You’ve seen the success stories and read how someone, just like you, went through a real estate coaching program and now has a thriving investment business. They did it, and so can you, right? But then you see the news that announces the constant changes in the market and the thought of the venture scares you.You watch as formerly vacant homes in your neighborhood are bought, fixed up, and sold quickly. But then there are the homes that just sit. They have all the same improvements and the beautiful exteriors but they still sit vacant.What do some investors possess that makes them successful, when other investors have all the same intentions and drive but they are left with inventory that doesn’t sell? Why is one failing and how is the other making money in real estate?If you could be the proverbial fly-on-the-wall you would see the difference between the two investors is a simple as the process they follow. The success story got solid, real-world training to develop a process and strategy that works. They’ve got contacts and mentors who help them understand challenges and opportunities as the market changes. The other investor is probably going it alone. Without a system, this guy may be handling each sale or purchase differently, not following a process, pretty much just flying by the seat of his pants. Property investment is a business; it involves major financial decisions, and it requires a battle-proven and solid plan.One of the most effective strategies you can pick up in the right coaching program is how to go after properties that aren’t even on the market. The competition is far weaker in a field where nobody else even knows a game is starting.Off-market properties include: vacant properties, foreclosures and sale by owner. Even without being listed, these eager sellers attract a lot of attention from investors. In fact, it’s not uncommon for them to be wined and dined by every investor in a 30 miles radius. You need to catch their attention and turn a contact into a contract. An owner of a foreclosure is often terribly stressed and just wants a safe exit from a horrendous situation. They want to know they’re getting the best terms possible, and above all they want to have confidence in the investor they choose. That person can be you.To be the one they choose you need to follow this sage advice: “Be Prepared.”Here are two ways you can put these prospects at ease with a little advance preparation:1. A consistent message.Create a presentation that will let your future sellers or owners know what you can provide for them. It could be a simple PowerPoint presentation you show them in person on your laptop or tablet. The presentation could be part of your scripting if you’re talking with your leads on the phone. Get your scripting down, work on it so you don’t sound like a bored telemarketer, and brainstorm so that you have answers for all possible questions.2. Let others vouch for you.Get testimonials from those you have done business with: have them write letters or better yet start your own YouTube channel and publish their video testimonials. People like to do business with those they know, like, and trust. Having testimonials from others you’ve served will go a long way toward helping new prospects feel at ease doing business with you.Get these preparations in order, then get busy. Start by building a target list of prospects. That can be as easy as browsing the local rental section of Craigslist. You may find sellers as you come across owners who no longer want to be landlords. They may be eager to discuss the possibility of you purchasing their property. On the other hand, you may find buyers as you encounter owners who love owning property and want to add to their inventory.Either way, your preparations will go a long way toward making you successful with off-market properties. One of the most powerful lessons you’ll learn in a good coaching program is this simple mantra: Keep it Simple: Prepare, Plan, and then Proceed.