We’re not sure if we’ve shared this before but back in 2009, I (Tom) was rear-ended by a large coffee truck on Dundas Street in Burlington.
The driver had fallen asleep going 70 km an hour while I was stopped behind an 18 Wheeler, that had a huge sign on the back of it that read, “DANGER: Extremely Flammable,” in red letters along the rear bumper.
The German-engineered car I was driving crumpled as I smashed the corner of the 18-wheeler, then bounced across two lanes and smashed another car so hard that it then hit the car in front of it.
I passed out for about four to five seconds and as I came to, people were already running up to my car to see if I was OK. The driver of the 18-wheeler came out and said that if that coffee truck hit him directly, they would have seen the explosion from Toronto. It’s funny now but I still get a little emotional around the subject.
One of the first things that came to mind immediately after I realized what had happened was how lucky I was that I was going to go home and see my family that day – at that moment that was all that mattered and that’s all that was important to me, my family.
The police officer who first arrived said I must have automatically or spontaneously turned the steering wheel to avoid the truck and that may have saved me from a much more serious situation. Reflecting back, I can recall hearing myself scream in sheer terror as I passed out… It was a nightmare of a situation that bothered me for a long time.
On the side of Dundas Street, I had a few tears streaming down my cheeks when I had a moment to reflect on how lucky I was.
OK, so why are we sharing this depressing story?
Because that day I went home and began writing letters to my children. These letters were all-around lessons I wanted them to learn in case I wasn’t around when they needed me. Sounds horrible, right? Anyway, for some reason, it was important for me to do it.
One of the letters was about a skill that has given both Nick and me a lot of freedom.
People who first meet us mistakenly believe that we must be huge fans of real estate as a vehicle to freedom – and we are.
But there’s one skill that transcends real estate investing.
And that skill is effective marketing.
To be even more precise, it’s effective direct response marketing.
Marketing is what occurs before someone ever meets with you face-to-face or over the phone to complete a sale. It pre-sells someone to do business with you and it has the power to make the “closing” of a sale a very pleasant experience for everyone.
Learning all about direct response marketing helped us get more people to our properties, it helped us do well in our sales jobs, it helped us gain confidence to quit our jobs, start Rock Star Inner Circle and then Rock Star Real Estate.
We’ve been studying this form of marketing now for over 15 years and implementing various strategies in a serious way since 2006. It’s allowed us to create a great business with great people and great clients.
It’s also given us a lot of personal freedom.
Perhaps most importantly, it’s allowed us to spend a lot of time with what’s most important, our families. Both of us get to do simple things like taking our kids to school. From Grade 2 onwards, I was able to take my oldest to school every day.
Those chats in the car and walking with him in the morning were priceless to me. I’ve been able to do the same with my daughter. I get to spend a lot of time with my wife, at home in the mornings, on trips, on weekends and on vacations. Each year we’ve gone away for a month as a family to Europe – the memories have already been amazing.
It’s also the reason we thread marketing lessons throughout this newsletter, at the Your Life. Your Terms. Events, in videos, articles etc. Although we are huge fans of good real estate investing, we also strongly believe that understanding marketing is another vehicle for personal freedom.
We feel with this type of marketing knowledge any of us could land anywhere in the world and start a successful business from scratch. There’s a certain confidence and even peace of mind you gain by knowing that.
So this may sound strange, but if there’s one skill Nick and I would both encourage everyone to study, it would be direct response marketing.