Dave Dubeau is a Real Estate Entrepreneur, Best-Selling Author, Speaker and Investor Attraction Expert based in Kamloops, B.C. Canada. He began his real estate investing career in 2003 doing 18 ‘creative’ flips in 18 months. He later switched his focus to client-first rent to own deals, and nowadays he invests in multi-family (apartment building) properties. For the last several years Dave has been the World’s #1 Investor Attraction “Imple-Mentor”. Using his proprietary 5 Step Investor Attraction Process, Dave helps his real estate entrepreneur clients to grow their portfolios significantly and in record time.
Find out more about Dave Dubeau at:
Stefan Aarnio: Ladies and gentleman welcome to the show, Respect the Grind with Stefan Aarnio. This is the show where we interview people who have achieved mastery and freedom through discipline. We interview entrepreneurs, athletes, authors, artists, real estate investors, anybody who’s achieved mastery, and examine what it took to get there.
Today on the show, I have a good friend of mine, Dave Dubeau. Well known as, I think, one of the premier Canadian direct marketers. Dave is a real estate investor, Dave is an author of several books. Dave is also an educator, love Dave to pieces. Dave Dubeau, welcome to the show, Respect the Grind. Thanks so much for joining me.
Dave Dubeau: Great to be here Stefan. I appreciate the invitation. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Stefan Aarnio: Awesome. Dave, for people at home who don’t know you, I know in our space and our circles, there’s a lot of people who know you in the real estate investment space. In fact, whenever I go to a club or I go … I had people that said like, “Hey, man, do you know Dave Dubeau?” I’m like, “Oh yeah, I know Dave.” I tell them the story about how me and you made a flipping course, I think in 2013, and we sold zero of them on a webinar. It’s funny because-
Dave Dubeau: Well that’s not really building me up as an awesome marketer, now is it?
Stefan Aarnio: Well, you know what? I think it was message and product fit, which is whole ‘nother thing. But yeah it’s funny because that course now, I sell millions of dollars of that program, but in the first run we sold zero, and it’s funny because me and you were working on that. You do well with stuff, but with marketing you got to put the product and message and marketing and the pricing, all that can take any amount of time. Now for the people at home who don’t know you Dave, can you tell people at home a little bit in your own words, about who Dave Dubeau is? What he does, a little bit about you.
Dave Dubeau: Yeah, well thanks a lot Stefan. Basically like you say, I’m a real estate entrepreneur. What does that mean? That means that I try to make a profit from real estate in a variety of different ways. By investing, by training, by mentoring, by consulting, by offering “done for you” marketing services for other real estate entrepreneurs. That’s kind of my professional life. Personally, happily married man. As of the time of this recording, it’s two weeks and one day.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow, good for you. You made it past the first two weeks of marriage, that’s good.
Dave Dubeau: Well it’s my second time around so I had 20 years of practice before I had- [crosstalk 00:02:50]
Stefan Aarnio: Oh my god, that’s a whole ‘nother podcast right there.
Dave Dubeau: It is, it is. Anyhow, that’s a little bit about me. I’m based in beautiful Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. Marketing is kind of my passion. That’s what I’ve been doing for, god, since 1993.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. I think I was seven in 1993, so that’s amazing. Dave, go ahead.
Dave Dubeau: Yeah, yeah. You can just kind of rub that in a little bit more if you want there, Stefan. You notice, I’ve got a little bit more silver hair than you do my friend, you young punk.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, I got some white in the front. Just, that’s what real estate does to you. With starting out Dave, I know that you have always been an educator. You’ve always been somebody who has been good with language. Why don’t you tell people a little bit about how you got started in business and then moved into direct marketing and real estate. Because I think there’s a real important story there and a real important nugget of wisdom. A lot of people who listen to the show want to get started, they want to do things and I always love hearing the, “How did they get started?” stories, because it makes everybody feel the humbleness of where someone can start. Where did you started, Dave?
Dave Dubeau: Well, I graduated from university back in 1990, with what I call, well it was a BA in Psychology. BA stands for “basically asinine” degree in psychology. That is a useless degree. I had about a 2.3 grade point average out of four, which is really, really mediocre at best.
Stefan Aarnio: I say, “BA, barely able.” You’re barely able at 2.3 GPA, that’s like, I can’t believe they let you graduate.
Dave Dubeau: Well, they did. I paid the money, they let me out. Let me in, let me out. They weren’t, the employers at that time were going through a recession. They weren’t bashing down my door with job offers. I said “What the hell. I’ll go be a beach bum for a while.” I went down, lived in Mexico for about a year. Ended up traveling through Mexico and Central America for two and a half years, just kind of doing the backpacking thing. That was a blast, learned Spanish along the way. Ended up in a little country called Costa Rica, which I know you’re very familiar with, and fell madly in love with the country, the culture. At that time in my life, being 23 years old at that time, the ladies. They were plentiful, beautiful and friendly. I decided, “You know what? This looks like a good place to settle down.”
I was starting to a feel a little bit like life was passing me by. I was being a beach bum for too long. I thought “What the hell? I’ll start a business. How tough could that be?” I mean there I was, an illegal alien in a foreign country and a foreign language. At the time that I went there to start my business, I think I had about $900 dollars to my name. No business experience, no clue, no idea. How tough could it be? Well, that’s basically how I started. My first brainiac business idea was to … I laugh at this, was to send Costa Ricans to my hometown of Fort St. John, British Columbia, which has a similar climate to Winnipeg, Manitoba, and I was going to start sending people there in January. That was my brainiac way of …
Stefan Aarnio: Oh, man.
Dave Dubeau: I actually sent three people there to learn English at the local community college. I don’t know, I don’t understand why business didn’t boom, but it didn’t. Anyhow, one thing lead to another. Ended up starting a language training company in San Jose, Costa Rica, where we would send English teachers on site to corporate clients like Intel, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, those kind of Fortune 500 type subsidiaries that were in Costa Rica. That’s how I got started in business.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow, so that’s like you’re training English to people who are going to work at these, I guess, corporate entities, so went right into almost corporate training, which is super cool. Dave, what was the … You started training people, you started educating. What were some of the lessons you learned running that kind of business at the beginning?
Dave Dubeau: Well, the first lesson I learned was the importance of marketing. Because I had no clue, I had no training. I had no education in marketing, but I figured out that it was pretty important early on. Thanks to what I learned in marketing, we were able to take that little company from the bottom of the heap, to the top three in a very, very crowded competitive marketplace in about two and a half years. That was thanks to marketing, so that was a big lesson. Another big lesson was that employees are a real pain the ass. I ended up having a total of 50 full-time and part-time employees at the peak of the business. That was good for the ego, but bad for the hairline. I was pulling my hair out. Just dealing with employees was a real pain in the butt.
Those are a couple of big lessons. Lots of lessons around managing people, around marketing, around running a company. The difference between gross revenues and net revenues, that was kind of a big learning experience. The whole idea of premium pricing, that was another big learning experience. All of these things, kind of learned, by crook and by nook as I went along.
Stefan Aarnio: You got this little business started, Dave, and you’re teaching English to the people. Now how did you end back in Canada? How did you end up in Canada in the real estate space? Because I know you as a real estate guy, other people know you as a real estate guy. How did that transition happen?
Dave Dubeau: Well yeah, that’s interesting as well. By 2003, I had gotten married and my then wife and myself, we had two little kids. Our daughter, Amy, was getting close to kindergarten age. We decided, as wonderful as Costa Rica is, as great as San Jose is as a place to live, for raising kids, I don’t think there’s any place better than Canada to be perfectly frank with you. In light of that, and with an eye on our children’s education and opportunities, we decided to pack everything up and move to Canada. Which was a big, big, big step. My wife was Costa Rican, our kids were born in Costa Rica. They didn’t speak any … Well, they understood English but they didn’t speak English.
We came back to Canada, and the only place we could agree on to live was Kamloops, primarily because of the climate. I wasn’t able to sell my business in Costa Rica, so it was like we were really starting all over again from scratch. I was looking at, “What should I do?” My big brother, Dan, at that time, was a financial planner. I thought “Hey, that looks … He’s doing pretty well. Why don’t I take a look at becoming a financial planner?” I took the whole course, the financial planning course, and that’s where I learned all about mutual funds. The more I learned about mutual funds, the more I thought, “Why the hell would anybody buy these things? I wouldn’t buy them. I don’t really want to sell these to other people.” That’s when I scrapped the whole idea of being a financial planner.
We ran out of cash pretty fast, and my then wife had expensive taste, so I had to kind of get my you know what together fairly quickly. I was up late one night with insomnia watching TV, saw an infomercial by a gentleman named Ron LeGrand all about quick turn real estate investing. Filled out the credit card, ordered the course, got it, put it to work and started doing deals, because I loved Ron’s stuff because a lot of it has to do with marketing. With that, I was able to do, well the initial thing, I think it was 18 deals in the first 18 months, and that was doing real estate investing. That’s how I got a start in real estate.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow, so Ron LeGrand, one of the original granddaddies of real estate investing. You took one of those infomercial courses, sure enough it worked. What did you pay for that course back in the day?
Dave Dubeau: Oh god. 1,500 bucks, I think, gee whiz, if I’m not mistaken.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow, that’s a lot back that. That’s a lot back then. That’s like the beginning of info-marketing. That’s huge. Okay, so you did 18 deals in 18 months, Dave. Then when I met you, I think you were working with a Canadian entrepreneur, Darren Weeks, doing the Fast Track, Inner Circle. Tell people at home a little bit about the story about how you joint ventured there and created a massive cashflow really quick. Because that’s a great story, great joint venture story for people to take home and see how you can create explosive growth by partnering with people rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.
Dave Dubeau: Yeah, that’s a very, very good point. At that point, it was around 2004, give or take. I was just getting started with the whole real estate thing. I was a big information junkie, seminar junkie. I loved Rich Dad, Poor Dad, the book. Then I saw somewhere, hey, this Canadian Rich Dad guy, or somebody was going to be holding a cashflow night in Vancouver. Hopped in my vehicle, drove the four hours to Vancouver. Attended the little event, met Darren at that time. He had just started a new business called Doorknob Ad. I don’t know if you remember those. That was like hotel do not disturb signs on steroids with coupons on those things. He was selling kind of a franchise idea around that. I thought, “Hey, that would be a great way to get my message, ‘I buy houses’ on the front door of every house in Kamloops, and have other people pay for it.”
That was my initial idea, so I bought into that franchise. Ended up advertising my business on that, and running that as kind of a business, aye? That’s when I started the relationship with Darren. I saw that Darren was doing events, seminars around Canada, but it was pretty hit and miss. He’d do an event one month in Toronto. Then he’d do another event the next month in Calgary. Then he’d show up in Vancouver. It was kind of this hodgepodge thing. I was always interested in events and seminars and marketing. I’d done some small events of my own, so I was in-touch with him about that.
I said, “Hey you know what, man? I got an idea for you. Why don’t you go to some smaller markets? Instead of just focusing on big cities, why don’t you try some smaller cities? Because the seminar circuit doesn’t come through these towns. I think it’s a good opportunity there.” Basically, he thanked me for the idea and told me to buzz off and didn’t pay any attention to it. I kept kind of bringing this up for a good six months. I think it was just finally to shut me up he said, “Okay. Why don’t we try one of these things in Kamloops, out in Alhambra?” Basically, long story short, with about one-third of his normal budget for promoting an event, in a town one-tenth the size of most of the cities that he was going to, I managed to get 500 people-
Stefan Aarnio: Wow.
Dave Dubeau: … to his seminar. In fact, we had two.
Stefan Aarnio: That’s insane, that’s insane, Dave. 500 people. What year is this in?
Dave Dubeau: That was 2004, 2005, around that time.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. That’s insane. 500 people in a room. Must have been a great event.
Dave Dubeau: It was … We actually had to have two events because we had spillover. We could only hold 300 people, and the first ones, we had to tell everybody else to come back the next day at noon for another event, so anyhow, it worked very well so that’s when I kind of became the defacto marketing guy for Darren and his Fast Track group of companies. Started an ongoing membership program, that was kind of our joint venture together. That’s when I first kind of started talking to him about these whole seminar ideas was with the idea of pitching this joint venture with him to make an ongoing membership in the Fast Track, Inner Circle, which was a monthly newsletter and audio CD, interview. Kind of like what you and I are doing here today, but on a CD back in those days.
Stefan Aarnio: A CD, what’s that?
Dave Dubeau: A compact disc, you know what that is.
Stefan Aarnio: I’m messing with you. I’m messing with you.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay, so Dave, I mean your journey, your story, really interesting, your joint venture. You and Darren, you guys built that company to multi, multi million dollars in revenue. It’s the 40th fastest growing company in Canada. I worked for that company at one point. Great place for me, I learned a lot. Now, busting into some of the questions I normally ask on Respect the Grind here, do you think that success is mostly talent or hard work?
Dave Dubeau: Hard work, I really do. I think that’s what most people lack, is the ability or the willingness to work hard on something. I firmly believe that hard work will win out against just raw talent within time, every time.
Stefan Aarnio: Right. Why do you think that is?
Dave Dubeau: Well, when people just rely on their talent, they tend to unorganized. They tend to be very hit and miss and very sporadic, versus someone who’s a hard worker with discipline. Again, over time, it might not be right away, but it’s the tortoise and the hare kind of thing, they will prevail. There’s just so much, there’s so much talent out there, but it’s misdirected or unfocused talent. Somebody with a clear soul, clear vision and hard work will kick ass on anybody that’s just kind of talented ostensibly. Does that make sense?
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I mean, everybody has a different answer to that question. Some people say it’s a blend, some people say it’s hard work, some people say … Whatever. It’s a real open question. I love hearing the answers with that. Now Dave, I would say you’re, a would call you a marketer. I would say, “Dave Dubeau is a marketer.” Now, why did you choose, out of all the things you could have gone into, why did you choose marketing and being a marketer? Why that above everything else?
Dave Dubeau: Well, just because it’s something that you can see immediate results from, right? It’s something you can do, especially nowadays with the social media, with email, with everything that you can do online. It’s something you can see results and feedback from very, very quickly. It’s one of the best things that I know of, one of the best levers I’m aware of to really grow a business quickly, and that is effective marketing. I kind of got the marketing bug way, way back then in Costa Rica with my own businesses, and it’s just been a proven and consistent, constant thing that I’ve kept ever since. That’s been my career, basically.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, but what do you think … Let me ask you this. This is a question that’s popped into my head right now. What do you think separates somebody who is a marketer from somebody who isn’t thinking of himself as a marketer?
Dave Dubeau: I think what really separates a serious marketer from somebody who’s just kind of dabbling in it would be an ongoing interest in the craft. For example, myself, I do not … I’m a good marketer. I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, the best marketer around. However, I’m always reading about marketing, I’m always taking training about marketing, I’m always trying new things. It’s this, for me, it’s just this constant curiosity about the topic. I think that’s what differentiates people.
Stefan Aarnio: Well here’s a sort of backwards question at this point in the interview. How do you define marketing? Because I think this is something a lot of people … A lot of people are marketers but don’t know that they’re marketers. The second thing is, a lot of people don’t know what the heck marketing is. In your own words, what would you say marketing is?
Dave Dubeau: Marketing, to me, is getting a prospective customer, client, patient, whatever it is, getting a prospect to put up their hand and say, “Hey, you know what? I’m interested in whatever it is that you’ve got. Tell me more.” Okay? Then that’s where sales kicks in. In my mind, marketing is to get them to put up their hand, and then sales is to get them to actually make the decision to buy something. Does that make sense?
Stefan Aarnio: I love that, I love that. I had a mentor who used to say, “Marketing is what you say about you, brand is what other people say about you.” Now, I consider myself to be a brand guy, brandpreneur. Took me a long time to self-identify as a marketer. Marketing was something … I was all about my brand but not about my marketing. What do you think is the difference between a brand and marketing or branding and marketing? Because people get those two things mixed up all the time. They get branding, marketing and sales mixed up all the time.
Dave Dubeau: Yeah. Yeah, you know what? I guess I’m kind of old-school that way, I’m a direct response kind of guy. Again, that’s just the old, put up their hand. I’m not a big fan of branding, to be perfectly frank with you. I know you’ve done very, very well with it. I know it’s important for you, for a lot of people. You’re talking about, more about personal branding probably than anything else.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah.
Dave Dubeau: I see that as part of marketing, however at the end of the day, it’s all about, in my mind, it’s all about giving people a reason to connect with you. Giving people a reason to put up their hand and say, “Hey, yeah. You know what? I’m interested. Tell me more.” We could discuss the differences all day long and people point to Trump and point to that amazing personal brand and all this kind of stuff or used to, used to be before he became President.
The brand is the king, the brand, brand, brand. I think that could be true for people like that, people at that level. Coca-Cola, big companies, branding can be important. You have to have pretty deep pockets to do branding the traditional way. My opinion is, direct response marketing just gets people, whether you own or not … I mean, every time you launch a new book and you put it out there, you say, “Hey, come buy my new book.” Well, that is marketing, right? That’s getting people into the funnel. While your brand, your brand works around that, but without a call to action, without a reason for people to reach out to you, the brand only goes so far, in my opinion.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, well what I’m hearing here is, I’m hearing a lot of Dan Kennedy. Dan Kennedy is one of the best direct response marketers in the world. He talks about how, as an entrepreneur, small business owner, you can’t afford to just buy billboards. You can’t afford to just get full page, color newspaper ads, you have to have a direct ROI, return on investment of your marketing dollars, and that’s where direct response comes in. Dan Kennedy also doesn’t believe in the personal brand. He calls it “creating your own celebrity.” At the end of the day-
Dave Dubeau: Well, actually I wouldn’t say … He does believe in that.
Stefan Aarnio: Well, he says it’s not a brand, he says that’s personal celebrity. What I’m calling brand, he calls personal celebrity. I guess what Trump would call brand, he’d call personal celebrity. I guess it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. Now, let me ask you this, Dave. How important in building a business is the marketing? Scale of 1 to 10.
Dave Dubeau: 10.
Stefan Aarnio: I thought you were going to say 11, man.
Dave Dubeau: You said a sale of 1 to 10, so 11 is bullshit.
Stefan Aarnio: Okay, so tell me a little bit, why it’s so important. Because I think this is something people don’t get with businesses. I think there’s so many guys with a product, so many guys with … They have a warm list, you see it all the time. Somebody gets in insurance, somebody gets in real estate, somebody gets in financial planning, somebody gets into coaching, somebody gets into flipping houses, whatever.
They have their warm list of 100 people they know. They go out there, they call their 100 people. Or maybe they’re in an MLM, right? Selling like goji berry juice or vitamins. They sell to their 100 people and then that’s it. Where does marketing takeover in that? I think of it like a desert oasis. They’re in the oasis, they have the water at the beginning. They have to cross the dark and dry desert, or the hot, dry desert to get to the next pool of water. Tell me a little bit about that. Because 99 percent of entrepreneurs fail in the first 10 years, and they fail because they can’t make that gap. Tell me what’s in that gap, and how does somebody cross it?
Dave Dubeau: Well, you’re absolutely right. I think it even starts with your 100 warm prospects, is you should start with marketing to them. Like marketing should be the cornerstone of whatever you’re doing with your business. You look at … You used a stat there, 99 percent, but most people are accustomed to, 80 percent of businesses fail in the first, what is it, two years? Most of those businesses fail because they’re not really doing anything to get customers in the door.
They’re just putting up a sign or hoping people will show up. They’re expecting people to come back again if they have actually shown up, and it’s a very, very passive thing. I think for people to be successful in business, they have to be very aggressive with their own marketing. A, to get new people into your business, and B to get the people that you already have done business with to do business with you again, and C, to get referrals. It’s this combination of things. It’s not just relying on the fact that you’re there, for people to remember that you’re there.
You got to remember that, especially nowadays, we’re so inundated with messages and distractions and social media, playing games on our phones, watching Netflix, watching TV and entertaining ourselves to death, that it’s just a huge challenge to get anybody to pay attention. That should be your, in my opinion, should be your number one goal. Because, quite frankly, I’m not, suggest you do, but you could have a mediocre product or service, and if you’ve got good marketing, you’re going to kick butt over the best person in the market with the best service and the best program, best product, just because you’re better at marketing. We see it all the time.
I mean, we use the example of McDonald’s, right? McDonald’s is an amazing business, amazing system. The food’s not that great. I mean, there’s lots of places that serve better hamburgers, however McDonald’s is a better marketer, right, so they get very successful. The bottom line, if you’re in business for yourself, and I see this all the time … You probably do too, as well Stefan. “I just want to do the business. I want to do what I do. I don’t want to have to think about getting customers into my business. I don’t want to have to think about the sales or the marketing. I’d rather get somebody else to do that.” Well, you better get enthusiastic about that soon, because it’s very, very hard to delegate that successfully, long-term. That’s a long, long-winded answer to your question.
Stefan Aarnio: Well, it’s good. I like what you said there about attention. You got to get attention. I’ve even heard people say, “Attention is the new money,” and I believe it. You look at someone like Kylie Jenner, who’s a billionairess, she sold $400 million of makeup from her Instagram account or her Snapchat account or something. I’m down in LA right now, going to see Tai Lopez’s mansion, Tai Lopez, “Here in my garage.” It’s just attention, attention, attention. Do you believe that attention today, Dave, is the new money? The second part of the question is, does the attention need to be congruent with what you’re selling, or is it just attention for attention’s sake nowadays?
Dave Dubeau: Well, you’re more dialed into the whole social media thing than I am. Yeah, attention is definitely the new money, it always has been. It’s a matter of how do you cut through that clutter and get a little bit of it, and then keep getting it? Keep invested. My thought is that it comes back to providing value, not just creating attention for attention’s sake. Because it’s not just the attention, my friend. It’s whose attention your getting. Right? Kylie Jenner, well, she’s getting the attention of a bunch of teenage girls. Well, that’s great, that’s a great market.
If your marketing isn’t teenage girls, who the hell the cares? Right? If your market is, you want to be attracting investors, you want to be attracting motivated home sellers, prime real estate. You want to be attracting motivated buyers, whatever it is that you’re focusing on, that’s whose attention you need to focus on. Also, have to look at what’s the demographic of the people that you’re going after? If they’re older people, you’re going to approach them slightly different, slightly differently than Kylie Jenner’s approaching her target market. Right?
Stefan Aarnio: Right. [crosstalk 00:30:40] I was talking to Dan Lok, our mutual friend Dan Lok, who’s a real bad ass marketer out in Vancouver.
Dave Dubeau: Dan the man, yup.
Stefan Aarnio: Dan the man Lok. He was down at some social media conference, and they were having a discussion. “How do I get like from one million followers to two million followers?” on whatever thing. Dan said, “Well, it doesn’t matter going from one million to two million. If you’re not monetizing on your million, it doesn’t matter.” Let’s talk about, we got attention, so that’s the first part of marketing is getting the attention, and then monetization, Dave. What are some ways that people monetize on that attention or some ways that you’ve used in the past?
Dave Dubeau: Well, lots of different ways. I mean, it really depends on what you’re selling or what you’re promoting, right? I mean, monetizing attention, raising capital for real estate deals. I mean, I’ve raised millions of dollars for my own deals from having an ongoing relationship with people. Getting their attention, keeping their attention over time. Again, this is all about consistency. It’s all about having that communication, constant and consistent communication over time. We have some people that are part of, well what Kennedy would call “your herd.” It’s really creating that relationship and then keeping the relationship going, however it is. For example, you do podcasts, you do Facebook posts, you do email, you do a whole bunch of different stuff. It’s doing that consistently, that’s the key.
Stefan Aarnio: Right so-
Dave Dubeau: I mean, it really depends on what you’re doing, right? What your product or service is that you’re selling.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, I like what you said there. It’s all about being consistent, consistently communicating. I guess it happens through a call to action. You have a call to action, people put their hand up, and then that’s where the sale happens.
Now Dave, I want you to tell people a little bit about what you do with investor attraction. Right now, I know you built a real system around that. A lot of people listening to this show are real estate investors. I know, because I’ve surveyed the people who listen to this show, they’re looking for deals and they’re looking for money. Let’s talk a little bit about the investor attraction system you’ve built, and why you built it, how it works and what some of the results are.
Dave Dubeau: All right, great. Well, basically I’ve come up with a five step process that I use to get prospective investors to put up their hand and say, “Yes, I’m interested. Tell me more about your deal.” This I learned the hard way, Stefan, like I learned a lot of things through trial and lots of errors. Back in the day, I did those 18 deals in 18 months. Those were all creative, low money, no money down type deals, which sounds good, but some of them worked really well, some of them not so great. Took a few years off, did the marketing stuff with Fast Track.
Got back into real estate in 2010. Started doing what I call “client first rent to own deals.” Basically find a tenant, buyer. Buy them a house, rent, own it to them for about two to five years, while they qualify for financing. The challenge with that is, I had to come up with money for down payments. Well, at the beginning I did like what most people do, is I self-financed my first couple of deals. Then I ran out of cash for down payments and started having to look for money. I had heard, I don’t know if you’ve heard this before, “Just find a good deal and the money will find you.” Have you heard that?
Stefan Aarnio: I think it’s in my book. I think you were reading Money People Deal.
Dave Dubeau: Yeah, good book, fantastic book. I love your triangle there with the money people. Anyhow, my experience was that just finding a good deal is not enough, unless you’ve got a preexisting relationship with some prospective investors, to tell them about that deal. Okay? My personal experience was I got this good deal and I didn’t have the cash for it, so I started scrambling, trying to raise money. I heard, “Hey, just go out and turn every conversation into a real estate conversation,” so I went out to the Chamber of Commerce, went out to my networking groups, tried that, sucked at it, that didn’t work.
I heard, “Hey, well just pick up the phone and start dialing for dollars.” Stefan, I know you are a grinder at that. You’re absolutely amazing at doing that kind of stuff. The average human being, myself included, sucks at cold calling. I tried over and over and over again. In other words, I did about five of those cold calls, got shot down and quit. Now, I’m not proud to say that, but that’s the truth of the matter. What I found is most people are like that as well.
Stefan Aarnio: Right.
Dave Dubeau: Then I tried slamming everybody knew about the deal. All that did was tick off a lot of people, so bottom line is I lost that deal because I didn’t have some investor prospects lined up ahead of time. That’s when I kind of looked at things, brushed myself off and said, “You know what?” To use an old corny phrase, “It’s better to dig your well before you’re thirsty than to be scrambling for money when you’re desperate for it.” Because when you really need it, when you’re kind of desperate, like Steve Chandler says, “Needy is creepy,” and people can just smell that, right? They can just, they can sense that you’re desperate. It’s kind of like that guy at the bar that really, really needs to get laid and it’s super obvious. Women avoid him like the plague, right? Same thing when it comes to money, at least in my experience.
That’s why by hook or by crook, I little by little developed this system, five step process for getting people to call me saying, “Hey Dave, interested in your deal, so tell me more.” That is a completely different conversation, versus me pushing myself on people. In other words, what I did, Stefan, is I applied marketing for raising capital. I applied marketing to getting the word out and getting prospective investors to put their hands up and say, “Yes, I’m interested. Let me know more.” Does that make sense?
Stefan Aarnio: Absolutely. Make them come to you. You always talk about with … We talk about, you mentioned dating there. Going to the bar, men and women. I always say a man has to be a good salesman. He has to be able to tell some jokes and get the woman interested with his words. Whereas a woman, she’s a marketer, she puts on a nice dress, best pair of heels, does her hair nice, does her makeup nice, just stands there and men come up and they try to sell, right?
The women are marketers and men have to be salesmen. It totally makes sense, you’re attracting versus going out there and pushing. Now, I teach raising capital, and I teach it from a sales perspective, riding the phone, calling, the scripts. I like what you’re doing. You’re teaching people, “Okay, look here’s a more marketing perspective, where you’re getting people to come to you.” Because it takes, how much less effort do you think it takes to close somebody or get them into your deal if they came to you versus you going to them?
Dave Dubeau: Well, you tell me. You’ve done both, right? You’re at a stage now where people are coming to you because you’ve marketed yourself, you’ve branded yourself. You’ve got people who are interested in investing with you now, just kind of coming out of the woodwork. Compare that to three, four, five, six years ago when you were grinding it out on the phone. How much easier, how much nicer and more pleasant is that conversation for you?
Stefan Aarnio: Well, it’s way different. I remember when I started, I did 12 deals in 12 months, like you. When I started, 12 deals in 12 months I had a binder, a presentation binder, and I would do three hour meetings at Salisbury House, or Tim Hortons or Starbucks. It took me literally three hours, Dave, to make the sale. Think about that, one-on-one, three hours. Now I had a very high closing ratio, but three hours is a long time. Then I wrote a book, and then once I had a book, I had people coming to me saying, “Yeah, I want to give you a million dollars, please take it.” That was a major marketing and branding evolution there, and now I have people coming to me, I mean, I have people coming to me every day for investing, for coaching, for information. It’s unbelievable.
I want to ask you a little bit … Well, actually, here’s an interesting side question. I got this thing with marketing, they call it the “3.99 Ikea meatballs.” You ever been to Ikea?
Dave Dubeau: I have.
Stefan Aarnio: Right. You go into Ikea, they got the 3.99 meatballs or whatever the offer is, right? It’s like 75 cent hotdog, you go to [Costco 00:39:27] a $1.50 hotdog. It’s such a good offer, you have to get it. When you get that right offer, that right price that right niche of customer, it flies off the shelf. Tell me a quick story, Dave, about a marketing thing you’ve done where you got it to that Ikea meatball level, where you got the product, the offer, the price. Everything dialed in, it flies off the shelf, and everybody who saw it was just like, “Yeah, I’m buying it.”
Dave Dubeau: Well luckily, I’ve had several experiences like that. I mean, back in the day with Darren Weeks and with Fast Track, Inner Circle we would do basically a, what was it? We had a whole bunch of different ones, but an offer for a book for like, jeez. I think it was 4.99, something like that. Basically, it didn’t even cover the cost of the book, which included a one or two month trial of the membership program with that. Any time Darren did that at a live event, we just signed up members like gangbusters. It worked very, very well. In fact, at one point, at the peak, we had 2,000 paying members in our monthly membership program.
Stefan Aarnio: Sorry. How many?
Dave Dubeau: 2,000.
Stefan Aarnio: Yeah, that’s a lot, man. What were they paying per month?
Dave Dubeau: I believe at that time it was $40 a month.
Stefan Aarnio: Wow. What kind of revenue? 40 times 2,000. Wow. That’s some serious money. You can afford some bread and ham on Monday morning with that.
Dave Dubeau: You can. Now again, it gets back to another huge, huge, huge, huge marketing lesson or business lesson. There’s a huge difference between gross and net. You know that.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh yeah.
Dave Dubeau: Everybody looks at things, and nowadays you see this with real estate shows, right? You see How to Flip This House stuff on TV. You must pull your hair out when you’re watching some of those shows and they’re showing numbers because it’s all bullshit, right? There’s a big difference between what the gross is and what the net is at the end of the day. Always keep that in mind.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh, it’s huge. I mean gross profit on a flip is like 20 percent, net is 10, so it’s like literally half of what you think it is.
Stefan Aarnio: Dave, we got to wrap up here in a couple of minutes here. Before we go, what are three books that changed your life?
Dave Dubeau: Well, I’ve got a pretty extensive library here in my office. I can’t really peg it down to three books, and not specifically just books either. I mean, there’s so much stuff. When I was doing that traveling around Mexico and Central America, I had two books with me the whole time. One of them was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The other one was How to Win Friends and Influence People, another fantastic book. Those two were big. Rich Dad, Poor Dad was big as well, when it comes to real estate investment. I think, for me, courses have had a bigger impact. Back in the day when I was in Costa Rica, this is before the Internet, so it’d be a long time ago. I don’t even remember how I got a Nightingale-Conant catalog.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh yeah, baby.
Dave Dubeau: Yeah. Way, way back. I don’t even know how I did that. Ordered, sent away and ordered a home study program on cassette by a gentleman named Jay Abraham. He was a marketer. That’s, and that rocked my world, because that just changed my whole thought process about marketing and about business. About being a premium provider versus competing on price. All these different things that I was doing wrong, trying to go in there an undercut my competition and be the cheapest guy on the block just because that was common sense. That completely changed my mindset, so that was huge. What the hell? I actually want to look that up because I can’t remember the name of it but it was, “How to get from where you are to where you want to be.”
Stefan Aarnio: Wow.
Dave Dubeau: Jay Abraham, back in the day. Magnetic Marketing, Dan Kennedy. That was another huge one. Not just books but home study courses, I’m a big fan of those. You’ve got some amazing programs yourself. I really think that’s a great way for people, if they’re serious about something, to get ahead with it.
Stefan Aarnio: I love, I love that you’re dropping Jay Abraham, because he’s a huge guy. I was interviewing Robin Elliott on this show, and he was citing Jay Abraham or Dan Kennedy. He’s like the center of the direct marketing universe in North America, so I love hearing you come back to those greats. It’s amazing when you interview enough people, they all say Think and Grow Rich. They all say Win Friends and Influence People. They all say Rich Dad, Poor Dad. A lot of them go back to Dan Kennedy, a lot of them go back to Jay Abraham. It’s these same … It’s like the music industry. The same five people make all the … The same five producers over and over again.
Now, Dave, this is a question I got for you to wrap up, one of my favorite ones. For the young people out there, the millennials, the generation zed, the next people coming up. What’s something that young people need to succeed these days? Because the world’s changing more than ever before. The old information, “Go to school, get a job” doesn’t work. University, I say, is a scam. College, I say, is a scam. Maybe a trade isn’t, but what’s one thing that young people need to succeed these days?
Dave Dubeau: I don’t think it’s just young people, I think it’s all of us, buddy. I think we are dying a slow death by entertainment.
Stefan Aarnio: Hmm, tell me about that.
Dave Dubeau: It’s mind-boggling. I think for most people, being entertained has become their quest, right? I mean, I’ve got a teenage son, my wife has a tween. I’ve got a daughter just about 20 years old. I look at things and it just seems like everybody’s living to be entertained. We binge watch Netflix on the weekends. I mean, we waste an entire weekend watching fricking shows. It’s just inundating us. We’re hooked to games and to apps on our telephones. Any time we have a spare minute, we’re playing whatever the hell we’re playing, right? Candy Crush or whatever the hell it is nowadays. We’re just, we’re on Facebook all the time, we’re on Instagram all the time. It’s just little shots of dopamine that we’re getting from all these different areas are killing us. We’re overdosing on this, we’re addicted to it as a society, becoming addicted to it as a world.
I think a shortcut to success for people is A, recognizing that they’re addicted and B, getting that addiction under control, if only we admitted it. I think if you can get the discipline, the self-discipline to limit yourself, I mean severely limit yourself, and I’ve got to work on this myself all the time. Because I’ve got an addictive personality, so it’s so easy to get sucked into watching YouTube videos. It’s so easy to binge on crap, and you come to two hours later. You wasted two hours of your life. What have you got to show for it? Squat. All right?
If you minimize that, if you can figure out what the hell you want to do and then just develop some laser focus on that, some clarity, some focus on that. Put this other stuff to the side where it should be, which is entertainment. Think about our ancestors. You’re a history guy, right? A hundred years ago, were people spending five, six, seven, eight hours a day entertaining themselves?
Stefan Aarnio: No, no, man. I mean, you had to sit around, you’d sit around the stove and listen to your dad read the bible 100 years ago. That was the entertainment. You’re like, “Oh man, read me a page of the bible, please,” because that’s the only fun-
Dave Dubeau: That was after you did your damn chores. That’s after you did your chores, right? Then you went to bed early, you got up early, you went to work, you grinded it out, what you were doing. You talk about respect, the grind. I think that’s the biggest thing for people. They don’t know what that means. They don’t really know what grinding it out means, right?
Stefan Aarnio: Right.
Dave Dubeau: Because I forget from time to time. I get lazy, I get lackadaisical. I get hooked on these stupid things. I kick myself in the ass on a regular basis not to fall into it, it’s just so easy. Then it’s culturally accepted. I mean, look at how many people are just glued to their phone when they’re walking down the god dammed street, glued to their phone doing whatever, right? Most of it, 99 percent of it’s bullshit. That’s my peeve, yeah, that’s my rant.
Stefan Aarnio: I love it. They say a nation … Will Durant says, “A nation is born a stoic and dies an epicurean.” An epicurean philosophy is all about pleasure, pleasure, pleasure. A stoicism is deferral of pleasure. You can experience pleasure, but you have to do your work. That’s what I think perspective, the priorities go.
Dave Dubeau: Where are we at as a culture right now?
Stefan Aarnio: We’re an epicurean society right now. We’re ready, we’re so fat we can’t even reach for the McDonald’s anymore. Like it’s over … So Dave …
Dave Dubeau: They’ll deliver it now.
Stefan Aarnio: Oh yeah, yeah. I saw this morning, it was … I woke up at 3:30 in the morning and I was like, “Man, I should get like an Egg McMuffin on the way to the airport.” It’s cheaper than getting breakfast at the airport. The app says, “We’ll deliver McDonald’s to your house.” I was thinking, “Holy … That’s crazy.”
Now Dave, how can people get in-touch with you if they want to know more about marketing or investor attraction or any of that stuff?
Dave Dubeau: DaveDubeau.com, DaveDubeau.com. [crosstalk 00:50:07]
Stefan Aarnio: How do you spell that?
Dave Dubeau: D-A-V-E D-U-B-E-A-U.com.
Stefan Aarnio: Great. Thank you so much for being on the show, Dave. Really appreciate chatting with you, man. It’s always great, and Respect the Grind. We’ll see you see soon at a live event or something like.
Dave Dubeau: Thanks, buddy.
Stefan Aarnio: Hey, it’s Stefan Aarnio here. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of my podcast, Respect the Grind. If you loved this episode, I want you to check out my book, The Ten Commandments of Negotiation. Now, negotiation is one of the things that most entrepreneurs struggle with. In fact, many of them fail at it. My book, The Ten Commandments of Negotiation, is going to show you the exact method, the exact steps that people use all over the world for creating massive wealth in real estate or in any other business.
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