lead, then what? This is what comes next.
Steve: Just going back to that. Just so you know, about a year, year and a half into it, after we had some structure in the company and being able to basically be a […] for the leads. When the deal comes through, we had a property manager. I think we had one property manager, and a broker. We hired a marketing person, that was one of the first investment we made, is full time marketing employee to do the branding, to make sure our logos were correct, to make sure the website.
I don’t want to do that, I want someone to do that. We created some marketing strategies by me investing in a marketing person who’s still with me to this day, and the guy is just amazing. He basically is the one who’s taking our marketing. We use a system called HubSpot which is a CRM system that basically funnels them into sale steps and I have seven BDMs that do all these steps.
Obviously, as you can imagine, there’s a lot of sales steps that have to happen. One thing that you rushed over a little bit is if that person signs up, or does not sign up, does the property management company have some form of drip campaign to facilitate over long term strategic nurturing of that client? When we get a potential lead, we are touching that client for seven years. We are constantly going being top of mind. They’re getting out video blogs, we won an award, they get our monthly newsletter, we are constantly hitting them. We’re letting them know when we have investors buy a property, when we get a property leased within 13 day. We are just constantly top of mind with them. You have to create the content to have those drip campaigns. It’s free to do. You can create that content, it doesn’t cost anything except investing in yourself.
The drip campaign, I would say, is one of the most successful things that we have had from many people coming back over time. Just by constantly touching them, that’s the one thing most sales people, a lot of realtors, and car salesmen, furniture, they’re very tactical. They’re one and done, they’re not strategic where they don’t create the relationship with that client over time.
Steve: We are very big. That is one of the smartest things I think we did, we are very big on creating out database. Just to give you an idea, I’m sure everyone’s got a different wow number. Our wow number of database, we have almost 30,000 people on our database, and we’re only four years old.
Steve: Every single person that comes across our path. We’re in a small segment, we’re a property management company in Houston that are looking for property management, and that’s how many people we have. Whether they are a realtor, a vendor, a tenant, each one of those people gets a different drip campaign. We even took our drip campaigns and we split them up from a new investor, they get certain stuff, an experienced investor, they get different stuff because they have different messages, and they have different things that resonate with them, different what’s in it for me.
Steve: Then we have reluctant landlords, people that really don’t want to be investors but they can’t sell their house, or they inherited it. We have agents that get certain drip campaigns, we have tenants that get drip campaigns. We’ve gone a little bit, I wouldn’t say overboard, but we’ve dissected these people to know. But the thing is it doesn’t cost you any money.
Steve: It costs us zero dollars and it makes us money, and it’s automatic. It happens on its own. That’s the thing people don’t realize, you had mentioned something earlier about out there, slugging out, doing stuff. It reminds me of the story of the person that is sharpening his blade all day for the one that is just whacking away with a dull blade and never getting anywhere and the guy that spends all this time sharpening it, and all we did is we invested a lot of time in the beginning, like you had said, to setup a pipeline, to sharpen our blade so that now we just made a decision that we’re gonna double our marketing budget. It’s a certain percentage of our revenue, we’re gonna double that because we have the pipeline laid, we have the infrastructure in place. It’s not easy because as you know, what may work at 100 doors does not work at 200, does not work at 300. It’s a constant tweaking, it’s a constant attention, and the market changes.
What worked four years ago may not work today. You have to constantly revise that, revamp it. As a leader, that’s my job, is to get on the front of the boat looking at this strategies and go, “Okay, we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do that, get it done. We’re gonna do that, get it done.” That’s my job to keep the boat moving forward, in my opinion at least.
Jason: How many doors do you think you were at when you brought in that marketing person?
Steve: If I had to guess, we’re probably in about 180, maybe 200 doors. We’re pretty young.
Jason: That’s perfect because what I started to notice was in working with hundreds of property managers, the once that were coming to be looking for a marketing, were usually about the stage of about 2 to 400 doors.
Jason: Their growth up to that point, most of them, either was artificially through having a brokerage, or happened through largely word of mouth. The majority of the contracts they had were word of mouth. I used to think that that was every property manager out there, were 2 to 400 doors, and had money to spend on marketing. These are our clients, or bigger. Then I started realizing that 90% of my target audience are under 100 doors.
Jason: This is how we put this package together. The drip campaigns I think makes a lot of sense once you’re ready for marketing. Before you’re ready for marketing, my recommendation is branding, reputation, website, sales. Dial in your sales process, make sure you can convert when you’re answering your freaking phones. If you’re paying for leads, you have the sales process dialed in, and then most people would turn on the marketing spigot. This maybe a new concept for some listening, but I recommend before you turn on the marketing spigot which is cold water, turn on the warm water, which is the marketing spigot.
Before you turn on marketing, turn on prospecting. Prospecting is where you’re able to capture people before they have awareness of property management. Because this is the biggest problem in the industry right now. Australia, what percentage of rental properties are managed?
Steve: It’s about 90%.
Jason: It’s super high.
Jason: I think the last time I spoke with Darren Hunter, I think he said 77% of all rental properties at least are professionally managed.
Jason: Everyone in Australia knows what a property manager is.
Jason: Compare that to the US. In the US, most property managers ask, I did a webinar just before this. I ask all of them, “How many properties in your market you think are professionally managed by a property manager?” Most were saying roughly about 30, 50%. I don’t know if there’s any hard numbers out there but I would guess.
Steve: I’ve heard 19%, 19% is the number that we’ve got from NARPM. Whether that’s true or not I don’t know, but we’ve heard that.
Jason: There’s this huge opportunity.
Jason: But then out of all that awareness that exists, which is really low. You’ve got the potential opportunity, all the real estate investors that exist out there, all the people that have rental properties, all the investors that would get into having a rental property if they knew what a property manager could do for them, and the benefits of doing buy and hold that could do it. There’s this whole huge market of opportunity, but the industry as a whole is in its infancy. Out of all of that available market share, there’s this smaller segment—maybe half or less—that are actually aware of property managers and property management. Out of that awareness, the majority right now have a low opinion of property management.
We asked this on the survey, and most people they said, “Maybe 20% trust property managers think they’re a good idea, of those that are aware.” If you take that 50% and cut 20% out of that 50%, you’re left with I think 10% of the whole market. But then you’ve got this group that are aware of property management but then they like property managers and thinks it’s a good idea, or they at least they know they need one because they’re out of state.
Then you take that small percentage, and then you have those that couldn’t find anybody through word of mouth, or don’t know a realtor, or don’t have somebody on Facebook like you, posting videos, or something. They don’t have anyone to reach out to, that they trust, or like for word of mouth. That’s where everyone’s capturing the word of mouth business.
Then after that filter, then you have the tiny, fractional, small, marginal percentage of what’s left over that are searching for a property manager on Google. These are the cold leads, these are the worst leads, these are the APM leads, these are the pay per click leads on AdWords. These are the absolute, most price sensitive people. They view property management as a commodity, they have maybe a somewhat skewed or low opinion because the industry as a whole has a lot of bad property managers which is opportunity.
Everybody’s fighting in the red water over these worst leads. This is why I feel confident as the marketer saying, “Hey, you can make that work if you dial in and shore up all the leaks and you get a system in place, and you’ve got your drip campaigns. That could be great.” But that’s fighting over the existing market share. I think what’s really exciting for me and for DoorGrow right now is that you can do all that and dial all that in, but still you’re competing with everybody else at NARPM.
There’s this whole blue ocean that’s available for the property managers that focus on prospecting. The guys starting out, that’s where they can actually compete and have success, because somebody in your market that has 50 doors can’t compete with you and pay per click, they can’t compete with you on SEO, they can’t compete with you on virtually any marketing channel that you are really focused on.
But they can have good branding, they can work, and build up a good reputation. There’s a lot of big companies that have bad reputation. They can have a better website. Most bigger companies have website that are five years older. They feel somewhat painful to them at that point, and they want to do it. They can get a new website that’s not very expensive. Then they can figure out sales, they could get sales coaches, or mentors, or whatever. They can then focus on prospecting, so they can be at investor groups, foreclosure auctions, some people call that community marketing. But they just start dialing those channel where they’ve building like you’ve done a reputation of trust and authority even though it’s in a small space.
Steve: Something that we talked about, but I don’t think you really hit on is the one thing that a lot of people do not think about is they have warm leads. They’re called their current clients.
Steve: If they marketed and had a program, a marketing program to their current owners to help them buy properties. The average investor owns three to five properties. Our average investor owns 1.8. If we can get each one of our clients to buy one more house, we would double the size of our business. They’re a known entity, they know our company, they know our business model, we don’t have to sell them on anything. Our marketing acquisition cost is zero, because we already have them.
If you think about it, if you were gonna spend time on doing anything and creating the system, why don’t you do it with someone you already know. A warm lead of saying, “Okay, I’m gonna make my owners feel special. I’m gonna buy them a book on investing and wealth management.” I’m gonna have that conversation with the owners and say, “Look mister owner, we both know you’re not gonna get rich off of one property. This is gonna happen in multiplication and duplication. Let me help you become wealthy. Let’s increase your portfolio. Let’s have that one on one conversation.” If you can get each one of your clients, you don’t have to even perfect the sales or anything, that is a known…
If you have someone with 50 properties, you could maybe get to 100 with the zero marketing dollar in just a matter of your current client.
Jason: If they have investor clients instead of the accidental investors, unless they can convert them into becoming investor clients.
Steve: True. However, don’t forget, some of these people become reluctant. They’re reluctant landlords and they go, “Hey, you know what? This is actually isn’t too bad. I’m getting appreciation, someone’s paying down my debt. I wouldn’t be opposed to doing this again.” You never know until you have that conversation.
The other thing that I talked to, I do marketing classes, I teach people and help them. One of the other things I say is let’s just say 30% is managed, so you got 70 % of the ocean that’s untouched. How about owners that are self managing, for example. Let’s just say that I happen to pull the data record of owners that are evicting their tenants. They happen to live out of state, and they’re filing judgement for eviction on their tenant. I am finding an owner that is out of state, they’re self managing, and they have a problem.
My solution is maybe if I sent them a letter saying, “Hey, I can take the frustration and headache away from your problems. It just so happens that I manage properties and we specialize in placing tenants because we have a 1% eviction rate. We focus on finding the right tenant.” I put a little packet of Aspirin in there for them, and just say, “Hey, let us take your headache away.” That’s resonating with someone that is not even thinking about property management. They’re out of state, they don’t know what to do, you’ve got them in the point that they’re going, “You know what? I will talk to you guys.” That’s a tip for the people watching.
Jason: Fantastic tip. That’s a fantastic tip. I’m an internet marketer, you can understand that this is probably valid. But everyone’s so focused on internet marketing as their savior, and you’re talking about direct mail, lumpy mail which is proven to convert well if it’s targeted effectively. I love this idea. Basically, what Steve just pointed out is your number one prospect is not some new person that you get on. It’s your existing customer, always.
Steve: Yeah. You have it in front of you.
Jason: Go after your existing clients. Not only that, but if you’re providing a high level of service, and you have level of relationship and communication with them, you can also hit them up for referrals.
Jason: They know other investors, they know other friends, but if you’re not asking, they’re not gonna just think about you and give it to you.
Steve: Yeah. The thing you want to think about is, even dovetailing this a little more. If you did a survey and you ask them, most people don’t want to do the survey because they’re afraid that someone is gonna say, “You guys suck.” They’re like, “I’m just gonna let it lie.” But if you did this survey and someone says, “Yeah, you guys are great.” Number one, you try to get maybe a Google review from them so you can get more reputation management, maybe a video testimonial from them saying how great you are that you can have on your website.
Then by the way, have you ever thought of buying more properties and do you know of anyone else? Like minded people, you make about $2 to $3,000 dollars off the five people you hang around with. What are the chances that they have friends that they would love to brag to, to go, “Yeah man, I’m killing it in real estates, these people are helping me grow my wealth. I just bought another property,” they want to brag. They want to be the ones, that are telling their friends, “Hey, you should talk to this guy.”
People don’t do that because they’re afraid just to ask, “Hey, do we suck or don’t we suck? Do you like what we’re doing?” A simple survey would give you that, a three question survey, which is free on Google or Survey Monkey. You can do that and you can see, number one, are things that your clients want and you’re not providing. Because if they don’t like what you’re doing, eventually you’re gonna lose them. The sink your head in the sand program won’t work, they will leave. By you doing this survey, it’s opening up multiple doors for reviews, testimonials, and then obviously add more acquisitions, and as you said, referrals. It’s multifaceted to do that.
Jason: You’ve had great success in what you’re doing, and I think property managers can take a look at what Steve’s doing. You don’t have to have a very large portfolio to do some of the stuff he’s talking about. You can get the video testimonials, you can reach out to them and ask them for referrals, you can do all this stuff so that you’re really maximizing and focusing on your existing customers.
Steve, you’ve got lots of different systems in place, you’ve got lots of really great ideas. How can people connect with you, follow you, and maybe gets some assistance from you?
Steve: They can find me on Facebook under Steve Rozenberg, or they can go to our company page, Empire Industries on Facebook. We have a ton of information, you can go to our website, empireindustriesllc.com. We have a lot of video blogs, we have educational, useful tactics, things. We believe in sharing, we give everything away. We are big believers in NARPM, and other things, and we have been blessed by having so many people, property management companies, and people like you to learn from that we give it back.
I have people call us all the time, we have people visiting our offices all the time that say, “Hey, I just want to see what you guys are doing.” You know what? If we can help somebody, as long as you’re not in Houston, we’re okay with that. We love helping people, and if they want to give us a call, they can call me, 888-866-6727, you can get a hold of anyone of my staff members. If you want to drill down into numbers and KPIs, that’s not me, that’s my business partner. You want to talk about sales and marketing, I’m the guy you want to talk to.
I travel the country speaking, I’ll be in Seattle in June, I’ll be in Australia in July and October, I think people like what we have to say because we’re in the fight. We’re doing it. We manage doors, we own properties, we have a radio show once a week on the podcast. We’re just trying to help people become smarter investors, and smarter business business owners because there’s not many people. They try to give you that price that you don’t know about, but not many people tell you like you said about the leaky pipes, and the pipeline. They don’t give you that down and dirty, they want to give you the fluff. They don’t say, “Hey look, this how you handle a leaky pipe, and this is where your gaping hole is in your marketing programs. Stop what you’re doing. Let’s fix this.”
Kudos to you for doing that, because there’s not many people, if any, that will actually take the time to do what you’re doing. You should be committed for doing that, and helping so many people that are in that no man’s land. They’re not big enough to hire someone big, like a big marketing company, and they’re too small that they can’t get out of their own way. You seem like you’re in that niche that you can really help people. I think that’s great that you do that.
Jason: Yeah. Steve, we’ll have to talk more and do some cool stuff together. I’m excited to see you and learn more about what you’re doing out there. I want to wrap this up, but you do regular shows, it looks like you’re hitting podcasts. You have ebooks, you have all these videos. Did you all that stuff in the beginning?
Steve: No. Didn’t do any of them in the beginning, a lot these things are within the last two years. It’s kind of that flywheel. You gotta to get that flywheel turning, and once it starts turning, and it’s picking up momentum.
Quick example, the radio show we have, the way that we pay for the radio show is because we have all of our vendors. Our vendors, we sell them sponsorships spots, they pay for the sponsorships spots, pays for the radio show.
They’re getting coverage, we’re getting marketing, they’re getting marketing, but we couldn’t do that if we didn’t have the doors and the branding already to get vendors to be on the show. If I started that at 50 doors, they would be like, “Who are you?” But when you have 500, 600 doors and we’re using vendors and say, “Hey, we want to increase your market share.” Next thing you know, here we go. That’s one of the things that we do to get them pumped up, and get them going. But we couldn’t do that without the momentum of the wheel turning.
One quick thing I’ll say is when it comes to the website, the education, one of the coolest things I always hear and I hear often is when someone’s talking to us, and I say, “If you want to verify what we’re saying. Go to Google, go to our website, look at our reviews, look at our education.” You know what they say? “I did, that’s why I’m already here. That’s why I’m here.”
Steve: That’s cool, because if they’re already sold before they even come across the plate. They’re going, “Look, I want to use you guys, you’re in.” All of our leads are inbound coming in because we’ve taken the time to set the proper stop gates in at the right place, with the right reputation, with the right website, with the right content. But you’ve gotta to do it in steps. The thing is it doesn’t take time. You can’t do it all in one day. You have to do it over the course of days, weeks, and months, and just a little bit at a time. Just take time out for you calendar. Let’s say I’m working on the business, I’m shutting off my phone, I’m shutting stuff down and I’m gonna work on content marketing for an hour and I’m going to create as many video blogs as I can.”
When you’re talking about a video blog, one of the best things you can do for video blogs is just start making a list of what things owners and tenants are asking you. That is your video blog contents. When owner want to know, “What do I pay for a security deposit? What do I pay for this?” Tenants want to know who’s responsible for HOA. That is your content, you have the content right there. Now you’re just expanding on it, and you’re being the expert explaining it. I don’t know how you feel about that, but I found that that is the best way to create content, is just see what are people asking on the portal of our property management software. That’s it right there, it’s a live feed.
Jason: All the stuff that you’re doing, content creation, podcast, radio shows and there’s milion directions people can go on. To those listening, if you’re at 2 to 400 doors, start doing all these crazy stuff and get in to it. It’s awesome. If you are not at that point yet, then my recommendation is keep it tight, keep it focused. First, shore up all the leaks in your business before you add more tactical difficulty and challenge to your life, and then build that team so that you can start to focus on this stuff. That’s the right point to do it.
Steve, this has been super helpful, very validating, I’ve really loved hearing about your story especially as a pilot, I’m sure people will listen to this, probably several times. There’s lots of great takeaways here. I’m grateful for you coming on the show. Thanks so much.
Steve: Thank you I appreciate the time and hopefully some people can get some education from this, and hopefully if they ever want anything, or need anything from me, just reach out to me. I’m just like everybody else, I’m out grinding everyday, I’m trying to make it work. If I can help you with some advice, I’m always here to help.
Jason: Awesome, thanks. Steve Rozenburg, everybody.
Steve: Thanks guys, bye bye.
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