Up here in the foothills of the Mother Lode Country just east of the Central San Joaquin Valley in Northern California where the Corporate Office of North American Loan Servicing is located, people have been mining for gold since the Gold Rush over 150 years ago.
They are still mine here. On any given day you will find people bent over a creek or stream with a gold pan in hand, searching for that one elusive tiny spec or nugget of gold. It’s so rare to find one – even after the rain, and yet they keep coming – mostly on the weekends for recreation. They talk a lot in the local bars and restaurants about the “big nugget” the other guy got or where they “heard” people were successful in finding a nugget washed in the pan.
A few prospectors are still “placer mining” along the riverbeds. This method involves the removal of tons of rich black soil with crude picks and shovels. By washing the dirt in giant sleuth boxes, They harvest the “pay dirt” by dumping huge amounts of the black soil into giant sleuth boxes which were sifted and washed, keeping the residue which contains gold and other precious metals and then hauling it to processing plants, leaving; piles of ugly “mine tailings” behind along the creek beds.
Now with innovations available and provided by technology, gold deposits are located and evaluated in terms of financial feasibility long before the dirt is disturbed. State of the Art tools and electronic earth moving equipment that can now literally move a mountain. It requires an enormous amount of capital, skill, and knowledge to do this kind of hard rock mining.
But, WHAT IF – one of these hard rock mining companies, we’re told by an “old-timer” exactly where a stash of pure gold was located. You see, he had “first-hand knowledge” because he had worked the mine for many years and had a stash of gold to prove it. Further, because of the location of the gold vein, no special equipment or technology was needed, and very little capital was required. All they had to do was put a strategic plan into action and invest a little time and effort in order to harvest a rich vein of gold. Here’s the good part, what if the gold supply would not diminish, in fact, the deposits would keep increasing and multiplying both in quantity and quality – year after year!
Hmmmmmmm, Do you think they would pay any attention to the “old prospector” Do you think they would investigate further, check it out? Do you think they would give it a chance? Do you think they would bet on it? You bet they would!
Why in the world am telling you this crazy story about gold mining and why in the world would you give a hoot? After all, you’re in the Note Business, not the gold mining business. Well, I find it interesting that a clear parallel can be drawn between mining for gold and mining (searching) for notes.
Just consider me the “old-timer” O.K? I’ve been around the block a few times both in the Real Estate and the Loan Business. Since before the Real Estate “Rush” of the mid to late 1970s, through the “pits of the 1980s and the through the Industry Renovations in the 1990s, our family corporation, through innovation and sheer creativity, have been able to not only survive but also have taken advantage of the opportunities available in a changing market including investing in, originating and exchanging notes. We have been able to move quickly, change strategies depending upon the direction and trend of the market movement, and idiosyncrasies of the economy at any given time. And now as we stand on the threshold of the 21st Century the door of opportunity is once again open for investment into other cash flows such as receivables, lotteries, viaticals, etc. We have found that opportunity swings on the hinges of adversity and to this end, we are trained to search and seek out “problems”, because within each one innately lies a solution and therefore and opportunity.
Our kids (who are now in their mid and late forties) have created notes out of “sweat equity”, perfected non-performing notes, exchanged notes for family toys such as boats and cars, and in tough times discounted notes for cash to buy groceries and pay the mortgage. They have amassed real estate and developed a note portfolio. None of our four sons have a college education but all have successful businesses – one recently retired at age 49 with complete financial independence. As the “older timers” in the family, we control several thousand notes in Trust and now enjoy helping others learn and succeed in the business.
This “old-timer” is here to tell you that the most effective way to mine for notes is by developing relationships with Synergy Partners. If you have been in the note business for any length of time, or even for a few months as a new note broker or consultant, you probably have discovered that searching for that one elusive “note” can be not only time-consuming but can also require a ton of money for collateral materials like brochures, flyers, postcards, stationery, business cards, printing, and ads, to say nothing of telephone bills and endless postage. Let me quote from David Butler’s Growing your Food Chain, “it is possible to market yourself right out of business and be sucked into a black hole – the vortex of eternal marketing”. Looking for a note to purchase – one at a time – is incredibly similar to the gold panners who relentlessly search for that one precious nugget that just might catch their eye, as the tons of water wash over the rocks and crevices after a rainy day in the Mother Lode.
And here lies the same kind of problem with marketing for one note at a time. Once you’ve done it – with rare exception, the seller no longer needs your service, so when it’s over – It’s Over. When the Deal is Done – the Deal is Done. You must start your search all over again. Think of the Time and Money invested to get just One Note.
But what if there were a better way?? Do, I really have to sift through hundreds of noteholders to discover “pay dirt”?
Now, I am not suggesting that I have discovered the proverbial “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”. Nor am I suggesting that the Note Business is like falling off a log, requiring no work or effort. Quite the contrary, it is not a business for the lazy or the faint of heart. It involves hard and smart work, patience, and persistence. It doesn’t however; require a rich person, a smart person, an educated person, or a particularly physically endowed person. It does require a person who has “drive”, courage and persistence. Moreover, it requires what I call a “learners heart” and a willingness to do the hard work that follows positive thinking.
It is reasonable to expect to invest considerable time and effort as you climb the learning curve, and funds will be required and should be budgeted. Like any other business, it is not like “falling off a log” and believe it or not there is no “Get Rich Quick” business. It takes a certain amount of risk tolerance and a basic body of knowledge that should be acquired. Just as in hard rock gold mining, there are specific tools required. You can’t dig a mining tunnel with a teaspoon or dynamite a vein of gold in the side of a mountain with a match.
This “old-timer” is excited about sharing with you how to develop a rich vein of note sources that I refer to as “Synergy Partners”. Using this strategy you will be able to multiply yourself through others by forming alliances with individuals or companies that actually provide a service or product for the very same target market you are trying to reach. These are exceedingly more simply referral sources. We will identify sources positioned in the market to deliver a service or product with individuals or companies who own existing notes, originate notes, exchange notes, service or purchase notes, and other cash flows.
This article was modified from an article originally written by Roberta Standen and posted to this site on 2004/05/04.