JF1839: Emotional Intelligence, Communication Skills, Sales & Marketing Tips For The Real Estate Investor with Travis Chappell
Travis was in direct sales and did very well for a few years. Even though the money was nice, he didn’t see himself doing if for the next ten years. We’ll hear what he learned from that sales job and how he uses those skills today as a real estate investor. Some of the biggest tips he has to share relate to reading people and knowing how to respond. This can be huge for us as real estate investors. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
Best Ever Tweet:
“Get in that pocket and allow yourself to stay there longer than that person” – Travis Chappell
Travis Chappell Real Estate Background:
- Direct sales consultant, real estate investor, and professional connector
- Creator and host of Build Your Network, a Top 25 Business podcast
- Based in Las Vegas, NV
- Say hi to him at https://travischappell.com/
- Best Ever Book: Everything is F****d
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Theo Hicks: Hi, Best Ever listeners. Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Theo Hicks and I’ll be host today. Today I am speaking with Travis Chappell. Travis, how are you doing today?
Travis Chappell: Doing fantastic, my man. How are you?
Theo Hicks: I am doing fantastic as well. I appreciate you coming on the show and I’m looking forward to our conversation. A little bit about Travis before we get started – he is a direct sales consultant, real estate investor and professional connector. He is the creator and host of Build Your Network, which is a top 25 business podcast. He’s based in Las Vegas, Nevada, and you can say hi to him at TravisChappell.com.
Travis, before we start our conversation, can you tell us a little bit more about your background and what you’re focused on now?
Travis Chappell: Yeah, Theo. I grew up in a small little bubble in a tiny religious community in Southern California. When I was growing up, the plan for me was I was going to be the youth pastor when I grow up and go to college, and everything like that. In college though I started realizing pretty quickly that that wasn’t really the path that I wanted to go down, so for the first time in my life ever I was trying to figure out what I really actually wanted to do… Because I didn’t really go through that when I was 15-16.
So I was trying to figure out what the next step was going to be, and a buddy of mine was doing door-to-door sales at the time, and basically just showed me one of his paychecks, and I saw he was making good money. He works whatever hours he wants to work, as long as he hits production marks… It seemed really intriguing to me, so I started into door-to-door sales when I was a junior in college. When I graduated, like I said, I didn’t want to pursue the thing that I had gotten my degree in anymore, so I just kind of defaulted into door-to-door, because that was what I knew, and I was pretty good at it, and I made good money, and had a flexible schedule, so I just kind of went for it.
After five or six years of knocking doors for various companies, different industries, building out sales teams and working with them, I just kind of got to the point where I was like “This is cool, but I don’t see myself doing this in a decade from now, and if I can’t see myself doing it in ten years, then I should probably change courses sooner rather than later, so that I can control where I end up in a decade.”
So for the first time ever I jumped into the personal development space, and just kind of dove in, started learning as much as I could, and discovered podcasts for the first time ever. I started listening to a bunch of them, and eventually just thought “Man, this would be really cool to do this, to do it full-time.” So I jumped in, and now that takes us a couple years later – I’ve been rocking with this show; I have over 300 episodes out now, and it’s what I do full-time. It’s been a really cool journey. That’s it in a nutshell, that’s a quick synopsis.
Theo Hicks: That’s a very interesting development from where you started to where you are today. I actually did direct sales as well, so I know the answer to this question, but for the Best Ever listeners who aren’t’ doing direct sales, do you mind just telling us a little bit about how you were able to use those skills that you learned from door-to-door knocking in order to either do your podcast, or your real estate investing career, or your professional connector career? Either one of those… What are some of the skills that you learned from being a direct salesperson, going door to door for over six years, and then how did you do what you’re doing today?
Travis Chappell: Yeah, really good question. I always tell anybody that’s coming out of high school to try door-to-door for a year. I think that you’ll learn more about emotional intelligence, sales and marketing language than you will going to college, for sure. That’s probably the number one thing that I can take away from it, is just communication, or maybe emotional intelligence. Your EQ. It’s an emotional intelligence crash course, and you learn really quickly that what people say is not what they’re actually thinking.
They’re just trying to be nice, so you have to really get good at learning how to read body language queues and non-verbal communication, tonality, different things like that, so that you can actually get to the root of the problem and figure out what the actual thing is that’s holding them back, and to be able to do that on that kind of a scale… Because some people will do outside sales, but they’ll get leads, and they go to a house and they talk to two or three people a day. Your skillsets will increase in direct proportion to the amount of people that you’re talking to, the amount of times that you practice. When those people are talking to 2-3 people a day doing an outside sales job, as a door-to-door rep you’re talking to 20 to 50 people a day, just depending on how many hours you’re going out for and how many people are home, and what day of the week it is, and things like that.
So yeah, it’s just a crash course, meaning that it’s so much learning in such a condensed period of time… And there’s no guesswork; that’s one thing that I really like about that industry – people can’t fake it. There’s so many fakers out there, in all these other industries, and especially the one that I’m in now, which is the online marketing world. There’s just so many people that get out there and fake it, and fake it, and fake it, and I can’t stand fake people. It’s one of the things that really irritates me the most, to be honest… And in the door-to-door game there really is no way to fake it; you either do it or you don’t do it. And if you don’t do it, you don’t make money. Month four you’re not making money, you’re not just gonna continue faking doing it, because it’s a grind to keep doing it… So it very much weeds out a lot of people, and you learn a lot during the process.
But the number one thing that I’ve learned through all that is definitely emotional intelligence. The 7-38-55 Rule says that only 7% of our communication is actually the words that we say, and 38% is tonality, and 55% is body language and facial expressions. So when you are talking to that many people and getting rejected in so many different, colorful, different types of ways, you definitely start picking up on what people are saying, how they’re saying it, what they look like when they say it, and what it actually means. So that’s just one of the lessons.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, those are two interesting points. The one about faking it is huge too, because when you’re doing direct sales, you’re actually in front of people, you’re actually talking to them… And when you’re strictly online, especially if it’s more of a written form, and even in verbal form, you can script a lot easier, because no one else is really talking back to you, so you can say whatever you want online… Whereas in person you can’t really do that. You can start with a script, but if the person says something that goes off-script, if you don’t know what to say, you’re gonna be weeded out and you’re gonna get rejected… So I think that’s a really important point, and it’s definitely a really good skillset to learn by being in front of people constantly for your job.
But on the EQ side, I want you to go into a little bit more detail. You mentioned briefly the kind of skillset you gain over time; you have hundreds and hundreds of conversations, you get rejected X amount of times, and you see a pattern of “Okay, this is the nonverbal thing that I see from people when they’re going to reject me” or “Here are the things that I realized that I’m doing that ultimately end up in me getting rejected…” But is there anything more specific that people can do to work on that skillset, whether it be after a conversation, going back and writing out what they learned…? Or is something that you just keep doing and over time you organically, in yor mind, learn what to do, what not to do, and what different non-verbal communications mean?
Travis Chappell: Yeah, I think it’s more the latter than the former, in my experience anyway… And I’m sure that there are ways to improve on that and make it better, to where you can make it a quicker learning process… But I just look at it as like you’ve just gotta put in the reps. There’s just no substitute for putting in the reps and talking to people.
When I sit down and try to negotiate now deals with different people in the real estate world, in investing and stuff, there’s almost like a comfortability in negotiation that I think that I have, that not a lot of people do have… Because intrinsically it’s an uncomfortable situation. People can talk terms all day, people can talk benefits all day, but as soon as it comes down to pricing, everybody starts getting a little fidgety; people start feeling a little uncomfortable… And I think a lot of it is just getting in that pocket and allowing yourself to stay there for longer than the other person. A lot of times it’s how you win a negotiation, in my opinion. It just comes from repetition.
There’s only so much reading about it that you can do, but if you sat in — like I said, I’ve talked to thousands of people in door-to-door; I sat in quite literally hundreds and hundreds of situations where it’s just me and a customer, one on one, negotiating a price and trying to come to terms and sign a contract. There’s no substitute for that kind of experience, because the books don’t tell you each individual personality type, and they don’t tell you that maybe this person’s background – they have certain limiting beliefs in their background about why this particular deal isn’t gonna work out for them long-term, and we have to overcome that.
There’s just so many things that reading and trying to learn faster isn’t going to be able to give you, and the only way that you’re gonna be able to get it is from putting in the reps and actually doing it. That’s why I like door-to-door so much, and especially comparatively to people who study sales, but have never really done sales…I just think doing something like that is gonna give you way more real-life experience and a better learning process than just reading some books. And I’m not saying don’t read books – I do that very often – I’m just saying that I don’t think there’s any substitute for putting in the reps.
Theo Hicks: Yeah, I like the terms that you used, reps. It gives me a metaphor from working out. If I wanna have a really high bench press, for example – well, I can read about all the different strategies for benching, the different grips, the different hand positioning, but I’m not gonna get stronger by just reading. My bench pressing is not gonna go up by just reading. I have to actually go to the gym and put what I learned into practice.
Travis Chappell: A hundred percent.
Theo Hicks: So it’s kind of the same thing… You can read about sales, about non-verbal communication all you want, and that’s helpful, for sure (we should do that), but you need to actually go out and put in those reps and put that knowledge into practice in order to actually realize that “Oh my god, there’s an infinite mount of grey areas that I’ve not learned about”, and that you can’t learn about in books, because the book would be a million pages long.
Travis Chappell: Right, yeah.
Theo Hicks: I wanna transition into the podcast really quickly before we get into the money question. I know for real estate investors something that we stress a lot on this podcast is the power of the thought leadership platform. It’s for real estate investors in general, but as an apartment syndicator, one thing that is hard for aspiring syndicators is getting that credibility in the eyes of your investors. So “I have never done a 100-apartment deal before. How do I get people to invest in my deal?” and one of the ways is to build credibility and display expertise with a podcast, or a YouTube channel, or a blog. But similarly, “I have never done a podcast before, so why would people listen to me?” So what are some tips you have on how to grow a podcast, or a thought leadership platform in general?
Travis Chappell: First off, I think that it’s really awesome that you’re teaching your listeners that, because I grew up in a real estate household, so – my dad, Mark Chappell, is a real estate agent in Southern California, a real estate broker… So I kind of grew up in that kind of a household, so I’ve always had this soft spot to help out real estate agents as much as I can. And this friend of mine, he sold his last real estate brokerage for 3,5 billion dollars in Beverly Hills… And I was talking to him recently about podcasting and how it can help out real estate investors, real estate agents, and really help — if you’re trying to be in real estate, in my opinion, there’s no better way to separate yourself from the competition than creating content.
And I was explaining that to him and he was like “Cool, let’s try it out.” So we went and tried it out, and did like a test group of 100 people who were customers of his in the past, real estate agents who were taking some things through his new marketing platform, and stuff… And out of 100 people, none of them were interested in starting a podcast. And I was just like “Wow, this is such a glaring oversight for these people…”, because this is one of the most competitive industries on the planet; for good reason, but also – that sucks. There’s so much competition, there’s so much saturation. Everybody and their mom has a real estate agent best friend, or something. So I was trying to explain this to people… And I believe that it goes for real estate investors even more so, because like you say, if you’re trying to make people let go of their well-earned money to give to you – there’s a lot of trust that has to be built there.
And what’s the number one way to build trust? You have to have a relationship. Well, how do you have a relationship? People have to spend time with you. So how do you spend time with people on a mass scale? The only way is through creating content. The best way is through creating content. Because you can’t spend 2-3 hours with 1,000 people and still be able to do everything in your life that you’re trying to do. But you can release two or three hours of content on a podcast throughout a seven-day period and have 1,000 people tune in and get to know you and build that know, like and trust with that audience, ultimately to where they feel comfortable enough with you to be able to open their wallet or their bank account, and trust you with their money.
Look, if you’re not creating content, I just want you to sit there and ask yourself genuinely, why? “Why am I not creating content?” And then look at the reasons why you’re not creating content and ask yourself “Is this a real reason, or is this an excuse, because I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing?” Because that’s also a big thing for people, especially if you’ve done really big deals and you’ve negotiated million-dollar contracts, and you’re putting together a lot of large syndication deals, and those types of things.
When I talk to people that have big success in these other areas, they’re more scared of getting into podcasting and YouTube and these other spaces because they know nothing about it, and because they know it’s gonna be a grind and that they’re gonna have to start from scratch. So for them it’s just like “Well, it doesn’t really help that much”, and they avoid it because they don’t know anything about it, because they don’t wanna start from scratch on something again, because they’re really good at what they do currently… If that makes sense.
So I would just sit there, ask yourself “Why aren’t you creating content?” and then if it’s for a reason like that, if it’s just an excuse, then I would say get rid of it and just get started. Do something. Create content on some platform. Pick one – podcasting, YouTube, LinkedIn, whatever it is. Podcast and YouTube are the most difficult ones to grow a real audience on, but they’re also the most effective platforms, so… I would definitely recommend doing a podcast, starting a YouTube channel, something like that; just understand that it’s gonna take a while to grow. It’s not the same as a lot of other areas of business. It takes time to build those audience relationships and actually cultivate those relationships and turn them into an audience that actually cares about what you have to say. But if you can do that, then you’ll be thanking me in like five years from now.
That’s what I always tell people, “If you’re getting in the content creation game for a one or two-year play, then don’t do it at all, because you’re gonna be really disappointed with the results most likely. But if you’re getting into this for a five-year, ten-year play, then that’s where the money is.” I’ve been doing this for a couple of years and I’m already doing it full-time, and had some amazing guests come on the show, and I’m really proud of everything that’s happened with my show to date… But this is not the endgame for me at all. I’m looking at a decade into the future of what the possibilities are with creating content like this, as often as I do.
So yeah, it takes some time, but this is time that’s going to save you time on the back-end, if that makes sense. So take the time now to save yourself time later. This is a conversation that I think real estate investors and real estate agents should be having a lot more often. There’s one really big tip that I can help you with in terms of what you were saying at the beginning of this question, Theo – people sitting there and having that impostor syndrome creep up, of like “Well, who am I to get investor money? Well, I will start a podcast and then make myself more credible. But who am I for people to listen? Why wouldn’t they just go listen to Joe Fairless, and Theo, and why wouldn’t they go listen to Bigger Pockets? Why wouldn’t they go listen to those guys? What am I gonna say that people are gonna wanna hear?” And the bottom line is people connect with people, they don’t connect with just the resume. So – sure, Bigger Pockets and Joe Fairless and all these other big real estate shows have a lot more clout and credibility, but somebody out there that listens to your podcast is gonna connect with you because you’re you. That was one huge thing that I had to learn during this process.
When I first started, I only did interviews, because I didn’t have credibility, and I viewed it like “Why are people gonna wanna hear from me?” Then I had audience members reach out and say “Hey, we’d like to hear more from you.” Now I do a weekly solo show, and it’s one of my most popular shows; it’s crazy, but it’s just the fact that your audience resonates with you, not necessarily just your content. So get over the impostor syndrome and get started with something.
And then the number one way to move past all that is exactly what I did at the beginning – just the interviews. If you’re really that worried about it, start with interviews. You don’t have to be the expert. That’s the coolest thing about this. When I started my show – it’s called Build Your Network; that’s the title of my show – I didn’t know anything about networking. I didn’t go to networking events; I did the meetups, and different things like that, but I wasn’t good at it. I knew zero people. The richest person in my network when I started was making $150,000 a year. I started from zero, I started from scratch. I built everything up in a couple of years through leveraging credibility.
All I would do is go interview people, and then ask them questions about networking, and then every time I would do that, I would get a little bit better at networking, and then I would read books on networking, because that was my show. Then I would get better guests on. And then I would go get better, and better, and better guests on. And then every time I got a good guest, you use that as credibility to get you another good guest. And then before you know it, you have insane credibility, because you have dozens of amazing guests who’ve come on and shared their best tips for success in whatever it is.
So if you’re out there thinking “Man, I wanna start a show, but nobody’s gonna listen to me.” Well, just start a show, but do it as like an investigative reporter. Be that person that reports back to your audience. Get people like Joe Fairless on, get people like Theo on, get people like the Bigger Pockets guys on your show, and get them to share their message on your show, and build that credibility in your brand.
But yeah, this is a great question, because I just am so passionate about trying to help, especially people in real estate, just differentiate themselves through the power of content creation. I think that it’s so vital.
Theo Hicks: Oh yeah, I [unintelligible [00:20:13].21] crash course on why to create a podcast, and then how to actually go about doing it, on the mindset behind it. Alright, Travis, what is your best real estate investing advice ever?
Travis Chappell: Best real estate investing advice – it might seem a little bit simple, but it’s get started. A lot of people are waiting around; they keep waiting and waiting and waiting, like “Oh, I hear the market’s about to do this. Oh, interest rates are doing this” or “This other thing is happening.” But bottom line is get started. Find a deal and do a deal. As we were talking about earlier, if you just read about it all day long and never take action on it, then it’s never gonna benefit you. And one of the coolest things about real estate is that there’s a lot of surety in your investment, because it’s in real estate. That’s one of the coolest things about the real estate industry – if you go pick a stock and you put a bunch of money into it, you have no control over whether or not that stock increases or decreases in value. In real estate, you find a deal and put money into it, even if it ends up not doing as well as you had hoped, just get one, because it’s real estate. People are gonna have to live somewhere. That’s the biggest thing.
I’ll give you a for-instance, Theo. We made an investment last year, my dad and I, and it ended up being a bad deal. We were just gonna flip it, and we ended up being upside down on it by the time we went to sell… And it was a bummer situation; obviously, it wasn’t idea, and that’s not the goal, and that’s not what we were looking to do, but it’s still real estate. So literally, the worst-case scenario did happen. The worst-case scenario happened in that deal, and you know what the worst-case scenario is? We have another rental property. That’s the worst-case scenario. We still own another house that we didn’t own before. Obviously, that money would be better used somewhere else, in a deal that’s cash-flowing better, or whatever… But worst-case scenario was we got another house out of it. It’s not like we lost our entire life savings.
The biggest thing is you’ve just gotta get started, and be okay with the fact that if you get started and you don’t know 100% of everything that you’re doing, you might lose a little bit of money… But that’s okay. Just get started, and do something. Stop waiting around.
There’s probably people listening to this show, and have listened to hundreds of episodes, but have never actually done a deal. So stop hesitating, get off the fence and just do something and figure it out along the way. There’s no better way to learn something than to just jump in and do it.
Theo Hicks: Alright, Travis… Are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round.
Travis Chappell: Yeah, let’s do it.
Theo Hicks: Alright. First, a quick word from our sponsor.
Theo Hicks: Alright, Travis, what is the best ever book you’ve recently read?
Travis Chappell: Recently read, or best ever for anybody.
Theo Hicks: It can be either one.
Travis Chappell: Well, there’s this book that I read recently, it’s from Mark Manson… And I don’t know if you’re allowed to cuss on the show, but the title is “Everything is Fucked.” That’s the title of the book. He doesn’t cuss a lot in the book, so if you are listening and you’re like “Oh, that’s not my thing”, get past that and just read the book. I promise you you’ll pick up on a lot of things.
Basically, it’s like a modern-day philosophy book, and there’s a lot of amazing takeaways in that book. And his first book is really good as well, so I would recommend anything by Mark Manson.
Theo Hicks: I’ve heard of his first book, but I didn’t know he had a second one, so I’ll definitely check that out. If your business were to collapse today, what would you do next?
Travis Chappell: I would do exactly what I did a couple of years ago, and start creating content around a topic that I was curious about. That’s the coolest thing about content creation – you don’t have to know everything; like we talked about, you can just be the investigative reporter. So I’ll just pick a new topic that I really wanted to learn about, something that’s a passion of mine, and just start creating content around that topic, and learning more and more about it.
Theo Hicks: What is the best ever deal you’ve ever done?
Travis Chappell: A real estate deal we’re talking about?
Theo Hicks: Yeah.
Travis Chappell: Best ever deal that I did was a duplex that I bought when I was 19. My sister and I bought it together, and got a five-year loan on that, paid it off in five years… It ended up going really well for us.
Theo Hicks: And then lastly, what is the best ever place to reach you?
Travis Chappell: TravisChappell.com has basically everything. I’m on all the social platforms, so I always tell people “Connect with me at whatever platform that you like to connect on.” But if you’re wondering which one I spend the most time on, it’s probably Instagram. That’s @travischappell. Reach out over there, say what’s up. I’ve got a lot of different free trainings and stuff going on, so if you want to learn a lot about networking and different things like that, and see how it can coincide with real estate, I do have a totally free masterclass going on right now, which you can register for at threenetworkingsecrets.com.
Theo Hicks: The number three or is it spelled out three?
Travis Chappell: Three, spelled out. Threenetworkingsecrets.com.
Theo Hicks: Alright, Travis. This has been a very powerful conversation, lots of great information that can help not only people with their real estate careers, but just life in general. To summarize what we’ve talked about – it was really three categories. Number one, you talked about your direct door-to-door sales experience, and from that we talked about how by putting in the reps, by being in front of people, by negotiating deals with people, you were able to massively increase your emotional intelligence (EQ). That is your ability to read and decipher people’s non-verbal communication. Because at the end of the day, as you mentioned, people usually don’t actually say what they mean or what they’re actually thinking.
You mentioned that at the end of the day you can read as much as possible about emotional intelligence, about sales, about real estate, about really anything, but the main lesson is you have to actually go out there and put in the reps, actually do what you’re learning about in order for it to benefit you.
Secondly, we talked about — essentially, you gave a crash course on starting and growing a podcast. You talked about why it’s important to build a podcast – the number one way to build trust is to build relationships, and to build relationships you need to spend time with people; the best way to spend time with the most amount of people is to create content that they consume.
Then more specifically you mentioned that podcasting and YouTube are the most difficult to grow, but are definitely the most effective, and then some tips on how to actually grow an audience – number one, you have to look at it as a 5 or 10-year play, rather than a one or two-year play. That’s what me and Joe talked about on Follow Along Friday before, about thinking in terms of decades, rather than in terms of months and years.
We also talked about the tip for getting over impostor syndrome, which is realizing that at the end of the day people want to connect with other people, not just the resume… Sure, there’s a hundred people that are out there that are most likely gonna be bigger than you, but at the end of the day it’s about you being you, and finding people that resonate with you.
Then something else I would add from my end is that Travis, Joe, me – everyone at one point did not have a podcast, and had no one listening, so… So you don’t really get to use that as an excuse, because everyone that’s successful at one point was where you’re at right now.
And then you mentioned that a great way to start, if you are afraid to do the solo podcast, or are fearful that you don’t know what you’re talking about – just be an investigative reporter and interview people, and over time you will become an expert and you will become a credible expert because of those conversations with those people.
And then lastly, your best ever advice, which is very simple, but also powerful – to get started; if you wanna do a deal, do a deal. Kind of going back to point number one, about the reps – essentially, being okay with losing a bit of money, because as you mentioned, your worst-case scenario, you walk away with the skillsets of “Hey, I’ve done a deal before”, so now you know moving forward how to do a deal.
Again, really powerful advice, Travis. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation. I learned a lot myself, and I look forward to listening to this show again. Best Ever listeners, thank you for tuning in. Have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.