There are a few keys to a perfect pitch, regardless of what you’re even pitching. Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything, has become a master at deal negotiations and capital raising. He’s seen what makes a prospective investor walk out of the room or end a video call early, and he’s here to make sure you’re not the person on the other end of that presentation. So what do you need to do to successfully sell or pitch anything?
This is the BiggerPockets Podcast, show 664.
The most important person in any company is a person who can predict what’s going to happen next quarter in customers, in competitive offerings, at market pricing. The person who knows that and can predict what change are going to happen and what’s going to happen in next quarter is going to be the most important person to come. If you want to raise your alpha credentials, focus on that, not on the amazing asset that you have. The amazing asset you have fills the change story and completes it. It doesn’t set it up.
What’s going on, everyone? This is David Greene, your host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate Podcast here today with my co-host, Rob Abasolo. We have probably one of the densest, richest, and most value packed podcasts that we have ever done. We are interviewing the author of one of my favorite books, Pitch Anything, Mr. Oren Klaff. And this guy brought so much value we could barely contain ourselves. I mean, he’s like a tornado that just ripped through and gave information that you would typically have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get by taking one of his courses and he gave it away for free.
I’m going to take a minute after I throw it to Rob to explain why we brought Oren in and how he can help your business. But before I do, Rob, what were some of your favorite parts of today’s show?
Oh, everything. I feel like I unlocked myself. You know that Zach Galifianakis gift where all the numbers are popping out and everything is a math thing? That was basically this entire episode for me, especially when we get into the actual pitch process of raising money and basically looking under the hood of how to actually sell people by not selling them and how to raise money effectively. I mean, it’s not like I was doing it wrong, but it made me feel like I did. I was like, I am rethinking this strategy and I am ready. I’m so excited to launch my capital raising arm now after this episode. So I feel like Oren really breathed new life into your good old friend and Robuilt.
Yeah, it was amazing listening to that. I’ve read the book Pitch Anything four times. When I teach people at different events that I’m doing, I repeatedly refer to this book as how you can understand human psychology and how to get your point across, how to get people to see things from your point of view, how to increase your own confidence, all the things that make communication more effective and help you get the things you want.
Often like Oren said, sometimes we’re asking the wrong questions. We’re asking questions that don’t have answers. The question of, “Well, where do I just find the best property? Or what’s the best place to go to find the best deal” is not always the best question, but asking, how do I become a better version of myself? How do I become more effective at what I want? And that’s what this episode is all about.
Now, a little background into what Oren teaches because we just jump into this show and start firing away. Oren is a person who is hired by other companies to pitch their product. He helps raise money for big projects from very successful bullheaded alpha male type personality. So he has had to learn how to hold people’s attention, how to get them to see things from his point of view, how to stay respected when they don’t know anything about him or the company that he’s pitching.
And he’s dived deep into human psychology and what helps you be successful at everything that I just mentioned. So he talks about frame control, which is the ability to get people to see things from your point of view. You’ll hear that come up a lot on the podcast. We talk about the croc brain, the mid-brain, and the neocortex, which is the method that the human brain has of processing information and looking to see, could this hurt me? Is this normal? And finally, how would I logically look into this and make a decision about it?
We also talk about how to hold people’s attention, where we get into the sort of, he calls it the sandwich, where on one end you have novelty, you have to show something different, and on the other end you have tension where they have to feel like you could pull this away.
If you pay attention to this episode, which you should probably listen to a couple times, it won’t just help you with real estate investing. It will help you in your relationships. It will help you when communicating with staff at places that you attend. It will help you with building your wealth in general. It can improve the quality of your life all around as I had mine. So I am super thrilled to bring this episode to the BiggerPockets audience. Rob, any last words before we bring in Oren?
There’s a section in there that I just want to reinforce. You’ll hear me say it after it happens where I want you to rewind 10 minutes and listen to it over and over again if you’re serious about raising money overall building capital in scaling your business because this to me was a seven-figure masterclass that Oren gave us.
Now, this is going to be a slightly different format than a typical podcast. We got a ton of value out of Oren, and he went for about 90 straight minutes of value. So what we did is we split this into two podcasts and between splitting up this interview, you’re going to hear Rob and I interjecting specifically for the purpose of taking the concepts that Oren is teaching and making them relevant in the world of real estate investing.
Now, we haven’t done this before, so I want to ask you, leave me a comment on YouTube and let me know, did you like the interjections that we had, kind of the reaction style, or did you feel it was disruptive to the interview and you liked the traditional method more?
So we left off talking about how you don’t ever want to come across as needy when trying to raise money for your deal, that you want the other party to actually be worried that you might take someone else’s money and not theirs. Now Rob, you have a deal coming up that you are raising money for. Tell me more about that.
Yeah, I am. I mean, Oren, this is so timely for me because I have been trying to really figure out in my life as a real estate investor how to scale. And so it’s led me to this road where I’m launching Robuilt Capital. It’s going to be my fundraising arm basically of my business. And I’m starting to raise money. I’m starting to aggressively raise money for deals and I’ve got a deal that I’m raising for a 23-unit cabin resort in Big Bear Lake.
I held one pitch meeting for this last week with a set of investors, but now I’ve opened it up to my entire audience of over 200,000 people on YouTube, my email list and everything like that. So I wanted to actually talk through what are the tangible steps here of holding a presentation, especially when it’s via Zoom because I’m doing the webinar style where everyone’s mics and cameras are shut off. They get to ask questions and then we answer the question. So I’m walking into this and in my mind it’s like, “All right. We’ve got this deck. We’re going to present the deck. But if there’s already no one talking, am I already establishing the control as the talker of the presentation?
This is amazing. I love this topic. Let’s go through this step by step.
All right. So Zoom call. Takes me back to my early pre-internet… Not pre-internet, but pre-Zoom days as an analyst. And so we were doing a real estate pitch. I was raising 8 million on equity. They put me on the phone with 80 underwriters and analysts from various broker dealers and RIAs. And this was a really first class asset. We had a deck, I wrote the deck, I had the pitch, I practiced the pitch. I had good jokes. I practiced it with my girlfriend then who is now my wife. I practiced it with my partners.
I know the numbers, I know the deal. I got all my quips and anecdotes, and funny little pieces down and I’m ready. They put me on the phone, I get on with the producer of the call and then they go, “Hey, now, I’m going to mute everybody, and you can tell us about the deal.” And so they muted and it was garbage. Complete hell show. Everything I prepared went away because it did not have that human interaction on the other side that we need. It was just dead air. So I told my first joke, whatever, “Hey, this is in Hawaii. They’re not building anymore Hawaii.”
And then I’m like, “It’s not like you’re in Texas. Hey, how do you build this asset in Texas? Well, you go down to DMV and you go, hey, with my driver’s license, can I have a permit to build 45,000 square foot retail mixed use?”
And without that human interaction it was just like, “But I know it’s fairly new to this, so that is problematic.” So this is a skill set, being able to pitch into dead air. And in some ways I think about it is if you watch movies and TV shows, there are these B actors that are the general… They always have the same role. Right? They play a general, they play a Russian commando. They play, usually, it’s like a police officer, a general, the ones you would recognize the friend of the criminal.
So there’s one role they play all the time. But if you Google those guys net worth, many times they’re much wealthier than the actors we all know because they are in every single movie, because they are reliable. This is what these guys deliver. They show up on time. They’re not drunk. They don’t need a big trailer. They learn their lines. They’re like professionals. They come prepared. They work the full 10 hours. They don’t need their almonds grown in high mountain shade from Bolivia and they’re professionals and shown to do their work.
That’s why they get hired over and over and over at the same position because you can rely on them. You have to deal with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston and Queen Latifa, or whoever with all the drama, but those guys are actually very difficult to deal with. So in some ways you have to become a professional at delivering into dead air.
Yeah. I can second your point here. I recently did a TED Talk and there was an audience there, but in a TED Talk you’re mostly speaking to a camera. I was about six seconds into it and I was like, “Oh, this is so different than anything I’ve done. I’m not getting feedback from the audience. I have to hold your attention without that.” And it was an unnerving feeling. I realize I’m kind of cheating in a lot of times when I talk because I get a connection with the audience. And when you don’t have that, oh, it is so much harder to hold attention.
Yes. The way to accomplish this… It’s really interesting because I live so long in Hollywood. At one point I’m like, how do actors learn their lines? Look at Goodwill Hunting. This is one of my favorite movies. The great line from that is… So Matt Damon is confronting the grad student and they’re arguing over this girl and he’s trying to reframe the grad student’s knowledge as very just textbook.
He goes, “Hey, pretty soon you’ll be two years out of college and find out that you spend $168,000 on education you could have gotten for $6.80 from the Boston Public Library.” And that’s one line out of thousands that these guys had. I’m like how do actors learn their lines? I’ve Googled everywhere. There’s got to be some secret method acting. This is how they learned their lines. This is going to blow you away. They study the manuscript. They start very early on with the manuscript. They go to a coffee shop and they read the lines to a friend. They stand in front of the mirror. They take a break. They repeat the lines to over again. They film themselves. It’s reps. So if you want to get good at Zoom, it’s reps.
Selling into dead space. Even if people are live, it’s even worse. Two people are talking the same time. Somebody coughs and it goes to them and they’re eating a sandwich. That drives me bananas when people are eating on my pitch. I will tell people, people are eating in a pitch. “Oh, hey ,you’re having lunch? Once you finish lunch we can all wait for you and when you finish we can get down to business.” But look, not everybody’s me, but all of this stuff you’re hearing from me, I do from the zero control position.
How do I tell a guy the head of a billion dollar fund to go finish his lunch, come back in when he is ready to go? Because if they go, “Hey, I don’t like that attitude.” I go, “Great, I don’t like your attitude.” We would never be partners. We could come up with the most awesome deal, right? Big win for you, big win for me. We sign it up. Not going to last 15 minutes of partners, right? Because you’re going to call luncheon and I take our call serious and come prepared and you’re going to come unprepared and have lunch and we’ll never survive each other.
So let’s just get rid of this relationship now unless we can get into alignment. I don’t need this headache in my life and you don’t need my California, non-Minnesota egalitarian, fussy, I don’t want you eating a baloney sandwich during my meeting attitude. I’m not saying my attitude’s right, I’m just saying we’re out of alignment. If we can’t be an alignment, let’s not work with each other.
Well, you’re getting into that values thing. Right? You’re setting the baseline of what values are appropriate and them eating lunch, puts them in a position, they’re out of alignment with your values, which put you in that-
You will never, ever work together as a team in a deal. Even if it’s an asset transfer, things still have to happen. I’m getting texts right now. We have $20 million that’s been trying to get out since Thursday. Everybody signed off. Money is in escrow, wire submitted. Bank of America calling us twice a day. Hey, can we send this wire out? And one guy who’s completely out of sync with everybody who has his finger on the button, one attorney at one law firm and I just got a text. We fired the guy.
When you’re out of values with everybody else, deals cannot get done. And so the value alignment is where you have control because even if you want the deal, even if you need the deal, even if it’s your last dollar, you have to be willing to walk away from a deal in which you are not in sync with somebody valued. Relationships never get better on the first day. People are always trying hardest in the first week of a relationship. For those of you who are married, for those of you who have spouses, for those of you who have bought a car from Toyota.
David, that’s you. You got a Camry, right?
Everybody’s trying hard on their first day. Okay. So your Zoom call. So first of all, reps. You have to be able to rep into dead air is one.
Listen, this is something I’ve learned the hard way for a long time because, well, first of all, I’m a YouTuber, so literally everything that I do is it too dead space, right? I don’t get to perform to a crowd of people. I perform to the camera that you see right now and it goes out there. So from a rep’s perspective, this is something that I’ve learned because then I also will have a coaching call, for example, 200 people on the call. I make jokes all the time and in my mind I’m like, “Oh my goodness, I just bomb that.” I know that’s a good joke but there was no one here to laugh for it. But then you read the chat and people are usually kind of laughing. So this is something that definitely takes some finesse and perfection, I agree.
So behind me and you guys saw is a million dollar screen wall, LED wall. And so when I work with PE groups, and I’ve done this a hundred times, I freeze frame. So my son will come in here and watch Star Wars. Because this happened once by accident, but now I do it all the time. So I freeze frame this Star Wars on like some scene where the Millennium Falcon is coming in and there’s laser and I freeze it.
So I’ll get on the call with the private equity guy and I’ll have this massive 40 foot LED wall framed in the background with this Star Wars freeze scene. And they’ll go, “Wow, that’s a cool mural in the background. Where did you get that?” Right? I’ll walk around a little bit so they know it’s not a Zoom background. So I’ll walk up from it and it’s just clear that it’s the real world.
They’ll go, “That’s an awesome mural. Where did you get that?” I’ve heard this a hundred times. I go, “Oh, this?” And then I hit play, right? And this 40-foot LED wall starts playing Star Wars and they’re like, “What?” And then I zoom out because we have these cameras and this is going somewhere, right? They’re just like, “What am I looking at right now? I don’t understand.” I go, “Hey, this is our production studio where we deal pitches from when we have CEOs come in.”
So invest your ass in some technology if you’re going to pitch from Zoom. Look at how this setup looks that I’m on for those who aren’t seen on… Right? So people get on this call and I’m pitching them, they’re like, “My God, you are handsome.” I mean, I’ve heard that a hundred times. I don’t look in the mirror and go, I’m handsome, but they’re like-
I mean, I was scared to say it out loud.
I don’t look at this and say I’m handsome in any way, but just the set, this would make the billy goats gruff look good, my setup. I’m talking to you right now on a $5,000 setup. Invest in some technology that most people don’t have. I know you guys would say to me, “Yeah, so why do you have this crappy audio today?” But we talk through that.
No, that’s not what I would say. I was actually going to ask you if you’ve ever been a body double for Steve Carell because you seem like a more handsome version.
Oh, sorry, you broke up a little bit. Have I been a body double for Tom Cruise? I get asked to do it-
You had me.
… from time to time. But I am busy. I am busy. All right?
Well, you just know so much about the Hollywood movie industry. I’m like there’s something going on here that he’s not… Maybe you’ve got an alter ego that’s also in movies and you just do that for fun. [inaudible 00:17:40]
I have an alter ego that wishes I was more popular than I am. So the second thing, invest in some technology. And so you’ve got these ATEM Mini Pros. When I’m in full pitch production, I light the 40-foot wall up. I put the spreadsheet on that wall and I’m walking around and saying, “Hey, see these numbers? Well, look over here. Here’s the assumptions. Here’s how it follows through.” I can switch right over their PowerPoint, then I can come back on screen. So wow people with some differentiated technology and that subordinates them to, wow, our pitch is on a Zoom PowerPoint and people get to look up my nose.
Yeah, they’ve got the background of some beach or something, that’s the fake Zoom background and you’ve got a million dollar screen behind them. It sets that tone right off the bat of who’s in the superior position and therefore who should be holding the attention.
And there are some people that would say, “Hey, looks don’t matter, it’s the merits of the deal.” Right? You and your Hawaii Zoom background. My job for 20 years has been to take alternative assets in Hawaii, in Texas, in Orange County that look nothing like Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Anchor, Target center and make them feel institutional even though the asset itself is alternative. So the cash flows are good, but it doesn’t look like Starbucks, Target, Jamba Juice, Anchor, infill, west of the freeway, beach adjacent California.
But what I did is apply… I reframed those assets as institutional in nature. And you cannot do that by having… So you cannot be new to the business, pitching a new first time fund an unproven assumptions, limited track record and also be showing a PowerPoint on Zoom that looks like two guys and a dog made in their mom’s basement.
So what is functionally happening for the investor is you’re stacking up risk factors. So I have it in first time fund, which we never do. We have an alternative asset with some freaky assumptions in the going out cap rate. We have a manager with a good track record, but not specifically in this asset class.
The debt is not completely locked up yet. And also it looks like this was put together at the kitchen table by a couple of guys. What do I have here to go on? Not much as the investor. And then you pull the lens out and you say, “What are all the other options that, that investor has compared to what you’re offering and it’s quite limited?” You’ve got to have the… So you’ve got to have the values. You’ve got to have the production. You’ve got to have the knowledge of your deal and you’ve got to have the pitch mechanics of a professional because you know who else is pitching that guy?
We had an intern here, he now works at Blackstone. 24 years old. Here’s his pitch. “Hi, I’m from Blackstone. We’ve got an insurance wrapped asset product here at 6.75%. Would you be interested in it? Oh yeah, here’s the brochure, here’s the track record of Blackstone. Here is the…” And that’s it. So you’re competing against professionalized, credentialed, proven yield streams. And that’s from Blackstone alternative asset fund 27, which has deployed $3 trillion into this asset class and returned 18% since 1066, the Battle of Hastings.
That’s what you’re competing against. How do you compete against that? With a PowerPoint template that you threw together and a Zoom call looking up your nose on your laptop. No. You’ve got to bring some of the elements that put you in the game against some of the most professional deals in the market. Hopefully that makes sense.
I can really second this notion of professionalism and investing in technology. I mean, everything in life you do, you’re performing for people and that doesn’t mean not being authentic, but it just means being the best version of yourself when you’re presenting, right? I am a YouTuber at heart. I’m a content creator. And honestly I’m on Zoom all the time. So for me, I’m always like, if you’ve ever taken a Zoom call, just ask anyone I know, I’m always on my professional camera. I always make sure that my lighting is on. I always white balance.
If you’ve ever seen me, David, hold like a random gray card to the camera and then click a button, that’s to make sure that my image is not too cool or too warm. And that’s very nuance. And people are always like, “Why do you do that? It’s just a Zoom call.” And I’m like, “I don’t know. I take everything very seriously because I just always want to be the best at what I do.”
Our previous fearless leader, Brandon Turner once said, “The way you do anything is how you do everything.” Right? And I do take that to heart. It’s very seldom, David, very, very, very seldom that when I’m taking a call with an investor, they are unimpressed with just the image quality and the technology behind what I do.
They’re never like, “Oh.” They’re always like, “Whoa, okay, this looks like the YouTube video.” I’m like, “I know because I take this seriously and I’m going to take this meeting seriously.” I think it always just sets a really solid foundation for every meeting and every presentation that I go into. What about you? Do you do anything to increase your frame with any of your businesses?
Yeah, you have to. And it’s because you want to be in the position where people trust you. So almost every business I have or position I’m in, it requires trust of the customer to get us going forward. If I’m going to sell your house, you have to trust me that paying the fair, full commission that I’m going to charge will be in your best interest that you’ll make more money.
If you’re going to do a loan with us, you have to trust that we have better loan products and better service and can solve more problems than other loan officers. Even listening to this podcast, you have to trust that BiggerPockets is bringing the most value of every podcast out there, otherwise you’d find another one. So this is a situation like Oren said there’s always an alpha intubated. You got to be aware of it.
Now, I want to say this listeners, I would love it if you would go in YouTube and leave me comments on how you perceive me specifically. Because I don’t know if it works. I don’t know how I’m looked at by other people all the time, but I will share some of the stuff I do. I’m just curious of our audience will tell me the perception they have of me when it comes to having a stronger frame being the expert in this industry.
One thing that I learned is if I would go to a listing presentation, I would always wear a suit. And that’s because if I showed up in flip flops and a t-shirt like some realtors do where they’re like, “I don’t want to look like I’m too needy, so I’m going to come like this.” It makes my job harder. I have to of overcome the internal objections you have. Is David taking me seriously or is he so wealthy he doesn’t even need by listing? I never wanted people thinking that.
So the suit is something I would wear to show as a sign of respect for them and their time. I take your house very seriously. Doesn’t matter how many houses of my own I have, I’m treating this this is the only thing that I have going on. In some of the books I’ve read… Actually, there’s another example. I write books writing a book, especially if it’s a best seller, because everybody can write a book. You can just throw something up on Amazon and you can say you’re a published author. But a book sort of allows you to have some credibility. It creates a stronger frame. You wrote the book on the topic, that’s how I found Oren is his book Pitch Anything is the industry standard for how to understand these concepts.
But in one of the books that I wrote for agents, I talk about if you have a strong personality, you should drive a more modest car. If you have a more meek personality, you should drive a stronger car. And that’s one of the ways that you want to… If you have a nice car, it can give you some credibility and make people look good. I didn’t want to drive a nice car because I was afraid if I showed up to your house in a Ferrari, you’re thinking I got to pay a 7% commission or a 6% commission to buy that car. They’re not going to like that.
So that was one of the areas where actually in order to have a stronger frame of I care about you, I needed to live a more modest lifestyle, so it didn’t appear I was taking advantage of people to sort fill my own pockets. And then there’s stuff like articles I would write for Forbes. So I didn’t love working with Forbes. They were actually very difficult. But to be able to say that you’ve been featured in Forbes, if someone hasn’t heard of BiggerPockets, there’s some credibility like, “Oh, maybe I should listen to this person. And on and on and on.
So it’s part of winning when you’re giving your pitch is the work you did before you got to the pitch room. It’s the aura, it’s the frame that you’re holding. It’s the time that you put in before you got there. I always look at that moment is like you’re going into the finals or it’s the Olympics. It’s time to perform. There’s nothing you can do in that moment to perform better. It’s the work you did in the four years leading up to it that’s going to be exposed. And it’s the same thing when you’re in the pitch room or you’re in this situation where you’re explaining something. If you haven’t been putting in the work and building a strong frame up to that point, it’s going to be very difficult to get the result you want in that moment.
You talk about at the very end of the conversation because here’s how most endings go, right? Okay, FAQ, do you have any questions? Oh, blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Answer the question. Okay, so hey, please be sure to go to the investment portal, fill out your information and once you get your paperwork in we’re going to reach out this and that. You talk about escalating and raising the stakes, how does that look tangibly?
Correct. What will happen is because you’re nervous, because it’s a Zoom call into dead air or a couple people who have a billion dollars and you have zero billion dollars. Or you have negative $1.7 billion and they have actual $2 billion. So there’s a $4 billion spread between you and them. And so you’re nervous.
For now. Thank you. It’s a little bit of dead air. And so what do you do? How do you compensate for this? You show them the best things about your deal first thing because you want to impress them, right? And that is you’re revealing in the first three minutes what you should be ending with. So the formula is set up, intrigue, reveal. Take all your best material and put it at the end.
At the beginning, you start with the world of real estate is changing dynamically until somebody believes that real estate in the area that you function in, in the area that they’re looking at is changing dynamically in a way that is difficult to understand. But because you function in a very narrow band at the leading edge of this change, you have visibility into what’s going to work in the next cycle until they believe is that is true, they’re not in your deal.
Okay? Here’s the good news. COVID, climate change, rising oceans, change of administration, right versus left, rising interest rates, inflation, cost of real estate, lack of supply in single family residences, cost of construction supplies, instability in the supply chain like, “Oh hey, how do I talk about change?” That’s not possible that you are in real estate or in asset management at all and you’re not being subordinated to some very difficult to manage change.
So by saying, “Hey look, at least in our area of southern California, you can very easily buy a $2 million house for $5 million.” There’s no inventory. So something that should cost 1.7 million realistically or was bought for 1.7 or 2.1 a year ago, it’s just being realistic with no improvement for 2.9 or 3.3. So until you say listen.
So for example in your big bear asset in resort, retail, infield, California within range of a major metropolitan area, multifamily or Airbnb, VRBO, multifamily assets, the inventory has changed so dramatically. Even people who have been doing this for 25 years are scratching their head going, “We’re out.”
I’ll give me an example of this. Here’s the changes that are happened. The new world looks like this. These are the economics, these are the heuristics, these are the macros, these are the qualitative impact, These are the quantitative impact. Most of the people who have seen win in this market, in the last five or 10 years are going to become back markers. And what’s interesting is we’re seeing people who were so specialized, they really were not even heard of becoming the key players in this market.
Everything is switching around. Why? And until somebody believes that there’s change happening and that you are one of the few people in the world who understand that change, there’s no setup. If we’re talking about Hollywood, if we’re talking about Hollywood, the first third of the movie is a setup. The second, third is the intrigue and is the emotional build, and the last piece is the reveal of the finalization of the story.
It’s the exact same thing, set up. And the set up is a change. Intrigue. You don’t show people the asset. We don’t show the asset until we’re two thirds of the way through the presentation. Until they believe the world is changing, and we control that change. Until they believe we have an asset in which we’ve got incredible assumptions. We’ve originated it correctly. We have a track record. We’re able to execute and we’ve managed money before. There’s no even purpose in introducing the asset.
And then finally, we introduce the asset and there’s a halo around it and then we go, and this is now answer your question. If it’s done correctly, then we go… So you can see why there’s a lot of demand for this particular asset and we’re super busy. As much as you need to understand the underwriting, understand our track record, appreciate how we manage assets towards an exit, we also are not… If you wrote me a $2 million check for the fund today, I’d give it back to you and say, “I don’t know enough about you.”
We also underwrite our investors because as you know a bad investor can affect a deal much more than a poorly underwritten asset. So we underwrite our investors. Some of our investors are some of the most well known people in southern California. So I have to ask a question, could I take you and put you in alongside of my long term closest friends even family as an investor.
There’s quite a lot of understanding who you are, why you invest, what you’re capable of, what your capital overhang is, what your timelines are, what else you’ve invested in, what your exit expectations are and how you behave as an investor before we would be able to say let’s work together.
So let’s invest some time, understand the underwriting. I’d love to hear from you, what you’re good at and what your investment goals are. Let’s see if our circles overlap to the point where next week we can come together and really try and find a position for you in the deal. I’ve allocated really with my existing investors and my existing investor base, I would say 70% of this is gone on day one. So I’ve allocated 20 to 30% of the deal to meet new people. Are you one of those new people? I don’t know. That’s what I’m here to find out.
Well, what you’re describing is that cocktail that you talk about in the book between novelty and tension. I made you want it. It’s different. There’s not a lot out there, but I don’t know that I need you. And that’s such an important thing to understand with when you’re holding someone’s attention. There’s a formula for how to do it. It’s not just some people are good and some people aren’t. You really do a great job of reverse engineering how that works.
I also noticed in your description of the buildup, which I just think so many people forget, they just go with the grand finale is the first thing you see. And then how do you hold attention after that? It has to do with in our head we’re thinking all they care about is the return they’re going to get. What are the numbers? And we’re communicating to them from our perspective. And in your book you talk a lot about, it’s one of the biggest mistakes people make is they fail to respect the process stimulus, the croc brain, the mid brain, the neocortex. There’s kind of a parallel with this. Do you mind giving us like the rundown on how people process information and how you need to respect that when you’re communicating?
Really fast, before we do, I just want everyone at home to go back 10 minutes and listen to that entire segment again. This is a podcast first for me. I actually took notes on what Oren was saying because this is absolute gold. Truly, this to me, we are going to… I mean we’re already pretty close to filling it. Are the people at home, the people are going to do it? I don’t know yet. That’s what I’m here to find out. No, I’m just kidding. But all to say, this is really great. I want everybody to go back, listen to the segment one more time.
So what I want you guys to realize, if you do it exactly as I’ve said and somebody has an adverse reaction, they have no money. I think you’ll be shocked at the investors that you talk to that have no money. It’s a call fund. Why do people run around saying I’m an investor when they have no money? Well, three reasons, because it makes them feel good. Two, they have a position in which they like to report pipe… They get rewarded for pipeline. And so sort of moving rubber tanks around. And three, they have call capital.
So they find a deal, try and lock it up and then they want to go raise capital for it. So I would say most of the people that you’re talking to is a novice in terms of investing, don’t really have money. And that’s really the skillset in raising capital is understand somebody who actually has capital overhang, captive capital that they can write a check against versus have to go raise the capital after locking you up.
To me, that’s one of the key secrets in raising money. So I can tell you if somebody has an adverse reaction to that kind of pitch that I just gave, it’s because they don’t have money. And they are covering up for the fact that you have revealed the truth of the situation in that you’re going to do due diligence on them. In that due diligence with them, you’re going to discover that their capital base is not a captive capital base and their fund hasn’t been raised and they’re either in the process of calling a fund or trying to capture a fund that it’s not well regulated today and that the capital base doesn’t actually exist. So you’re going to discover that.
So they are unable to process this position because no one else has put them in that and then they start freaking out. If you see a freak out, when you tell someone that there’s two sides to this, it’s because they don’t have money. Legitimate guys will say this. I was waiting for this day. No one ever asks me what I like to invest in. They just want my money. They don’t ask what works for me? What are my goals with the capital? Where does my capital come from? What do my investors need? What’s a perfect situation for me? Thank you so much for asking.
Can I have the next 10 or 50 minutes to tell you about what we’re trying to do? That’s what a real investor will say is, yes, let’s share values. Thank you for trying to understand what we’re trying to accomplish. And by the way, if you say, “Hey, I start every meeting by asking people, hey, what are your goals? What are you trying to accomplish?” I don’t know. Why should I tell you my goal? I don’t know you from [inaudible 00:38:51]. Why should I tell you my deepest, darkest, Moleskine notebook, fountain pen, little secrets to myself, goals to somebody I met 21 seconds ago. I don’t even want to be on this call.”
What you’re hearing from me… By the way, some people don’t like the language. If you think you’re going to run a $2 billion fund eventually as you point out someday and not hear some salty language, you have lost your mind. I have little old ladies come up to me all the time. They’re like, “Oh, the language. Oh, but I love… You’re really going to help me succeed though.”
All right. Where we were was the brain. I think this is a great place to try and wrap ourselves up and maybe we can come back and do something another time. When you get on a Zoom call or you get into a meeting with someone and you are saying, based on rising interest rates, we were able to secure an asset that we had on rate lock and a prior before the Fed increased rates. So we’ve got an advantageous 2.9% financing for $8 million. We’re looking for two and a half million dollars of equity to complete securing the asset, which has a three and a half million dollar income stream comparative to its $8 million of revenue.
Operating expenses are being held constant. We feel like if we do increase some local marketing and regional marketing of the asset, we can improve operating returns by 13.5% over the next 12 months. So you say that. And your expectation is that somebody’s going to receive that information and go, “Wow, this is amazing.”
But at the beginning of a social interaction, which really these are, the first part of their brain that your information hits is the croc brain. It’s the ancient part of the processing center. And you’re saying 13%, 12%, asset, well located, airport adjacent, multi-family, no TI’s necessary through the 2027. You’re saying all these things and their mind is literally going, “Huh, I hear some noise and I see something moving. Is this something I should eat? Is this something I should kill?”
That’s the first thoughts going through their brain while you are trying to communicate some amazing things about your deal. Eat it, mate with it, kill it. So this part of the brain, you have got to somehow be able to move through and get into a part of the brain that’s called the neocortex, which actually processes data, language, information, situations, and handles complexity.
The neocortex has an instruction set to the rest of the mind. Do not send me anything that I have seen before, any problems that I have already solved, anything that is dangerous, anything that involves life and death. I only want to solve very difficult high stakes, survival level problems. So think about it. If you go, “I have to study for a compliance exam,” your neocortex wants quiet. You want to have a chamomile tea and a shot of whiskey. You want to be at your favorite desk. You want your certain kind of light. You want the pen, your favorite pen.
Even you have all that, you sit down to study for compliance and then you go, “Oh hey, I forgot to change the light bulb in the shed. I’ve been meaning to do that.” The neocortex does not want to work hard. It has to be incentivized to do that. The way you incentivize the other person’s mind to work hard on your stuff is you get past the crocodile brain, the ancient brain that says, “This is not confusing. It’s not dangerous and it’s not an act of survival to try and deal with this, right?
This is a safe problem to work on. So the way we do that was with novelty and stakes. So unless what you are providing has some novelty, it’s visual and there’s stakes. It will not pass the first filter of the other human mind. Will they say, “Oh yeah, that sounds interesting. Sure, because we’re social animals, but it will not really actually be activating the centers of the brain.”
So then you go, okay, it’s novel. What I have is novel. What I have is visual. You can see what’s happening or I can describe it to you visually or you can visualize it. And the stakes are high. It’s worth paying attention to. Then it sort of gets into the brain. But before it goes to those upper levels of the brain that can actually do math and language and process, and want to invest, it has to get past the midbrain and the midbrain solves social equations.
Are you a beta? Are you lower in the social stack than I am? If you are, and I can order you around, right? There’s no stakes here. You cannot control social outcomes. Are you a policeman? Are you a military officer? Are you a political figure? Are you have a celebrity? Or do you have lots of power in terms of money, wealth, or political power? Unless you are framed up as any of those things, what you’re trying to project doesn’t get up through the mid-brain.
And you don’t get access to the thinking part of the human mind. The thinking part of the human mind understands numbers, understands real estate situations, understand risk ratios, understands debt service coverage. And until you have access to the other person’s thinking part of their brain through those, you cannot fully pitch a deal because they say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Send me the document. I’ll sit down with my committee.”
When you hear that, the reason you’re hearing that is because you have not gotten access to the real processing power of the other person’s human mind because they believe they’ve seen this before. They believe they’ve solved this problem before and they’re thinking about other things. What are they thinking about? I don’t know, getting laid, going drinking, going on vacation, singing in the church choir, getting new car, dealing with their child, not getting on team or getting on team. Everything else.
“Yeah, it sounds good. Yeah, I love this. Oh wow, that’s great.” And then they’re having all these other thoughts because you haven’t gotten into the part of the brain that’s actually processing. It’s not novel. There’s not high stakes. You don’t appear to be socially important or appear. You aren’t a high valued member of their social circle. If they behave badly in front of you, there’s no effect on them whatsoever. And they also feel like they’ve seen this real estate presentation a thousand times understand what you’re presenting. They can use most of the brain to think about something else that they care more about. And then in this case, “Send me the pitch deck. Love to look at this. Send it up to committee.” So that’s how the brain works.
Yeah. One of the biggest mistakes that you’ll see people make is we all have a level of narcissism inside of us. And so we think about, “Well, I’m in my neocortex, so I’m going to talk to you to your neocortex. But that person’s croc brain and mid brain have not been satisfied that you are worth their attention, that they’re not going to lose money. So for instance, Rob goes to do his pitch and he starts it off saying, “Okay guys, here’s the return, here’s the property.”
He starts with everything in the beginning and they’re listening like, “Well, how do I know isn’t a lot of these other deals?” Rob, what are you thinking as you hear about this?
It’s so funny because it really flips the switch on my advertising brain about crafting a good story. And the way you do it is you craft the story, you get the human insight, you go through the demographics. Now, you’re like why? And then you give them the final like here’s the commercial. But I love the idea of getting straight to the commercial, give them the fun part of the meeting first and then say, “Here’s why this is going to work.” And then get them to basically the upfront that’s typically a lot more boring.
Because I think you’re right. I mean, when we go into a lot of these investor deals, we are. We’re like, “Hey, the IRR is this. Box checked. The cash on cash is this. Box checked. We’re returning capital within this timeframe. Box checked. That’s what we think that the investors want to hear. But a lot of the times the investors are faced with these kind of deals all the time. They want the cool deal, the new sexy deal in the short term rental space that is still going to check all those boxes that we can verify after we’ve shown them the really cool deal.
So it’s a really fun and interesting way. And our pitch deck is 60 slides and I’m already like, “All right, which slides can we just slice out and which slides from the back 10 can we move to the very front?”
If you want frame control, there has to be a setup. Then there has to be intrigue and you save the reveal for the end. If you want a good tool saying, “Hey, how do I do that?” Start in the setup. Start with things that are obvious in the world together. And claim them as obvious, right? So that’s sort of good point. Today everything is changing the business. As you already know, if you can read the front page of the Wall Street Journal, even USA Today, single family residences are too expensive for most of the population get into. Nobody wants to sell their single family residence because there’s nothing else they can buy unless you’re moving from California to Minnesota.
Massive change in the way it operated three years ago. Layer on top of that, inflation, and now a mortgage that used to cost 2.4% is now 5.6% further disincentive for transactions to happen. Lack of supply, lack of activity in the market, artificially high pricing. And on top of that, obviously a two by four use of cost, $1.85 and now it’s 3.84 at Home Depot. Combine all of these obvious things together and then provide something that’s interesting as you start to access the brain.
What’s interesting about this is you start to see whatever market forces happening, but if you sit where we sit at the leading edge of multi-family and large single family transactions, having a deploying 30 to $40 million a year specifically into this problem, there’s one point of insight that we’ve gained. And then offer something insightful about the change.
Now, you are a long way to having a set up in which you are raising your alpha credentials by understanding what’s going to happen next. And I’ll leave you guys with this, the most important person in any company is a person who can predict what’s going to happen next quarter in customers, in competitive offerings, at market pricing. The person who knows that and can predict those things, what change are going to happen and what’s going to happen in next quarter is going to be the most important person in the company.
So the board will get rid of CEO, CFO, CTO, COO, CIO, CMO Well before they get rid of that guy even if it’s a janitor. The most important person in anybody’s financial life is the person who understands the changing forces and what’s going to happen next. If you want to raise your alpha credentials, focus on that, not on the amazing asset that you have. The amazing asset you have fills the change story and completes it. It doesn’t set it up.
So Rob, you changed a few things about the way that you deliver presentations after hearing this. I’m interested how your call went after applying this information.
Oh yeah, man, for sure. So basically I went to Home Depot right after this and I bought a gas can and then I went to the nearest Chevron and I filled it up with gas. It was actually kind of expensive because it was like $5 a gallon for the premium. It doesn’t matter. But basically I went and I put the presentation in a trash can and I poured the gas on it and then I lit it on fire. I was like, “We’re burning this to the ground. We’ll never use this presentation again.”
It’s kind of what I wanted to say, but I didn’t have that much time to change the entire presentation. What I actually did is I completely changed the intro to this presentation. And really, because that to me is where the story arc of this all came in after talking to Oren and saying, “Look, a lot of people try to come in and give all the numbers and the stats, and the IRR, shooting the finger guns. Check the box, check the box.
I think what I learned after talking to Oren is that that’s not really what people want. They want to know the story. They want to understand not just the upside, but the story behind the upside. Right? So I think one of the things that we went and talking about is a little bit of the honesty aspect of it and talking about the economy. And in the interest rates right now, interest rates are really high. But then I teed it up by saying, “I’m really excited though, because interest rates are high.” But just wait until you hear the interest rate that we locked up with the seller finance deal, which spoiler alert it’s 5%. 5% on a $7.5 million deal.
That’s significant. I don’t know if you remember this, but on our Scottsdale deal on a $3.25 million house, our interest rate was 6.375. So we got a better interest rate than that. I think people were really… They were jazzed about it because the seller finance terms were really great. The down payment were great. So we led with a little bit more of like, “Hey, there is a problem right now out in the world and we have the solution with this deal.” And I even worked in the bit where we talked about how land is at a premium in California. You can’t just go out and buy a hotel in Big Bear Lake. It’s a very sought out area.
This is all true, by the way, which is my favorite part. And I led with that. I’m always like, “Oh, thank God all this is true.” It really is. I just didn’t realize that that was the most important part of the pitch versus just kind of casually mentioning that at the end. And I think so far in the week since we’ve recorded this, we have gotten, I think about half a million through the door in the fundraising. We’ve got about another half a million coming through the door right now.
So I think in about a week’s time we will have raised $1 million for this specific deal, which will put us over half halfway subscribed on it. And I attribute a lot of that to just a lot of the nuances and a lot of the things I hit on during this presentation. So yes, very thankful to have gotten the insight from or the Oren the whiz kit Klaff.
So I’ll leave you guys probably with that and happy to pick this conversation up. Again, but I think there’s quite a lot to digest here for somebody who’s new to pitch anything.
More than quite a bit.
Can confirm. Oh my gosh. I mean, like I said, I took notes here.
This is that lion that takes down the buffalo that’s way too big to actually eat in one setting and you’re going to have to go back to listen to this a couple times.
Who’s the lion? Who’s the buffalo?
We won a deal a couple years ago. So the company had $175 million in EBITDA. We won the deal and they’re like, “Hey, you’re going to be our banker and manage the deal for us.” We were the dog. They were chasing a pickup truck up a dirt road and we caught it. Grab on to the bumper. And we’re like now what? We’ve been chasing this truck for 10 years up this dirt road. We finally figured out how to catch it and then we’re just hanging onto a truck bumper, so I understand.
Yeah. We’d love to have you back and get into this more now that people have of been exposed to these concepts. I think we can ask you different questions that relate specifically to real estate investors, those trying to build wealth through real estate. Because this stuff works for everything. This is why I’m always teaching on it. People come and they say, “David, what’s the shortcut to how I can just find the best deals and get the best properties?”
And the answer is always, that’s not the right approach. You need to work on yourself. If you’re in the beta position all the time, people aren’t going to let you borrow money. If you’re coming to me with these insecurities, I can only imagine what you’re doing when you’re going to someone who you want their $100,000. It starts with personal growth and this is such a powerful, powerful way to approach it.
It’s why I’ve read the book so many times because once you see it, you can’t unsee it. This is happening all around you all the time when you’re talking to the gate attendant when you miss your flight, when you’re dealing with your server who isn’t paying attention to you. All throughout life, these interactions are happening and you can just improve the quality of your life so much by understanding what these dynamics are and how to work.
So Oren, I would love if we could have you back again. We really appreciate your time. I know that you’ve gone longer than you normally do and I think that that’s because you love us here at BiggerPockets, especially because that’s not always the case. Any last words before we let you go?
Well, I think you guys are authentic and I respond to authenticity. And it’s not, “Why did you write the book? Tell us about chapter four. Tell us how to get rich. How do you buy real estate?” These are the unanswerable… As Kid Rock would say, “These are the questions that don’t have any answers.” But I think you guys approach it very authentically and so that I appreciate.
Well, thank you for that. We’re blessed with the knowledge that you have spent a lifetime accumulating. And I would go to say, you’re probably the forefront expert on this topic and anybody in the world. So everyone go look up Oren Klaff online. I’ve seen his YouTube videos. They’re very good. He breaks this stuff down in smaller bite size chunks. Not the whole buffalo like this. Maybe a little rabbit or something that you can…
The rump and then maybe the shoulder.
The hind quarters, yeah. It’s broken up. Oren, before we let you get out of here, I got one last question. Would you mind pitching us on where we can find out more about you and your philosophy?
Yeah, sure. I mean, if you go to Google and you just type in O, like half the… It will just auto fill and half the internet is about me. It’s orenklaff.com or pitchanything.com. So there’s lots of stuff to sign up there for, but we certainly have a way to work with me directly. If you’re raising money, there’s just so many things that we can help guide you through to step around the bouncing Bettys, the classic mistake that will just blow up in your face and it gets made every single time. You can get well ahead of it. As you’ve heard here, like the scripts, the templates, and the patterns just to get around the classic mistakes.
So we’d like to help people through a portal that I have called Deal Maker Elite. If you get into Deal Maker Elite and you perform, you interact, you do the stuff that we guide you through and you’re in a real deal, then we invite you to come here to this facility. We didn’t really pull the camera back if you’re listening, but this is 12,000 square feet in Southern California that very few people get to come to.
So when we see you perform and inside of Deal Maker Elite on your own deal and you make forward progress on your deal using the instructions we give you, then we extend an invitation to come here and do some one-on-one work with me and my team. So that’s the way we work with people. And then the reason I do that is eventually people graduate to having real deals that I can invest in. And so for my investors, I say I have proprietary deals. And they go, “Where do you get your proprietary deals from?” I say, “Well, I’ve been working with this guy for five years. I helped him do his for four deals and now he’s latched onto a $50 million asset. He’s already lined up $30 million in debt. He’s got $10 million of equity at the table. We’re just going to be the final $10 million to close the deal. Let’s go alongside him. I’ve known this guy for five years and he executes. He started when he was 33, he’s now 38. And I’m in alongside of him because I know his values.”
So that all starts with the basics. So jump over to orenklaff.com and then let’s see if we can help you close your deal and then you can start to bring us deals that we can put capital into from a trusting position.
Thank you, Oren. This is David Green for Rob “raising money in Big Bear” Abasolo, signing off.
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