A 2012 study by SiriusDecisions estimates that 70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a prospect reaches out to a sales person.
That’s a significant figure. Then again, when I think of the way I typically buy, I am not surprised. I read blogs, twitter feeds, visit LinkedIn profiles, and download white papers. I look to these different information streams for insights, reviews, and educational information. Today, I took a step back to see if the 70% would hold true for a recent experience.
My Personal Buyer Journey
The first of May, I re-read Robert Kiyosaki’s books Rich Dad Poor Dad and Cash Flow Quadrant. The primary takeaway for me is to consider investing my money into assets which create a stream of income (cash flow). This seems like a reasonable concept to build wealth and leverage assets. Although we bought a house in August of 2012, I feel very ignorant regarding real estate. It’s a personal gap that I wanted to learn a little more about. So, I followed a natural journey to inform myself and research as to whether real estate investing is something that Natalie and I should consider.
Step 1: What is real estate investing?
I started Googling phrases like “real estate investing,” “real estate cash flow,” and “process for investing in real estate” to find blogs and very basic explanations and theories. I came across all different kinds of articles ranging from property management and commercial shopping centers to small investors insights on single family and duplex homes. The information overload gave me a macro view of the topic.
Step 2: How can I refine this information?
Through research including watching a free Columbia University class on iTunesU, flipping through a real estate textbook from Half Price Books, and receiving inputs from friends, I determined that we should refine our goal to a single family cash flowing property within 15 minutes of my work or our house. Keep in mind that at this point I haven’t even considered talking to a real estate agent and most of my journey has taken place online.
Step 3: Where should I look for deep, relevant content?
I turned to Amazon books and began reading summaries and reviews about the books. In 20 minutes, I had purchased a book for my Kindle based on crowd-sourced reviews. I continued looking for Twitter accounts to follow and made it further in the real estate textbook. I also searched for Podcasts on real estate investments and downloaded a few episodes from the Epic Real Estate Investing series by Matt Theriault.
Step 4: Is it time to talk to a real estate agent yet?
From the inputs I have received so far, I think we are at least a year out before we will be in a financial position to invest in a rental property. That being said, we will start interviewing real estate agents this summer to find someone we trust and want to work with. A lot will depend on what their website, online bios, LinkedIn accounts, and Twitter feeds tell us. I will also seek input from others for referrals of agents to consider.
In conclusion, I have spent 1 month looking into this topic and have a short list of relevant experts. I have a handful of books to read, concepts to grasp, and a learning curve to start climbing. This is a perfect example of being 70% of the way through the process before I even consider reaching out to a sales person. There is a huge opportunity to be the first and most prominent in creating content that buyers can digest. If you haven’t started creating awesome content online, you are likely already falling behind. Educating buyers is a great way to build credibility and generate a lead for your sales team. I hope my journey into real estate investing has helped you to understand the importance of connecting with prospects on their journey in the buying process.
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