Gunfight at the OK Corral

In 1881, in Tombstone, AZ, Virgil Earp and his brothers Morgan and Wyatt Earp, aided by Doc Holliday acting as a temporary deputy, confronted outlaw cowboys Billy and Ike Clanton, Tom McLaury and his brother Frank McLaury. Some historians say Ike and Tom were not armed. It did not go well for them. The point is: don’t go to a gunfight without a gun.

I attend 30-40 Real Estate marketing meetings per year. Several of these are the Denver, Mile Hi Marketing Group that meets weekly. I also attend several state, regional or national marketing sessions. I see too many attendees at these sessions who show up without a loaded gun. None of the lawmen were killed that day. They all showed up with three things: experience, guns and bullets. What can we learn from them, as we attend marketing sessions?


We all walk into the meeting, for the first time, with no experience, and differing levels of real estate expertise. But some of us sit there for years with only the basic requirements the group imposes on us and even try to avoid the minimum requirements. Education is time consuming and may have a cost, but ignorance is more costly. Courses are available through the S.E.C. Education Foundation ( and articles are free to those who subscribe at There are a multitude of Internet resources.

John Weaver, from Tucson, says the best education course for Equity Marketing is on the marketing floor. Attend national and regional marketing sessions to learn from those making a living in this specialty arena.

Your excuse may be that there is no marketing group in my area. If this is the case, you’ll have to start one and also travel to other groups or attend National Marketing sessions. Try for a list of marketing groups around the country.

Also read Rod Stewart’s article in The Observer, “Ideas for establishing a local marketing group” ( For someone getting started in the business, I would recommend buying lunches for those who have more experience, or maybe even ask someone to mentor you.

The Gun: You need to bring a gun to the OK Corral (marketing session). This is a real estate listing with a well counseled client. Listings are the life blood of any marketing session. If you don’t have one, get one. But you need to know what your client’s abilities and inabilities are. What is their level of motivation? What can they do to help you market their property?

The Bullets:
One bullet in your gun is the backup package. It is important to come prepared to do business. The backup package should be in two forms: one or two pages with a color photo of the property to attach to the mini offer you write, and a full backup package that answers 90% of the other party’s questions before they come to look at the real estate. Ron Bowden from Indiana would carry a three ring binder two inches thick of information on each listing. Now we have the benefit of discs, thumb drives and e-mail backups. I see many in the room sending backup from their laptops as the meeting is progressing. See two articles from Virgil Opfer on backup information in The Observer: and information/. If a client is presented with two offers, one of which has a backup package attached and one of which does not, you double or triple your chances of getting serious consideration with a backup package.

A second bullet is what I call Benefit marketing. If you stand at the front of the room and offer benefits from the property, ownership, and third parties, brokers will be writing you offers. No benefits results in no offers. The more benefits the property has allows the client to be a little weaker or less aggressive. A challenging property needs the owner to step up and bring benefits such as lease guarantee, cash add, financial statement, etc.

The third bullet you and your client need is a reasonable take range – i.e. are you a taker for something that brings you the benefits you seek or are you a wanter for a specific property or a cash only seller? Greater flexibility on the part of the broker and owner in what they are willing to accept for their equity will allow more buyers to participate. Is your client geographically flexible, will they take paper, will they accept a variety of property as long as it brings the benefits they seek? Develop a taker mentality.

The last bullet you need to deliver is a higher level of integrity than you find on the street. Deals need to make sense. Pricing needs to be based on market value. When we say we’ll do something, we need to follow through.

If you show up at the OK Corral Marketing Session with proper training, a good listing, a taker mentality and backup package, you will be Wyatt Earp, not Ike Clanton.


  1. Ted:
    Well stated article and thanks for bringing up the importance of using “today’s” values as well as touching on integrety/ethical dealing…. Would only add one more thing….The 4th and arguably the most important Bullet in a marketing session… FOLLOW UP! Without it, even the most seasoned and senior exchangors will rarely accomplish the exchange/transaction even following the use of the other 3 bullets.
    Michael Libster

  2. Great fun article that all should remember!

  3. Thanks Ted,

    Excellent reminders about “being prepared.”

    Also, I take Mike’s comment about “follow-up” to emphasize that even after we’ve made the follow-up call, we have to stick to the grinding-out it takes to bring the transaction to fruition……