Time Management, Marketing Systems, and Follow-ups techniques… to boost deal generation productivity With CRM Investor Fuse
What happens after you get a lead to respond?
Do you put it in your excel sheet and calendar? Does it actually get followed up with…?
Or does it get washed away because you “felt” like they weren’t motivated enough… only to find out the house sold later on?
Most investors, if they aren’t diligent about following up with leads… they miss deals that are right under their noses.
Carlos Zamora, VP of Investor Fuse explains in this Expert Interview, how studies have found 80%-90% of deals are won in the follow-up.
Today we interview Carlos, who explains his story of going from wholesaling to co-Owner and VP of a software company (Investor Fuse) who set the way for an automated Lead management tool exclusively for investors. He’ll discuss big and small ways that investors can do TODAY, to increase their Deal Generation by adding a diligent system that keeps track of ALL your leads so nothing falls through the cracks….
Learn to monetize every lead, and even incorporate the “human element” along with multiple exit strategies into a simple automated follow-up sequence.
In this interview you’ll discover:
- How to follow up with buyers (techniques and tools for any size investor). 18:13
- Can a small-time investor benefit from an automated follow-up system? Carlos explains why, why not 7:21
- What IF is really about: managing and organizing all your leads, and making sure nothing falls through the cracks…every dollar is accounted for, and every lead gets contacted… and being able to follow up with touch-of-buttons systems. 6:53
- A Harvard article explains how it’s mentally exhausting to follow up and how to avoid quitting. 22:36
- Real-world and life-altering hacks you can implement today for improved time management – a deep look into the daily life of a highly successful executive, and entrepreneur 39:24
- The bullet-proof winner’s mindset to have win faced with heavy competition 38:05
- How to create a follow-up system that doesn’t subtract the human element from your business. 11: 36
- The entire keystone to making follow up work, and why most people fail at it. 21:43
- The exact response rates of ringless voicemail that have been tested and proved – how many callbacks you should get for every 1,000 voicemails lefts. 14:24
- Short scripts of what exactly to say during your follow up. 19:23
- A strategic way to change your messaging based off market location – how the median price can alter what you say. 29:33
- Harvard Article explains The cure for the most common reason why investors quit follow up. 22:36
- The two follow up methods that have the highest response rates. 13:12
Save $248 dollars (half off set up fee) on Investor Fuse Software for using this affilaite link: https://www.investorfuse.com/moredeals/
Because I only recommend resources that I trust… some links below are affiliate links where I may get paid a commission for some coffee-money 🙂
Deal Machine (driving for dollars app: https://dealmachine.com/ )
Investor Carrot (Complete, high converting website: www.newoncarrot.com)
Investor Fuse Complete automated follow-up software to never miss a deal ( https://www.investorfuse.com/moredeals/ (use this link for $248 off set up fee)
Call Rail: multiple phone numbers software (www.callrail.com)
Mojo Dialer: call more numbers in less time. great for cold Calling: (www.mojosells.com)
Slybroadcast: for sending ringless voice mails ( https://www.slybroadcast.com/
Carlos: I’m full time, InvestorFuse, have been for between three and a half, four years. Prior to that was wholesaling. So that was my first and only job out of college, was wholesaling in Baltimore, which I’m still here in Baltimore city right now. Right on the water in Baltimore city. I was wholesaling with Dan Schwartz, the CEO of InvestorFuse, and he always just really had a knack for building out our CRM to make it better and better for him to operate, while he was on a van rock and roll group tour playing 180 shows a year. And I was his boots on the ground with another guy. So I was pretty much lead manager acquisitions manager for Dan, who was touring the country most of the year. He’d come to Baltimore every couple months and we’d meet up in person, but he always had an knack for just building out stuff, which turned into InvestorFuse.
Carlos: So there’s a period there where I was still managing his leads, where we were pretty much 100% online, lead generation from a Carrot site, and had ad-words nerds, Dan Barrett had our account, definitely getting good deals from there. So I was pretty much just managing for a month or two. I was just there managing leads from his wholesale operation while he had already done real automation on the side, and then launched InvestorFuse. So about a month after InvestorFuse launched, he asked me, he’s like, “Hey, I know you’re still managing leads for the wholesale business, but would you be interested in splitting half your time, just getting on zoom calls, almost like we’re on right now? And just showing companies how to use Podio as a CRM and talk wholesaling and just be there to be an advisor.” Which from a high level, talking about doing stuff you love, versus hating.
Carlos: I’ve loved doing more, so the day to day for InvestorFuse stuff, because I’m almost like an advisor slash consultant with other entrepreneurs, instead of negotiating sellers and buyers. And now if I would start doing it again after three and a half years of experience with top people in the country, I’d have a different approach to it. But prior to then it was like I would work with sellers and try to negotiate them down to low as possible. And that, daily, I was good enough at it where we had a successful business. But I think just my personality in the long run, this is the type of stuff that gives me energy versus negotiating. So wholesaled for like two and a half, three years, and then I’ve been with InvestorFuse, it’ll be four years in March, April range, so between three and a half and four years. And doing that full time.
Paul: Is the wholesaling operation still active today?
Carlos: It is not. It has been shut down for quite a while. It hasn’t been going on for a while. Dan did have a partnership in place where we had set up pretty much a Baltimore wholesaler where Dan would pretty much just pay for the marketing, and the backend systems, namely InvestorFuse and they would split the deals. But as far as our own operation, has not been up and running for quite some time. I like to say I work a lot. Dan is literally seven days, almost all the time working on InvestorFuse, so we went all in on that.
Carlos: We did have a sister program too, so that same principle, as far as focusing on one thing, we did have a sister company, or another company, that we had launched SendFuse, which I’m not sure if you’re familiar. It was similar to DealMachine, or it is similar to DealMachine, where you could be outside of a property, and then just text that address to the subject property. Almost like a tech spot service that we had, or automation that we had. And you could start a one off, eight piece, direct mail campaign from right outside of the property. Take a picture of the property, put it on a postcard. So we ended up selling that six months ago, maybe, to more so go all in on InvestorFuse two. So, same principle there as far as just focusing on one thing and going all in on that.
Paul: Yeah. Now you said you were closing deals, negotiating deals back then. Was this all over the phone or you were actually going person to person?
Carlos: No, mostly person to person. So I would be going to properties, negotiating with sellers, meeting with sellers, which I definitely enjoy. Just same thing today, and how probably how me and you are similar to a certain extent of just seeing how people are wired, what their pain points are, trying to solve those. So I would mostly be on the road going to properties. Sometimes you could look something up over the phone, but for the most part actually going to appointments and making offers.
Paul: Okay. And you’re pretty good at that?
Carlos: I would say I was relatively good at that. Good enough to be successful. Definitely a people person. Definitely extroverted, enjoy talking to people. So I liked that. Yeah, so I would just roll around. I had printed off, same contracts that are in InvestorFuse today actually. A two page contract, about the most basic real estate sales contract you could have that has that assignment clause in there. So I actually had a folder, I would just roll around with those, put in the purchase price address and the seller’s name on those, get those signed.
Paul: Okay. And you guys didn’t have all the neat bells and whistles that an InvestorFuse has with all the integrations and text messaging, email platforms you guys integrate. Did you operate with all that back in the day, or what was your system like?
Carlos: No, that was being built out as we went. So the biggest luxury we had in our system was being able to send out offers. So if I did want to follow-up with someone and send an offer out, I could do that. That was nice. But yeah, we did not have all the bells and whistles. That was towards the end, closer towards the end of my wholesaling experience, where Dan was made the real automation with Joe McCall, which is kind of how he got on the wholesaling scene nationally and then into InvestorFuse. So when I first got onto InvestorFuse, I had to learn that whole system with all these bells and whistles. It was easy, it was like a college quarterback that was in a pro-style offense, that went to the NFL, and started running a pro-style offense. Just had to learn a few more bells and whistles, and see how it works. Then I was good explaining it to people, and showing people how to use it in their business.
Paul: So back in the day, I want to talk a little bit more of that system, when you started, because a lot of people are smaller time investors too. So can IF contribute or help with somebody who does a smaller amount of volume?
Carlos: Yeah, absolutely. And I could probably even take a step back and just talk about InvestorFuse as a whole, what it does, and how it could be helpful and just having a CRM in place in general. So I think InvestorFuse, and this is probably most of your audience Paul, I think InvestorFuse is best fit for investors that are doing direct to seller marketing. Of course, whatever tools you’re using, you want to have the revenue or at least a capital certain amount of burn rate where you can afford all those tools, Carrot, InvestorFuse, CallRail, whatever stuff that you’re using. But InvestorFuse’s process really starts once a lead is captured. And for the purpose of, when I talk to people on InvestorFuse, and this interview, specifically the context, we like to put real estate in a couple of different buckets, or real estate, you know, wholesaling, whatever operation you’re doing in different buckets.
Carlos: So that first bucket is really lead generation and marketing. That’s where you’re targeting people, or setting yourself up to be a target for people to find you. Where you can monetize, you know someone from selling their property, adding value, them selling the property. So that’s the first bucket, lead generation marketing. That would be your Carrot, CallRail, Mojo Dialer, CallTools, text blasting like Sherpa, DealMachine, anything and everything like that would be lead generation marketing. So that’s cold traffic prospects. You don’t know if you can do business with them, you can monetize them, you can buy that property from them. So that’s that first bucket, lead generation marketing.
Carlos: That second bucket is where InvestorFuse starts, and we’re laser focused on, that’s on lead management. And it starts with capturing those leads. So InvestorFuse is really a seller lead hub for your business, and we’re going to connect with all of those different lead input tools that you’re using. If you want to reach out, and see if anything, or if any of your followers want to reach out, they can reach out to me directly, call us at investorfuse.com, to see if we can do a direct integration into the tools. But, even if it is a smaller investor, or someone that’s just starting out, we typically don’t recommend InvestorFuse if you have not closed a real estate deal yet, just to make sure that you have enough confidence, and enough experience in negotiating to make sure that you can actually buy and sell real estate or contracts for real estate.
Carlos: But really, once you can afford to add that to your recurring monthly costs, it could definitely make sense. Especially if you have multiple lead inputs. If you have a Carrot site and a CallRail site, which I hope most of you guys do, just in case someone calls you off your website, you want to track where it came from. It definitely could, because it’s a little bit of lead insurance slash just a cloud based system where you and your team, as you’re growing that out, can see all your incoming leads, everything like that. So that’s really what InvestorFuse’s focus is on, capturing the leads. And one thing, Paul, that we can dive into as well, is most of you guys probably know sales in general, almost every sale that you have is after the first touch. So for the most part, someone isn’t going to fill out a web form on your Carrot site that just says their asking price, you call them and you get the deal right there. Probably more so for Carrot or online traffic of course, then doing cold calling, text blasting, stuff like that, cold prospecting.
Carlos: But InvestorFuse really helps you stay organized as well with your manual follow-up calls and texts that you need to do, as well as follow-up sequences. So one of the bells and whistles, Paul, that I love about InvestorFuse, that’s arguably the most helpful and powerful tool, are the follow-up sequence drip campaigns. And one example I always use is I bought an Acura a couple of years ago, and I was looking at different dealerships. I still get sales drip emails from two or three years ago, where of course I just erase them right now. But if I was still in the market looking for a car, I’d probably pay the, some attention, maybe reach out to the sales rep, see what kind of deal they could do for the end of the year.
Carlos: And that’s the same power that investors can use with follow-up sequences to leverage their time, so that they’re not manually following up with every single lead, especially the colder ones. They can just press a couple buttons, have them on text, email, ringless voicemail, drip campaigns, for two plus years if they want, and then they can get a nice tap on the shoulder inside the system whenever that settled responds to their drip campaign.
Paul: I remember that was the great part about it. At the time, this was probably, I don’t know, maybe two, three years ago, since I use it, maybe two years ago since I used it. That was an awesome system, to push the buttons, hey, I have this thousand leads here. I’m going to send them a blast email all at once. I’m going to send a blast text. I’m going to send a Slybroadcast all at once. That was a really cool feature.
Paul: So follow-up, do you have a statistic, I’ve heard 80% of the sales come from follow-up, do you have anything to add on to that?
Carlos: I would echo that similar number, around 80%. The one that we did from, we were presenting InvestorFuse somewhere about a year ago, and we went off some Harvard sales business study that said it was, I think it might have even been closer to 90% of all sales are done in some type of follow-up, where it’s not the first touch. So super important. And I think almost framework or the mindset too, of seeing how important every single lead is. Leads can be expensive, so having the mindset of each lead is super important, and at least being able to follow-up with them in an organized manner. And of course, the colder ones are the ones that aren’t ready to sell for a longer time, you can put those on automated touches if you have a system like that.
Carlos: But yeah, follow-up is super important, man. One thing that I’ve talked about on our show too is just, any interaction that you have with somebody today, even me and you just talking, I want that to be the most memorable conversation, or most memorable interaction, that that person had that day. So I liked that, I liked having that mindset. It’s how I’ve been throughout my whole life, but I liked having that, specifically to this business, with sellers that you’re talking to, whether it’s just being really positive and cheerful, knowing something about their house, or the area that they’re in, where you can add value and knowledge in the market, whether you try to go above and beyond and seeing how you can solve their problem. That’s another thing of just how you’re following up, or a mindset to have when you’re following up with those leads, that like I said, they can be expensive. Of course, you know.
Paul: That was one of my questions, too. Some people are afraid that all this automation might take away the human element. So how do you incorporate that into an automated follow-up system, where it sends out automatic Slybroadcast or automatic texts and so forth?
Carlos: You totally can, and that’s why, in an ideal world, you would have the time to call every single lead that you’re following up with, write them out a personal handwritten note and send them a box of cookies. But you had to see how much time it takes to follow-up leads, all that stuff, and everybody’s different. So how you get away from that, or how do you not risk that, when you’re doing the automations? One thing I like to talk about, I know you’re a big online guy, and this is something I wanted to bring up too, especially for Carrot members. I keep saying Carrot, I guess because most of our members use Carrot, and I’m most familiar with those guys. But one thing that you can do, and is super important in follow-up sequences, especially if you are doing some automated follow-up to your sellers, is establishing credibility.
Carlos: So some things that I see that are really cool, where it humanizes you, and also just makes you seem more credible, of course, is having different things on your site, I’ve seen people have ebooks on foreclosure, or whatever is going on kind of in their market. They could have ebooks, how our process works, which is pretty much a page going through the entire transaction, what it looks like. You can show your team, the people you’re working with, and putting those in all the emails. They’re not going to click it every time of course, but if they are interested, and they see that you have an ebook on selling houses that are in foreclosure in Baltimore County, for example, that’s going to help establish authority in your market, and also just some credibility.
Paul: What’s in your opinion, and what you guys have seen, some of the follow-up methods? Is there one that works better more effectively than others? For instance, call or text versus email?
Carlos: Text is 99, 100% open rate. That’s also going to be the highest response rate. Maybe ringless voicemail as well. I think on call blasting it’s slightly under 10% response rate, probably a little bit higher on that when you’re re-engaging them in a follow-up sequence, somebody that’s opted into your marketing slash messaging, or you’ve spoken with before. So I’d say those are… Anything besides email is going to be your highest response rate back to you. But email is still important, I think, to have, similar to marketing, if we’re talking marketing. It’s a nice ancillary piece to have to your follow-ups, because that is the easiest way to constantly be hitting them with the credibility type stuff. Or if you emailed them an offer, you can follow-up and be on that same thread. So it’s a nice ancillary piece. But yeah, obviously, calling, texting, ringless voicemail is going to get you the highest response rate, as far as people reaching back out to you, or answering their phone.
Paul: I’ve been working with the guy who’s in the probate niche, and the ringless voicemail has been working great from him, phenomenally. There was a certain number too, I don’t remember what it was, maybe you can touch base on it. There was a certain number that always worked for me, which was so many Slybroadcasts I would send out, there’d be a percentage of people who would actually call back. Do you know about that statistic?
Carlos: What I’ve heard is around 10% response rate. If you just send out a list of 1,000, you would have 100 callbacks.
Paul: I think that’s about right. It’s really phenomenal how those numbers really work every single time. So it’s just, it’s a numbers game, right? Onto the email thing. Email works great in the land business. I don’t know how many InvestorFuse people you work with who use InvestorFuse for land. I know Gary uses IF for land, there’s a few programs out there that. I use LandSpeed for my automation in land, and the big emphasis on LandSpeed was sending out mailers automatically for you.
Carlos: And with the land busier, Gary’s a guy. We have a couple of guys that are land guys. Gary, he’s been on our podcast before, he’s a great guy. But when he was explaining the process, that is an interesting process. Land where it seems like, to start off, you’re almost mailing out a physical offer to the land owner. And he made it seem like more of the follow-up is on the buyers. When you’re actually trying to sell a piece of land off. So that is interesting how they’re similar, but also different in a way.
Paul: Yeah, it’s swapped, the emphasis on the business. Land is, the acquisitions part is very simple, you can completely automate that. It was literally, okay, I pick an area, and picking an area is important too. You got to pick an area where you know has buyers for. Pick an area, and I would pull a list of maybe 500 vacant land owners, and then I would send 500 offers in and I would come up with an offer, probably 25 cents on the dollar, send that out. There was no negotiation. I wouldn’t work with anybody who wanted to negotiate over the phone, even if they wanted to add 200 hundred dollars to the offer, fine. But if they wanted to negotiate or complain, I wouldn’t even bother with them, because I would get, literally, I would walk to my mailbox and I would have a contract signed. Okay, this guy’s ready to go. Or I’d get an email, this guy’s ready to go. Or a voicemail, “Hey, I’m ready to sell it at your offer.”
Paul: So if somebody is new, he’s done a couple of deals here and there, and he’s done deals because he just showed up at the right time at the right place, he’s not very good at follow-up. So what’s one follow-up tasks that a person can easily incorporate, and start outsourcing that follow-up task?
Carlos: I think first, one thing we could talk about as far as follow-up sequences, are something you can definitely outsource, or at least the initial follow-up calls. Because following up, in general, for that question, if it’s someone that’s done a couple of deals, and you said they may have just been right place, right time, market’s going well, a lot of people in general are doing well right now, or have been doing well because of the market. I would almost say that he should be doing more follow-up, he should be doing more of the follow-up himself. It’s sexy, it’s attractive to talk about delegation and having stuff go off, which is definitely needed at times. But if it is someone that’s more so starting off, has only done a couple of deals, they should definitely be doing all the follow-ups, at least with the hotter and warmer motivated leads.
Carlos: Stuff that you can outsource though, would be some of the colder leads. And a lot of that is what we have in InvestorFuse with the sequences. And I’d be curious to hear your opinion a little bit on this for the drip campaigns, because now I’m interested about how you go off the news, and send out to your buyers. So I think sequences, taking that combo to that are really in two different areas that you could think about. So they could be specific to each seller situation. So that could be what type of lead they are, why they’re selling the property, things like that. And then different points in the life cycle. So that could be anywhere from the lead originally gets captured off a Carrot site, and you just can’t get a hold of them. So you have, we have one, it’s called a can’t reach.
Carlos: And by the way, for your audience, I’ll send you over the four templated sequences that we have that are all really, really awesome. They’re general, because it’s for all of our companies that we plug into a space. But any of your listeners, I can send you over that if you want to share, which would be perfect for someone, to answer your question here. But that’d be perfect for someone. That’s doing a couple of deals, just starting off and need some follow-up help.
Carlos: But also the point in the life cycle. So a couple things, and I’d like to pick your brain on this, because you’re really better at content info type stuff than I am, but different points in the life cycle on the seller situation. So a few unique ones, just thinking here, would be post offer. So a lot of the times you can be following up with that offer manually, of course, especially a guy that’s more so just starting off. And you should be following up with your offers manually, if you’re not locking them up right there. But if it’s something that’s gone cold, maybe has multiple offers, the seller has multiple offers, in addition to following up with them manually, and a lot of these sequences are in addition to following up with manual phone calls, scheduling out a phone call a week in advance, two weeks a month, whenever the seller asks for. So you could have sequences along the lines of, “Great speaking with you. I know we sent an offer and you’re still thinking it over,” things like that.
Carlos: Post appointment, anytime that you go to their property, putting them on a sequence right away that thanks them for having them out at their property. “Hey, thanks for having our acquisitions manager,” or “Thanks for having me out at your property. I’m going to crunch some numbers and get you an offer. If you want to look at anything in the meantime, here’s a market report on Philadelphia real estate the last quarter.” Something like that.
Carlos: Depending on the shop, and this gets into exit strategies for everything you’re doing. So I know a lot of folks do start off, just a one trick pony, or one exit strategy, or one value that they can add to a seller, just with a cash offer, with a faster close than typical. But then you can start getting into sequences for all the different types of exit strategies. Namely, if you have someone that’s a realtor or a broker on your team, where you can list the property for any of those real retail leads, so you can still monetize more of those leads. Following up if the property has sold, so that’s if someone says, “We’re weighing multiple offers,” whether it’s from wholesalers or whatever, you can follow-up there.
Carlos: And similarly, Paul, actually, now that I’m thinking about how you explained it with how you target your list with news, I like to think about just other industries. I mentioned with the car dealership. What’s a way that you can just stay on top of people, relatively stay on top of people, without annoying them too much. A monthly rhythm, probably, and just be a reminder of what type of value you can add for them at the time that it’s right for them. So following up to see if a property is sold.
Carlos: One thing too, which I’m curious your opinion on, is getting testimonials. That’s what we tried to get InvestorFuse numbers to put people on sequences. So after they buy a property from a seller, putting them on a sequence, just asking for a testimonial, “Hey, I know that we did business together. If you enjoyed it, would you mind shooting a quick video testimony? Or would you mind meeting me to shoot a quick two minute video testimonial on how your experience was working with us?” And of course, then that stuff that you could repurpose and put, not only on your site, but in sequences as well, “Hey, I know that we sent an offer and you mentioned that there’s a few other people,” and now I’m speaking this as manual follow-up, or sequences, if you’d like, “Hey, I know that you’re talking to a couple of other investors, and I know we’re right in the ballpark where you’re looking to sell. I wanted to send over some video testimonials, just so you can see the experience that people have had working with us in the past.”
Yeah, going back to the follow-up. So this takes away your need to always be on top of it, because if I were to just do a follow-up system on my own, meaning, okay, here’s my calendar, here’s my manual calendar. I’m going to write all this down. Every Monday, every Tuesday I’m going to do this, this and that. Now for me, I don’t know about anybody else, it’s hard for me to keep consistent with something I’m trying to implement myself.
Paul: If I input that into an actual tool, actual software that does it for me, if I have a lead that comes in, I input that lead into the software, and that does it on its own. If I were to do it on my own, I would forget about that lead, I would just say, “You know what? I’m not going to follow-up today.” That happened to me all the time. “I’m not going to call them back today. I don’t feel like it,” Is that something that you experienced too, as a wholesaler or?
Carlos: Yeah, I think everybody does. I think that’s just… And the same Harvard article was talking about that, because there’s mental exhaustion. And even that conversation that you have in your head of what you just said, where it’s like, “Ah, I’ll follow with them another time.” Or, “Oh, they’re not that motivated, I’ll push the call back.” It’s mentally exhausting to follow-up with leads. It really is. So it does help it.
Paul: Do you have any stories of missing deals because of not following up?
Carlos: We missed more than I would be embarrassed to say, but I think that’s everybody, is that you definitely miss out on deals. Definitely know some. Probably the one I’m most proud of was following up literally two and a half years that our other partner, Mike, he’s still here in Baltimore and crushing, he mostly does traditional fix and flips, but he actually closed on this property.
Carlos: But this was one, and this is about as humanized as it gets. It was in Baltimore here, on Jefferson street, close to Johns Hopkins hospital, for anybody that knows Baltimore, or is in this area, but pretty much filed with the seller there. They were on drugs. For two and a half years, followed up with these people, almost a complete shell of a property. But it was just something that we kept following up on. Probably had 15 numbers between this seller and her sister. But the biggest lever was I just drove by there and put a handwritten note on the front door, and then we ended up closing on it. Mike ended up closing on about six months later, but that helped re-engage the conversation after it went dark.
Carlos: But yeah man, your question. And that was part of the really… And Dan has talked about that, that was the fuel, or how we started mind mapping out InvestorFuse. How could we stop this from happening, where we make an offer, we follow-up a couple times and then we see it sold, or it’s listed with a realtor for a price that’s not significantly higher than what we were offering. How could we stop this from happening? Because every team is set up different. There’s different team structures you can have.
Carlos: But if you’re doing follow-up calls off of a CRM, or pen and paper from your home office, like I’m at here, you’re also going out in the field, you’re taking in live calls off of a website or CallRail numbers, it’s super easy for stuff to slip through the cracks, on top of just the mental exhaustion that we’re talking about following up with leads, hearing nos spending a lot of time on the phone with something that you’re not going to monetize right then and there. And that goes more to a principle of being able to have delayed gratification, and having the mindset, “Hey, it is a numbers game.” Almost exactly what you said earlier. “Hey, I’m going to have to talk to 25 leads that call in off of my direct mail campaign before I’m able to monetize everything.”
Carlos: So it’s a lot, man. But having those frameworks is huge, that we’ve just talked about on this call. Like I said, treating every lead super, super important, and trying to make the interaction that you have with that lead their most special interaction they have with anybody that they talk to the entire day. So having that mindset that every lead could be a potential gold mine, or money maker, for you. And then just having the framework of trying not to be mentally exhausted by following up with leads, by having that delayed gratification mindset. So let’s do more of a foundational type, just a framework for your mind to work out of.
Paul: Okay. And can somebody who does get deals from realtors, and maybe makes offers on the MLS as well, can this be somehow incorporate into IF?
Carlos: I guess they could, I was having this conversation with somebody earlier this week actually, Paul. So the functionality is there, as far as managing that deal or that potential lead, deal, property, whatever. Inside InvestorFuse, you would just put the subject property as the property address and then you would have the realtor as the seller’s name. So you could totally do that from a functionality standpoint, just to follow-up with your offer. I don’t think that we would have an automated way to capture that, unless there was an email body that the realtor, or somebody, sent our way. But you could absolutely just enter it in manually, mark what you made the offer for, and then just follow-up on that offer. Absolutely.
Paul: So it sounds like you could pretty much automate any… Even ow you mentioned how you put a note on the door, even if you had that as your special flare you did in your system, that can be added as well, more so as like a schedule, “I’m going to send this note out every so often,” and that can be incorporated into IF as well, right?
Carlos: Yeah, yeah. Custom action. Absolutely. And that’s what some people are starting… They’ve been doing it, but that’s something that you could put in as just type it out as a custom action, just door knocking. And a lot of people do that for like lead generation, but this was just me just following up. I knew that these people were living in the house, and we just had 15 numbers, and they weren’t answering. They were just going through T-Mobile burner-type phones. So I just went down. But absolutely, you can make that a task for somebody, just when they’re going on an appointment to stop by X properties, and just put a handwritten note on their door.
Paul: The follow-up is so important to them. I’m just thinking back when I started, I didn’t really have a follow-up system. And I think, especially in a lot of new people, you don’t have to have IF when you’re starting, when you’re brand new, and you’re looking for a deal, but you can at least put a couple of follow-up systems into place. I was looking, like everybody who starts, I was looking for the first time, one time close over the phone. I was door knocking too, and looking for the one door knock, or I’m going to make a sale. You hear about follow-up all the time. “Oh yeah, follow-up, it’s super important,” but you never really implement it at the end of the day, because you don’t have anything in place.
Carlos: Yeah, 100%. And that’s what I think of CRMs in general. You could do this business, in theory, you could do this business, pen and paper as far as having leads call in, come in through your site, manage them on pen and paper, write out on a calendar when you’re going to call and follow-up, all that stuff. But what a CRM, or just systems in place for your follow-up lead capture, all good stuff like that, it’s going to give you a way higher chance of success in staying organized with your follow-up. And then when you have a tool that helps you automate actual follow-up touches, it’s almost like you’re creating another organic marketing channel. As you get into the habit of putting these leads onto drip campaigns, they’re going to start answering. So it might be two, three months down the line, you’re going to start getting just re-engaged conversations with sellers, that you wouldn’t have if you’re using pen and paper, or more of a basic type tool to use. Does that make sense?
Paul: Yeah, definitely. Have you seen different follow-up sequences, or different ways in which IF has worked in different markets? Or pretty much across the board, it works the same?
Carlos: Yeah. It’s a good question. In general, it’s going to work the same, as far as something that’s going to be able to help you just get more touches out to sellers. But markets, it’s different with markets because, and this is something, I love Adrian’s, one of my best friends in the real estate game, he talks about, and you guys go into this, which I love the psychology part of it, is making your wording a little bit different. And this is something in our new platform that we’re launching, where we can track open rates, response rates of the different sequences. So I can actually give you data, hopefully in about six months from now. I could come back on, and I can actually give you data for different sequences and AB, and all the different testing and stuff.
Carlos: But, I would say something as simple, and this is just enhancement that you can do to the sequences. So the foundations of just getting in the habit of sequences, responding back to sellers, across the board, any market, Paul, are going to be helpful. Some things that I would say are similar to the Carrot and convos I’ve had with Adrian, he’s talked about where if it’s a market, if it’s a higher end market, probably where you’re at, where the real estate, you know is above a median for the country, a more expensive market. You might want to have your wording, and the talk that you have in your messages, more professional, higher level education, dealing with a more savvy seller. And it all comes back to something that Adrian says too, “Know your seller, know who you’re going after, and then target all of your messaging around that.” If it’s more of a West Virginia, or somewhere where it may be a lower market type place, you may want to have a more basic, or elementary, language in your messaging. I would say things like that, to answer just from a general perspective across the board.
Paul: Okay, interesting. So to add to that then, I don’t know too many investors out here in Southern California that actually use IF in a high volume. And it could just be because I don’t know them. Maybe there’s a ton, maybe you know, out here in Southern California, if you have a lot of clients are crushing it with a high volume system, good follow-up sequence, out here in Southern California. Do you?
Carlos: I know a couple. Steven, one guy that’s just signing up with us, Steven Avenue, is more of a multifamily guy and he’s just in the beginning of process of starting up. Yeah, we definitely have some California guys out there. San Diego, Mike Borger is a long time InvestorFuse guy, Carrot guy as well. So yeah, we definitely have some.
Carlos: And one thing, Paul I think is interesting for folks just to hear as well. I think that’s two general paths you can go down when you are marketing, or having your messages go to sellers. You can be the small mom and pop type shop, which is definitely appealing to certain sellers, like you said. Where it’s like, “Hey, I flip houses in my spare time,” whatever. But then you can also kind of go down, I’d be curious to hear your opinion on these two paths, the small mom and pop, which we just outlined, versus more of a 1-800, a really corporate professional type home buying company, where it’s 1-800 house buyers, or whatever. And you have branded logos and you show up with a polo that has that logo on there, everything like that.
Paul: I think it really just depends on what you want to do in life. That takes a little more skill. having a big business that you’re going to have to manage people, that takes a lot more of a skill set than being the small time, I’m going to be the guy that does 12 deals a year, which is still a lot, but you have no life. If you do all that by yourself. Out here at least. And 12 deals a year is enough out here to be very well off. But I guess it depends what kind of job you want. And if you’re looking for a lifestyle business, if you’re looking for a job, if that’s the kind of business you want to do, you want to run, if you want to manage that.
Paul: And you’ve seen this business from beginning to end, how long did it take? And I’m getting into this question more on, of business building. How long did it take to actually have this business up and running, and have some traction in the marketplace?
Carlos: Yeah, man, that’s a good question. So I joined, this February will be four years that we’ve been around, which is crazy. When I joined, about a month after Dan and John, or the co founders, I joined about a month after that. I want to say that we had a good bit of customers, just off the strategy that they did I think which was a webinar sale. Already had a good amount of people in our pipeline from Dan having the real automation set up with Joe. So I want to say when I joined we maybe had 50, 75 companies already, and had a decent brand recognition out there. At least was the beginning stage of that when I joined. But it’s been a wild ride, man.
Carlos: Your question about how far did it take traction? I think we kind of started out of the gate with some traction, and it’s definitely been an interesting path of growth here since then. But yeah, man, it’s crazy, because a lot of it is just organic too. A lot of this business is just word of mouth, where investors will be at a meetup, or they go to an event, they talk to people in Facebook groups, and they were like, “Hey, what are you using for this type of tool?” So just being able to provide people with a good experience and they’re getting more than what they expected, and value, as far as from the product, has been a huge lever in helping us grow like we have.
Paul: Yeah. So things haven’t always been sunshine over their at InvestorFuse, right?
Carlos: Definitely not.
Paul: My experience as well, with business building. It takes, there’s a lot of frustration. It may seem like, outside, it looks like you guys are a multimillion dollar company, but can you guys go into any struggles you deal with, how long it took for you guys to actually see some light at the end of the tunnel?
Carlos: I think it was, I honestly think the beginning ride of InvestorFuse was a lot of rainbows and sunshine, and stuff like that. I think really the struggle, to your question, is when we decided to make the move to launch onto our own platform, the 2.0, which is less than a year ago. And we pretty much rolled it out as a beta product, probably didn’t do the best job with PR, which we take responsibility for, making sure that people realize it was a beta, it wasn’t a finished product that we’re still working on, and have a big update coming out. But that was more of a PR type situation that we had dealt with, still dealing with and starting to see light at the end of the tunnel with this new product that we’re about to launch. A new update to 2.0 that we’re about to launch.
Carlos: We definitely had some customer turnover from there, folks that weren’t happy because we didn’t have aligned expectations with them. So there was this big period of sunshine, butterflies, rainbows, everything going good, and then at the beginning of the year that really turned around where we let go staff, unfortunately. We’re learning of being an actual, legit, startup software company, where we have developers in house, which comes with a lot of costs, stuff like that. So we’ve been learning some very valuable lessons. I don’t know how I would put it into words, the different stuff, but it’s a lot of lessons of just growing a legit software company, that’s ready to scale to be a big thing. But it’s interesting, man. It’s humbling too.
Carlos: And that’s the same thing I preach. I try not to take any member that we’ve had for granted, anything like that. Trying to bring as much value as possible to myself. And for anybody listening, it really all starts with you. That’s why I put all the chips in on personal development, and working on myself, because at the end of the day, I know that’s the most foundational thing I can do to bring as much value to people, individually, to groups. Talking to people like this, or on our podcast, whatever. That’s really what I go all in on. But yeah, man, a lot out of learning lessons, but starting to see light out of the end of the tunnel, which is awesome.
Paul: Awesome. And I agree with you, that working on your personal development, that’s the only thing you can really control in life. You can’t control if people say yes or no to you. You just can control what you do, how you look, and your growth in life. So being that you guys started off well with IF, maybe, this is just my guess, is that because IF was a new idea into the real estate investing space?
Carlos: It totally was. And that’s what I talk about too, is we were the first company to take a prebuilt solution, specific for real estate investors going direct to seller, and put it on top of Podio and then package that as a SAS product, a software as a service product, where you pretty much are on a subscription, for either monthly or annual, and you get support, training, continuous updates on the platform, everything like that. So we were the first company to do that, and we still think that’s why there’s still so much Podio hype in the space now, even though it’s starting to down trend away from that. But yeah, absolutely, we were the first company to do that.
Carlos: And that’s why I said, it was kind of like George Banister, Roger Bannister, I can remember his name, the guy that ran the four minute mile, he was the first person to ever do it. And then the following year, people started doing it just out of belief. So that was similar thing that happened with us after we launched on Podio. I think the next year, people started seeing that and people started coming out with their own platforms on Podio as well.
Paul: Yeah. So is that affecting you guys in a negative way?
Carlos: Other people coming out on Podio?
Carlos: No, I wouldn’t say so. I’m very much abundant mindset. I think there’s enough market space for everybody that’s a provider out there. But now that’s even like that same experience where we announced we were launching off Podio, and now some of those companies are launching off, or making their own platform off Podio as well. So I don’t really think it affects us, and we probably don’t affect the other companies either.
Paul: Okay. Being a business owner, being a VP, you’re VP of customer service, right? For IF?
Carlos: Yeah, around customer success, customer engagement.
Paul: How’s your time like? Do you work maybe four to five hours? You actually work eight hours a day, but you get the freedom to take vacation whenever you want to go wherever you want?
Carlos: I literally map out all my quote unquote work time, and all my personal time. So the 168 hours in a week, I try to map out, and I’m due again to do it now going into 2020, but I mapped out the 168 hours in a week. How much of that is personal, including sleep, gym, all that stuff, then how much is actually work? So during a typical day, I will be at the computer doing some type of work, typically nine to five range, sometimes if I duck out more, but it’s the same thing trying to knock out most of the important stuff. But I definitely do have pre scheduled meetings, mostly they’re sales calls of people that are signing up for InvestorFuse, or some type of interview or internal team meetings. Those are the three things that I’m in most of the day.
Carlos: But yeah, to answer your question, nine to five. Saturday I’ll do more high level planning. Definitely put an emphasis on anything personal. I do meditation, deep thinking type stuff, because I find out, even if you’re pressed for time, the more of that you get in, personal high level type thinking, just disconnected thinking, the easier and more efficiently you work with that hour or 30 minutes that you use towards that. Monday through Friday, nine to five, Saturday, Sunday more so are my planning days, maybe finishing some stuff up. But yeah, work from home, can vacation, can work from wherever. I’ll be in Los Angeles at a non real estate mastermind, leaving next weekend. So I’ll be out of office, not working as much when I’m there, and then off a few days for a mastermind.
Paul: So interesting. So you’ve been doing that for a while, mapping out all the time that you allocate to different tasks?
Carlos: Yeah, I started doing that, probably not this past summer, the summer before that.
Paul: How’s that helped?
Carlos: In a general range, I almost relate it more so to my personal life. So I would start seeing just where the time it would be, and I track my nutrition very closely, all my macronutrients and calories and stuff, because I always wanted to be in really good shape, six pack, that type of stuff. So the main two levers that have helped me the last year, I actually used to cut hair for my soccer team, I would cut people’s hair, cut my own hair. So I actually found that whole process for cutting my own hair. And these are small personal examples, and I’ll talk business ones, but small personal examples that have helped me just buy back time are getting my hair cut, where I pay 25 bucks, it takes me 30 minutes, I text with the barber. Versus two hours and the mental exhaustion of setting up my clippers, cutting my hair, which took an hour, cleaning it up, sweeping up everything like that. So I’m literally spending 25 bucks to get a better quality cut, plus I’m buying back an hour and a half of my time really.
Carlos: The other one that I started doing a cost analysis on was groceries, because I cook a bunch. So I even went from going, out buying all my own groceries, doing all my own meal prep for the week to now, if I’m ordering groceries, which I still need to do, I ordered them online via Amazon, which is almost the same exact prices if I go on the way. And then I started getting meal prep from one of my friends that helps me with nutrition stuff, which is even another lever. So that was taking me five, six hours a week between cooking and cleaning every night, including the meal prep. So that’s a good example of, I pretty much, say, added six and a half hours back to my week. Just from personal stuff. I’m getting more proficient outcomes from it, as far as like chef prepared meals, and a high quality haircut that I get every three weeks or so, two or three weeks or so.
Carlos: And then business wise, honestly this changes every quarter. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I would make an argument that’s a good thing. As far as just the projects that you’re working on, what you need to be doing, things like that. The biggest one I’ve been putting on, because we purposely run stretching ourselves thin, to see how that goes and just staying lean as far as recurring salary, stuff like that. But a lot of things was time blocking. So last year, beginning of this year, last year I was big into time blocking, and theming days, where I would just block out the first three, four hours of a particular day and have it themed towards something.
Carlos: So one would be podcasting, one would be high level relationships slash gift-giving, where you just work on keeping those relationships, having a strategic approach to relationships. One was customer success. So those just helped me move the needles on different projects I was doing at that time. I’m just blocking out the time, and it’s a little bit of a limiting belief at first. I would recommend the book, Gary Keller, The ONE Thing. That’s pretty much where I got that whole playbook from, and I’ve talked about that on some podcasts.
Carlos: And some of that is like still mental exhaustion slash pain, where I know for the next one that I’m going to be doing at the end of this year to have in place for Q1, is more around the podcasting, getting a VA or some type of help around processing the podcasts. That would free up a lot of time, and allow me, just to be the surgeon analogy. A surgeon isn’t there answering calls in the office to schedule surgeries and stuff like that. The surgeon just shows up, has a file for the person where somebody has already put all notes on him, he shows up, does the surgery, does another surgery, goes home. Rinse and repeat. He’s not doing all that type of stuff. So it’s like what’s with the podcast, where I’m growing towards, where I can just…
Carlos: I still like to do my research. I like to analyze my own communication, things I can improve that I haven’t been doing enough of just, staying busy with other stuff. And I think it’s something that you need to constantly challenge on. Nobody’s perfect at it. If they are, I may have some doubts or raise some questions there. But it’s something that you’re always optimizing.
Paul: Yeah. Yeah. That’s awesome, dude. Man, I appreciate all that info. You’re a good dude to be around, you’re a high level business owner. I appreciate you being on here. Gracing my with your time, and all these stories.
Carlos: Yeah, man, I appreciate that. And you as well. Take it easy, man.
Paul: Take care of that.
Paul: All right, bye.
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