Today on the show, we welcome Ben Kelley. Together with his partners, Paul Williams and Nathaniel Max Rock, Ben is a Managing Partner at Multifamily Geeks. He is also an owner, manager, and investor in multifamily properties totaling 1000+ units with a value of over $35 million. Today, Ben currently works as the Investor Relations and Marketing Manager for Multifamily Geeks which runs on EOS®.

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Gene Trowbridge and Jillian Sidoti, founding partners of the top syndication law firm Trowbridge Sidoti, have a legal team with over 88 years of combined legal experience. That team, along with their amazing support staff, has helped clients raise over 3.7 billion dollars in offerings by being dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs to raise capital legally, while allowing them time for other important things in their life. To learn more, visit the Crowdfunding Lawyers YouTube channel or website.

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In this episode, Ben explains the five core values that govern their holistic EOS® business model and why he and his partners decided to implement this methodology in order to synchronize and improve their business. Ben delves deeper into the role that core values also play in navigating business relationships at Multifamily Geeks and are used to keep partners, vendors, and employees accountable to themselves, to one another, and to the business itself. In addition, Ben shares the unique systems they use to solve complex problems between partners and maintain their investor relations. If you’re looking for a compass to guide your business and improve every relationship within it – this is an episode you don’t want to miss!

Key Points from This Episode:

  • Discover the five core values that drive the daily decisions at Multifamily Geeks.
  • Find out what EOS® is, why it works, and how it functions in Multifamily Geeks.
  • How EOS® has impacted and transformed Multifamily Geeks since its implementation.
  • Managing and building a team of partners living in different geographic locations.
  • How to know whether your general contractor shares the same core values as you do.
  • Discover the unique way in which the partners at Multifamily Geeks solve problems.
  • The challenges with clarifying core values and building consistently good teams.
  • Find out how Ben and his partners are preparing for the future fallout in multifamily.
  • How to improve your investor relationships with a systematized contact system.
  • Why it’s not such a bad thing to hold onto your fear if you use it to ask every question.
Be a team player, be humbly confident, do what you say, do what’s right, and continue growing. — Ben Kelley Click To Tweet

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Multifamily Geeks

Ben Kelley on LinkedIn

Knack

Traction by Gino Wickman

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

About Ben Kelley

Ben is a managing partner of Multifamily Geeks. He is an Owner/Manager/Investor in multi-family properties totaling 1000+ units with a value of over $35MM in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Warner Robins, GA, and Columbia, SC. Ben’s investments are in 4 (200-300 unit) syndications. Ben’s involvement in real estate extends back to 2003 and Ben has formerly held his California Agent’s License. Ben is a team player and enjoys connecting individuals interested in multi-families. Ben is currently focused on multi-family investments with values match partners. Ben currently works as the investor relations/marketing manager for Multifamily Geeks which runs on EOS®. Ben has an industrial design degree from the University of Cincinnati and has worked in several industries including commercial flooring and architectural services. Ben currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Reach Ben at (310) 658-7178 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

Full Transcript

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:00] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Real Estate Syndication Show. Whether you are a seasoned investor or building a new real estate business, this is the show for you. Whitney Sewell talks to top experts in the business. Our goal is to help you master real estate syndication.

And now your host, Whitney Sewell.

[INTERVIEW]

[00:00:24] WS: This is your daily Real Estate Syndication Show. I’m your host, Whitney Sewell. Today, our guest is Ben Kelley. Thanks for being on the show, Ben. 

[00:00:32] BK: Thanks for having me.

[00:00:33] WS: Yeah. I’m honored to have you on the show. We met over a year ago, and we talked then about having you on the show. So I’m honored to have your on. I know it’s going to be a great conversation today. But real quick, I want to remind the listeners to share the show. I hope you are sharing the show with your friends and other people in the business, and so they can learn about the syndication business and about commercial real estate and learn from these experts just like Ben today.

But a little bit about Ben, he is a managing partner of Multifamily Geeks, along with Max Rock and Paul Williams. He is an owner, manager, investor in multifamily properties, totaling 1,000+ units with a value of over $35 million in about a two-and-a-half-hour drive of Atlanta. Currently, he works as the investor relations and marketing manager for Multifamily Geeks, which runs on EOS, which we’re going to get into some of that. So I’m looking forward to this conversation.

So, Ben, tell the listeners a little bit more about who you are and Multifamily Geeks, and let’s dive in.

[00:01:32] BK: Well, when you do that introduction, I feel like I should be running on the court, slapping hands, getting ready for the big game, because, wow, that sounds awesome. I would just say that we partner with investors to buy multifamily and share on the returns. It’s pretty simple what we do. Multifamily Geeks is a partnership between three partners. Paul is out in Texas, Paul Williams.

Max Rock is here in Los Angeles with me in Monterey Park, a little bit across the city. Max is actually my brother. We picked up Paul about, I don’t know, a year and a half ago, and we’ve been slowly doing project after project. Max and I were single-family, buy-and-hold guys. Paul was the same. He’s done a lot more flipping, flips outside of Chicago and Central Texas. Then we kind of joined forces and starting kind of moving together.

I think one of the things that really brought us together was our clarification of our core values. Max and I sat down. We run something called EOS in our business. We sat down, and we clarified our values. I’ll just go through these really quickly, because they made such a difference for us. Team player, open, honest, transparent.

Number two is humbly confident, no arrogance, no entitlement, facts over charisma. Number three is do what you say. Be realistic but be reliable. Number four is do what’s right for the organization, the investor, the team, which is always a discussion of perspectives that we go through. Number five is continually growing. Open the idea that we can learn something new that would change our perspective.

We’re human. We’re not always perfect. But that’s the filter we operate from every day, and that allowed us to – We attracted partners like Paul Williams. We also moved away from some partners and some relationships that we’re in our business at the time. So that’s been a big step forward for us.

[00:03:23] WS: So I like how you knew those things.  I think most businesses, you don’t have that in writing. Or maybe you think about those things. Well, yeah. Everybody needs to be a team player or we want to do what they say they’re going to do and all those things. But if it’s not in writing, how far is it going to go, Ben?

[00:03:42] BK: I mean, I think it’s – There’s a lot of business that don’t have core values. There’s a lot of businesses that do, and they are. They’re written on the walls. They’re on the keychains. I’ve worked for those companies before. I think as soon as you walk out of the meeting and you hear the speech, everyone looks at each other and says, “Was that real, or does any of that even matter?”

I think for us, we really try to start every conversation with that premise, because when you meet someone for the first time, partner, vendor, investor, it’s just a philosophy. Hey, this is how we see the world. What do you think of that?

There’s a lot of people that are – They just look at us like, “That’s great and all, but I got multifamily to buy and I got success to be a part of.” That’s all true. Those people that don’t value our values, it doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be successful. They are going to be successful. It’s just going to be in a different way, and it’s not going to be with our team. That’s how we work, and we love the values because is a two-way street. So we can talk about them. But in every conversation, someone can stop you and say, “Hey, Ben! What you just did, was that humbly confident?” That’s been great for our team, our vendors, our employees. So you’re right about that.

They’re written on the wall. They’re written in writing. But are they real? We do everything we can to really keep those alive. It is part of, I mentioned this, EOS, which is Entrepreneurial Operating System. It’s out of a book called Traction, Gino Wickman. Have you ever heard of that, Whitney?

[00:05:17] WS: I have. I’ve read Traction but not EOS.

[00:05:20] BK: Okay. So EOS is the system inside Traction. So if you’ve read Traction, you’ve read all about EOS, and there’s all those other books built around that framework, Get a Grip, What the Heck is EOS, How to Be a Great Boss, that are all from different perspectives. We run that methodology in our Multifamily Geeks business, the weekly L 10, the format, the quarterlies, everything, all those tools, the People Analyzer, the accountability chart. We try to stick to that pretty religiously.

[00:05:56] WS: Where at in the, say, timeline of your business of Multifamily Geeks did you all implement this?

[00:06:02] BK: We started implementing this – It’s probably been about two and a quarter years now.

[00:06:08] WS: Okay. So you’ve had some good time. Then tell me the difference that you noticed during that time or that you saw after doing that maybe for you and amongst the team?

[00:06:18] BK: So it was just Max and I sitting down for our quarterlies, looking at our goals. We knew that we needed something to keep us on track, to keep us focused. We would sit down, and we would write out, “Okay. Here is what we’re going to do this next quarter.”

To be open about it, some of those things didn’t always pan out, whether we couldn’t find as much investor capital or we couldn’t find the right deals that fit our criteria in our market. We come back together, and we would kind of reformulate everything. But as soon as we clarified the values, we would go out of a quarterly, and we’d send that out to a couple different partners. Paul Williams being one of them.

Some of the people – Some friends would say, “Hey! I always like to see what you guys are doing. It’s just great.” Then other people like Paul were like, “This looks really good to me. Let’s keep talking.” That brought us together with Paul and then really clarified just the structure that we used to build the team. I think that is something that is unique. There are other multifamily people out there running EOS. So that is not the one thing that makes us different. I might be a little bit off-topic. I think if you’re investing in multifamily, you want to know who your contact is. But if you can’t get a hold of your contact, you want to know who else you can call to figure out what’s going on.

So that team approach I think is important for investors and contractors. But that whole EOS methodology has been wonderful for us, and we go to a conference where there’s other businesses in all different industries running it. So it’s been really good. Did I stray too far off the topic?

[00:07:54] WS: No. I want to get to the building teams and how you all have been successful with that. But I wanted to back up, because a minute ago you mentioned like somebody might come to you and say, “Well, Ben. What’s – Did you say that humbly confident?” How do they know that they can say something like that to you? I mean, that’s a pretty good friendship. I mean, if you know you can trust each other well enough that you can really confront somebody like that. So how did you all get to that point where you know that that’s okay?

[00:08:21] BK: I think from the first time that you meet someone, when we sit down on a call, we’re talking about values, and we’re laying that out there. Then we’re continually watching each other to see if what we’re saying – Is it BS or is it not? So, hey, do what you say. Be realistic but be reliable. You said you were going to be here at 2:10 to do this interview. Were you here at 2:10 to do this interview? Yes.

Now, it’s pretty shallow. So as the relationship develops, you just look for more opportunities to reinforce that both directions. I don’t really have a clear answer for that. But at some point in time, I mean, we have a lot of uncomfortable conversations with things that aren’t going well. Part of the meeting is what’s working, what’s not in our quarterly meetings. You just continue to try to exemplify those values. You’re not perfect. You’re just trying, and I hope that people can say, “Look. I get this. I know that I can stick my head up here and say, ‘Hey! This is BS and this is not happening and we need to talk about this.’” You can engage in that conversation.

The first opportunity you get to do that, you do your best at it. I’m sure it’s not perfect, but you’re just trying to get people to go, “Okay.” They don’t write these things on the wall and then forget about them. These guys aren’t egomaniacs who don’t want to hear another opinion. They’re going to consider what I say, even if they don’t agree with it. I mean, hopefully, that’s how it works.

[00:09:54] WS: Yeah. I think too, it helps when, like you have said, okay, these are my core values. Well, then. That kind of puts you out there for other people to help hold you accountable. So you’re not like flying down here low, saying, “Well, I’m not really sure.” But when you just put it out there, other people are more likely to hold you accountable to it.

[00:10:12] BK: It gives you a vocabulary. So I’ll digress a little bit. Inside Traction, EOS, there’s a tool called the People Analyzer. I don’t know if you remember that. It’s pretty basic. It super simple. We love business books. We read Jim Collins, Good to Great. A lot of people have, and there’s a philosophy in there, the right people in the right seats. Oh, my gosh! That sounded so good to us. But when it came down to hire that person to figure out who that was in the interviewing process and what seat to get them in, I got to be honest, it was – I couldn’t make the theory work.

In Traction, they give you a simple tool, People Analyzer. You write the person’s names. You got the five core values, and you just go down the line. Look, in our first interaction, we talked for an hour. Was Ben a team player, open, honest, transparent? Did I have to ask five questions to get the answer to one question or was he willing to divulge information and kind of how it works?

There’s only three ratings. There’s a plus for exhibits that characteristic most of the time, plus-minus for sometimes, and minus for not very often. So it’s kind of basic. We try to be positive with it, unless there’s a really solid reason. Humbly confident, okay. I kind of made a bad joke. Well, maybe it was just his sense of humor. So let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, plus-minus.

Then we set the bar at three pluses and two plus-minuses. There’s three questions at the end. It says, “Can this person GWC the role that we’re interviewing or we’re working as an investor? Do they get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it? As a vendor, do they get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it?” You answer those three questions. So that’s kind of the standard tool, and we do that with everyone that we’re talking to that we’re considering working with as a vendor, as a partner. But then we also do that at our quarterly meetings with each other. It’s always a little uncomfortable to be on the hot seat.

Even if you work on these things daily, when it’s your turn, the temperature goes up a little bit. I mean, we’re humans. So we try to direct that tool in every which way. Then we’re human. It’s not going to be perfect. If someone says, “Man, you’re right. I really –” I say this kind of a fair amount of time. I screwed that up. I said I was going to do that. I took on too much. I got lost in my priorities. You know what? I screwed that up, and you are right. So that’s what really what you’re looking for and what we’re looking for is just the ability to have that conversation and then try to self-correct as a team, because that’s what gets you to the finish line I guess.

[00:12:55] WS: Yeah. Another good book there. That reminded me of his extreme ownership. It’s just owning things like that, what you just said. I screwed that up. I messed that up just right out. It’s my fault. I’m not pointing fingers. But tell me again. Where is Max located?

[00:13:10] BK: Max is in Monterey Park. Whitney, I always appreciate the book reference, because we’re continually growing. So learning new things is something that’s really important to us. So I always appreciate that. I haven’t read that one, but I totally appreciate that.

[00:13:22] WS: Yeah. Check it out. At Monterey Park. Where is that at? I don’t know what state that’s in.

[00:13:26] BK: Monterey Park. So it’s all parts of Los Angeles. It is just east of Los Angeles. Yeah.

[00:13:31] WS: Okay. So one thing about building teams that you all must be good at, I mean, is from a distance as well. I mean, $35 million of multifamily or over a thousand units Atlanta but you all are in California.

[00:13:45] BK: We have spent time flying to Atlanta.

[00:13:47] WS: Tell me about the teambuilding process at a distance like that.

[00:13:50] BK: So we spent time flying to Atlanta for the last three and half years, building a team that shares our core values. Having those conversations about core values and then working on making offers on properties and then underwriting and getting more properties in underwriting. So all those things we’ve done in Atlanta, and we really kind of ended up with – Right now, we’re working on 102-unit property. I realized by the time that these areas will probably be done but it’s in Sandy Springs. But it’s really where we have that team.

So all of our assets, if you look at, has kind of ended up this way. It’s in about a two and a half-hour drive of Atlanta. There’s a lot of great markets. There’s a lot of great people out there. But we have just focused in one small area, because that’s all we could digest. So I think it’s been an ongoing focus for us. But that’s pretty much focused on the structure, focused on an area, focused on the process that we can do consistently to get a consistent result.

[00:14:54] WS: Do you have some kind of application process and an interview or anything like that before you go to Atlanta? Tell me that process a little bit before you find somebody in a local market like that?

[00:15:05] BK: Well. I guess let me step back. So we have this circle of about two and a half hours of Atlanta where all of our assets have kind of ended up. We bought 113 units in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Atlanta. Then really truly, it’s not about the geography. We’ve ended up that way, because we would partner with values match teams. So there’s a certain property manager, Arcan Capital, that has been wonderful for us, and they’ve been able to bring us into some deals.

So it’s not like we’ve looked at where their deals are and said, “Oh! You are 70 miles outside of our radius. We’re not doing it.” We look at the team and say, “Okay. It’s a heavy lift. We’re rebuilding 27 units that burned down. Who’s the general contractor? Do they share our core values?” Then we look at the property manager, Arcan Capital. Do they share our core values? We just go through the whole team. If everybody’s on board with the values and we feel like that’s a good fit, that’s really kind of our geography. But it has been – I mean, most of the projects we’ve done in the last two years have been with Arcan Capital as a property manager or a partner.

The current deal that we’re doing right now, I mean, it’s hard to find a good deal, they own part of it. Their partner wants out, to make it simple. They came to us and said, “Will you buy our partner out, and we can continue along with you, Multifamily Geeks?” They’re staying in the deal, and we’re raising $5.7 million to buy out the shares in the LLC.

[00:16:39] WS: I like how you even extend that to their property management company and the general contractor. Is this somebody that shares these values? But tell me, how do you know the general contractor shares these values?

[00:16:55] BK: There’s no perfect answer to that. So we meet them through Arcan Capital. Number one, they get introduced by someone that does share the core values. That’s a big start. So Arkansas, “Hey! This is our general contractor, All Restoration Services, All Restoration Solutions, ARS.” We worked with them for about five years. We think they’re a values match. They don’t quite use the same values match vocabulary that we do. But they’re like, “Hey! We’ve worked with them for five years. We really like these guys. They do about $5 million with them a year.”

So they have a good relationship. It’s got a track record. So we have a conference call with them. We meet the project manager, Jeff Reed, and we do the interview. Jeff, these are our values. Team player, humbly confident, do what you say, do what’s right, and continually growing. What do you think? Jeff says, “I live by those values.” When you get a response like that, I mean, there’s all different responses. But just the response was very emphatic. Then you fly out when you go in to look at the project and you swing by the general contractor’s place. Now, they’re like, “Who are you? What are you doing here?”

So we bring coffee, because Starbucks is nice for people to get, and we say, “Hey! We work with Arcan. We’re working on this project that you guys are working on.” I guess who helped us that day was the controller. So she comes out of her office. We give her a coffee. So she’s okay with talking to us for five minutes. We’re like, “Hey! These are our values.” She is looking at us like, “Who are you guys?” But she gives us an example. She’s like, “You know, we’re a family-owned business, the two partners.”

For example, she tells us a story about one of their customers gave them a call and said, “Hey! Someone backed over a utility pole and destroyed this power line. We think it was your person.” ARS says, “Well, let’s look into that.” Then the customer calls ARS back and says, “You know what? Never mind. It wasn’t your guy. Never mind.” ARS looks into it, and they say, “You know what? It was our person.” They did back over the pole. They did destroy utility. So they called and took care of the whole thing. This controller, she feels good about it, because she feels like her company is going to back her up. We’re like, “Hey! That’s do the right thing.”

So you have a conversation like that with the general contractor, and you start to go, “Okay. Check.” I’ll be open. I thought for sure probably. I guess I’ll say it. So I feel like I’ve met general contractors where they’re not always humbly confident and some of the general contractors that I worked on my personal projects. So I thought for sure, how many general contractors are humbly confident? I probably shouldn’t make that generalization. So I apologize to any general contractor. But we did meet them and the different team, and we’re like, “Wow! This team is humble.”

[00:19:52] WS: That’s some good investigative work, talking to somebody, another employee, and letting them talk a little bit and asking them some questions. That’s good. That’s some good investigative work. So tell me, what makes you all different?

[00:20:05] BK: Well, I think for all those things that we’ve been talking about, I think the values that we run EOS, I mean, we use the five core values in building teams and driving daily decisions. I really think that is what makes us different. People always ask us about the numbers, and we’ve been a part of projects with like, “Hey! What’s this? What’s that?” The numbers – Your rent bumped.

People ask me like, “What IRR is your project?” I’ll just step back and I totally understand where that question is coming from. As an investor, it’s like, “Where am I going to make the most money?” Of course. But in my experience, those numbers are written by people, and those numbers can look really good, no matter what.

So if someone’s going to have a conversation with me like, “Hey! You guys are 17% IRR on this one,” I can get better down the street. To be fair, we try to talk in an annualized. So the project that we’re doing right now is a 17% annualized number. We try to keep it simple so that everyone can compare that number. When we’re talking to someone who’s shopping IRRs or annualized values, so to speak, we just step back and we say, “Hey! This is a very holistic approach for us. It’s something that we’re building a relationship for that it’s not just one deal. We want to invest or we want you to invest with us time and time again. This relationship hopefully is for the rest of our lives.”

So 2% this way or that way, it’s not a big deal for us, and we try to talk about the values and servicing the investor and communication and just what our promise is. I think our promise is that in good situations, in bad situations, in upmarkets and downmarkets and things that we got right and things that we may not have gotten right, we’re going to be open and honest and transparent.

[00:21:56] WS: Yeah. I know.  Just a few minutes, unfortunately, before we have to stop the interview. But I wanted to ask you before we get to the last few questions, are there any unique ways that you all make decisions?

[00:22:06] BK: In the L 10, if it’s an issue for us, it gets listed in the IDS section. We only have a certain amount of time in our meetings. So you pick the top three. So if it bubbles up to the top as one the most important problems or issues to solve this week in the company, it gets IDS’ed or identified, discussed, and solved.

Then once we start that process, identify, identify, discuss, and then you’re really considering the different perspectives. Do the right thing is a discussion of what’s the right thing from this perspective and that perspective. So I think on one hand, there’s nothing new about that. On the other hand, it’s something that we do pretty consistently to move us forward. So I would say that it is unique with those values in a setting like that.

[00:22:52] WS: I would say it’s unique. Not everybody is that systematized and organized and thinks everything through like that. So it’s great. I like it a lot. We’ve tried to start implementing some of those things personally, and we haven’t gotten as far as you have. But you’re over two years into it, and I congratulate you all for implementing those sayings and sticking to it.

So a few last questions though, Ben. What’s been the hardest part of the syndication process or journey for you?

[00:23:16] BK: Building teams. We’ve had some teams that have done really well but not consistent. One return off of a project was a 38% annualized return, home run. Then another project, well, it looks like we’ll probably going to lose that money invested. Open and honest, we have to – If we’re going to tell you all the good things, then we have to tell you about some of our bad experiences too and stepping back and clarifying values. Actually, we clarified our values before that project went south or before we knew it was going south. So building teams and relationships is like on one hand so simple, and when it’s right it’s beautiful. Most of the time, it’s hard to get right.

[00:23:58] WS: Yeah. I appreciate your transparency. Not everybody is that transparent. So I think that says a lot about you personally. But tell me, how do you prepare for another potential downturn that everybody is talking about?

[00:24:10] BK: I think you know that there’s going to be a slowdown coming. We don’t know when. My crystal ball is a little hazy. I mean, that we do all the things. You build the team. You look at the project has the right numbers to it. The project that we’re working right now, it’s a 5 to 10-year hold. It’s a B asset in an A class area, and it has the legs to go through a slowdown the way it’s positioned in the market with the age next to its competitors across the street, the per-door price. The only reason that we’re getting a look at it is because our property manager already owns part of it. So it’s kind of an inside deal, no brokers off-market.

So those unique situations is what gets us to the table, and I don’t know. We don’t have the magic bullet, but we try to do good projects with a solid team, with a consistent process to get consistent results. I mean, we plan everything to make it through the downturn. So personally, I think there’s going to be some significant fallout in multifamily in the next five years, and we’re conscious of that. But I don’t have any magic answer.

[00:25:25] WS: I agree. It’s all about when you buy it, isn’t it? You got to be prepared. But to move on, tell me a way that you have improved your business recently, other than what we’ve talked about the teams, the EOS? Another way maybe – How about on the investor relations? The way you’ve improved that side of the business that we can all apply to our business?

[00:25:43] BK: We have gotten significantly better at our contact system, the way that we track relationships. Then for a raise that we’re doing right now this property in – This 102 units in Sandy Springs. We start with a marketing queue. We load them up in this area. Then as we touch each customer, each investor with any of the partners or any of the people, we move them to the next. We call it our investor river.

So, it starts in a marking queue. As they get an email, as they get a text, as they get a phone call, it gets marked in the notes, and they get moved into that area. If someone pipes up and says, “Hey! This looks interesting to me,” we send them some of the preliminary PDFs and they go into a different tag. Then we look at those tags daily and saying, “Okay. Who’s ready to talk? Who’s not?” Then those people, that’s like, “Okay. I looked at the stuff. You know what? Not for me right now.” We move them into – We tag them. Untag one area. Retag them into another. So it’s kind of this investor river, and that’s helped us.

I think for the Sandy Springs project, we’ve personally talked to 657 investors. So everything is there so that I look at the notes and I’m like, “Hey, Mark! How’s it going?” He’s like, “Man, you’ve been calling me for two years.” I’m like, “Yeah. The last time we talked is the 113 units in Birmingham.” The last three times they said no. This investor is like, “Hey! I’m ready now. This sounds like a great project. I’m ready go.” So the way that we connect with and manage those relationships has really improved. If they say, “Hey! Not on this one,” if they invest with us in the next five years, that’s success for us. So that way of keeping that relationship and touching base, our investor river has really improved for us. So it’s been great. 

[00:27:34] WS: That was a great answer, by the way, and I hope everybody just listened to that. I hope you’ll hit the back button for 30 seconds and listen to what Ben just said again. You said 600 investors. You’ve called them for numerous years. Even though they didn’t invest over many times, guess what? You’re still calling them and just tracking those things. That’s some great points right there. I have to ask what customer relationship management tour you’re using.

[00:28:00] BK: So we have built and customized a system, and I want to say that I think the foundational software is by Knack. Just to be open about it, Max Rock on our team, he is the database guy, he sits in our integrator seat, and he’s really been the one that has built out this to do the things we need to do. We constantly make changes to it, and there’s some big revisions coming to it. We think we want to be managing more around 3,000 investors by the end of next year and 8,000 after that of maintaining that relationship. But Knack is the software, but it’s really been customized for what we’re doing.

[00:28:42] WS: That’s nice. You know, that’s nice. That’s a lot of phone calls. You get up to 8,000. 600 is a lot. So tell me though your best advice for caring for investors, so they want to come back to the next deal.

[00:28:54] BK: People ask me. They’re like, “Gosh! I’m just kind of fearful, and I just don’t know if it’s ready to let go of my money in this deal.” I encourage them. That fear, hold on to it. Ask every question that you need to to get the answer, to get to know the right people.

I don’t think there’s a magic answer, but I say embrace your personality, your strengths, what you’re comfortable with, what you’re not comfortable with, and find the thing, the asset class, the team, the area that resonates with who you are. I don’t think there is any certain magic bullet where it’s right for person A and right for person B. A and B, they both have their own strengths and weaknesses and personalities. So I say follow who you are and answer all the questions and go through all the fears. Don’t let it go. Hold on to everything.

[00:29:47] WS: What’s the number one thing that’s contributed to your success?

[00:29:50] BK: Partnerships and teamwork. I mean, it was – We had deals that just we were getting things done and we were getting good results. But we were not having fun. When we started running EOS and building teams with the core values and moving toward some partners, moving away from other partners, we really started to have fun again.

That is all the difference in the world when you’re talking about spending quarterly meetings on a Saturday in a hotel room with your team of five for 10 hours. So the partnership has let it be fun again in the methodology. So that’s been a big deal for us.

[00:30:31] WS: Tell us how you like to give back.

[00:30:34] BK: I think we’re really working on ways that we can do this more effectively. We do some donations here and there to different churches and that kind of stuff. Paul Williams is heavily involved in his church. I’m involved in my church. But I got to be honest. Our giveback ratio as Multifamily Geeks is not in stride yet, and I think we’re still working on that.

I love, Whitney, that something that you have just been such a leader on and the way that you have said this is who we are, this is why we’re doing it, and this is what’s important to us. I love that, and I’m inspired by that. So our answer is a little weak right now. But I think in the future, this kind of question helps us get it in line. So thank you.

[00:31:17] WS: I appreciate that very much, kind words. But tell the listeners how they can get in touch with you.

[00:31:23] BK: multifamilygeeks.com, Ben Kelley. You can write the contact page. Or you can just call me in my cell phone, (310) 658-7178. multifamilygeeks.com.

[00:31:36] WS: Awesome. Great interview, Ben.

[00:31:38] BK: Thank you very much.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

[00:31:40] WS: Don’t go yet. Thank you for listening to today’s episode. I would love it if you would go to iTunes right now and leave a rating and written review. I want to hear your feedback. It makes a big difference in getting the podcast out there. You can also go to the Real Estate Syndication Show on Facebook, so you can connect with me and we can also receive feedback and your questions there that you want me to answer on the show.

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[OUTRO]

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