In this episode, David talks with Dan Schwartz from InvestorFuse.com. Dan is a software and website developer and we talk about how his product, Investor Fuse, is launching outside of Podio in a few days and how the NEW Investor Fuse 2.0 is going to be the BEST lead follow-up and Lead Management System on the market.
Dan talks about how your CRM or your Lead Management System should not be a time-consuming activity and how his system can help you create your own systems to better keep track of your leads and to better follow up with them in a timely manner. (They have systems that you can plug and play that are proven)
David and Dan also talk about Podio and other CRM's that investors are using and how they tend to suck up all your time working in and on them. Many Investors become consumed working in their CRM's all day and Dan wants to change this. Dan's new site hopes to get the investor off the computer and out into the field more and more so they can do what they do best... Flip Houses and Invest! Check out Dan's Lead Management System online at Investorfuse.com or you can connect directly with Dan at [email protected].
David: Alright guys, welcome back to the Discount Property Investor podcast. This is your host David Dodge, my co-host Mike Slane is out in the field today, we do deals, guys. We can't always be here to do podcasts. I am joined today by a very interesting Individual, Dan Schwarts. I have known Dan, I shouldn't say know, I have known of Dan for probably going on three years now. I have chatted with him online, on Facebook, different forums online. But this is the first time I have got the opportunity to speak with Dan. Dan, how are you, man?
Dan: I am excellent. It's really good to be here and finally connect with you in person, I can't wait to dig in.
David: Yes, yes. So I have known Dan again-- from online avenues and whatnot. Dan has a really cool product and I wanted to invite Dan on the show today to talk more about his product, and some of the solutions he has been able to put in place to help investors like myself, and other investors who are in the wholesale space. So Dan's product is Investor Fuse. Did I say that right, Dan?
Dan: That's it.
David: Investor Fuse, and it is InvestorFuse.com, that's how people can find.
Dan: Dot com, yep.
David: Perfect. The beautiful thing about Dan and Dan's software is-- a lot of times you have people that are building products, or offering solutions. They are not really the real deal. Here at the Discount Property Investor podcast, myself included; we don't really like to talk about things unless we are doing those things. We are not here to promote and or coach or give away information if we are not in the game, if we're not doing deals. The beautiful thing I like about Dan, about Dan's business and Dan's software, he is real deal. He is doing wholesale deals, and he has done hundreds of wholesale deals. So it's not like he is just building software, and selling this software not knowing what is needed, or what solutions needs to be addressed. He is the real deal, he's doing this. So Dan, tell us a little but more about Investor Fuse, and what it's all about and how it can help people.
Dan: Yeah man. I get the struggle of the modern day real estate investor. There are a lot of different pieces that have to fall into place, there is a lot of technology that is getting involved that is usually pretty confusing technology that-- investors are just not techy enough to figure out. So I totally get the struggle. I came from a background where I was doing most of my wholesaling on the road. I was touring full time in a band back in 2011, 2012. Hundreds of shows a year, 180-200 shows a year which forced me to get good at-- how do I remove myself from this flipping operation? What is my purpose once I remove myself? I got good at building these systems for my team back at home to do deals in-spite of me.
Dan: It honestly kind of became my obsession, figuring out systems for investors. A lot of your listeners probably use Podio. Podio is sort of the existing tool I use to create these systems.
Dan: It's a data base CRM that allows you to store all your leads, all your property information, all your buyer leads. You can customize it and tweak it, add fields so that it works for your specific exit strategy or whatever you're doing.
Dan: It's been used it's been like the go-to customisiable CRM solution for many years, and it's what we launched Investor Fuse on, so people wouldn't have to figure out how to build themselves. So that the initial need was well [00:04:54.27 - inaudible]
everybody want's to use Podio, but nobody knows how to build it, so we will do that for you, put out some videos and it ended up being a huge itch that the industry needed to scratch--
David: How long have you been working on this?
Dan: I have been helping people on Podio probably since I first met you three years ago.
Dan: That since evolved into a membership subscription based company Investor Fuse, subscribe monthly for access to this amazing workspace that basically automates all of you're follow up, and gets you more contracts automatically. That's the deal with Investor Fuse. And what we've found is that the part of real estate investing is the least sexy, that nobody wants to be good at is-- like managing your leads.
Dan: Capturing the leads, the phone systems that you use, qualifying the leads, how quickly can you get back to the leads? How many times are you following up with the [00:05:49.19 - inaudible] get a hold of the lead? Most investors give up way too soon. This is the stuff that investors kind of suck at.
David: Like you said, it's the un-sexy part of the business. Really it is the most time consuming part of the business. So I love it, okay cool let's hear more.
Dan: It's the most time consuming part of the business. If you can combine the proper automation with a rockstar team; office manager, acquisitions manager, dispositions manager, VA. That plus automation equals-- you can scale this business as much as you want. That's sort of the formula we figured out, we went all in on lead management. We're not like-- a lot of companies try to generate leads and make your website, do your follow up, do your due diligence, and give you rehab estimates, and all of this stuff they are--
David: Which is overwhelming to be honest with you. Whenever we have a product that offers everything, it's too much. People want simple.
Dan: People want simple, and that's what we learned the hard way, innovating on top of this existing [00:07:05.24 - inaudible] Podio. People can really just get what they actually need which is a simple process to follow, so when a lead comes in, everybody on your team know what to do, there is no confusion of where do I click? What button do I press? Thinking, too much thinking.
David: Too much thinking, right.
Dan: So for the last 18 months we have been building our own product off of Podio. We are in the process right now of rolling that out to the general public. This has been my all time consuming obsession, not only dialing in this product, working with our core constituent members on making it as perfect as possible, and talking about it and sharing this message. I believe it is going to be the best tool that was ever made for real estate investors. Because it is so dang easy, it's designed for non-techy investors that just want to do deals, get time back, stop worrying about having to follow up, managing all the processes of capturing leads, entering data. Now we built this solution basically so it guides everybody on your team one action at a time.
David: Okay, which is awesome.
Dan: So simple, yeah it's really all about time freedom, and making sure that your automation is freeing up time. Once you have that time, make sure you're working on building the growth engines of your business, instead of doing the stuff in the weaves that isn't making you money.
Dan: Most of the investors that are just starting in this game don't realize that you're an entrepreneur, not necessarily a real estate investor. You need to build a business.
David: That's a true point. Really if you're in the wholesaling game you're in the marketing business too. I have said that hundreds of times in podcasts in the past. I tell my coaching students that too. This is the marketing business, that's the business that you're in. Real estate just happens to be a product that you're buying and selling. Yes you are a real estate investor, but you are more of a marketing specialist. That's a big hurdle for people to kind of take on and understand and get through in the beginning. I feel like the CRM side of the business, or the coaching for me and my students is always a big hiccup too, because some people are techy, some people are not techy. You have got to have a CRM, really the thing about a CRM that I try and dumb down to people is, there really is only two things the CRM can do for you that-- or can help you do, and that's just leaving notes on each individual item in real time is one. And two is creating the tasks and going in and following up with those individuals. That in my opinion sums up what a CRM can do to help you in this business. There is a million other things it can obviously do, but at the end of the day if you are not leaving detailed notes on every lead that's coming in, or every call you're making; you're going to forget what you talked about with that individual moving forward, or when you talk to them next you're going to forget. By not having a task created to follow up with that individual on a set schedule you are also going to forget.
Dan: The next action.
David: Yeah, you can do this with 20-30 leads no problem on a piece of scratch paper. But when you get up to 2000, 3000, 5000 leads in your funnel, in your followup system; it's impossible to keep track of all of that without a software. So I am a Podio user, a power user, we use Globiflow. I have seen your product a lot of times, seen you talk about it and promoting it. But I haven't really dove into it quite yet. I am sure if I did I would probably love it. That is going to be something I look into in the next couple of days is doing some more research on your product. So tell me a little bit more if you don't mind now I've got you here; what sets your product apart, not just from other CRM's, but just an individual like myself who already uses Podio and Globiflow-- that's basically building systems from the ground up. Your systems are already kind of built it seems like, right?
Dan: Yeah, so I should prefix this by saying when this is broadcast, it's probably not going to be-- have the Podio version anymore.
David: Really? Interesting. Okay.
Dan: We're ending that because-- you will see the new software is drastically better for you to use, more intuitive, and less clicking and thinking involved.
David: Love that.
Dan: If you want to switch over, we just do that for you. We will bring all your leads over, all your settings over. Just give you this new system on a silver platter.
David: I am highly interested, absolutely.
Dan: Yeah so-- I mean other than being a system that 100% focuses on lead management, that whole front end process of this business-- like you said when you are discount property investor, you are also a marketer. As a marketer you need to understand funnels. You have all these opportunities coming to the top of the funnel. You need to make sure you have a process, so as much money is leaking out of the funnel as possible. If anything is broken along that path, and typically with lead management the breaking points are the follow up before the offer, or follow up after the offer, getting a hold of a seller and make sure you contact that seller immediately after they call in.
David: Follow up, follow up, follow up. Always following up, right?
Dan: Your income comes from follow up. So not to invest in a proper repeatable followup process is costing you a lot of money.
Dan: Like you said, if you are just starting out, and you just have a handful of leads, sure you can use a scratchpad. But if you're serious about this business, if you're investing thousands of dollars to generate property leads, then I hope you're investing in something to monetize those leads.
David: Absolutely. Really I feel like the people-- I'm in the St Louis market, we are spending anywhere from $7-10,000 a month on average, some months less, some months more. Really there is one, two, three-- there is probably four other players in my market, four or five that are also spending upwards of $7-10,000 a month if not more than that. I would say-- in order to have a good business, and a business that is generating lots of revenue, and hopefully lots of profits; you have to spend money on marketing, you have to. All my students that I take on, I tell them I like them to have at least 500-1000 a month to spend, if they don't there are other ways of spending time versus money to generate those leads. Basically I like to refer to it as going hunting versus fishing. When you're fishing you throw a bunch of lines in the water and you wait for someone to come to you. If you don't have money to fish you got to hunt. You got to get out there and make those cold calls, or go knock on doors and so on and so forth.
David: That makes perfect sense. When you get your marketing going, you don't have to have ten grand a month, but once you have some marketing going on, and you're generating leads; that's where the CRM comes in, I love it.
Dan: Yeah, another component is being able to track all the marketing and optimize your marketing, so when you are spending 7-10 grand, you know that you can optimize it and it's actually going to covert into deals.
David: Convert, right. Hopefully give you a 5-10 return.
David: If I am spending a dollar to make two dollars, yeah it's profitable, but is it the best use of my time? Probably not. I look to make at least four dollars on every one I invest at a minimum.
Dan: Right. So it's the whole concept of creating a repeatable process for every single lead that comes in, and making sure you're extracting as much juice as possible out of the leads. So that's like the part of the business we go all in on, I think that's what sets us apart. They capture opportunities whether it's a phone call, a website lead, an answering service, or someone just typing in leads. Captures the leads, and it basically walks you through step by step, getting that lead all the way to contract. So going on the appointments, setting the offer, writing up all the data points about the property. Eventually also marketing the property to your buyers. Communicating back and forth. The big part of it is the followup automation. That's what has made the people on our platform the most money. They just get contracts automatically from the leads they triggered followup sequences on six months ago that-- they will respond and say, hey actually my situation has changed a little bit. Thanks for keeping in touch, can you come out to the property so we can talk. This happens all the time, and when you can remove yourself from all of the monotonous calling, texting and all the stuff that can be automated with technology; you're going to be making a lot more money and be able to dial in your marketing, expand other markets, hire better people, take better care of yourself physically and mentally, perform at a higher level.
David: I love that.
Dan: Really just-- compete, he who has the better systems and is the best negotiator will always win in any market.
David: That is so true. Love it.
Dan: You can be the best negotiator and have the worst [00:16:47.15 - inaudible] systems, and the guy that is the worst negotiator is going to beat you on deals because he is following up more.
David: Right. Well let's talk a little bit-- we are running out of time here. Let's talk a little bit about some of the systems you guys have in place. Right now you just mentioned you are going to be taking this out of Podio or off of Podio and have a whole new system. It's just going to be Investor Fuse. I am assuming that will be the product, right?
Dan: Yep, well technically we are calling it Investor Fuse 2.0.
David: 2.0, sweet.
Dan: It will eventually just be Investor Fuse-- what the core product is.
David: Right, as of today and this podcast should air within 1-2 weeks, as of today it is still on Podio, right? Am I correct with that?
Dan: Yeah, I mean all of our users are on Podio. We are in the process of switching--
David: Switching them over. So by the time this airs, that may or may not be the case, it might just be a completely separate thing. You guys have an on boarding process where if someone comes to you and they are in Podio already, you can basically take them out it.
Dan: No matter what system you're coming from-- another thing that sets us apart is we have an amazing support team. Something that I learned very quickly when I started this software and service company; you need to have amazing support, need to understand investors, need to understand wholesaling. We know how to talk the talk and understand the problem intimately, because I am a wholesaler myself.
Dan: So we have a really amazing implementation team that basically will switch you over from whatever system you're using, if you're on Podio, if you're on a competing product. We will get all of your leads into this new platform. One on one we will train you and your team on how to use it. The new system really isn't going to take much training because like I said, it literally tells you what to do one step at a time. It's an action based system. So when you log into the new platform it's an action screen that has the three things you need to be doing right now. Super focused. It doesn't really feel like a CRM, it's more like a digital lead manager assistant.
David: Okay cool, cool. So tell me a little bit about the things you guys are doing in terms of automating follow up. Because right now in my business we have three virtual assistants. I am still in my CRM which as of today is Podio, and maybe as of next week it will hopefully be Investor Fuse. But as of today it's Podio. We have one full time guy that does nothing but followups. We have another system that is a phone system. So not only is he staring at the computer screen with Podio but he has a phone system. The way we have Podio now, we have done a little bit of upgrading and automations on our own, but not nearly as you guys do. But we can send texts from Podio which is kind of cool, they come back in. But all the phone calls are done manually, he has then has to go back in a log that information. We are not doing any type of voice mail blasts at this point, because honestly I have not had time to automate any of that stuff.
David: But I would image you guys have all that built in?
Dan: Yeah so-- we had to create our own code base to automate the followup on Podio. So when you're-- after you speak with a seller, depending on their situation; if they are warm lead, if you just made an offer, if they are cold lead and you haven't made an offer. If it's-- an owner financing situation, or if it's like a realtor type of lead. There are different situations for every single lead, and we have created followup sequences which-- is basically customized messages, text messages, e-mails that go directly to the seller, voice broadcasts that go directly to their inbox. Then task reminders for you to actually physically call them.
David: Which is awesome though.
Dan: A combination--
David: A combination, right. You know what? Just to harp on that for one second or just to elaborate on that; you know it's so crazy. I have spent tons and tons of money on education, I am sure you have. I am always looking for the next edge, the next new things. A couple of months back we went to a weekend seminar about direct mail. This will come full circle I promise. In the seminar, the person that was introduced and teaching the seminar was saying, you need to have as many ways of possible for your seller or the recipient of your letters to reach you. Before that we just had a phone number and a website. Since then we have added a fax line, we have added a phone line that they can text. We had added an address they can then respond to. I don't know if I mentioned or not but a fax. It's crazy that we have probably been doing this for five or six months at this point. But it's crazy-- this is really what I'm trying to get to is; your method, your preferred method of communication may not be what the seller's preferred method of communication is. We have had sellers reach out to us on Linkedin. We have had sellers write letters and mail them back us, we have had sellers send us faxes. If we didn't offer those options--
David: Snapchat, we haven't had that yet but I wouldn't be surprised, it would not surprise me. But before when it was like just like, hey here's my website, had a form, here's the phone number. We were getting great leads and they were coming in. But when we started adding in all these other ways, reach out to us on Facebook, reach out to us on Linkedin, send us a fax, don't want to talk on the phone? No problem, write us a letter, send it to this address. People-- their preferred method is different than your preferred method. My preferred method is a phone call or text message. Personally I don't even like e-mail that much. But it's there. But when you offer these other ways for people to reach out to you, they start using them, because that's their preferred method. So now we are getting people reaching out to us on Linkedin, people are faxing us information, they are writing letters. We know now, hey this is their preferred method. So if they want to communicate via fax, let's communicate via fax. We know they are going to get it and going to like it going to use it. If we try to pick up the phone and call that individual they are not going to answer the phone. I love that you guys are implementing multiple communication strategies into the mix. It's awesome.
Dan: It's crucial to communicate with your sellers in the medium that they prefer.
David: That they prefer. I love it, absolutely. It's so powerful.
Dan: -- lead management. And so we automated all that so it happens over time. So on day one it will send a text message, day three it will send an e-mail, day four it will send voice. We have created these sequences for you, and they are also customizable. So you can go in and create all text sequences, all e-mail or a combination, however your heart desires. When they reply to these messages the sequence stops, it notifies your team so you can immediately respond to the seller. Typically when they respond it is either going to be hot as heck, or they just want to be off.
David: Which is fine, either way let us know.
Dan: Let us know, it's not any extra work on you because it's all automated. But that is the crucial element. What sets us apart is that it is personalized. It actually looks and feels like it is coming from Dave, David just texted you from his phone. Even though it wasn't him, it has that personal touch. It's like having a whole army of follow up VA's just blasting out to your sellers every single day across different time horizons, different seller situations, all these sequences can be different, and happening simultaneously.
Dan: Imagine having a follow up pipeline like that with your existing lead flow? Imagine how many more deals will end up happening over time just from people that get back to you. Selling a house is not something that will be a same day situation for most people.
David: For most people, right, it happens as you know. But on average it doesn't happen right away. I would say in our business the average follow up it takes us to get a deal is four to six months. I don't know if that's pretty consistent among all the other investors here in the US or not, same day closes absolutely. It happens all the time, but on average it takes four to six months. I have been doing this full time for over two years now, probably closer to three. I would say once every month if not month and a half, we will get a deal locked up from somebody we made initial contact with over two years ago. The longer you're in the business, the bigger your follow up and funnel becomes, the more possibilities you have to go lock up those old deals. You said earlier, people's motivation changes. As it changes you have to be there at the right time. So that's where the follow up comes in key. Because if you're hitting them with a phone call, text message or an e-mail, or whatever medium you're choosing, and you're hitting them once a month, it might take them two years for their motivation to change. Something could happen in their life that changes that motivation too. But if you don't call them every month or follow up every month, they are going to forget about you. You need to be there at the right time for them, as you know Dan, you know that.
Dan: We did a deal that took us four years to close.
David: Right, and that's awesome. But if you didn't have the right processes in place to continually follow up, that deal would have been lost.
Dan: So most investors hate the word system, they hate the processes, all that stuff-- I feel you. Get with a company like Investor Fuse, it just takes care of all that kind of lead management, admin kind of headache. It's more reliable than a VA doing it manually. It's easier to have a repeatable process. We give you the follow up sequences that are proven to get responses from sellers, because that's what it's all about. It's just going to make your life a lot easier. I am excited to roll out this new software, because I know it's going to finally bring some peace of mind to high volume acquisitions teams that are currently buried inside of Podio.
David: You know what? I will be honest with you, man. I wouldn't say I am buried myself personally. But some people on my team are, especially the virtual assistants and that's kind of their job. I am really looking forward to checking this out in further detail and-- looking at it, because I think that is a major problem. Not only with Podio users, but all CRM users. You got to go in, you got to log every little thing. You end up becoming a slave to the CRM. So it sounds like you are kind of figured out a way to-- make that better or eliminate that.
Dan: We hate the word CRM. We are trying to be like the anti CRM.
David: There ya go.
Dan: Yeah so the whole model is-- if you are spending like more than an hour on your computer, you are doing something wrong.
David: I love that, that's awesome.
Dan: You're an investor, you should be out at a house talking to some sellers, talking to people. Computer work is not for investors. The less time on the computer, the more time you can actually focus on closing, honing your skills as a people person. So that's really our whole MO behind what we do. I challenge anyone listening to this to think about what you're going to do with the free time. If you didn't have to worry about all this front end stuff, how would you use that time to improve yourself? To improve your business? To scale things up? To attract more people to your team? What cool stuff are you going to buy? Because that's going to put you in the state of mind that will actually get to that point.
David: Right, no I love that. So let's talk about your product and how people can reach out to you. InvestorFuse.com, and Dan Schwarts here is like the co-founder and creator of this right?
David: This is your product.
Dan: CEO, myself and John who is the CTO, the more technically minded person. If you have any questions at all, just about entrepreneurship, how to scale yourself out of the company which is what I really like to help people do.
David: Hey I love that, that's awesome.
Dan: Of if you just want to check out the software, go to InvestorFuse.com. By the time this airs it will be a brand new website that talks exclusively about the non-Podio software that we are throwing out. If you just want to reach out personally, [email protected] is the best way to do it, and hope I can be of some service to you guys.
David: Dan, thank you for coming on the show today. I'm excited, I am a Podio power user. We have I would say every bit of 300 Globiflow flows at this point. It's not-- I am not selling anything in terms of software, but that's just for me and my business we have automated and generated. But there is always glitches in it, always things I am having to go in and fix. It is creating-- I am creating more work by having to have virtual assistants in the team that then get buried in it. So I am super excited to learn more about InvestorFuse.
Dan: To clarify how you can keep using Podio. You can use it for project management, that is what Podio is originally designed for. Not a real estate feed management tool. It's for like a handful of projects. Once you get a deal on a contract on Investor Fuse, you can bring that transaction into Podio to manage your rehab, or to manage the lease option, to manage the rental.
David: To manage anything other than all of the--
Dan: Thousands of follow ups.
David: I love that, man. I love it. Well Dan I am super excited to check it out. InvestorFuse.com for those listeners and viewers. Check out Dan, Dan Schwarts, he is the CEO of Investor Fuse, and you can reach Dan at-- what e-mail again, Dan?
Dan: [email protected].
David: [email protected]. Dan, anything else you want to add about this software? I am excited to check it out once this airs, which will probably be next week if not the week after. Sounds like you have already solved a couple of problems I have with my CRM already, so super excited.
Dan: Yeah, no I don't want to talk about software. I want to talk about doing fun stuff that you like doing in your business. That's what it's all about.
David: That is what it's all about.
Dan: You use software to get to that point, you hire amazing people to do stuff you're not good at, and you can do whatever you want in life.
David: Man, that's such a great point, that's awesome. Dan, thanks for coming on the show today, buddy. I appreciate it, I am going to be reaching out to you after the show to learn more about this as well. Hopefully here I can start pushing all my students over to Investor Fuse, that would be awesome.
Dan: Yeah, man. We are happy to help, thanks for having me, David.
David: You got it, Dan. Thanks buddy. Until next time guys we will see you next time, thanks again.