When History Gets Lost In Hollywood
Recently, a fellow posted a meme in TenMinuteSkills’ Facebook Group “The Red Pill Investor (Public Version)”. Heaven knows, I appreciate a good joke as much as the next guy.
It’s pretty funny though. The irony of it isn’t lost on me. Many people swear by direct mail. It is probably hands down the most common form of lead generation taught in the real estate world today.
Now, I won’t deny, plenty of successful careers have been built and sustained through the use of direct mail. However, I think you would be hard pressed to find even the most die-hard direct mail campaigner to deny that it takes time, money, and patience.
Now I don’t know if you are new, but if you are, you might be a little short of all of those three.
The Real Story of What Happened to “The 300”
Just like what happened to the 300 Spartans, 400 or so Thebians and assorted unlucky souls that were under Leonidas’s fateful command that awful day in Thermopylae, the same fate awaits most direct mailers the new people send out.
You send out anywhere from 300-1000 direct pieces of mail at a time; facing the thousands of pieces of flair (thousands of other pieces of useless information in the market place);
Is it really any wonder when the “Persian King Xerxes” of your market defeats you every time?
How to Defeat Xerxes
Oh sure, you could be like brave Leonidas, and not back down from a fight. You can bang your head over and over again like the fly against the window until your sales career dies.
Or, you could see how to defeat a superior force by using your head, and not your back!
What many people do not know about the Persian invasion of Greece, was that it was defeated, largely by the activities of the Greek Navy. Not their Army… Nor their Marines.… but I digress.
The Battle of Salamis
The amazing thing about history, is with proper perspective, you can see how potentially things could have been different. It is believed that if the Greeks had not defeated Xerxes, then the Persian king would have sacked all of known Greece, and caused the Western Civilization we know and love today, to be much different.
So in order for their way of life to survive… they had to win. Much like it is with you. In order for you to survive in your sales career, you must win when the Xerxes of your life “invades” your town.
The problem is, good old King Xerxes has a huge army, and a huge navy. In order to defeat Xerxes, you must cut off his ability to feed and move his troops. In order to do that, you must defeat his navy.
At the Battle of Salamis, the Greek city state Navies faced the Persians. King Xerxes had no need to engage in battle, as his advisors had told him… but his ego, and rage over his immense losses at Thermopylae had convinced him that he needed to crush the Greeks once and for all.
With 1247 ships patrolling and cutting off the entrances and exits to the strait, with over 400 troops on the ground around awaiting to chop the heads off anyone who swam to shore, Xerxes’ Navy confidently sailed into the Straits of Salamis.
Ever Had Your Back To The Wall?
Now it’s true, wholesaling isn’t exactly going to shape the entire Western Civilization, but it can change your life. I think you would agree with me however that in order to change your life, you must be smart!
With 378 Ships, facing over 1200, the Greek Navy was in for a fight! It was guaranteed that those Persians would kill anyone who tried to escape, or somehow managed to swim to shore. It doesn’t get much “realer” than that!
The “Victory of the 378” however is much more glamorous than that of the “Fate of the 300.”
You see… when it counted, back then, as it is now.. it’s not about how much “Ships” you have… its what you do with the “Ships” you have.
The Victory of the 378
While direct mail works for some… there’s no denying it. For the overwhelming majority of practitioners I speak with on a daily basis, It doesn’t work. What ends up happening, is you act much like good old King Xerxes.. using up 1247 ships to cover an entire Strait… when all you need to win is 378.
Instead of mailing hundreds of mailers to people you have “statistically determined have a higher probability of sales than Joe Schmuckatelli”… why not pick up a phone and call a For Sale By Owner?
Instead of wasting endless hours writing countless yellow letters, why not write a blog on your Investor Carrot Website or post a lead generating page? Something that will work for hundreds if not thousands of people in your town?
When it counted… when the fate of the Western World depended on it.. the smart Greek citizens realized that you cannot defeat a Xerxes in your life with brute force. You only end up rotting on a beach somewhere in Thermopylae with the birds feasting on your dead dreams.
No. To defeat the Xerxes in your life, you can’t go head to head. You must get smarter!
The Greeks drew the Persian Navy into the Straits of Salamis and once there… decimated them.
It’s Not Pretty
I don’t know if you are familiar with Naval warfare, but there are few places to go. If your ship goes down, you are in a world of trouble!
The Greeks had already prepared for the battle ahead, as Xerxes overconfidence played into their waiting hands.
Their ships, armed with hoplites (the Marines of their day to protect the ships from boarders) and rams equipped on the front of their ships… rammed the Persian lines sinking over 50 ships.
Their break out strategy stunned a bewildered Persian Navy. So much so, that it resulted in the ultimate death of the Persian Admiral in battle, thus scattering the fleet in the narrow strait. This innovative, and unique strategy sunk, and ultimately defeated Xerxes Navy.
It apparently sucks to be Persian, and not know how to swim.
in what was described as one of the “Four most significant Naval Battles of All Time”, the Battle of Salamis, was the modern day equivalent of the American’s use of the atomic bomb over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War 2.
Then, as in now, it was new technologies that defeated an otherwise well entrenched, numerically superior foe.
Lessons for Today.
I’m not one to say that direct mail does not work. I am one to say however though that if you are a newer Realtor®/Investor or Wholesaler, and you aren’t yet heavily involved in Direct Mail… Don’t.
Why? The lessons are clear. In 1950, when people used to go to their mailbox and chat with the friendly postman, your mail was important. I remember clearly running down the street everytime the UPS man came by. Mail was special.
Nowadays, mail is commonplace. I seldom pick up my mail but once a week. However, I am on Google EVERY DAY with a new search.
Chances are… your next customer is too. So the question is, do you want to spend money on direct mail? Or find free ways to find business? There are a lot of ways to fight the Xerxes in your life without trying to match their forces!
Until next time!
Have a Powerful Sales Day!