November 16

What Do Victoria’s Secret and the Probate Fox Have In Common?

Over the years, Victoria’s Secret has become the largest lingerie retailer in the United States. It has become an iconic brand with annual fashion shows that feature models dubbed Angels.

But it wasn’t always this way. The story of how they manufactured their success is worth a quick study.

The way they market their international brand to women has been the secret to their success. But it didn’t start out that way. They originally marketed solely to men to buy for their partners – and that just didn’t work.

Then along comes Les Wexner. He saw the potential in the brand and realized where the previous owners went wrong. He saw the power in making women feel important so he marketed the lingerie directly to women.

And then he did something incredibly clever.

To create the illusion of an international luxury company, on every public-facing piece of marketing, from catalogs to postcards to online ads, he listed its headquarters at a fake address in London.

So where was the real headquarters located? In the sexiest place he could afford. Smack dab in the middle of America’s Rust Belt – Columbus, Ohio.

The funny thing is I used a similar strategy back in 2008.

During the last market correction, there was a brief period where business came to a complete halt in California. I don’t like to sit around idle so I took my probate business and plugged it into Indiana and Ohio.

Working a couple thousand miles away can present some challenges so my strategy was to wholesale. Here were my obstacles:

– I needed it to do it remotely
– In markets that were completely new to me
– I was a complete outsider

There were some slight differences in the probate process, but the psychology and struggles of the sellers were the same as it was in California.

I quickly discovered that by being an outsider and especially one from a state that even back then wasn’t so popular with other Americans, my propositions to buy their house just seemed suspicious and unauthentic to the folks going through probate.

I needed to change the seller’s perception quickly.

So I adopted Victoria’s Secret’s clever strategy – I acquired a local number and mailing address. I also trained some locals from each state both Indiana and Ohio that knew the local politics, and culture, and understood their own geographic market.

One of the things that made an immediate impact was the local accents. The people I hired in each state to cold call and talk to the sellers sounded like they were local – because they were! All of this together created an instant bond of trust with the sellers that I couldn’t have imitated with my California accent and Los Angeles address. It was such a powerful impact that made all the difference in creating the illusion of dealing with a local company.

I had a great run at wholesaling properties in Indiana and Ohio and did that for some time but as my business in California quickly picked back up I found myself focusing on sellers in my own backyard

I will never forget how great it felt to be able to plug my probate business into remote markets and to be able to get the same results that I was accustomed to.

Times are a-changing. But don’t let the market shift scare you. In fact, it’s much easier to run a business in other markets than it was 14 years ago.

To your success,
Ernie “Plug-N-Play” Vargas | The Probate Fox


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