BiggerPockets Business Podcast 95: Developing Unstoppable Partnerships with Elliot Smith and Tucker Merrihew

BiggerPockets Business Podcast 95: Developing Unstoppable Partnerships with Elliot Smith and Tucker Merrihew

62 min read
The BiggerPockets Business Podcast Read More

Join BiggerPockets (for free!) and get access to real estate investing tips, market updates, and exclusive email content.

Sign in Already a member?

Building businesses from the ground up isn’t easy. It requires patience, hard work, and most importantly, a solid team. Without trust in that team, the product, the company, and the vision can completely disintegrate. When a team flourishes, you can create a massive success, where everybody wins.

Tucker Merrihew and Elliot Smith have been working throughout the past year on Call Magic, a service that helps uncover leads for real estate agents, wholesalers, flippers, and other real estate professionals. Elliot originally teamed up with Cole Ruud-Johnson (who you’ll hear on our Real Estate Podcast, very soon), and everything was running well, but they realized they needed a leader. After Elliot talked to Tucker about the project, Tucker was in.

There was just one contingency: the product and the company had to be the best of the best. The three partners agreed to put their all into it, and respect each other’s work. Cole already had experience running an outsourced cold calling team, Elliot had years and years worth of real estate experience under his belt, and Tucker had the Real Dealz Podcast audience at his disposal.

Elliot and Tucker walk through setting up your business and your team for success, what to worry about and what to hold off on, hiring team members from overseas, and growing a business to scale, not fail.

Click here to listen on Apple Podcast.

Listen to the Podcast Here

Read the Transcript Here

J:
Welcome to the BiggerPockets Business Podcast, show number 95.

Elliot:
And so, the one thing that’s really missing, that was missing, was we need an operator that knows how to make decisions, that is level headed, that understands business.

J:
Welcome to a real world MBA from the school of hard knocks, where entrepreneurs reveal what it really takes to make it. Whether you’re already in business or you’re on your way there, this show is for you. This is BiggerPockets Business. How’s it going, everybody? I am J Scott. Again, here the… This again here, here again this. I’m going to get this. Here again, this week. There you go. Wow. Doesn’t sound right anymore. But here again this week, I am with… Wow.

Carol:
Wow. That was so eloquently delivered.

J:
Yes. I am here again this week with my lovely co-host, Carol Scott. There you go. I got it out.

Carol:
There we go. Beautifully done. Thank you. Community, get this. We are so incredibly fortunate to have begun working with someone who’s just fantastic. Her name is Abby. She is an illustrator, designer, artist, and she is delivering all kinds of fresh new content around the show on all the social media platforms. So go find and follow the BiggerPockets Business Podcast on Instagram, on LinkedIn, on Facebook. She puts out great stuff Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Find us, follow us and tell all your friends to do the same. Thank you, Abby, for making us shine.

J:
Wow, that was so good. I like that.

Carol:
Yeah, because she is so good. She’s so good.

J:
Abby is good. Abby is good.

Carol:
She’s awesome. We love her.

J:
Absolutely. Thank you, Abby. Okay. Here we are this week together, doing another show.

Carol:
Yay.

J:
We’ve got two really great guests. We haven’t done two guests in a while. I’m coming back to two. I like two. Makes for really good [inaudible 00:02:17]. We’ve got two really good guests. If you are a real estate investor who listens to the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast, you probably have heard of these guys. They’ve both been on the real estate podcast. Friends of mine, friends of Carol’s, amazing investors. But they’re also business guys. They are Tucker Merrihew and Elliot Smith.
If you check the show notes, you can find out what episodes of the BP Real Estate Podcast they’ve been on. But today we’re not talking about real estate investing. We actually do talk a little bit about real estate investing, but we talk about it from the standpoint of the business they recently started called Call Magic. Call Magic is a business geared towards helping real estate investors get leads on property. So if you’re a real estate investor and you’re looking to buy more properties, you need to find those properties.
What they do is they have a company that will make hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of cold call phone calls for you to potential sellers and find leads and then send you the leads so you can buy the properties. Basically, it’s a cold calling business for real estate investors. They started this business to help themselves, but they grew this business to help all of us, other real estate investors who are looking to generate more leads.
On today’s episode, and it’s less of an interview. We always call these interviews, but today’s episode, really it’s a conversation. The four of us are just talking, and it was a great conversation about their business Call Magic. But just in general, a conversation about business in general and what makes a great business. We talk about how to dummy proof your business. We talk about how and when to say no to customers.
I love the end of the show. At the end of the show, we start talking about getting referral business. I asked the question, how do you get most of your customers? And they talk about 90% of their customers are coming from referrals from other customers. We have a long and great discussion about what you can be doing and what I can be doing as business owners to get more referrals from our existing customers so that we don’t have to do as much marketing.
It’s just a great conversation, a great episode. I think you’re really going to enjoy it. Whether you’re a real estate investor or not, you’re going to love this episode. If you want to learn more about Tucker, about Elliot, about Call Magic, or about anything we talk about on the show, check out our show notes at biggerpockets.com/bizshow95. Again, that’s biggerpockets.com/bizshow95. Okay. Without any further ado, let’s welcome Tucker Merrihew and Elliot Smith to the show.

Carol:
Tucker, Elliot, thank you so much for joining us today on the BiggerPockets Business Podcast. This is a long time coming. You two have some awesome things in the works, and we are so excited for our community to learn so much more from you. So thank you for being with us today.

Tucker:
We’re excited to be here. I got the invite via Elliot’s, I don’t know, a few weeks ago. I thought, “You know what? This is going to be a good time. We’re going to go sit down with Scott and Carolyn… Well, Mr. J Scott and Carol, and we’ll talk about business. We’ll talk about this journey that we’ve been on, which been a lot of things we’ve learned. And hopefully there’s some things we can teach the audience as well.”

Elliot:
Super pumped. Thanks for having us. Just like Tucker said, we’re learning a lot. I’m excited to be here because I’m learning a lot from you guys all the time, every week. I listened to your show and your guests, and Tucker as well. So it’s going to be fun to give back a little bit with what I learned in my few years I’ve been doing some of this stuff.

J:
Awesome. Well, we’re excited to have you. We are friends. I’ve known you guys for a long time. You guys are a couple of the best investors I know. I imagine some people listening to this show probably know who you are because both of you have been on the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast in the past, at least one time. Check out the show notes to see the episode numbers for the episodes these guys who are on, the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast, and check that out.
But today we’re not talking about you guys being investors. We’re talking about the business you’ve started to help investors, other investors like you, like me. But before we jump into the business, I do want to give anybody that doesn’t know who you are, I want to give them an opportunity to learn a little bit about you, both your investing background, your business background, who you are, what you’ve done. Let’s start with you, Tucker. Tell us a little bit about you, where you come from and how you got into the business of business.

Tucker:
Sure. Yeah. God, in the last about 20 years now, I’ve been in the real estate game in a version of different ways. Started out in the mortgage game back… The real estate collapse, that whole era before that. I was probably part of the problem a little bit because I was a loan officer during that time. But I got to see on the front lines what happened in the real estate world back then, a lot of good stories. But I’ve gotten a lot smarter since then as well.
That progressed into ultimately getting into the investor side of the business. And from there, I got into the home building side of the business as well. Now we straddle the fence and we do both. From there it progressed into doing some other things and building some other businesses. One of the bigger things, I guess, is the Real Dealz Podcast, which I started back in 2013. I’ve passed the baton since. Elliot is now the host of that. I’m giving myself a little bit of reprieve from the microphone after seven years, which we all need, but he’s done a great job picking it up and running with it.
But now I’m in Portland, Oregon. The majority of my, I guess, week is taken up from just real estate activities, whether it be our sticks and bricks business, or whether it be actually running Call Magic, which is what we’re here to talk about today.

J:
Awesome. I actually was, I think, guest on episode 283 of the Real Dealz Podcast a couple of years ago. So I am a big fan. Anybody out there that invests in real estate and likes real estate podcasts, check out the Real Dealz Podcast because it’s a really good one. Okay. Elliot, how about you? Give us your quick background here.

Elliot:
Yeah. You’re coming back on the show here and we’re working on that too.

J:
I am looking forward to it.

Elliot:
[crosstalk 00:08:03] your time up. You’re so busy all these [crosstalk 00:08:04].

J:
I know. We’ve been trying to arrange me coming back on for a long time and I’m ready.

Elliot:
Yeah. Awesome. Yeah, so my wife and I started investing actively in 2013. Met in Portland, Oregon, at my job. We turned her first house into a rental. We bought a house that year. And then, the next year we bought another house and kept the rentals, and thought, “Man, there’s got to be a better way.” Then we stumbled across BiggerPockets and started sending out crap letters to people, trying to buy duplexes. Started stumbling upon wholesaling and just went for it.
Worked 70 hours a week at Franz as a manager and did it on the side. I worked probably another 30 or 40 hours a week on the side doing real estate, and my wife was helping me. Did 12 deals that year. Saved up a little over 15 months of income and went for it. We joined Tucker’s group back in by 2015. I’ll never forget the first day we walked into his office and he was interviewing us to let us in his group.
I showed him the letter, he’s like, “This thing is terrible.” But he let us in because we were doing stuff and built a relationship with him. Now we’ve grown. We have 41 doors, probably done over 130 projects. We have some development projects in the work. We’re going to build a 13-unit multi-family ground up. Just tied up a 24-unit this week. So life’s going good. And then we started Call Magic last year and I feel like I’ve finally got that passion again right now, just helping people, doing the podcast.
I can’t wait till Tucker has a sign behind him that says, “Tucker Merrihew OG, hosted by Elliot Smith now.” So taking that show over and just really enjoying life and trying to add value where I can.

Carol:
Love, love, love this. Such great stuff from both of you. I’m loving how you joined forces, like you mentioned, Elliot, and started Call Magic, which is what we’re really here to talk about today. To set the stage for our community, if I remember correctly, Call Magic is a business geared towards helping other real estate investors, right? Before we dive in, can you just set the stage by telling us what that business is, Elliot, and where it came from?

Elliot:
Yeah, so it actually came from networking. It wasn’t really an idea. We have Cole Ruud-Johnson that actually was just going to be on the BiggerPockets here in a couple of weeks. He’s 22, about to turn 23. He had built this call center lead gen business for himself. He was in six markets and was just crushing it. He had 15 to 20 callers out of the Philippines where he built this business for him and couple of buddies used it.
And so, him and I hooked up and I’m like, “Hey, I think I can help you with some of the training on the callers and things like that.” And he’s like, “Why don’t you go sell it because you know all these guys in the industry, and I think you could help promote it and you’re good at sales?” And so, we started going along and we were messing around and trying to figure it out and started calling for Tucker, and he liked it.
Then he ended up sending us a text one day. He’s like, “Hey, I think I can help you guys. Why don’t we hop on a zoom call and go over it?” The best part was Cole and I were like, “We’re not saying yes because we’re going to go hang out with Brandon in a couple of weeks.” And so, more like, “We’re not saying yes to Tucker. We’re going to wait to see what Brandon says.” Tucker sold us. I called Cole right after the call and I’m like, “What do you think?” He’s like, “Yes.” And so we said yes.
It was probably the best decision Cole and I could have made, bringing Tucker in as a leader, the guy that’s done a lot of these things. Then we started just growing. It took off. We saw a ton of success for clients over here on the country and we’re just growing and figuring out along the way.

J:
Just to put a finer point on it for anybody that didn’t quite get it, basically what you guys are doing is you’re cold calling and you’re making cold calls to lists of potential sellers for houses for real estate investors. I’m a real estate investor. Let’s say I’ve got a list of houses in Schenectady, New York, that I might possibly want to buy. Maybe they’re in pre-foreclosure or maybe they’re probate, whatever, and I’m thinking, “I want to call these people. I want to do cold calling instead of direct mail or instead of door knocking. I want to do cold calling.”
So I can hire your company. I can hire Call Magic to come in and just make a thousand or 10,000 or 50,000 phone calls for me, figure out who the potential leads are and then send those leads to the investor for them to follow up on and ultimately convert. Do I have that right?

Elliot:
Yeah, that’s correct. Actually, what we’ve found out along the way is this business is really growing up in a lot of sense. With the likes of BiggerPockets, all the podcasts, all these things is it went from even myself being able to run a hobby business. You could work 20 hours a week flipping 25 houses a year, making a good living, to it’s starting to grow up. I equate it to the model of the hardware store 40 years ago. There’s no more mom and pop hardware stores. Right now it’s all bigger businesses.
And so, people are struggling to find leads. And so we think we can help people find leads and help them grow their business. Not only as investors, but if they have agents on their team as well, where we can generate leads for them. And so, you really have to have different leads funnels in your business right now. You still do direct mail. You do cold calling. You do all these different out of angles to get marketing out the door and it’s turning more into a actual business. And so, we’re helping people grow their actual business of generating leads and finding houses at a discount.

J:
Got it. That makes sense. Okay. Tucker, one day you’re sitting around, you’re working on doing your new construction builds, your podcast, all your real estate stuff. You get a phone call from Elliot who says, “Tuck, I’ve got this idea.” You hear the idea, presumably you like it. Talk us through, how did that conversation go? Where did you think you could add value here? What did you think? What was your vision of this business? How was it different than Elliot or maybe along with Elliot? I mean just, how did you guys come to join forces?

Tucker:
It’s a good question, J, because here’s the reality. Partnerships, they ain’t easy. And so, whenever you enter into a partnership, you should think about it quite a bit before you do. I don’t do partnerships in my real estate business just because I’ve found it easier to be the only cook in the kitchen. But in this case, it actually started with a phone call that Elliot gave me probably a couple months earlier. And he was like, “There’s this kid.”
I say he’s a kid, but he’s 22 years old. We’re old now, or I’m old, or that I was when I started in this game. And so comparatively, I mean, think about it. Cole could be my kid, which is weird. But he’s 22. And so, Elliot called me and he’s like, “This kid is insanely smart. You’ve got to have him on the podcast. He’s doing this cold call thing. He’s running this amazingly successful wholesaling business.” I’m thinking back, “Okay, when I was 22, I had all these aspirations and I was fumbling my way through some of them, but I definitely wasn’t as well put together as Cole was in that regard.”
So anyway, I talked to Cole, had him on the show. Got to know him a little bit better. Then Elliott approached me and he’s like, Hey, we’re putting together this cold call service because Cole’s been refining it over the last couple of years in his own business. Would you be willing to us sell it, essentially, through some sort of an affiliate relationship?” And I said, “Sure, let me try it out.” But checks out and it looks good. I’ve got no problem trying to help you sell it.
And so, I did. But then there was a piece that just wasn’t quite right with how they had the business set up. And so, Cole is a very technical, analytical guy, the technology guy that can put all the pieces in place for a company like this to work. Elliot’s truly the best sales person that I’ve ever met. So he is a great sales guy. But they were minus the piece that’s like the overarching steady hand that makes the big decisions and just make sure everybody’s doing the right stuff and they’re in the right seat on the bus.
And so, Elliot wasn’t really in the sales seat previously. He had hired somebody else to do it. I don’t want to say anything bad about that guy. Just he would be a better sales person than most. And so, when I saw that, it just so happened that that same week, that other individual decided that it was in his best interest to go just pursue something else, which there’s nothing wrong with.
And so, once that happened, because I didn’t want to cross the line of nudging people out or doing something that was inappropriate, so once that happened, I was like, “Okay, they have a great concept. They’ve laid the tracks for it, but they need some direction. They need somebody to really be the glue that holds everything together here. And somebody that’s just been through a lot ups and downs and started a lot of businesses and knows what works and what doesn’t.”
And so, that’s that phone call that Elliot was talking about where I… It was actually a text message. I said, “Hey, if you guys want a partner on this at any point, just let me know. No pressure, but just let me know.” And then that obviously matured into what it is now. But I then filled the role of… I mean, I guess, you could call it CEO. I don’t really like to call myself that, but I try and be the leader for them, whether that’s leading in terms of everybody getting along or whether that’s leading in terms of like, “Okay, this is a business decision we need to make and move forward with. This is one that we don’t.”
So that’s my role. Elliot has turned into our sales person. He does most of our sales and a lot of client retention work. And then Cole does a lot of our technical stuff with technology because there’s a ton of that with the way that the business is set up.

Carol:
Excellent. Great. I’m glad you clarified that because that was actually going to be my next question, was clarifying, is Cole still a part of the business so that we can just frame that in the discussion moving forward. So great. Tucker, even though you decided that you don’t like to call yourself the CEO, you realized that was the piece that was missing. I’m curious, and like you said, here’s the reality, partnerships ain’t easy. That’s just something that’s so important as part of this discussion.
How did you come in and approach Elliot and Cole and figure out these are the types of things that we need to sit down and do to get this business off and rolling and out and just making it up to the next level? What were the big initiatives you took up in front, and how did you get Elliot and Cole on board to start doing those things?

Tucker:
The biggest thing was probably what I initially tried to do, which was introduce the business to the audience that I’ve created over the last eight years, building the podcast. I mean, as you guys know, podcasts could be incredibly valuable for building a community, building a following, building trust with people. And so, we have tons of people that have followed the Real Dealz Podcast, I’ve gotten to know over the years. I’ve got a small mastermind group that I’ve run for the last seven years as well.
So I thought to myself, “Well, I have a lot of close connections with people via those things, and we can leverage those and introduce those people to the service. And if it’s a good fit, great, it works.” And so, doing it from an affiliate position, it just wasn’t as powerful. And so, by stepping in and becoming a partner in the company and then providing the service to that circle of people that we’re able to touch, it really just took off.
It did for good reason because it’s a fantastic service as well. But now I’m basically introducing it to everybody that follows us so that we know from, again, a partnership… Or platform, as opposed to, “Hey, I’m trying to push an affiliate sale on you.”

J:
Got it. That makes sense. I have a question, and I think this one’s probably best for Elliot. Basically, you and Cole had this idea. You were running with it. You got Tucker involved really early, but still you got Tucker involved after you and Cole had decided to pursue something. At that point, you’ve got two partners. I assume you and Cole had talked about like how you would split the equity and how you would split the roles and responsibilities. And now suddenly you have a third person in there.
I know two-people partnerships are complicated. They’re difficult. Any partnerships are difficult. But the more people you add, the more complex they get and the more risk you add and the more personalities that are involved. Can you walk us through a little bit of what were the discussions like, not so much about the business and how the business was going to run and what the product was going to be, but what were those discussions early on around how the partnership was going to work out, and how equity was going to be divided, and about how decisions were going to be made, and if two of you disagreed with the third one, and if one of you decided, “Hey, this isn’t working for me,” and wanted to leave? Did you have all those discussions?
How did you really just handle getting on the same page? Did you put together partnership agreements? What did all that look like?

Elliot:
Yeah. I met Cole through our mutual friend, Tarl, and we started doing this. He didn’t really have a business. And so he needed somebody to sell it, and I can sell it. So I said, “Okay, you keep everything you have, you don’t give me anything until I go sell it.” And I started lining up meetings with couple other guys and they’re like, “Yeah.” We talked to Justin Severio, open line of marketing about integrating in his service, and Tucker, and all these different guys.
And so, he’s like, “Okay, I think you’ve earned it. So we’re going to run with this a little bit.” And so, then we brought him on for some help. We needed somebody that could do a lot of the more day-to-day stuff. So we brought on my kid, my operations manager, and we were going to give him up some equity. We’re not going to pay him, but he’s going to get some equity based on the company. He ended up quitting my real estate business.
I was trying to help him out with the equity on this thing to give him more things to do. And so, that went away. And so, the one thing that’s that was missing was we need an operator that knows how to make decisions, that is level headed, that understands business. Like Tucker said, my strong suit is sales, but I’m very bipolar in a sense. I’m very up and down and I’m very emotional. I get really pissed. I send Tucker screenshots of emails all the time, “I haven’t sent this to these guys,” or whatever. And he’s like, “No, no, no. Let’s…”
He’s always very even keel. Cole is very good about locking himself in and just getting in the zone and just grinding out on what he’s doing, like tunnel vision. When you put Cole on something, there’s nobody better that can grind out a project better than him. When Tucker came on, introduced us, we were like, “We need this guy, this level, competent person that knows how to protect us, knows how to make a business grow, and knows how not to make a business grow.”
And so, one thing we thought was, “Well, we’re never going to bring a partner in and not be equal.” So at the end of the day, we all have the same skin in the game. We’re all putting our time. Sometimes I might put more time in one week versus Tucker, whatever. It doesn’t matter. We all have the same vision. We’re all aligned. So we want equal partners. And then Cole and I went and spent a day with Tucker in his office with him. We went and talked about it on the way. We went to lunch with Tucker and we said, “We need you to be our leader. We need you to be the CEO.”
The reason Tucker is good for that role is because he didn’t want to be a CEO. But Cole and I are so polar opposites, like my wife and I. So we have disagreements on the way things should go. We both bring emotion into things, and both of us are maybe a little naive and have some immaturities. Not saying he’s a mature, but we still don’t know what we don’t know. So Tucker filled that perfect role. Like when we’re doing our calls and if I think one way, like a business should go one way, or we should make a decision one way and Cole thinks the other way, we just let Tucker make that decision.
At the end of the day, I’m going to fight for what I believe in, and Cole’s going to fight for what he believes in. But when Tucker makes a decision, it’s done. We just move on to the next thing. But if we were an agreement on something, Tucker wouldn’t even bring his opinion in there. He would say, “If that’s what you guys want to do, and you’re on agreement, then we’ll do that.” That’s really where Tucker’s power is.
Then the more and more I’ve got to know him, we couldn’t have found a better guy to be the leader. He doesn’t need the notoriety. He doesn’t need the fame. He doesn’t need to be on the podcast or any of these things. He just wants to do the right thing every day and he’s always there. I mean, it was really an easy decision, looking back. It was a very easy decision. Cole and I are both immensely happy. We always sing all the time like, “Frick, we’re so glad we have Tucker.” Because it would have blown up if it wasn’t with Tucker. It would have been blown up already, probably.

Carol:
That’s just awesome. I love this. I think it’s just so indicative of how wise you and Cole were, Elliot, in realizing that good business people, smart business people, recognize where you have gaps that are needed to make your business perform the way that you need to, and that you bring in the right people to fill those gaps. That’s what you did with Tucker, so that was just wise business thinking.
I’m curious, once you all realized you visioned together, you all looked at what different types of roles you have, talk to our audience about the mechanics steps of forming the partnership. Do you have specific roles and responsibilities written down on paper, for example? Did you get an attorney to drop a type of partnership agreement? Just what were the behind the scenes, more unsexy, if you will, things that had to be done in the partnership sense to get this business off and running?

Tucker:
Well, to be totally honest, we probably weren’t as tight about this as we should have been in terms of setting this up. But Elliot got a partnership agreement… I mean, he was harping on me for a while, “We’ve got to get this finished. We’ve got to get this finished.” And I was like, “”Well, yeah, yeah, we do.” We’re still in an infancy stage and nobody fights about a business that’s just in the infancy stage. Fights happen on the other end when a business is worth a lot of money.
So I honestly didn’t want to spend a ton of time in it until I knew we were going to have traction and stick around, just from my experience and all the businesses I’ve started. And so, anyway, we got to a certain point and then it needed to be addressed. And so, Elliot got a partnership agreement over and I literally went through it line by line, and I adjusted things, changed things, added things in that fit within the box of this business that we’ve created.
And so, that’s what we operate with now, is the overarching rules, so to speak, of what the business is and how everybody stays in check. I will say this, though, I mean, that’s only worth what it’s worth. At the end of the day, that comes into play when things blow up. But the more important thing is just picking your partners wisely. I knew that if I got engaged with these two guys in this business, everybody fit their role and everybody knew…
There’s always going to be dust ups and issues. That’s business. That’s just the way things go. But at the end of the day, I knew that everybody just wanted the best for the company and they would continue to be. Money is important, of course, when you have a business, but building the business is the number one thing for all three of us. And so, as long as that’s the case, I think everything else will take care of itself. But to answer your question, yes, we do have a partnership agreement. And within that, it addresses the most important stuff in terms of if somebody crosses line or breaks the rules or I get hit by a bus or whatever it is.

J:
Yeah. I really like the way you phrase that, like it’s certainly super important that everybody’s on the same page and that you capture all the big, important stuff. But at the same time, there are too many people I see that will spend tens of thousands of dollars on attorneys and partnership agreements and talking about all these ridiculous edge cases, even before they’ve even validated that there’s a business idea or there’s a business there that’s going to grow and they get to the point…
I’ve done this myself where I’d start a business with partners and we get six months in and realized, “Okay, this isn’t a viable business.” And we were literally $15,000 in on contracts and attorneys. So yeah, it’s a great lesson there. Okay. Let’s-

Elliot:
Can I say one thing to that, J, though?

J:
Yeah, absolutely.

Elliot:
To Tucker’s point, we all need each other. The partnership goes nowhere if we don’t bring the effort in anyway. So we all know that. Like if I don’t fill my role and I’m not selling and calling on customers and building relationships with our clients the way I do, there’s no money. If Cole doesn’t work on the systems that help us maintain that, then it doesn’t matter. The clients will leave because our systems suck. If Tucker doesn’t make sure that the money’s going to the right spot, we’re putting our efforts in the right thing, we’re building the business that we need to build, then it’s going to fall apart.
And so, I think at this point, even with or without a partnership agreement, there’s no business if we don’t all pull our own weight equally. I always like to equate, like, I don’t know if Tucker works three hours a week or 40 hours a week on this business, and I don’t really care, because every time I need him, he’s there. And same with Cole. They show up and they get their part of it done. And so, really nobody’s checking the clock or anything like that. It’s just we all have our role to play. And if we don’t play that role, we’re screwed anyway.

J:
Love that. Okay. Let’s jump into day one. You guys decide to work together and now it’s time to actually build a product. It sounds like Cole had something that was working. He had basically done the proof of concept and built out a model that was working. But now it was time for you guys to figure out how to actually scale this thing. And so, if I could guess, it sounds like you probably need… The biggest thing is you probably need people that can actually make those calls.
As somebody that’s invested in real estate and done some cold calling in my life, I hate it and I’m horrible at it. It takes a really special kind of personality to pick up the phone and make a call to a stranger and try and sell something and get rejected. It takes a super special personality to be willing to do that eight or 10 hours a day.
What was your plan around finding people that could do the cold calling and training them and actually building out this piece of the business that I assume is basically your core competency? You have to have the best cold callers there are because if I can do a better job than you’re doing, I’m going to do it myself.

Elliot:
Yeah. I’d done a lot of cold calling and I’ve got a lot of deals. Actually, when people come and want to use the service, I tell them, if they’re not ready for us yet, I give them a roadmap on how to do their own cold calling and actually go get deals doing stuff. Really where we fit is we fit on a scale, like a business that has a couple of people. They either have one sales guy and an operator and like a leads manager, or they have a realtor that they can put leads off to as well to monetize every side of it.
Cole had the team out in the Philippines that was doing the cold calling and he had put that together. He’d found a office manager, business manager, over there that can run the teams. It’s just fantastic. And so, what we really needed work on is there’s a lot of… Cold-calling services right now is a very commodity sized business. There’s a lot of different callers out there. There’s a lot of different products that our people are selling.
And so, Tucker’s a high-end beautiful home spec niche builder. I want to do bigger projects and not do huge things. We want to be like the Apples or the Teslas of this business. So what we really focused on and what I helped focus on is I hopped on with the callers. I make calls myself. I hop on and do trainings and listen to the callers, down to like, “They need to be having a three and a half minute to four minute, 15 second conversation. This is how it needs to go. This is how it needs to flow.”
And so, we spend a lot of time on the quality of the leads. People sell leads and things like that. So really spending the time and making sure we have the right people in place. But we’ve grown so quickly that we’re adding callers so rapidly that we’re having to expand. The teammate that we have that is like a pillar to us is our manager over in the Philippines, and he’s growing and we’re learning that.
This is where Tucker really comes in with all his knowledges. We were building it, but then it’s almost like we broke it to a certain extent we grew too quickly and were doing too well. And so, we had to really work on the foundation, and Tucker can really see that on how to plan out the vision for the foundation of this house.
And so, that’s really what is going on at that point right now and how we scale this. And so, that’s where we’re at right now is growing that out, because we have 50 employees from 10 six months ago.

J:
Wow.

Tucker:
Think about this, J. You’ve got 50 callers. You’ve got whatever, a number of clients. You’ve however many number of calls that are going each day. You’ve got leads flying back and forth across the globe. Just imagine the mess that can create. So as you take off and you want a business to succeed, which we all do, it’s like throwing kerosene on a fire. It just creates more and more problems that you’ve got to fix.
And so, my job has been, okay, how do we really systematize this business, and how can we dummy proof it? Because we’ve got people all across the globe servicing each other. And so, right now we’re in the process of building out a solution to a lot of the problems that we’ve discovered with this industry. And so, we’ve got this platform that we’ve been building and we’re actually going to be launching it this next week. But it eliminates a lot of the human error elements and just really all of the friction points that we’ve discovered in this business.
Because a lot of the last few months, or I guess it’s been six or seven months now, of being involved in this business every day is figuring out where the problem points are, and why call centers don’t work, and why they ultimately fail, and why people throw their hands up and say, “I can’t take it anymore. I just don’t want to do it.” And so, I think at this point, we’ve figured out where all those things are, and now we’ve built an online platform that’s going to help us now grow to even the next level, and at the same time alleviate a lot of the customer friction type issues that occur when you have a customer service business like this

Elliot:
Yeah. That other thing we’ve found out is the data is one of the most important thing, that’s who you’re calling. And so, what we’ve done, and we’ve spent a lot of money, we actually hired a data scientist to go get data from all these different people that were selling their skip trace and all these things. We have a contract with our data people. We found the gold start, a way to test this data and match it up and pair it up and figure out which one’s the best… Because we want to make sure we’re selling the best, we’re being the most efficient.
And so, we hired a data scientist to run all these different lists from all these different companies. With the exact same list, we pull them separately and found out that we actually have the best data. So our callers can be the most efficient out there. So we can spend the most time talking to people instead of we’re calling these numbers that don’t even work. Because what we found, there’s a lot of these data providers who just throw in junk numbers so they could say they have a high hit rate.
And so, it’s just that being efficient, those are things Tucker’s green-lined. We spent some good money doing that testing. Tucker’s like, “Yes, we need to spend money on this to make sure we have the best product.” If we want to be Tesla or we want to be Apple, who do we need to be? We’re willing to put our money to be that person.

Carol:
This is so cool. I want to come back, Elliot, to more information about your data scientist, how that all worked out in the testing. Before that, though, I want to go back for a quick second to Tucker because I’m absolutely loving this whole notion of dummy proofing the business. That is absolutely huge. I am loving that you’re talking about a new platform that you’re launching. Can you give us a few examples, a few actionable tips of things that you have done in your business to begin to dummy proof it?

Tucker:
Absolutely. I mean, in a business like this, I mean, I guess we’ll give it away. We’ll see. Rebuilding it still’s always the toughest thing. But essentially, the biggest problem that we have is tracking lead delivery to gazillion different clients from different cold callers that are actually making the calls every day. And so, each caller is assigned to a specific campaign, and when a lead is generated, they have to deliver that lead to the customer.
Well, the problem is, is that some customers have their own CRMs. Other ones use different web forms. Some of them want via email. And so, how in the world you keep track of who sent what, when they sent it, did the people get it? That’s our biggest friction point to just babysit everyday. And so, the platform that we’ve created is, basically, when you’re a Call Magic customer, you log in the platform on the customer side. But when you’re a caller for Call Magic, you log in the platform as a caller.
And so, that caller then can see the customer, grab that campaign and say, “I’m calling for this campaign today.” And as a lead is generated, they basically plug it in the caller side, it pops out on the client side. We as admins can open the hood on this thing, look down and be like, “This caller delivered those leads to this customer at this time, on this day, from this campaign.” And we can see it all in just a split second.
So that alleviates a lot of the questions of like, “Hey Bert, how many leads did this campaign get today? And who delivered them? Who’s calling for them?” And just all these things. So that’s just one example. But that one little thing will eliminate hours out of our week of chasing our tail and trying to get answers for people, and just make sure that these campaigns are running as good as they possibly can.

Carol:
Awesome. I love it. To follow up on that, Elliot, you had talked about, earlier, and I think this might feed well into the dummy-proofing conversation as well. You had mentioned, if I remember correctly, that your calls have to be somewhere between three and a half minutes to four and a quarter minutes, something to that effect. What did you build out so that that process is always consistent and is scalable, and all of these new people that you have to bring in all the time can learn that quickly and know the right way to do it for Call Magic?

Elliot:
Well, really, that’s a training thing there. So really, I hop on. I’ll wake up at 4:00 in the morning to hop on it and do group trainings with the callers overseas, before their shift or whatever. So really that’s a train, because I can’t control the person on the other end of the phone. I can’t control if they’re going to be like they only want to talk for a minute or two or three minutes, but I can weed them through the conversation to find motivation.
What we’ve found is the cold calls aren’t there to have these in-depth conversations about process of selling your house. More they’re just there to gather information. So we’re just trying to get somebody to raise their hand and gather information and see if there’s some kind of motivation or reason they want to sell. And so, really, I’ve just done so many calls and I started timing my calls. I have a different script for when I call people and I talk to people. I have it timed in my head of how long it should take.
And so, there’s a funnel, a way that we run these calls with building a little bit of rapport, to asking them about the property, to asking them about the price they might want to get, where they’re looking to go and things like that, which if you run that properly and you can keep the conversation going, it should take about three and a half to four minutes and 15 seconds. Now, on the back end, the next call, which would be a leads manager, on somebody’s team, where they get the leads, that call should be about a seven to like 12-minute conversation where that gives you more time to build rapport.
If you go over 12 minutes, then all of a sudden you’re letting them talk too much. If it’s under seven minutes, you’re not talking enough and getting enough information out of them. So really it’s all a thought process of this time on the books and then listening to calls and how they go. I’ve listened to thousands of these calls and how they go, for internal training. And so, that’s really the thought process there.

J:
Got it. Basically, if I’m a customer of yours, I expect that you’re going through a list, each successful, each warm lead that you hand me, each person that you talk to that basically shows some interest in potentially selling, you’ve probably talked to for about four minutes. Then you hand me that lead. I either then follow up myself or I have somebody on my team who follows up. The optimal time for them to talk is probably six, seven, eight minutes, so total of 12 minutes.
At that point, you should have either gotten to the person to the point where they say, “Okay, come take a look at the house and make me an offer,” or, “No, this isn’t working out. Let’s just cut and move on.” So in theory, basically the entire process of either getting to, “This is a really warm lead that I can potentially convert to a purchase,” or, “This is something I can cut loose,” is four minutes of your time, eight minutes of my time. Is that about right?

Elliot:
Yes. Yes it is. But there is different types of leads. The amount of leads that we get, out of a hundred leads, 70 to 80 of those leads are actually probably better suited for the retail market. They need to list it with an agent. This goes back to why our avatar is not the kid that’s just doing the 70 hours a week and they need to make cold call. This is the business where it’s growing up.
So 80% of those leads are retail. So they need an agent. Instead of my operate or my sales guy calling back as a cash offer, when that lead comes in, I actually put it in different buckets. Me, I do it in my business. I put it in buckets. I put it either in Tony wholesale or I put it in Taylor listing. If it goes into Taylor listing bucket, which is a retail lead, Taylor calls him and says, “Hey, J, Taylor here. You talked to my associate the other day about your property at 123 Main Street, possibly selling and interested for selling for cash.’
They’re like, “Yep.” “Great. So we can definitely give you a cash offer, but I can get you way more money listing this on the open market.” And then, you need a good operator there because everybody’s got a brother, cousin, sister, that’s a realtor. And so, if you have a good salesperson there that can get them to the listing to get in the door and then sign that listing, right there, I mean, whether you’re getting a $10,000 wholesale fee or $10,000 commission check, they’re the same end of the day. So I get referral fees.
Now, if it’s the wholesale bucket, then we go down that conversation road where Tony’s having that conversation, the seven to 12-minute conversation, about motivation, conditioning the property, really diving in, why do you need to sell? Where are you going? Building that rapport so we can buy it from a wholesale side.
That really comes back from the ethical perspective that my partner, Cory and I have always had. It’s like we’re not always going to be the best fit for somebody, but if this was my grandma, what would I do? And so, you put people in the right bucket and you just give them what they actually need, and you go do the right thing for them. That’s where those leads go into different buckets there. So everything comes back to, if this was my grandma in this situation, or my grandpa, or my wife, or my mom, where would this go? And that’s how you would put them in a sales funnel.

J:
This is really interesting because that gave me a whole different perspective on your business now. Three minutes ago I was sitting here thinking, okay, you’ve got a business that is geared towards cold calling for real estate investor leads. But now that you put that spin on it, you have a cold calling business that can generate leads for potentially anything. You could be generating leads for, if I were a real estate agent, maybe I’m hot-

Tucker:
Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

Elliot:
Really, it’s for the guys that are going… Again, we’re no longer in this world. We’re growing up, especially with the limited inventory, we’re growing up where you can’t just be a mom and pop hardware store anymore. You’ve be the Fred Meyers. You’ve got to be the Kroger’s. You’ve got to grow up. So These guys that are really killing it right now, and not only in our business, but across the country, the guys, they have a real estate arm, agent arm, in their business so they can list their flips, list their properties.
They have a wholesale operation in their business where they can go buy, fixing flips, and do wholesales. They have both inside. It’s like the, “You don’t leave any meat on the bone”. That’s the thing, is because if you’re only an investor and you don’t have a good agent, now I get referral fees. But so you can do this if you’re just an investor and just get referral fees with a good agent. But if I throw 80% of my leads away, I make no money, then I’m wasting my money at the same, because we see anywhere from, just on the wholesale side, like a five to 7% X return on our cost.
But on the realtor side, we see roughly a one and a half to three X return just from getting referral fees. So if you can pay for our service just with referral fees, and then the wholesale thing is just gravy, that’s what a real business… Then you can grow a business that way. Then we could help also bringing into our universe where we can actually help you on direct… We don’t do the direct mail, but we can help you guide you on how to grow a business.
So Tucker and I hop on calls with guys all the time, how do you grow your business? Well, you have your machine gun marketing here. And then you start going down more to your sniper marketing here. Then it’s a different… That’s what you have to do. You can’t just do one thing. As much as I hate it, because I’m a direct mail guy, as much as I hate it, you just can’t do it. Even direct mail is different. There’s postcards, to handwritten letters, to all these different things.

J:
Okay. I want to take this back to Tucker because you’re the guy sitting in the throne at the top, thinking about, I assume, the long-term scalability of this business. Yeah, so I pointed out that you guys can be doing other things. Now we’ve got real estate investor leads, real estate agent leads, but I’m thinking even bigger. You’ve got a cold calling business, I’m out potentially looking to buy businesses. You could be cold calling business owners for me, trying to get me leads on businesses.
Maybe I own a magazine and I need somebody that can cold call and get ad sales for me. You could be out there cold calling businesses and selling ad space. You could be a bowling alley that’s cold calling and trying to get people to join bowling leagues. I’m just making stuff up. I mean, in theory, once you have the infrastructure to cold call and to generate leads for whatever, lead generation, your customer could be anybody that needs leads for anything.
I assume you’ve probably thought about this. I can’t imagine I’m telling you something you haven’t thought about. But tell me, where does this go from here? Do you spend the next five or 10 years focused on real estate or do you at some point soon start building out these other verticals?

Tucker:
I think this goes back to the conversation that I was having with Carol, where I said, “We don’t want to throw kerosene on a fire and turn into a bigger mess.” So I completely agree with you that’s the direction we’re headed. This platform that we’re building out for all of our customers, once that’s dialed, which will be very soon, now we’re ready to cross industries. Because right now we’re just servicing the real estate industry.
Even within that, I’ve been pushing these guys to say, “Look, we need service different aspects of the real estate industry.” Right now it’s just agents and investors. Well, the next stop for us, I believe, is mortgage loan officers. We can pull data that says, “These people absolutely would benefit from a refinance of some sort.” Okay. Let’s point this machine at those people. Let’s generate those leads. Let’s hand them mortgage loan officers.
Generally, loan officers are very terrible at marketing. They’re worse than agents. So they need some help with it. And so we can gladly help them do that. But yeah, we can then hop industry. Maybe we go to insurance, maybe we go to magazine sales. Maybe we go to business buying, all those different examples you had, J.

J:
Or selling books like J Scott’s book.

Tucker:
The multitude of J Scott books that are out there. But that’s the next phase. That phase is one that we’re looking forward to stepping into. But having this platform for customers to use will keep our customer retention very high and it ultimately it’ll keep our customer experience very good. And so that’s the most important thing to me. I don’t want to grow too big too fast, and then constantly be fixing all the problems in between.
I want the foundation to be there, so then when we do start to grow across industry, we’re just working on making sure our clients are having a great experience versus trying to fix things constantly behind the new clients that we add.

Carol:
Love this. This is so cool and there’s so much crazy potential. I think it’s also noteworthy that you are so massively committed even though there is such huge potential. You’re so massively committed to perfecting what you already currently have to ensure that you consistently have that amazing customer experience that keeps people coming back for more.
I’d love to talk more about, it sounds like in building out this platform, that’s obviously a technological piece of the puzzle. On the other side of that, of course you have all of these employees. I think you said you have 50 already, which is mind blowing, in such a short period of time. So first of all, just curious, quick answer, are your employees or your cold callers, are they commission-based? Are they salary? How is that structured?

Tucker:
They’re hourly and we pay them weekly. So that keeps them happy. But yeah. There is some commission based on performance. Let’s be honest, lower paid people in whatever business, if you structure it in some sort of a commission-based commission structure, you get the best out of people. So our job or my job is to figure out, what’s the pay structure that gets the best out of everybody? And for them, that’s what we’ve been doing.

Elliot:
Carol, it’s actually, a lot of people will pay bonuses based on leads or sales. The sales world is always like, “Oh, we need to pay people bonuses based off of leads,” and things like that. What we’ve found is with the other cold calling companies is that they’re generating a lot of leads, but they’re not really leads. We actually broke it down and said, “Okay, what’s the most important thing? If we’re going to be Tesla, we’re going to be Apple, we want to be the best.”
We actually hired quality control managers and people get bonus not off but of the leads they submit, but by the quality of the leads they submit and the quality of the conversations. So they get bonus based on how well they perform on their, on the metrics. And none of it has to do with lead volume. We don’t care about because we can’t control how many people answer the phone on the other end.
We can’t control that there was an election, that nobody answered the phone for two weeks, or January is this slow for people to answer their phone. We can’t control that. So I’m not going to promise the amount of leads. What I can promise is it’s going to be the best quality and we’re always going to do the right thing because we want our customers to not just be a three-month customer where they come in and out. We want them to be a customer for life.
So if we have to sacrifice money upfront, to make people happy, we will do that because we want them to grow with us. That’s the only way we grow because new customer acquisition sucks. I don’t want to be sitting on new customer acquisition spell for the rest of my life. We want to grow with a finite amount of people that can really go to the next level.

Carol:
Awesome.

Elliot:
We actually screen people. Like when I’m doing calls, I tell people all the time. They want to give me money, I say, “No, you’re not going to fit for us. I’ll help you, but you’re not ready,” because we want the right people, just like they want the right center. And so, that’s our thought process.

Carol:
Love that. You’re talking about your quality control managers, for example. Are they on your team here or are they local with your team in the Philippines working directly with the cold callers?

Elliot:
They’re local in the Philippines. Everybody’s local. That’s another thing. It’s really hard with a lot of these operations, is with this new global economy, people can work from home. So these callers, there’ll be a lot of the callers that work from home. We actually have everybody in a sensor. It could be bigger, more people on there. But with Corona, they have a limited space. But we actually have people…
Everybody’s in the center. So each group of callers, 10 callers have one team lead. That guy helps fill in when campaigns are struggling and things like that. So we’re low on leads with somebody. We might hop on and throw an extra caller on their team lead. He helps train. And then, so each 10 guys has a team lead. Then we have the quality assurance guys. And then we have our office manager.
There’s all these different levels and they have somebody checking the leads to make sure they’re pushed through correctly. All these different layers, we’re investing so much not only on the data side, but on the quality side, that our cost is higher. We’re not the cheapest guys out there. But the cost is higher because we spend the money on the backend to make sure we’re the best. And if it’s not the best, we fix it and we go for it and we own it very quickly.

J:
This has all been on the product side, but to get to 50 cold callers, 50 employees in your call centers, clearly you’re also doing the right thing scaling your customer base. You have people paying for the service. Which of the three of you on the team is focused on customer retention or growing your customer base? And what type of marketing channels are you using to find customers?

Elliot:
I’m the sales guy. As Tucker mentioned earlier, I’m the greatest sales guy he’s ever met, I mean, which is a big honor. I think he’s met a lot of guys. But I actually do all the customer stuff. We don’t even actually have to advertise this. We get more customers from referrals from guys, because everybody knows everybody in this industry, like, “This guy is in this mastermind.” And his buddies like doing it. So we’re getting from referrals really a lot of our customers.
I did jump on our last episode on the BiggerPockets Podcast, and right before we got on, it helped give us some traction. There were some good people that came out of that, but they weren’t the right fit. And so, in order to get the right fit, guys for us, is word of mouth at the end of the day, and run the podcast and growing our audience that way. Then when I do have the sales group call, people, I give them 45 minutes and it has to be on zoom. So that I do not do phone calls with people. If they call in on zoom from their phone, I say, “Hey, sorry, you’re going to have to reschedule. I need to see your face so I can get invested in you.”
I can know in the first two minutes if they’re a good fit for us or not. I still stay on the phone with them for 45 minutes. Now, hopefully people don’t just come and try to get a free coaching session or whatever. But at the end of the day, I want to help people grow because they might be a customer down the road or they might buy data from us or whatever. I get so many emails. I mean, I’ve probably got, since we started this, probably 20 emails of these people that they actually took action with what I said. And they’re like, “Hey, I’m walking my first two deals this week. I think I’m going to lock one up.” Like, “Hey, can you look at this deal and tell me what you think,” because they’re actually taking action.
Then I’ll hop back on the phone with them sometimes if I have a soft spot for them and actually help get them through there and push them to Tucker’s DFA, which is probably the best mastermind, most affordable best mastermind there is out there and getting around the right groups of people. And so, if people are willing to take action, we’re willing to help you get there.

J:
I love that. I love the fact that you’ve said multiple times that the customer has to have the right fit. There are so many new and growing business owners that I meet, who are so desperate that basically anybody that comes along, that’s willing to pay them, they’ll start a new business. They have a customer that comes along and says, “Hey, yeah, I know you don’t do what I need you to do, but can you do this?” And they’re like, “Yeah, absolutely. If you’re going to pay me money.”
Basically, what you’re saying is you’ve got a customer that wants exactly the service you’re offering. But if you don’t feel like you can provide that service to them satisfactorily, because they’re not at the right place in their business, they don’t have the right mindset, they’re not whatever, you don’t want.

Elliot:
Or if they’re a pain in the ass too. If they stand me up two or three, two times, I just tell them they’re not a good fit. I won’t get back on a zoom call with them, because you’ve got to remember, Tucker runs a multi-million dollar home building business. He runs splits. His wife’s probably the best designer in the Portland market and she’s busy. He’s got two kids. I’ve got a kid. We bought 37 doors last year. I’m doing flips. I’m doing development deals. I don’t have time to waste with people that are going to waste my time. And Tucker doesn’t either.
Then if they’re going to be a pain in the ass in the back end, we don’t want them in there either at the end of the day. We don’t need the money. And so, that’s the great thing about this right now, is we’re not some poor college kids, Cole included, that have to have every dollar. We have spent so much money developing the right things or turned so much money down because, one, we don’t want to pain in the ass factor or we want to do it the right way.
It’s not about dollars now. It’s about growing something really cool that will pay off down the road. The connections that we’ve made, just for my own business, has been so valuable, of the people I’ve met. So there’s a lot of cool things that come out of it and money is not the most important thing to us right now.

Carol:
I think another thing that’s so noteworthy, in addition to this money not being the most important driving factor, how you’re talking about it’s building something big that will be huge for the future and you can leave a legacy, both of you have mentioned many times all the value that comes out of helping people. You’ve mentioned, “What would I do if it were my grandmother, my wife, my sister,” whatever, doing the right thing.
You’ve both mentioned getting on the phone with these different business owners, coaching them through and that type of thing. I’m curious, how much of your business is coming from referrals and how much of that do the both of you attest to the simple fact that you are investing so much time and energy and heart into making sure you’re doing the right thing for people?

Tucker:
I’d say a lot.

Elliot:
90%, I’d say probably is from either Tucker’s network or my network, or then referrals.

Tucker:
I mean, we’re lucky. Let’s be honest. I mean, the network that I’ve created over the last eight years, being in the eye of this real estate investor world and now Elliot doing the same thing. I mean, podcasting is a hell of a platform, and it’s allowed me to connect with a lot of people. Now it’s allowing Elliot to connect with a lot of people, and really it’s a medium for advertising in some ways.
And so, we’re just using the medium that we’ve gotten really good at over the last eight years, and that’s working out really well. That’s what I know well. It’s what Elliot’s learning really well now. It’s what you guys know well. Personally, I don’t think there’s a better way to advertise because you connect with people. You can build a relationship with people and they don’t even know you, which is fantastic.
Then by the time they do get to know you, it really cuts down on that time it takes for them to really trust you. And so, that’s been a great way for us to just get a lot of referrals, and a lot of people, they fall into our lap because of it.

J:
Yeah. I would point out that you used the word luck, and yeah, it may seem to people on the outside that it’s luck. But when you started your podcast, nobody was paying you a half million dollars a year to go and record a podcast every week, and to spend hours, upon hours, upon hours doing that. For all you knew, nobody was going to listen. It was never going to pay off, and that was going to be wasted time. But it wasn’t. It was an investment, and you were willing to make that investment. And you made that investment over many years.
I’ve seen you at conferences and I’ve seen you helping other people, talking to other people, advising other people, not charging anything for it. All these things are investments. I like to think of it as… And Carol and I have done the same thing. I like to think of it as you make investments into people now, and it pays off later because at some point… You don’t go in with the attitude, “I’m trying to sell this guy something, so I’m going to be nice to him, or talk to him, or offer him advice.” You go in with the attitude, “It’s the right thing to do.”
And then, one day down the road, if you have a business, if you have a book, if you have a podcast that you want people to buy from you, well, people are going to be more likely to do it because you’ve built that goodwill and you’ve earned it. You’ve invested in and you’ve earned it. I didn’t mean to take anything away from what you said, but I just wanted to reiterate that we use the word luck a lot, but in many ways, we make our own luck and we make luck by investing a lot of time, effort, and emotion-

Carol:
Positive energy into people.

J:
Yeah.

Elliot:
Yeah. One thing I could say too is… Because I talked to a guy a couple weeks ago that I wanted to use anyway. He would be a good fit for us, and he’s still up in there, whatever. He’s got whatever he’s doing. But he said, “Hey, do you have any references that are… Any clients that I can talk to?” It felt so good because he wanted a newer client and so ended up being with us for a while. I sent them two emails, these guys.
I didn’t have to call them and say, “Hey, can you talk us up?” I said, “Hey, just give them honest feedback.” I don’t have to worry about it because if the feedback’s not good, the one they’re going to tell me because I have the relationship with them. But it felt really good in my mind to just be like, “Here’s two guys, I’ll ping you.” I don’t have to worry about it. It is what it is. I know I’m doing the right thing and they’re happy.
And so, they’re the best cheerleaders for you, your customers. Look at Tesla. They don’t advertise. Their best customers are the guys that own it. I mean, they’re the ones selling the cars for them. And so, really, everything goes back to that goal is money’s not the most important thing, and we are Tesla, or we are this company that will sell itself if we do the right thing.

Carol:
Awesome. I want to get to the Four More and I want to ask the what’s next question, but I have to ask one more that’s many steps back because I love it. I’m just curious. You’ve both mentioned a couple of times that you are wanting Call Magic to be the Apple, to be the Tesla, to be the best of the best. I’m just curious, was that part of the early discussions around your mission and vision for what you want the company to be? Did you consciously, the three of you, get together and say, “These are the types of companies we emulate and who we want to be,” or do you think it naturally evolved over time?

Tucker:
I mean, I think it naturally evolved. Funny story. We played horse for some ownership at one point. So it wasn’t like it [crosstalk 00:58:54].

Elliot:
Small.

Tucker:
Small amount. So it wasn’t like super thought out, I guess, is my point. But business is like that. It evolves as it moves along. Part of the initial phase of this was, is it going to work? Are we going to mesh well? Is this idea have longevity? What is it going to morph into? Over the last six months, the different ways that we’ve advanced the business, it’s changed a lot. The new platform that we built, that wasn’t an initial idea. The data side of the business that we’re in now, that wasn’t an initial… I mean, it was sort of an initial idea, but it’s matured a lot.
And so, I think the vision of what we wanted this to be has also matured along that path. And at this point, it’s very obvious to us that that’s what we want it to be. But I wouldn’t say it was initially. Just like anybody that starts a business, you don’t totally know from the get go.

Elliot:
I think the thing that we did all have in common is we all have the same thought process. If we’re going to do anything, we are going to do it excellent. We’re going to do it best. And so, that really guides your vision. And like with Tucker, he doesn’t need to… We’re not doing a hundred deals a year or whatever. We’re just going to build the best product we can and we’re going to do it excellent. You can make more margins and bigger in that world if you go that route. But we all strive for excellence every day, whether it’s being husbands, fathers, builders, investors, friends. I mean, I think Tucker emulates excellence in all those things. Tucker has really showed us how to do that and how to… And he’s-

Tucker:
Well, it depends on who you ask, by the way.

Elliot:
What’s that?

Tucker:
It depends on who you ask by the way.

Elliot:
Yeah. Yeah.

Tucker:
My wife, some days, she’s probably not going to tell you that. But yeah.

Elliot:
Yeah. But at the end of the day, he’s teaching us how to be adults and how to put the best thing out there. We all knew it, what we want to be starting out, but Tucker just helps bring the best out of people. And so, I mean, again, I’m not trying to cheer you up for more equity or anything like that, Tucker, but I mean, really, it’s just true. I mean, it’s who you work with.

Tucker:
I couldn’t get it anyway.

Elliot:
Yeah. Exactly. But it’s like we’re on [crosstalk 01:00:53] goal.

Tucker:
It’s a good point. It’s a good point. I mean, and I don’t want to downplay the fact that we were just kind of willy nilly, like, “Whatever, we’ll see what this turns into.” I mean, I specifically told these guys like, “Look, if I’m going to commit myself to this, I want it to be great, whatever it ends up being.” It’s just more of carving out what that more refined vision is. That takes just time in the seat and just seeing what a business can be. And it’s turned into something great.

J:
Yeah. It’s a good lesson that we don’t have to go into a business with this ideal of it’s going to be a hundred-million-dollar company or a billion-dollar company. You can go in with the attitude of, “Let’s test something out. Let’s try something out. Let’s see where it goes. Let’s see if it makes sense. Let’s see if we enjoy it.” I mean, a lot of times we don’t ask ourselves these questions. We go in and it’s like all or nothing. It’s not, “Let’s play around and see if we want to do all or nothing.”
And so, there’s nothing wrong with going in with this attitude of, “Before we commit the next two, five, 10 years of our lives to a business idea, let’s see if it makes sense.”

Elliot:
Same thing. You see all these people all the time, they’re selling coaching and they’re selling this dream of fancy cars, flashy techs. We have clients call me all the time and say, “Dude, I just made this much,” or, “I made this much.” And it’s like we don’t use that for sales material because at the end of the day, it takes fricking hard work. The one thing about our clients that we have is the guys that are killing it, they work their [inaudible 01:02:11] off.
And so, we’re just a medium to help them get there. But that’s the thing is everybody in every stage has to be excellent. Same with our callers. Everything has to be there. But it evolves. That’s the great thing about businesses, is I don’t know where this is going to go next week or next month or next year, but it’s fun. It’s fun, the unknown and the growth and pivots, and we’re doing this and this.
And you have your buddies that you’re in the bunker with, taking grenades with Tucker and Cole, and could be hitting the fan one week and the next week, it’s just we’re up here. It’s really enjoyable, and actually enjoying the guys that you work with, I think is a huge thing as well.

Carol:
Love it. Very, very, very cool. Before we get to the Four More, you’ve talked bad about platform that you’re launching soon, and what’s next? What’s coming next for Call Magic?

Tucker:
Well, I think J answered that. We’ll be jumping across industry and we’ll be servicing some other industries that could utilize our services. With that, we’ll probably be expanding our call center operations even more in the Philippines. And so, we’re looking to take lead generation… I started lead generation in real estate. But the mechanics of it are the same really. You’re just going after a slightly different type of lead.
And so, we want to really grow the different industries that we generate leads for or for. I think what’s next for us. That, and on the data side, we’ve gotten much more heavily involved in skip trace data, raw property data information. And so, we’re really diving deep into that and we’re going to be a big provider of that type of data for customers as well.

Elliot:
And building out avatars on the data side, because there’s so much information out there and we’re pulling data from some crazy sources that really giving the most information, that some of the stuff that we have in the pipe is just going to be so amazing that can cross so many platforms. And just really understanding who your customer is at that point in time, that will just be such a game changer.
I have a buddy that owns seven car dealerships. I was talking to him about the platform and talking to him about our vision. And he’s like, “Dude, knowing your customer is to a different level.” And that’s really what all these guys, these big companies, have done, is they really know and market to their customer. And how do you get very specific to who your avatar is. Then once that avatar comes in, what type of avatar are they?
And so, it’s pretty exciting because the data side is… There’s two companies being built here at once. One’s the data and one’s the call center, and really, they pair well together.

J:
Awesome. I love it. Okay. But we are getting towards that time in the episode that we like to call the Four More segment, and that’s where we ask you the same four questions we ask all of our guests. And then the more part of the Four More, we let you tell our listeners where they can connect with you and learn more about you guys and your business. Sound good?

Tucker:
Let’s do it.

J:
Okay. I’m going to make a game time decision here. Because there are two of you on this, to cut down time a little bit, I’m going to take the four more into the three more. Wow. That does not have a ring to it. But we’re going to skip our first question. We’re going to go right to-

Tucker:
We can go fast. Let’s go. I feel like we’re getting short changed here, J. Come on.

Carol:
Seriously, J. What’s that about?

Tucker:
[crosstalk 01:05:19] for everybody else.

J:
Okay.

Carol:
That’s right, J.

J:
Sh. Okay. You guys are managing me well. Fine. It’s the Four More, we’re just going to do it quickly. Fine. Question number one, and we’re going to start with you Elliot, and then Tucker. Question number one of the Four More, what was your very first or very worst job? And what lessons did you take from it that you’re still using today?

Elliot:
Franz Bakery’s probably my best worst job ever. But I learned about work ethic and how to answer your phone, and I really grew my customer service skills and my managing skills, which are very shitty. Excuse my language.

J:
I’ve always wanted to own a bakery, and I’ve always recognized that I’m way too lazy to own a bakery. Those people work hard.

Elliot:
Well, I was on sales side so [crosstalk 01:06:04]. I was on the delivery side where they would deliver to the stores and the restaurants and all that stuff. I meant sales guys, and sorry about that but-

J:
That’s the easy stuff. But getting up at 3:00 AM, time to make the donuts.

Carol:
Oh my gosh. That’s-

Elliot:
The route guys started at 1:00 in the morning, and so, yeah, I worked 70 hours a week managing guys. When I was in management for them, it was terrible. But yeah, I learned how to work hard.

J:
Okay. Tucker, first or-

Elliot:
You said first job, worst job?

J:
First or worst, and what lessons did you take from it?

Tucker:
First job, okay. First job, I was what they call here in Oregon, a petroleum transfer expert, so, i.e, I pump gas. That was my first job. It was interesting. I won’t go into some of the stories on it. But it was a good job. I’m glad that I had it first. It was customer service oriented and it was just a good first stepping stool into the world of working.

Carol:
Love it. Okay. For the second one, Tucker, you take it first, Elliot, you take it second. What is the best piece of advice that you have for small business owners or entrepreneurs that you have not shared with us yet today?

Tucker:
Show up every day. That’s it.

Carol:
Simple as that. Awesome.

J:
Love it.

Elliot:
Yeah. One thing my partner told me, he would always say after something happened is what have you done for me today? And it always has stuck for me, what are you doing today to move your business forward? Yeah, everything is great behind you that you’ve done in the past, but you can’t live off the past. And so it’s, what are you doing today to move your business forward? And so, really never having that “I settle” mindset and that’s the best advice I probably received from Corey on that.

J:
I absolutely love both of those two pieces of advice. Okay. Question number three. We’ll start with you Elliot. I’m a book guy. You know I’m a book guy. Tell us your favorite book out there that we should all be reading. Maybe one that not everybody has already read or heard of.

Elliot:
Yeah. My favorite book, if you’re on the sales side, is called Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff. I’ve been talking about this for years. I’ve listened to that book like 15 times. And it’s really, if you’re in sales, it’s my Bible in a lot of sense of how you handle conversations and really how you talk to people.

Tucker:
You’re right. Oren was out there. No question about that. But he wrote a hell of a book. My favorite book, I said it every time, How To Win Friends And Influence People. I’m not a big reader per se, but I think the overarching lessons from that book is really the reason why Elliot and Cole reached out to me and wanted me to be in the position I am with this company, because I understand people really well. And after reading that book, it just really clicked a lot of the things that I had previously thought.

Carol:
Awesome. Okay. Tucker, first on this one, and this is my favorite fun question. What’s something along the way, either for one of your businesses or in your personal life for your family, your kids, or whatever, that you’ve splurged on and it was totally an entirely worth it.

Tucker:
My basketball court. I’ve got an indoor basketball court that I built at my house. I remember at the time I was like, “Am I flushing a bunch of money down the toilet by doing this?” And then I was like, “Ah, I don’t care.” And so, anyway, then Corona hit. I’ve been using it every day since. So that’s the best thing that I’ve splurged on and spent a bunch of money on.

Carol:
Super.

J:
Love that.

Elliot:
Mine’s going to be really recent because my wife and I are very frugal because we’ve been growing. Every dollar we make goes back into the business. But I have a fun money account that I trade stocks in it. I can blow it. I can light it on fire. It’s my money. I can spend $10,000 on clothes or whatever I want. And if anybody’s been following along with this Wall Street bets deal, I have been trading options and I turned $4,000 on a Tuesday into $47,000 on a Wednesday. I went and bought a brand new 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat with my fun money and traded my truck in.
My wife was supposed to be the one getting the car next. She couldn’t say anything. She was very happy for me, but had FOMO. But now after driving it, it’s very safe. It’s a driver assist. I’m very distracted. She’s like, “This is a good purchase.” But at the end of the day, she was supposed to get a Tesla. But I literally go to the guy in the dealership and I’d say, “I’m still on this trade. If it goes up, we’re good. If it goes down, we’re all screwed. We’re not getting anything.”
As I’m test driving, I start trying to close out of my positions. Of course, I’m not a safe driver. I’m closing out on my positions and keep speeding. Closing it, I look, $52,000 in my account, done deal. Got the price right around the 50,000, 52,000 dollar mark. Traded my truck in and got a brand new ’21 F-150. Problem now is I don’t have any money. I drained the whole account. So I’m missing out on other stock trades.

Carol:
That is awesome.

J:
I love it. That’s probably one of my favorite answers there. Both of those answers are probably a couple of my favorite answers to that question. Awesome. Okay. Well that was the four part of the Four More. Now let’s do the more part of the Four More. I’ll give you guys each an opportunity. Let our listeners know where they can connect with you, learn more about you, and learn more about Call Magic or anything else you want to talk about. Tucker.

Tucker:
Well, I’ll tell you what. If you find me, you’re going to find Elliot if I tell you this. Go to the Real Dealz Podcast. The early episodes where me, the most recent episodes are Elliott. That’s a great place to find either of us. You can also find me on the usual suspects, Facebook, Instagram. Just search my name, Tucker Merrihew and I’m on there.

J:
And make sure you guys use the Z with the Real Dealz, for those of you not watching this and don’t see that in the background.

Elliot:
Yeah. For me, I’m really trying to grow. Since I took over the podcast, I’m really trying to grow my page. But Instagram, so it’s Elliot Smith REI. I’m putting out content every day, every other day. And then, so Elliot Smith REI on Instagram and then, [email protected] for business. Then Facebook, so I’m trying to keep Facebook for family and so I don’t get spammed. And I can just look at J Scott’s posts all the time about the in placing and whatever great wisdom he departs on us today. I love it. But yeah, that’s probably the best place, is on Instagram.

J:
Awesome. Anybody that wants to hire you guys, callmagicleads.com is your business URL. Is that correct?

Elliot:
Yep. Shoots you back a form to fill out and a time to get on the calendar leave with either me or Linda and we’ll go from there.

J:
These are the kind of guys I like having on the show. We get to the end, I give them an opportunity to pitch the business we’ve been talking about for an hour. And they’re just like, “Yeah, let’s talk about my podcast and let’s talk about… Don’t even need to mention the business.”

Carol:
But again, it goes-

Tucker:
Well, if we did a good enough show, then [crosstalk 01:12:21] fine.

Carol:
That’s right. Then there you go.

Elliot:
Our guys are feeling it. The clients sell it.

Carol:
It just goes back to what you said before. It’s all about the time you’ve put in to just make people happy and do the right thing over and over, which you’re continuing to do. Love it. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being here. It was an absolute pleasure hearing all about these amazing things you have in the works. We cannot wait to have you back again in a couple of years to find out everything else you’ve been doing. So thank you again for joining us.

Elliot:
Thanks.

Tucker:
Appreciate you guys having us.

J:
Thanks, guys.

Carol:
Oh my goodness. Absolutely loved everything about that convo. You’re so right, J. It was awesome to have both Tucker and Elliot together. They are truly a dynamic duo and I think they played off of each other really well. And they’re able to provide so much great information. I specifically loved how it sounds like that the two of them along with Cole never specifically outlined that they were just going to go above and beyond to help people to do the right thing, to really become invested in their businesses in their success.
But it sounds like it’s just inherently who they are as people. And that has really been absolutely crucial in driving their business forward. I mean, who just doesn’t love these guys? They’re fantastic.

J:
Yep. I love the reminder that our customers have to fit our business. If our customers don’t fit either because they’re not the right customers for us, we’re not the right service for them, or they’re just a pain in the butt, then don’t take them on as customers. And your business will thrive because you’re focused on those who should be your customers. All righty. I think we’re done for today. Anything else?

Carol:
Let’s wrap this up, baby.

J:
Everybody, she’s Carol. I’m J.

Carol:
Now, whatever it is that you do, go do it excellent today.

J:
Love it.

Carol:
Love it. Everybody, thank you for tuning in. Have an absolutely wonderful week. Go follow us on Insta, Facebook, LinkedIn. Tell your friends to do the same. We cannot wait to see you next week. Thanks for being here.

J:
Thanks everybody.

Carol:
Bye.

 

Watch the Podcast Here

This Show Sponsored By

PPR LogoSince 2007, PPR has managed Real Estate-backed investment funds that have bought and sold thousands of residential mortgages nationwide. With expertise in real estate finance, property management, and BRRR investing, they provide investors like you with passive income. You’re working hard in your business, don’t forget your money can work for you. Investin real estate… without the real estate!

To learn more, check out PPRNoteCo.com/BP

Mid-roll Sponsor

fundrise review
Fundrise enables you to invest in high-quality, high-potential private market real estate projects. I’m talking anything from high rises in D.C. to multi-families in L.A. — institutional-quality stuff. And each project is carefully vetted and actively managed by Fundrise’s team of real estate pros.

Their high-tech, low-cost online platform lets you track the progress of every single project, and keep more of the money you make. Oh, and by the way, you don’t have to be accredited.

Visit Fundrise.com/bpbusiness to have your first 3 months of fees waived

Bambee LogoBambee was created specifically for small business. You can get a dedicated HR Manager, craft HR policy, and maintain your compliance, all for just 99 dollars a month! With Bambee you can change HR from your biggest liability to your biggest strength. Your dedicated HR Manager is available by phone, email, or real-time chat. From onboarding to terminations, they customize your policies to fit your business – and help you manage your employees day to day.
month.

Let Bambee help, get your FREE HR audit today! Go to Bambee.com/bpb  to schedule your FREE HR audit.

In This Episode We Cover:

  • What to look for in a business partner/what to look for in an existing partnership
  • How to “dummy proof” your business
  • Managing, paying, and hiring workers that are overseas 
  • How to have better cold call conversations that secure leads
  • Setting out to become the best of the best in your industry 
  • Trusting your partners and letting them show their strengths when working together
  • And So Much More!

Links from the Show

Books Mentioned in this Show:

Connect with Tucker:

Connect with Elliot: