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Landing Incredible Deals Using This “Scary” Technique with Steve Trang

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Steve Trang is all over social media, he runs a real estate brokerage, a sales training business, and a title company, but he didn’t start out as a real estate professional. Steve was actually an engineer at Intel before he made the leap to become an agent. As luck would have it, Steve got in right as the market was about to tank in 2007/2008. Did this stop him from finding success? Of course not!

Steve was interested in real estate, and after finding out what agents did for a living, he knew he needed to make a career switch. He left his corporate job and headed into real estate, trying to get any leads he could as an agent. His prior employer, Intel, told him that he was welcomed back if he ever needed a job, but when he tried to come back a couple years later, they didn’t have a position available for him. He knew the bridge was burnt, and it was time for him to go full throttle on real estate.

Now, a decade or so later, Steve is teaching his tips and tricks to aspiring agents, wholesalers, and de al finders alike. He has a very specific hiring process, and will only start to evaluate a candidate that fits into his time-tested requirements. This helps him weed out potential employees and keep only the serious ones around.

Steve gives some pointers on the best cold calling tips, the common mistakes that newbies make, and how to mitigate rejection when a cold call goes sour. If you’re afraid to cold call or afraid of being rejected in general during real estate prospecting, Steve talks through how he uses rejection to hit the successful metrics he needs!

Brandon:
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast, show 452.

Steve:
I wholeheartedly believe I can take anybody, if they have the desire, I can take anybody and train them to be a good salesperson. Because what we’ve done is we’ve basically engineered sales. And sales, for most of my career, most of my life, has been an art form, that guy just has it, it’s charisma. But now that we’ve learned, there’s actually a science behind it.

Speaker 3:
You’re listening to BiggerPockets Radio, simplifying real estate for investors, large and small. If you’re here looking to learn about real estate investing without all the hype, you’re in the right place. Stay tuned, and be sure to join the millions of others who have benefited from biggerpockets.com, your home for real estate investing online.

Brandon:
What’s going on, everyone, it’s Brandon Turner, host of the BiggerPockets Podcast, here with my co-host, Mr. David “Jay-Z” Green. What’s up, man? How you doing?

David:
Is this because I called you a rapper when we were when we were talking there?

Brandon:
Yeah. You called me a rapper earlier, I decided to make you-

David:
I said Brandon should wrap it up.

Brandon:
But instead of W-R-A-P, you wrote R-A-P, and I thought, “I could rap. I could rap it up.”

David:
He actually did half the song of… Well, first, you did Will Smith.

Brandon:
First, I did will Smith, then I did-

David:
Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and then you did Eminem.

Brandon:
Yes. And then I did Jay Z, but I don’t think you saw that one.

David:
Yeah, I gave up on.

Brandon:
Anyway, what’s up, man? You were in Mexico. That’s cool.

David:
I was in Mexico, and we recorded a couple of podcasts there, and I came back so I could make sure we did it with better internet. And I thought today’s show went awesome. Today’s guest is a stud. I don’t think we brought it up, but he was actually born in a refugee camp, and he came in and he’s just like exploding all over the real estate game, doing all kinds of stuff.

Brandon:
Yeah, he’s killing it. He’s got a brokerage, title company, wholesaling. But what Steve is known for is being a phenomenal sales trainer. And when I say sales trainer, what I’m talking about specifically is, and what we talk about a lot today is how to get on the phone with a motivated seller and get them to want to sell you their property. What does that look like? And so he goes through in depth, like, “This is what we say, the mistakes that people make, this is how you keep them on the phone, this is how you get them to commit on the phone call to actually selling.”
A lot of really good stuff today, so you’re going to love that. We also go into hiring, how to build your team, partnerships. In fact, in the hiring section, make sure you listen for, there’s three, I guess, qualifying questions he asks every person when they’re hiring them. Really, really good stuff. Anyway, how to build rapport, set expectations, all this stuff. Plus, just his story is really, really powerful. You’re going to love this, he got in and had a lot of setbacks in the beginning, and then rediscovered real estate later on. So all of that and more today, you’re going to hear that. But first, let’s get today’s quick tip.

David:
Quick tip.

Brandon:
Today’s quick tip is brought to you by David Greene, which means I didn’t think of one. So, David, what do you got?

David:
How did I know that this was coming? Well, lucky for you, I actually did think of a quick tip. We mention in the podcast today that it’s action that gets people results. Just straight forward, the people that have a motor, what we called it, are the ones that tend to be successful. And one are the things that stops people is waiting till they get in the right situation before they actually develop their motor. There’s all kinds of reasons why we don’t want to push forward; we don’t like feeling stupid, we don’t like rejection, we’re unsure what to do. Today’s quick tip is, look for where you are right now in your life, whatever it is, and ask yourself how you can develop your motor where you are.
If you have a job that you don’t love, where can you give more and do better? Can you start going to the gym more? If you already go to the gym, can you work out harder? If you’re reading books, can you focus more when you’re reading or can you read more of them? Whatever you’re doing, what habits can you develop right now to do it better so that when your opportunity does come, you’re prepared for it?

Brandon:
And now you got me thinking. I’m going to think about that later.

David:
You can start by being a better friend to me. I wouldn’t mind that.

Brandon:
I don’t think it’s humanly possible to be a better friend.

David:
You’re probably right about that, you’ve reached the pinnacle of friendship, I got to say. You’re an awesome friend.

Brandon:
I know. I won an award or two for it. It was a good award ceremony. All right. Well, that said, let’s get into this interview with Steve Trang. I think you guys are going to love this.
All right. Steve, welcome to the BiggerPockets Podcast, man. Good to have you here.

Steve:
Thank you for having me. This is such an incredible honor.

Brandon:
Well, thanks, man. You’re one of those guys that I see your videos all the time on Instagram and on YouTube stuff, you’re everywhere. And I’ve always thought, “Man, we should get that guy on the podcast,” so I’m pumped to do this today. Why don’t we start with, we’ll go back to the beginning, how did you even get into the idea of real estate?

Steve:
I think like a lot of other investors, I read Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and I said, “Man, wait, there’s another way to develop wealth versus working a nine-to-five until I’m 55, 60 years old?” And so I read the book with my best friends, we started an LLC, started investing together. That was a disaster because we started in 2006, and 2007 happened. And along the way though, I kind of lost track. I like to call it the lost years, because as I was learning about real estate on the investor side, I learned about the traditional real estate side, being a realtor, I was like, “Wait, you guys make how much money? What do you guys do?”
And I said, “Oh, you just got to talk to people? I can do that.” And so I left a really well paying engineering job to become a realtor, and I did that for nine years. And in the process of being lost, found my focus again when I started accidentally buying houses as a realtor,

Brandon:
The average person listening to this show right now, let’s say they are working a job, maybe they don’t love their job, that’s why they’re trying to do real estate, they’re trying to get into rentals or flip houses or whatever. Do you… Not do you, but what kind of person would you advise to do what you did, jump into the real estate agent game as a way to make income until you can get into the investing side? Or do you think that’s a bad idea?

Steve:
I think it depends on the person? Because we talk to people, they’re saying, “I want to start buying rentals.” And I ask them, “Tell me what you do.” And they tell me what their job… And they might not like their job, but they’re getting paid really well. And I see some of these guys, they’ll jump from their job into real estate, whether traditional realtor or wholesaler to buy rentals. You don’t need to do those things to buy rentals, you could do those things because you want to be your own boss. And I was more or less unemployable, and so it made sense for me that, transition to be self-employed before I started buying rental properties. But you can jump into buying rental properties and supplement your income until your passive income exceeds your active income, and then quit your job.
Just because your job is soul crushing doesn’t mean that you have to quit it, you don’t have to.

Brandon:
What kind of person makes a good agent? You own a brokerage, right?

Steve:
I own a brokerage. Yup. We have almost 100 agents.

Brandon:
Okay. So yeah, you’ve seen a lot of agents come and go. And David, I’m going to fire this at you as well, what personality trait or type or what kind of person should pursue the agent thing? Who’s like, “Oh yeah, that guy is going to be awesome because he does this,” or, “That lady is going to be a killer agent because she’s this way”?

Steve:
The most common myth is an extrovert. Extroverts don’t necessarily succeed in sales. That’s one that I hear all the time, and it’s like, no, that’s not how that works. They’re just great marketing billboards for themselves, that’s what an extrovert is. So the best people that jump into are people that will take consistent action. The ones that will go out there and actually do the work that’s necessary because believe it or not, real estate is not rocket science. You know what you need to do and you just need to do it every single day. And so anyone that is willing to do the work and fail forward, that’s the only ingredient you need, I believe, to succeed in real estate.

Brandon:
That’s really good. David, what do you think? Anything you want to add on that?

David:
Yes, Steve’s answer was really good, Steve. That was awesome. I can tell Steve’s the kind of guy that just from talking to him right now that does a lot of different things and does them all well. I think, Steve, you probably are one of those guys that are just like, they throw you in a situation and you figure it out faster than everyone else. And I would imagine you spent a good chunk of time like, “Why is everyone else having a hard time with this?” I know. I could just tell. I would say that this is such a good question you’re asking, Brandon. Because our listeners often, they know they love real estate and they’re trying to figure out like, “Where am I going to fit in in this whole thing?”
And so I boil it down to four reasons. One, if you love real estate, don’t become an agent because you want to be an investor. Steve was dead on, they’re different skillsets, they’re different end goals. You’re building a different bridge, 100%. But, Steve’s comment that you should stick with your job if you’re making good money is absolutely true. Being an agent is just a different job. You’re just exchanging one mean of time for another. So if you can make more money selling houses and you really want to do it, that’s one reason. If you don’t make good money in your job would be the second reason.
Like if you’re a truck driver or something and you’re capped at what you can do and you wish you could do more being an agent, there’s no ceiling on you. Steve’s exactly right. If you take infinite action, you’ll get infinite benefit. Or if you can embrace the fact you’re a salesperson. You don’t have to be an extrovert, but you do have to understand that you are a salesperson, you will be overcoming objections, you will be dealing with people’s fears. You’re not a transaction manager like a lot of people think that are just, “What paperwork do I need to fill out and I’ll do it.”
That’s not what you’re getting paid for.

Steve:
But that’s what I thought it was when I got into it.

David:
Yes. I wanted it to be that. I was mad when I got there and realized that’s not how it worked, that I actually had to listen to people and figure them about. And then the last thing I’d say is, if you come across as trustworthy. If you’re the kind of person that people just do not trust, you’ve either lived your life in an unsullied way or there’s something else about you that people don’t trust your word, you’re going to be banging your head against the brick wall. When you’re selling someone’s house, it’s obviously a huge risk that they’re taking trusting you. And when you’re helping someone buy a house, it’s the same thing.
So you do need to have a personality that other people would feel comfortable talking to you. Like you can tell, Steve, just talking to him right now, I’m like, “Yep, this guy knows his stuff.” He opened his mouth, about 10 words in, I could tell he knows a lot. But I would also say, Steve, is it fair to say you’re probably not a huge extrovert?

Steve:
I’m not an extrovert, no. I’m an introvert naturally. If we were to look on the football field, I’m about a 35, 40 yard line on the introvert side. So I’m not completely closed off, but I’m not out there talking to people.

David:
Brandon, what would you say you are on that football field?

Brandon:
Yeah, probably about the same.

David:
Where would you say I am?

Brandon:
I don’t know. I think you’re more introverted than people think you are.

David:
Oh yeah, for sure. I thought you were going to say like, I never even made it out of the end zone or something like that.

Brandon:
Because you talk well and you’re a good agent, so I think people would assume you’re naturally out there and you’re extroverted, but no. Nah. All right, Steve, I want to go back to your story a little bit. You said ’06, ’07 was, I think the words you used was disaster. What happened and why?

Steve:
When you first start in, everything’s always going to work out well, that’s the entrepreneur thought process, like, “I’m going to do this, I’m going to crush it, and then I’m going to do this, I’m going to crush that. Everything’s going to work out well.” In reality, we had the whole recession, the big recession. And this is me with my irrational confidence, which is a strength and a weakness, is that I’ll figure it out and I’m going to succeed no matter what, but I didn’t. I racked up massive credit card debt, almost lost my house to foreclosure. The D word was thrown around a lot during the marriage at that time. We’re still happily married, but it was thrown around.
The crisis set a lot of people back, but we lost one property to foreclosure, one property, we did a short sale on, which if we would have waited just a few more months, it wouldn’t have been because that’s when the market did this and we had no idea that was coming. But yeah, I would say the biggest thing was jumping into real estate as a realtor and expecting to just crush it, that’s the mindset, and being humbled. That was a very humbling time.

Brandon:
Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing that. I know that it is tempting to just, as an entrepreneur, to think things are always going to be good and they’re always going to be great.

David:
Do you mind if I jump in here before we move on with his story? Steve, I just want to know if we can dive a little deeper into how you… Because a lot of people out there listening to this are like, “That’s me. I got that PTSD from what happened before.” Can you share how it affected your psyche? Like what emotions you experienced that you think might be different than someone like me that stepped in 2009 and I just rode an elevator all the way up?

Steve:
I would say it definitely tested the fortitude. And again, my whole life I’ve always had irrational confidence, my friends have always joked about it. I was the guy that would walk into the hottest girl in the club and just start talking, even though I’m an introvert, I got no fear. But it definitely tested self-confidence, what you knew about yourself. When I left Intel, they tried to keep me, and when I was like, “It’s not going to work, I’m leaving.” They said, “Well, the door is always open.” So in 2009, I actually went back, and they’re like, “Yeah, the door was open, but we have no opportunities to hire right now.” And at that point, I’m really grateful for that because that’s when the bridge was finally burned.
The whole time I was operating, I was like, “There’s an opening, I can always go back.” But in 2009, when they said, “Hey, we’d love to have you back. We would all love to have you back. We can’t have you back. The company is flat out not hiring.” And so that was really helpful for me. It tested my resolve. And then when I went back and got that rejection from Intel, I’m actually grateful for that because that made me dig even deeper to make this happen, to succeed in real estate. And that’s back when I finally got my REO accounts listing properties for like Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae, Chase Bank and those other accounts.

David:
Okay. So you worked the agent thing for awhile, and then you said you rediscovered investing. How did that happen? What’d you find?

Steve:
I was being creative. I was learning direct response marketing, and I was thinking, “Okay, I need listings. The bank foreclosures, the banks aren’t handing out any more listings, I need listings.” And so I went back to what I knew, which was direct response marketing with Google pay-per-click. So I learned it, I taught it, taught myself it. So I started advertising to get sellers. And at this time, I had the, “Your home sold guaranteed, or we’ll buy it.” And what happened was, I would go with these people’s appointments and they’re like, “Well, we want you to buy my house.” I’m like, “No, you don’t want me to buy your house. Look, here’s the thing, if I list it, here’s how much you’re going to walk away with. If we do a cash offer, here’s what you’re going to walk away with.”
I got a couple of listings and then the guy’s like, “Yeah, no, I want the cash offer.” I’m like, “No, you don’t. Let me explain it again.” And so I took a cash offer. So I bought that house. I contracted. Once in my car, I got a contract, bought the house, called my wife on the way home, said, “Hey, honey, we just bought a house.” And then I called my dad, it’s like, “Hey, dad, do you have money because we just bought a house?” So that was the first time. Got a couple more listings with pay-per-click marketing of, buy my house, sell my house fast, whatever. And then we bought another house. And then I said, “Okay, there’s something here. I’ve heard of wholesaling, I thought it was a fad, but people genuinely are willing to sell their house at steep discount if you come close fast.”
And so we bought a couple as flips, and then it kept working and we ran out of money, and that’s when I actually had to actively wholesale.

Brandon:
All right. Explain for those who don’t know, what is wholesaling? And why is it a good idea and why is it sometimes a bad idea? I’ll throw at both at you.

Steve:
Wholesaling is just arbitrage. You’re no different than when you’re going as Best Buy to buy a refrigerator directly from GE and then selling on retail. I guess the difference is you would sell it to somebody before the end retail buyer bought it. But all you’re doing is arbitraging. It is no different than insurance or you’re buying a used car and then flipping that used car to another person on Craigslist. You’re just selling the rights to a contract for wholesaling. So you’re buying from a seller and you’re selling to either a buy-and-hold investor or a flipper and you’re pocketing the difference.
You’re never closing on it, you’re never on title, you’re just selling the rights to a contract. In a lot of ways, it’s very similar to acting like a listing agent, but it’s different because you’re not selling the house, you’re selling the rights to a contract. So that’s wholesaling. The great things about it is you can generate a lot of active income in a relatively short period of time. The bad things about it is, you better know what you’re doing because you’re putting people’s faith in you. One of the things that we see, unfortunately, from time to time on the wholesaling side is people contracting properties, and they’re not able to perform on it. And you’ve got this homeowner that’s been relying, hoping, possibly praying that you’re going to come through and you let them down.
So that’s the downside. There’s a lot of grief that people… I’ve been putting this message out more and they’re not liking it, but I look at it no different than the listing agent that’s willing to take an overpriced listing. That guy that says like, “Your house is worth 300, but yeah, I’ll sell this 350.” And you’re instilling all this false hope in somebody instead of telling them the truth and give them the reality that they need at that time. So the downside of wholesaling is, there are some bad actors, not that many, but there’s enough, and it causes problems for the guys that are trying to do a good job out there.

Brandon:
Wholesalers get a bad name, and maybe it’s deserved sometimes, because there is a lot of wholesalers that are just super, I don’t know, unscrupulous, if that’s the word, or they’re just super new and fresh they don’t know what they’re doing, they just go put random properties under contract that they then can’t… Yeah, it just gives it a bad name.

David:
Well, let’s clarify real quickly what we’re talking about. What we’re referring to is when you say, “Hey, I will buy your house on these terms,” and your intention is to go assign that contract to somebody else. In the event that you cannot find someone else to assign it to, there’s usually something written in there that gives you an out, a contingency that allows you to back out of the contract. And because you’re not acting in the capacity of a fiduciary when you’re wholesaling, you don’t have to actually spell that out for the person who’s signing it, the homeowner, you could just throw it in there and they sign it and that’s completely legal.
But they often trust you as if you’re an agent, and maybe they know that you could be an agent. And that’s what a lot of wholesalers will do, is they’ll say, “I will buy your house.” They will go to offload it. They can’t find anyone, “Oops, sorry, I didn’t do it.” And this whole person’s life is now screwed. They may have planning on moving, they maybe stopped paying some of their bills because they thought they were leaving, and now they can’t. And I really liked your calling attention to that, Steve, because that’s the type of behavior that gives real estate investors in general a bad name.

Steve:
Most people are good operators, but man, those bad ones, they make it to the front page of newspapers.

Brandon:
Yeah, very much so. Plus, just for everyone’s knowledge out there, there are some states that are much more anti wholesaling than other states, so make sure you guys know the laws of your state what’s allowed there. You can learn a lot of that just by Googling or spending some time in the BiggerPockets forums. You’ll find that, again, some states are… And there’s ways to do it in those states, there’s ways to not to do it, there’s illegal ways to do it. So wholesaling is, it’s a super fascinating way to make money. I mean, there’s been some wholesalers we’ve had on the show who are bringing in hundreds of thousands a month in wholesale fees, it’s just insane.
But the key is then, they are just really good at finding properties, they’re really good at finding great deals. And the better deal you find, the bigger fee you can then extract. And so what were you doing to find deals then? Was it just a pay-per-click stuff with Google? What were you doing? And then how did that evolve?

Steve:
At that time, I was doing strictly pay-per-click and that worked really well. I got into it really early, there was not that much competition. In Phoenix, it was really Sean Terry who was our major competition, and he’s a big deal. And so I did that and it worked really well until the iBuyers started puffing their chest, and that screwed up a lot of my opportunities on pay-per-click side. So now recently, what we’re doing more is that direct mail, we’ve been doing more TV, advertising on TV. So right now, those are our top two sources, which is very different than just a year and a half ago when it was predominantly cold calling and texting.

Brandon:
It’s funny how it changes. Like I talked to somebody recently who told me, “Yeah, we were doing direct mail marketing and radio and it’s dried up. Now, we’re doing cold calling and texting and it’s working really well.” It’s funny how different areas tend to move in these different patterns where it gets oversaturated in one area and then it moves to another. So I guess the lesson there is just, test a lot of stuff, figure out what’s working in your market.

Steve:
Test and surround yourself with really successful people.

Brandon:
All right. I want to talk TV commercial. That’s cool. Are you the guy in the TV thing, or do you-

Steve:
No, no, I’m not. We were in Albuquerque, we just pulled out and then right now we’re in Phoenix, we’re on Telemundo and Univision. And so my business partner, Maximinus, he runs our whole wholesaling company, and he’s the face, because on Spanish radio, Max looks a lot more like our targeted audience than I do. So yeah, Max is on the commercial and he’s exciting. He’s awesome. I’m incredibly blessed to have him as a business partner. He’s the one that makes that whole operation run because, I’m not heavily involved in the wholesaling side, Max is responsible for it and he just knocks it out of the park, but he’s the face.

Brandon:
That’s awesome. I’ve always toyed with doing the TV commercials, or maybe start with radio I don’t know, I think that radio would be fun.

David:
Steve, what is it about your partner that you feel makes him knock it out of the park?

Steve:
He’s a grinder. He’s got it. Dan Sullivan, I believe, he was on your show, he talks about people you want to hire people. People you want to hire the ones that come with batteries included, they’re just going, they’ve got a motor. They don’t need to be pulled along. The people that are exhausting to work with are the ones you pull along. Max is going to keep pushing forward, and he’s going to make me uncomfortable with how much we’re pushing forward. And that’s who I want. Let’s make a mess, we’ll figure it out. And so that’s Max, and he’s always pushing forward, and that’s why I know he’s successful.
And that goes back to that comment I made earlier about a successful realtor, someone that’s going to fail forward, that is going to always… just moving in the right direction. It can be the wrong direction, but you can correct to the right direction, as long as you’re moving,

David:
I want to get your opinion on this, Steve, one thing that I’ve told agents when they work with me, and this doesn’t just apply to agents, this is anytime somebody wants to work with somebody else, like, “Hey, can I join your wholesaling business, or intern for you? What you’re looking for is that motor. And what I’ve said is that if you’ve got a motor that wants to go really fast, I can keep you on the track. I will teach you how to handle that car. This is how you handle the different things that come up. This is how you drive. I won’t let you crash. But I don’t want to get behind that car and push it because you’re afraid to go or you don’t want to go. Is that a similar feeling to how you get?

Steve:
Exactly. And that is the one single, I think, strongest determining factor in success, is the one that’s going to move forward and then one that’s going to be chilling on the sidelines.

David:
Or waiting for somebody else to make them want to take action or make them want to do something. Brandon and I talk a lot about how important momentum is in life. And what we’ll tell people is, you need to start going somewhere because you can change direction once you have momentum, much easier than waiting until you know exactly where you want to go to get started, so I’m glad to hear that that’s been a similar experience for you.

Brandon:
If I could bring back what you said earlier too, about what kind of agent becomes successful. It’s not rocket science, real estate investing is not, real estate agent stuff is not, owning a Five Guys burger place is not. Business is fairly simple in most cases.

David:
It is.

Brandon:
It’s more about, are you doing those things you know you need to do. And so here’s a question I just throw out everybody listening, it’s like, are you doing… If you’re listening right now, going, “Oh yeah, that’s me. That’s definitely me. I’m that guy. If I was in real estate, or if I had a bunch of rentals, or if I was an agent, I’d definitely do everything I said I’m going to do.” I would just ask the question, like, are you doing it in all areas of your life, the little areas of your life? Are you getting up when you set that alarm, or are you hitting the snooze button 12 times? Are you doing your dishes after you eat dinner or do you let them pile them up for a week at a time?
When you tell your kids you’re going to go play with them later, do you go play with them later? So either you are or aren’t a person who just does this stuff repeatedly. And a lot of times when people… I’m sure there’s people right now listening, going, “Oh man, I have not proven myself as somebody who does that.” But the good news is we can change at any point. You can just make that decision. “I am now somebody who does what they say they’re going to do, even in the little things.” Cool, man. All right. Well, let’s go back to your story. So what happened next?
Bring us up to where you’re at today, maybe. I know today you do a lot of sales training, you teach a lot of people how to do this stuff, but what’s your overall business life look like today?

Steve:
I’ll start with life, because that’s my favorite part. So I got three beautiful girls. They challenge and test me every single day, but I love them to pieces.

Brandon:
How old?

Steve:
And I’ve got an amazing wife. Four, eight, and nine. She just had her birthday a couple weeks ago. Four, eight, and nine. I love them to pieces. I’ve got a wife who is every bit as committed as I am, so I could not be more grateful than that because I know that’s some challenge that some entrepreneurs have, is a wife that’s not as supportive. So I’m incredibly blessed to have that. And for me, my goal is to work less than 45 hours a week. With all the businesses I run, my intent is to work less than 45 hours per week. And so as far as the businesses go, I got the brokerage, I own a title company, I’ve got a podcast, I’ve got sales training, we’ve got the wholesaling company.
And I’m sure there’s something else out there as well. Oh, we have our app for creating an off-market MLS. But yeah, I got all these different companies, and the coolest thing is that in all these different companies I’ve got, is that there’s someone in charge that’s making it function at a high level that’s not dependent on me, because… The one joke, it’s a bad joke, but I say like, if we’re waiting on Steve, then it’s just not going to get done.

Brandon:
I’d say the exact same thing about my life. I see you then as like, to use terminology from like Traction or EOS, you’re the visionary, it sounds like.

Steve:
Absolutely.

Brandon:
You’re casting the vision, “This is where we’re headed.” And you’ve got integrators that are set up to run each of these things.

Steve:
Yeah. We’ve got integrators for each company.

Brandon:
Yeah, exactly how I’m trying to do this as well. That’s awesome. What have you found has been working with that and where have you struggled with that over the last few years as you’ve built this empire?

Steve:
What’s worked really well is just having regular meetings. And everyone hates meetings. Meetings suck. But for me having a regular meeting, I’m committed to it. And that’s one of the hardest things as an entrepreneur, because most entrepreneurs are drivers and they don’t want to sit down for a meeting. It’s like, “Dude, I don’t have time for it. Figure it out. Let me know what happens.” And reality, the reason why we’re able to have so much success is because we have so many meetings. They got to be efficient meetings, they can’t be time-wasters. I’m terribly impatient if it’s a time-wasting meeting. So I think that’s the most important thing.
And then the most challenging thing is, you got to remember, we’re all people, we’re imperfect. We’ve got emotions, we’ve got things happening at home, life happens. So that’s the most challenging thing, but that’s just the reality, so you can’t do anything about that.

David:
Advice for people that are dealing with the entrepreneur or the driver, like you’re saying that often don’t understand if they rely on you, it’s never going to get done. So I have a feeling you’re looking for people around you to step up and say, “I’ll take this off his plate because it would be easier. And maybe you give them the training and the resources and the ability to do it-

Steve:
Give them all the resources.

David:
There you go. This is what’s odd, is people like you are saying, “Look, I have this bounty, this cornucopia of resources to give to you.” And you’re looking for someone who’s like, “I need this stuff so I can go put it into place.” And so many of these people are waiting for someone to tell them, “You have permission to go do something. You have permission to go… ” Have you noticed a similar, just amiss in your business?

Steve:
There were a lot of hires I made that were the wrong hires. And unfortunately, being a business owner, again, that optimism, I just think everyone’s going to be awesome at their job, like, “This person is going to change my business.” And unfortunately, you’re wrong way more than you’re right on that category. But that’s just part of the experience of having a business, you’ve got people that interview really good, and they just blow it, and you get other people where like, “I don’t know, but let’s give this guy a shot,” and they crush it. And so all you can really do is, we filter the best we can, we interview the best we can. And at the end, you’ll find out, once the rubber hits the road, at the end of the day, that’s the ultimate test, that’s when you’ll find out what you’ve got.

David:
So what about advice for those people that want to work for someone like you? That don’t quite understand what it takes to be successful, but they know they want to?

Steve:
Yeah. So we got people that DM me all the time, and they’re like, “Hey, I’ll work for you. I’ll even work for you for free.” I don’t want free entrance, so anyone that says wants to work for me, I encourage them to DM whoever they want to work for, but anyone that DMs me, I just send them to my integrator. I say, “All right? Here’s a potential candidate. Go interview them. See if they have what we’re looking for.” And what we’re looking for isn’t necessarily… If it doesn’t fit for us, we’re not saying you’re a bad person, it just doesn’t fit our business model because there’s a bunch of different ways, a bunch of different models, much different business owners. There’s no right business model. But if someone doesn’t fit in our culture, it’s because it wasn’t a good fit with us.

Brandon:
Michael Gerber from the E-Myth talks a lot about, you’re building a machine. A business as a machine, and this cog moves into this cog, and this lever moves this device here. And so a great-run business is just a very well-oiled machine. And so what I never really thought about before, and it’s like this picture that… The piece in the machine, you can’t take a six-wheel cog and put in a seven-wheel cog or a seven-cog wheel. I don’t know machines, but it would not work. The entire machine would fail if you don’t have the perfectly right part in there. So what you’re saying is that it’s not that you’re a bad person, or even that you’re anything whatsoever negative, just our machine has a spot that we need a six peg cog thing, whatever, it has to be that piece there.
And so, I really liked that way of thinking. So as we’re trying to build these machines, and even if somebody’s trying to get their very first duplex on a contract, wherever, in the beginning, it’s a machine you’re building. Who’s the agent? Who’s the lender? All of these things, a property manager, have to work with each other in the right way. So I just think that, it’s not good enough to have a mostly good employee or a mostly good partner. “My agent’s pretty good, he’s all right.” Because that cog is going to muck up your entire engine.”

Steve:
Yeah. You’re going to get frustrated. No, you got to be in love with them. It’s what we learn from Darren Hardy is, if it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a hell no.

Brandon:
Yeah. It’s so important. So what have you found worked for hiring? What kind of, I guess, tricks do you have, or is it just you just run a lot of people through the funnel and try to find that person? What’s your secret to hiring?

Steve:
One of the things that we use is JotForm. It’s super basic, it’s like 10 bucks a month. But what we have in there is, we looked back one day and we said, “Okay, what are the things that frustrate us?” And it’s the ones that don’t understand the value that come into the office every day that seems to think that trainings and meetings are optional, and don’t seem to understand that prospecting is a muscle that you require to be successful in this business. So what we actually updated in our JotForm was this these three drag-downs, which says, “I understand I need to be in the office five days a week. I understand that all meetings and trainings are mandatory. And I understand that it’s required for me to prospect three hours per day.”
And if you don’t hit yes on all three, then we don’t even interview you. Now, let’s say you hit yes on all three, then we send you to a predictive index, which is like a disc profile test. And from there, we see what your drivers are, whether you’re a dominant person, social, whatever, process oriented, we’ll figure that out. And then we’ll look at the overall picture and see, “Okay, is this person worth bringing in?” And then if they’re worth bringing in, we’ll screen them, and we have 10 simple questions for screening.
And then for the interview, we run the Who model, which is written by Geoff Smart, we use that model for interviewing. And then the last thing we do before we will make them an offer is we do field testing, hit the phones. I don’t care how good you sound in the interview, let’s see how good you sound on the phones. And at that point, we’ll make an offer.

Brandon:
Yeah. That field testing is so important because like used earlier, people can interview well, and then they’re just complete horrible employee to work with. So I love that first of all, you do that like, “Answer these three questions, are you going to be… ” I bet you, a lot of people go to fill out their application or they’re applying for you and they immediately just go, “Huh, no, not the right culture fit for me, not the right company fit.” So get half of them away right there.

Steve:
Well, because you get hundreds of resumes in your email, and what do you do with that?

Brandon:
We had a job position we opened, I don’t know, just a year ago now with 700 people apply for it, but in there, we said something like, “Reply with an email with a subject line this and then do… ” It was a simple thing. And 600 of them didn’t do that. So just a lesson to everybody out there, if you’re trying to get a position like working for a real estate investor or any job whatsoever, the bar is fairly low for just get it in the first round of interviews, because most people can’t even do the simplest thing. They’re like, “Oh, job opening, fire off a quick resume.” They don’t even read the job descriptions.

Steve:
It’s amazing.

David:
What’s brilliant is you’re forcing people to get on the same page with you with expectations before you even start, there’s no investment made. If I’m being honest with myself, literally every single relationship that has ever gone sour in any way could be boiled down to missed expectations. It is so easy to do it, it is so hard to get it right, but that’s what everything lands on. And you learn this when you’re in real estate, because you’re dealing with people that own homes that don’t understand all the things that go into it and where every mistake is made is they had an expectation that you didn’t meet, or you had an expectation that they didn’t meet.
So just getting that out of the way up front, this is what you’re agreeing to do, solves that problem. And many people that would have been a problem for them because they weren’t going to meet your expectations will actually change their own mind and say, “Oh, well, that’s what it’s going to do.” And they walk in the door with the right mindset because you set that path for them. Would you mind sharing what those three things are again?

Steve:
I understand that I need to be in the office five days a week, I understand to prospect three hours a day, and I understand that meetings and trainings are mandatory. And I’ve had some people ask like, “Can you do that, the 1099?” And the important thing is, we’re not saying you have to be in the seat at this time, we’re just saying you need to be in the office.

David:
Makes sense.

Brandon:
Let’s talk about what these people are doing, they’re prospecting. What does that mean to prospect? What do you mean by that?

Steve:
They’re cold calling. They’re cold calling the same list that everyone else is cold calling in the Phoenix market. And they’re calling distress homeowners, seeing if they’re interested in selling. And then there’s also some follow-up there as well, but it’s predominantly prospecting.

Brandon:
And this is what you now, I know you have a book out there on sales and you do a lot of sales trainings. So I thought maybe we’d spend a few signs as long as we got you, let’s pick your brain on what are you teaching people? Let’s start at the beginning, if I want to start cold calling, I want to start prospecting, what do I do? I’m brand new, never done this before, what do I do?

Steve:
The first thing you got to do is you got to get rid of everything you’ve ever learned about cold calling. And so one of the things that you guys hear this, you guys get these calls from these people, has your mom ever called you and asked, “Is Mr. Turner there?”

Brandon:
No.

Steve:
What we got to do is we got to get out of this, is so and so there? And so what we do is I just call you like we’re friends, “Hey, Brandon.” And you’re going to pause. And Tony Robbins calls this a pattern interrupt. And what’s going to happen is they’re like, “Oh, this person knows who I am, I better pay attention.” And the experience we’re looking for is I just want you to imagine the last time you were at the supermarket or at the mall and someone walks up to you with a big, bright face, like, “Hey, Brandon, how are you doing?” And your mind, you’re like-

Brandon:
It happened yesterday. This lady’s like, “Oh, hi, how are you?” I was like, “I’m good.” She’s like “Brandon.” She knew my name and I have never talked to that lady, I don’t know who she is. It was the weirdest thing.

Steve:
And that’s the experience we’re looking for on a cold call. So, “Hey, Brandon.” You’re like, “Oh, I better pay attention.” And then I’m going to call and I’m going to continue the conversation, “Hey, Brandon. Well, my name is Steve Trang, real estate investor. I probably caught you at a bad time.” And the reason why is because every real estate training or sales training is like, is now a good time or is now a bad time? That’s a general sales training, which it works, but those are, yes, no questions you generally get hung up on. So I’d say, “I probably caught you at a bad time.” And he’s going to say, “Well, I don’t know, what’s this about?” And then I’m going to start my pitch.
Then I’m going to start the conversation, but what I’ve done is I’ve bought some time to have more conversations versus, “Hi, this Mr. Turner? My name is Steve. Have you thought about selling your home?” It’s a click either on that first question or the second question. I just want to get past those two checkpoints and then we can have a real conversation.

Brandon:
What are the mistakes that most newbies make? It’s really like they just ask the questions like that, do you see other things that are very common?

Steve:
They ask those questions, how are you doing today? Is now a good time.

Brandon:
Oh, I hate, how are you doing today?

Steve:
Do you really care? Because if it’s a yes, then they can’t wait to tell you how awesome their day has been, “I got to do my yoga, I got to run my errands, this and that,” which is not conducive to income. Or if it’s a bad times, where do you go from there, “My grandmother passed away. I’m still recovering.” Where do you go from that conversation? So the point is, we don’t ask, how are you doing today? We just ask them, “We’ve got your home, one, two, three main street, I don’t suppose you’ve ever thought about selling it.” They say, “Well, maybe.” And then once we hear that possibility, then we’ll have that conversation. But like, “No, I’m not really interested in selling.” It’s like, “Okay, great. I didn’t think so.” And then we just move on.

Brandon:
I’ve noticed a couple of times here you’ve phrased it in a negative way, is that on purpose where you’re saying like, “Oh, I probably got you in a bad time. You don’t want to sell?

Steve:
Absolutely. Because I would imagine all of us here and most people listening, hate being told there’s something that we can’t do. Best way to motivate me is tell me I can’t do it and I will go prove you wrong. And so we always tell them, “I probably caught at bad time, probably not interested in selling.” Well, that will be a conversation starter, versus, “Are you interested in selling your home?” “No.” Click.

Brandon:
It feels good to say no, especially to a cold caller.

Steve:
It does.

Brandon:
So the no actually gets you what you want, that’s genius.

Steve:
And it protects your ego because your feelings aren’t hurt. They didn’t reject you.

Brandon:
That’s a really good. It’s similar, when I would look for partners back in the day, I guess I still do it today too, the line I would always use is like, “I’m looking for, whatever, I’m trying to buy this duplex, I’m looking for somebody who can bring the down payments.” And I would say, “You don’t know anybody who would be interested in that, do you?” And it was a way, in fact, not quite a negative, but what I was doing, I was making it so that they could easily say, “Well, actually I might be interested.” I took it off of a direct asking of them, kind of a side, I was asking if they knew anybody and every time they’d answer, “Well, I might be interested.” And it worked really, really well like that.

David:
I think that’s a big component of people that are trying to get started and they’re not sure what to do, it’s feels so awkward when you just fumble your way through there. And then once you figure out a semi-natural way to do it goes from being a horribly awkward to not that bad. And for the new people, they think it’s going to be that awkward every time, they’re like, “I’m going to make 100 phone calls that are this painful.” But it doesn’t, you slowly figure it out and you start picking up these little things as Steve said like, “Well, if I say it this way, I make it easy to slam the door in my face.”
If I say it this way, I buy myself another couple of minutes. I noticed the few times that I did it, I would rush through the initial intro, “Hey, this is David Greene with Keller Williams.” Nobody wants to hear that. And I would slow down when I got to the point of, “Hey, we just listed a house right across the street from you over there on Spruce.” And now there’s someone like, “Oh yeah, I know that street. What’s going on? What’s the house for?” And once I figured that out, those calls became much less painful. I just pushed through the awkward part and you start learning how to build that rapport. So would you mind sharing a couple other pieces of advice for what you do psychologically to increase your conversion, but make it less, like you said, the rejection isn’t as bad?

Steve:
Brandon mentioned earlier is that takeaway, we’re negative, we’re telling them how they can help us, I probably caught you at a bad time, probably you’re not interested in selling that property. I think the biggest thing is that awkwardness that you just pointed out, and awkwardness is one of those things that it’s a muscle, you got to develop that callous because it’s awkward as heck the way we talk, is not a natural talking style. But what happens is when you make those awkward statements like, “I’m looking to get this property funded, you probably don’t know anyone that’s interested in investing in this.” And then they can’t wait to jump in.
The other thing I would say is the best exercise for this in trying to use awkward silence to get someone to communicate their thoughts more is just think about the last time you had a conversation and someone was saying something and you knew the word, but was coming, you just knew it, you were just waiting for it, instead of saying “but”, say the word “and.” And when you say “and” they will keep talking and they’ll finish their stream of thought. So “and” is one I use a lot, “because” is one I use a lot. They’ll say something, and I’ll say “because” and they’ll just keep talking, they’ll finish their thought.
And then the ones that my partner, Max, he uses all the time so much that he almost got thrown out of his car by his wife is, “which means” they’ll say something, “which means” and then they’ll continue that thought and give you more information. And when we’re in sales, it’s a game of intelligence, not how smart you are, but how much intelligence to gain from the other side. And so we deliberately do not talk very much, and by not talking very much, it forces the other person to talk. But if they’re talking, guess what, they feel heard, they feel listened to, they feel appreciated.
And if you can deal with a prospect who feels heard, listened and appreciated, are they going to do business with you versus the sales guy that’s going to talk over and talk over and talk over them, waiting to get the word and waiting for someone to finish the statement so they can jump in and interject.

Brandon:
Which means? Was that the right way that you do?

Steve:
That was exactly it.

Brandon:
All right. I really like that a lot, “Which means? And?” That’s good. If you get people talking, a lot better. What do you do if they say no, like, “No, I don’t want to sell.” Or, “No, I haven’t thought about selling.” Do you just, “Okay, thanks”?

Steve:
Yeah. I didn’t think so. And you probably don’t have any other rental properties or pieces of land you thought about selling? “No.” “Got it.” “And you don’t know anyone that’s possibly thinking about selling property?” “Nope.” “Great. Have a great day.”

Brandon:
Do you have a follow-up after that?

Steve:
No, we just move on.

David:
Yeah. There’s no interest there, but your ego didn’t get smashed because if you say, “Would you sell your property to me?” “No.”

Steve:
You get a little deflated.

David:
Do you have another property you might sell to me? No. And you’re just like digging deep to try to put yourself out there. I like the way you said that. One of the ways that I’ll do that is when I’m saying, “Hey, I’m looking for a person who would be good at doing something that I want to hire someone for. Do you know anyone who would be a great loan officer that would be wanting to make around $300,000 a year, do this and that?” And they’re thinking, “I would want that.” But that’s so much better than if I say, “Do you want it?” They’re like, “No, I like my job.”

Brandon:
Yeah, hit him from the side.

David:
And the other piece was that you’re capitalizing on moments in the conversation, so you’re slowly building that up, you’re getting a couple easy answers and then they answer, and then you say, “And that means.” And it just keeps that momentum going, as opposed to what we said earlier, trying to start from scratch with a new conversation every time that’s very smooth. I see how you picked up all those girls at the clubs, Steve, you’ve given us your secrets.

Steve:
No, I wasn’t an engineer back in those days.

Brandon:
You probably don’t know anybody who’d want to buy you a drink, do you?

Steve:
That’s funny.

David:
You don’t know anyone who would want a drink from me, right? Do you know anyone who might want a free drink right and a really good conversation? That’s funny. What other tips do you have for people? Obviously, you’ve written tons of stuff on this, you’ve got a book on it, you’ve got training, but other things can help people if they’re afraid to cold call, but they know that they need to get that first deal, what should they do?

Steve:
An exercise that we’ve done in our training program is, and you guys bear with me, I’m going to explain it versus doing it on a spreadsheet. But if you just think about anytime you get, whether it’s an assignment fee, or a commission, or a deal, whatever, there’s a value associated with it. So just take for example, in wholesaling, $15,000 is a pretty common assignment fee. And so we celebrate the yes, we get a yes, we get a contract, we’re excited. So every closing is about 15,000, but we also know that you don’t close every single deal. So really we know it takes about two contracts to cash check. So then we know really we’ve got to get two contracts to get that fee. And then we do the math say, “Okay, well, we want to get two contracts, how many appointments do we need?” Well, we need about six.
Okay. So we know we need to six appointments. To get six appointments, how many conversations do we need to have? Okay, maybe 60. To have 60 conversations, how many cold calls do we need to have? About 600. But what do we know now? When you do the math, it works out. It’s about $2.50 per cold call per dial. You’re making $2 and 50 cents per dial. And let’s just say, we’re fluffing a little bit, the numbers are a little off, let’s just say it’s a dollar per dial for you to slam off $60 per hour. That’s a six-figure job. If you could slam out $60 per hour, that’s a six figure job. So that’s the mindset you had to go in. So people are always like, I hate rejection, I hate rejection, and they celebrate the yeses.
In our team, we celebrate rejection. So whoever gets the most rejections in the week gets a free lunch of their choice because now we know whoever gets the most rejection is going to get the most contracts, but instead of focusing on contracts, we’re focusing on rejections.

Brandon:
That’s so good. What we’re doing is you’re taking it from a results-oriented goal into a process-oriented goal. So rather than I’m going to lose 20 pounds, it’s I’m going to eat 2,000 calories a day, or I’m going to work out five days a week. It’s genius. I love it. And yeah, it takes a lot of the emotion, the sadness of, “Oh, I’ve been working on this for a while and haven’t gotten anything yet this week.” Well, did you make your calls? You kind of reverse engineer success in a lot of ways. I like to say, success shouldn’t be a surprise. You shouldn’t be like, “Wow, I got four deals this week.” Well, yeah, because I did four times more calls than I did last week. We teach at BiggerPockets all the time with a LAPS funnel, L-A-P-S.
You’ve got to get leads to come in, you’ve got to analyze them, you’ve got to pursue them, so make an offer. And at the bottom, S, success, you’re going to get success on some of them. And so if you want more deals, just open up the fosters a little more, get more leads, analyze more, make more offers, or pursue more. If you want less, then do less. It’s not rocket science, to go back to what you said at the beginning, this isn’t rocket science, it’s just knowing what you got to do and then actually doing it. So good. A couple more questions on this topic, first of all, where do you recommend people get… Who should they be calling? Where do you get this list from?

Steve:
The stress homeowner, there’s a few different places, the best data is directly from the county. It’s hard right now with COVID, but the best data is going to be from the county. And then you got PropStream, which is a big company Batch Leads, that’s who we use, and then after you get the list, and it doesn’t really matter what list, I know everybody talks about this list, that list, what’s the best list? At the end of the day, it’s the activity that generates the income. If you’re going to skip trace it, we have our own skip tracing partnership, skipfast.com so we can skip trace that data. And then you call it, and once you’re calling it, then we use the scripts we just talked about.
But as far as the lists, best is from the county directly, whether it’s probate, divorce, whatever pre-foreclosure, but if you’re going to pull it from service provider, there’s PropStream and there’s Batch Leads.

Brandon:
One of my guys out here in Maui has been cold calling lately, not one of my team members, and he told me that most of his calls, they just ring forever. It’s almost like they’re not a real number, they don’t go to a voicemail, they just ring, ring and ring, or they’re just like a dead number. Do you find a lot of that? Do you have a way of screening out all the crap numbers first that you’re only getting people you’re legitimately talking to them?

Steve:
When we get the numbers, I think it depends on the data provider. And I think data is so important. If you’re spending money or resources getting the list, we see some people, they try to skip trace with a cheaper price product, which I understand because I was at that point too at one point. So I get that. The other thing, the other mistake I see sometimes, which it doesn’t answer your question, I apologize, is they will hire VAs. In the Philippines, they can hire these guys at three or $4 an hour, which I understand as well. But what happens is you spent this time and energy to get distress homeowners, and then you might cheap out on the rest of the process. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve got this beautiful Ferrari if you’re putting 87 in the gas tank.
And so I think that’s something that, I don’t know what skip tracing provider you use, maybe look at that, or it could just be maybe no one answers the phone in that region. Maybe they’re tired of getting cold call. That happens too.

Brandon:
Yeah. It’s very possible. I’m not even sure where he got the list from. He’s not doing it for me, he’s doing it for himself. He’s awesome. I don’t know, it’s interesting. When I talked to him about doing, I was like, “Well, maybe you can hire somebody.” I think he actually did this, hired a VA, not to talk to anybody because he knew he needed to talk to them, they have to understand Maui, but at least call the list down, like get through, if it goes to a busy signal or, “This number is no longer connected,” fine, get those out. If you want to pay somebody $2 an hour for that, but don’t let the VA talk to them. It’s a good way to kill that quickly.
When I’m called from a virtual assistant that doesn’t understand, they can’t pronounce my street name, it just immediately turns me off from that because I know they just-

Steve:
Lost our rapport.

Brandon:
Yeah. Lost everything. So really good. Last question on this thing, scripts, how much do you recommend an investor who’s trying to get into cold calling or an agent or whoever’s doing the cold calling, should they have a very well-written script that they’re reading or how much does it improvisation goes into that?

Steve:
I think a script is a great backbone, but I don’t think you should rely on it forever. A lot of what we teach is really the psychology and the process. The first few things we need to have, again, is like, “Hey, Brandon. Probably caught you at a bad time. I don’t suppose you thought about selling that property.” That’s really the framework, the rest of it is just learning the psychology of sales and you can have a conversation. The problem with a lot of scripts is you got to say these words, which works, but true sales or true or rapport building is taking what you just said and responding to what you just said, and having a conversation based off the words you just said versus office script and the script can’t possibly know what Brandon just said.

Brandon:
My husband just passed away. That’s great. Do you have any interest in selling?

Steve:
Yeah. Where do you go from there? So you can have a framework, you can have a process on the script, but you’ve got to understand the psychology of sales to a certain degree, to have a quality conversation.

Brandon:
That’s so good. I think what I’m getting out, one of the main things I’m getting out of this interview is sales, it’s a skill, I guess, is what I’m trying to say. It’s a skill that you can develop, you can learn, you can take courses on it, you can read books on it. Like it’s not like, “Oh, I’m just not a good salesperson, I’m not good on the phone, I’m not a good cold caller.” Do you think pretty much anybody… Can anybody be good at this if they apply themselves?

Steve:
I wholeheartedly believe I can take anybody if they have the desire, I can take anybody and train and be a good sales person. Because what we’ve done is we’ve basically engineered sales. And sales for most of my career, most of my life has been an art form, “That guy just has it.” It’s charisma. But now that we’ve learned, there’s actually a science behind it. There is things you do to develop rapport, to develop trust, to move the conversation to where the direction you want it to go. And then David mentioned earlier, setting expectations. That’s one of the things that most people get wrong. The most common objection most investors get is,” I need to think about it.”
And if you get, “I need to think about it,” is because you didn’t set the proper expectations in the beginning of the appointment, which was, “By the end of our time together, it’s going to be yes or no.” But we teach it how to say it politely and professionally, but really what we’re saying is it’s going to be a yes or no, and you’re not going to think about it. And if you’re telling me in the first 10 minutes that you don’t have the ability to say yes or no, I’m out of here because I’m not going to spend an hour and a half here for you to tell me you need to think about it.

David:
Steve, do you mind if I use you as a sounding board for some of the content I’m putting into the next book I’m writing for BiggerPockets?

Steve:
Yeah, please.

David:
It’s for real estate agents, and I’ve got this method that we teach, I’m curious if it’s the same as yours that’s basically three points. The first point is you have to isolate or identify a pain point in the person you’re talking to. The second is you have to draw a path for them to walk. They need a direction that they need to know where to go. And then the third is at a certain point, you have to make it very clear where the destination is, so they don’t think that they’re walking this road forever, or they wonder if they’re on the same road. So when we’re having conversations, we’ll usually try to figure out, it sounds like what you’re doing, is there a pain point with this house?
Do you have a lot of repairs that are needed? Are you getting drowned by the mortgage? Whatever the case is. And that’s basically what we call negative reinforcement in psychology. Negative reinforcement is not giving someone something bad to reinforce them, it’s the removal of adverse stimuli, which is the most powerful motivator that we know of in human condition. And most people are in pain, but they often are in denial about it. So you’re never hurting somebody, but you are peeling back the layers of protection they’ve used to expose it. Now, they’re in pain and they have to be given a place to go, or they’ll just bounce around like they’re crazy and go nuts.
So we draw a path, “Okay, this is how we could help you out of it.” We do this with buyers, this is what the home buying process look like with sellers. And then at the end we say, “I’m going to take your hand, let’s go, walk on this journey.” Is that more or less, very similar to what you guys find yourself doing?

Steve:
I think there’s a lot to it. Absolutely. We can figure out whether the solution we provide we’ll help you with your current situation. I think the biggest thing, one of the things that we harp on a lot on the pain side is to take it from a conversation where it’s intellectual and we’re talking about numbers and facts and figures and this and that. It’s actually emotional things. So I want you to just think about it, if you’re dealing with someone pre-foreclosure, back in 2007, 2006, that was a big deal. You couldn’t face foreclosure, that was a bad thing, you’d be a little ashamed.
Today, foreclosure is like, “Yeah, I’m a foreclosure, what’s the problem?” And so for us, what we’re trying to do is we’ve got to remind them all the different things that are happening with their foreclosure. We’re going to say, what’s causing it. They might say like the hours have cut back, what have they done about it? Have they asked them for help? Are they trying to get other jobs? Is it affecting their credit situation? Are they racking up credit card debt? Is it affecting things at home? Is it affecting the wife? How about your car? Where are you going after this? What happens if you can’t solve this problem? So we’re going from this foreclosure as not that big deal.
It’s like, “Holy crap, things are really bad and I need help.” And what you just mentioned right there, like, “Let me hold your hand, let me show you how we fix this,” that’s the next step, but before we get to that next step, we spend more time than they may want in the pain step. But that goes back to when you go through this process, someone trusts you, they believe in you because you’ve understood them at their core versus eviction notice or a name on a pre-foreclosure list. You’ve actually had a real conversation with them.

Brandon:
So good, man. Really good. Oh, before we get out of here, a couple of quick, other related questions, rental properties, are you doing any of that stuff right now? What’s your rental property philosophy like for now?

Steve:
We have a couple, we’re trying to buy more because when I went to go pay my taxes in 2020 for 2020 for 2019, that was a gut punch because that was a rental property by itself. And 2020, I realized it too late. So 2021, I got the same problem for 2020. But I could tell you, our philosophy, we own two rental properties free and clear, and that’s been great for us. And I know it goes against the grain from every book, every trainer, every educator out there, but I mentioned early in the beginning, my wife and I, we had conversations about the D word, like, things are bad. And so we have PTSD from that recession, and what did I see?
When I was as a realtor helping people buy properties, what did I see? People buying properties cash. I still remember as an agent getting a proof of funds from Blackstone for $86 million which is a crazy number, but I was all of these wealthy people buy properties cash. And I said, “Okay, if this is how wealthy people do it, this is how I’m going to do it.” So we bought these properties and we didn’t buy them cash, but we paid them down. But now that I’ve gone through the whole tax thing and paying way more taxes than ever thought humanly possible, we are now shifting our strategy to acquiring more rental properties that we’re not going to pay off.

Brandon:
That was my last question, is where do you see the next few years of your life headed? More wholesaling, more rentals, multi-family, where do you see yourself going in the next five years?

Steve:
I always looked at real estate as a vehicle, I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, real estate was just the vehicle. And so for me, I’ve put it out there and this is the biggest agent I’m going to say here, but I’m gunning for Grant Cardone. I want to be the top sales trainer in the country. I want when people are thinking like, “Hey, I need to get my sales people better.” It’s like, “Well, have you checked out Steve Trang program? That’s the goal. So five years from now, that’s the vision. And again, it’s old, but I’m an entrepreneur, I’m going to dream big.

Brandon:
I love it, man. Well, before we get out of here, let’s head over to the last segment of the show. It’s time for our-

Voiceover:
Famous Four.

Brandon:
These are the same four questions we ask every guest, every week. Every guest, that was a weird accent, every guest, every week.

David:
Go on, Gardel.

Brandon:
And we’re going to throw them at you right now, Steve. Let’s just get to number one, a favorite, either all-time favorite or maybe a current favorite real estate related book.

Steve:
You know what’s really relevant right now is Shift by Gary Keller. He talks about increasing market share when markets go up and when markets go down. So I would say, I’ve always loved The Millionaire Real Estate Agent because it basically took real estate and combined it with EMS, but I would say right now, probably Shift is the one that’s probably the most appropriate.

David:
Great recommendation. I don’t know that we’ve heard it before, but they write really good books over there at Keller Williams Publishing, not quite BiggerPockets quality. No that. What about your favorite business book?

Steve:
Favorite business book, man, right now I would say, I haven’t read it twice yet, but The Road Less Stupid, man.

David:
I don’t know, that’s a good name for a book.

Steve:
Oh yeah, by Keith Cunningham. Because was it Warren Buffet rule number one, don’t lose money? And so this book is all about how to be less stupid and stop making careless mistakes that sets you back, because if we just only counted the months that we had positive months and we made a lot of money and we could just delete all our bad months and all our bad decisions, how much wealth would we have right now? And so the book talks about how to make fewer dumb decisions. I think he calls it the dumb tax, how to avoid the dumb tax.

Brandon:
I just bought it while you were saying that, just bought it on Amazon Store. I’ll have it in here, my house in like six days, because-

David:
Thank you Steve for making my best friend a little less stupid once he reads that book.

Steve:
It’s my pleasure.

Brandon:
I’m working at it, I’m working at it.

David:
All right. When you’re not in the process of becoming the world’s top sales trainer, what are some of your hobbies?

Steve:
It was kung fu until COVID, right now, I’m spending a lot of time at home with the family, and I enjoy it. I really enjoy it. Every Sunday we’d go ride around the bike around the neighborhood. It’s a little cold for it, but we do it and the kids are getting good enough now where I’m thinking maybe it’s time we go on a trail. And I’m not an outdoors person, I hate the outdoors, I love electricity, I love the internet, but it’s good time with the family.

Brandon:
All right. Where are you located by the way? I don’t think I even asked you that.

Steve:
We’re in the Phoenix Market, I live in Chandler, Arizona, Southeast suburbs.

Brandon:
It’s a good place. All right. Well, final question from me. What do you think separates successful real estate investors from all those who give up, fail or just never get started?

Steve:
I think it goes back to what we said earlier, consistent and action, consistent and activity. And this is not just true with real estate investors, I think is everybody. We all know what we need to do. And if you couldn’t, the great thing is there’s a forum, BiggerPockets. There’s a place for it. So there’s no excuse to not know what to do. So we all know what we need to do, it’s just your success is directly proportional to amount of activity you apply in the right direction.

David:
I hope everybody listens very close because Steve runs a whole bunch of different businesses and he’s seen what makes it successful in several different areas, and it looks like it’s the same secret sauce no matter what you’re doing it in.

Steve:
And there’s no magic pill, they’re always trying to sell us those magic pills, but there are no magic pills.

David:
All right. Last question of the day, where can people find out more about you?

Steve:
Yeah. The best way is we do have a podcast, that’s Real Estate Disruptors. And then we’re on Instagram @Steve.Trang. And then lastly, disruptors.com, D-I-S-R-U-P-T-O-R-S.com, is where you can find where we… There’s all sorts of different ways to work with us because I believe in all things real estate, there is no shortage of ways.

Brandon:
Thanks, man. We really appreciate having you here today. It’s been a phenomenal, and I can’t wait to share this with all my team who does the cold calling stuff. Very cool.

Steve:
And I’m happy, if you want me to talk to them.

Brandon:
Oh, I like this. I might take you up on that. Awesome, man. All right. Well, thanks. David, you want to get us out of here?

David:
Thank you, Steve. This is David Greene for Brandon, the road less stupid Turner signing off.

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