Posted on: June 10, 2020

Most successful wholesalers don’t rely on one marketing channel alone to generate leads and produce explosive results. Case in point: today’s guest is already one of Colorado’s number one homebuyers yet he still chose to add another powerful system in his marketing arsenal—radio.

Brent Bowers is the founder and president of ZechBuysHouses LLC. He developed a real passion for real estate after buying his first home way back in 2007. Since then he’s been helping countless homeowners out of stressful situations by buying their properties.

In this episode, Brent talked about his experience with radio as a marketing channel and also shared some of the techniques that has helped him run a massively successful business. You’ll surely learn some effective tips that can help propel your business forward in today’s episode, so don’t miss it!

Key Takeaways

  • How he was generating leads prior to trying radio
  • Reasons he joined REI radio
  • Why building your brand is key
  • How much he’s paying per ad
  • How he ranks the difficulty of setting up radio
  • Biggest hurdle he encountered in terms of setting up radio
  • Where he wants to go with radio
  • What he’ll tell those who want to understand radio

RESOURCES:

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Episode Transcription

Chris Arnold:
Welcome to the Wholesaling Inc podcast. I’m your host, Chris Arnold. Great to hang out with you today. And I’m very excited about this interview because I am chatting with Brent Bowers. If you’re part of the tribe, you obviously know who Brent is, but even more so excited because he is an REI student for radio officially about four weeks ago. And Brent has got in, got things up and going, and today we’re just talking about his experience on getting radio set up, setting this up as a new marketing channel for his business, and really kind of the success and his experience so far. So Brent, good to hang out with you buddy. How are you, man?

Brent Bowers:
I’m really good. We are ready to have the weekend. I’m doing incredible. I’m very blessed.

Chris Arnold:
Well man, you want to tune in here because if you’ve been listening and wondering about people’s experience on setting up radio, you and I were just talking about Brian Stewart, who already has closed four transactions. We were doing the math. He’s getting about a $4.50 return, which is higher than what I’m getting in Dallas-Fort Worth because I’m about $3.50. And so he just texted me and he’s, “Dude, I’ve already closed four deals I’m setting up.” which is fantastic.
So I’m excited to just get these discussions going with our students on what their experience has been. So for those that don’t know Brent Bowers, give us a quick background. Where are you located? Tell us a little bit about you man, your business.

Brent Bowers:
So I’m located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I got out of the military about two years ago and launched my full time wholesaling dream career. And it has kind of morphed in some crazy things. We’re doing flips that we’ve done up to five or six flips at a time. We bought a 19 unit apartment complex. We’re also buying and holding. We’re also building our land side of the business, and the passive income has been incredible on that.
So I saw this radio course come out and I was, “That is what I need. That is super passive sounding.” Because I felt like every time I added another marketing channel, it would add another job or another person I had the manage, which it was kind of just adding to the stress of the business, which that’s not why I got out of the military to get into a business that gave me stress. I got into a business that would give me lifestyle freedom.
So that’s what we work on every day. We’re doing all these projects, all these wholesales. It’s incredible. However, I mean, I’m working from home right now. I get to see the kids, I get to have breakfast with them. I get to have dinner with them. So that’s a little bit about me. I bought my first investment property in 2007, and I just love this. I mean the HGTV really kind of turned it on for me. However, I don’t watch that anymore because I don’t believe it’s true. But that’s me in a nutshell.

Chris Arnold:
Awesome man. I love it. I love it. You got a great background, great track record. So I know we’re going to add some value today. So let’s get to the meat because anyone that’s listening is hungry, ready to learn some things. So before we step into radio, I know everyone always listening wants to know, “How are you generating leads before you picked up radio as a marketing channel?” So for those listening can maybe get some ideas of some things to consider. What’s working for you?

Brent Bowers:
So I’m kind of a deal junkie and also a marketing junkie. So I was picking up deals, obviously like Tom Krol teaches in the Wholesaling Inc tribe, mail comes first. We mail. We also cold call. We went through Brent Daniel’s course. That I’ve kind of actually put the pause button on right now because I’ve been through about 10 cold callers. So we’re really bringing in stuff with that. Great KPIs with that, great KPIs on mail, our best KPIs we’re cold calling and mailing.
We also do SEO, Facebook, and pay-per-click. The trifecta of that. And that brings in some pretty good deals as well. And as well as bandit signs, I mean, most know that bandit signs you’re always going to have some type of problem with those type things. We’ve literally had those things fly in wind storms and destroy someone’s car. I go through bandit sign guys like people go through Kleenexes. So we do know our KPIs on it. We’ve got to put about 900 signs out to get one deal, and that’s quite a bit, and it takes a long time to get that many signs out. So those were my main marketing channels before. And like I said, we just added radio, and we’re already getting calls. So…

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. Wow. So I love that you know how many signs, but a couple of things I hear and we’re going to contrast this to radio. And again, just so you know, I do online marketing as well. I’m a believer in that. We do direct mail. So I always encourage people, you should have between two to four pieces of lead generation, any less than two you’re probably in trouble, any more than four, you’re probably half assing them, has always been my opinion. So you’re right there in that four range and so forth.
But one of the things I felt with the bandit signs and the cold calling is I just felt like it sounded like you felt like it was work. Is that the best way to put it? It’s kind of like a job to manage these cold callers, 10 people now you’ve gone through, and then you get out 900 bandit signs. Do you kind of feel that way with some of this lead generation, like it’s just work?

Brent Bowers:
Oh my goodness. Yes. The cold calling has been work. What’s really cool though, I will say one really positive thing about cold calling. We just closed the transaction that we got the lead in two years ago. And so that cold caller was paid long time ago. That list has paid for it. And we finally cha-chinged on that one. So it was nice, $55,000 net profit on that one. But yes. Let me tell you, it’s work. I enjoyed actually cold calling myself a couple of years ago when I started this. But managing cold callers, I would prefer to stub my toe than do that. However, we’re going to have our own office here soon. I will have one in the office and we’ll see how it goes.
Now bandit signs, yes, work as well because my office manager has to look on simple crew, make sure that they’re actually posting different signs and the geo location is working, and they’re not just taking pictures, after pictures, after pictures.
It’s really nice. I actually found an older gentleman that I can trust. However he’s older and he can really only put about a hundred signs out a week. And when it gets cold, just forget it. And that’s when bandit signs work, is when it’s cold, when no one else is putting them out. So it is a lot of work.
Now radio, I think the most work was I had to record my 60 second… And that was part of the hardest part was getting it right to 60 seconds because I was, “Cool. I’m at 58. Let’s go.” They’re, “No, that two seconds is kind of a dead zone. You need to get it to 60 seconds.” So I just said my number a little slower.

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. I love it. I love it. And if you’re listening, we are not saying don’t direct mail, don’t cold call. What we are though is contrasting, and this is what I’ve learned over time. There is lead generation that requires a lot of proactiveness and what I would call high management. And we’re not saying that they don’t work, but they can be a pain in the ass. And then there’s other types of marketing that you discover where it’s much more of a set it and forget it, much more of an autopilot. And Brent, you’re like me. If you are a marketing junkie, you realize the difference between the two, and the longer you’re in business, the more you kind of value the set it and forget it.
So let’s get into this radio. Okay. You hear about radio, right? You hear me talking about it? What’s the first couple of things that attracted to you? Why join REI Radio? Why even book that first call?

Brent Bowers:
So the first thing that attracted me was you said set it and forget it. The second, I would say that you were getting $3.50 for every dollar you spent. That, at the end of the day, it’s, “How many dollars can I spend to make $3.50?” And we could almost do that unlimited times as long as it’s set it and forget it, and I don’t have to constantly change it. And then three, I’ve been, for a couple of years now, becoming the authority in my market. I am the number one home buyer in Colorado. What does that mean? It means whatever I want it to mean. I’m the number one home buyer in Colorado.
We started a meetup a couple years ago. I was by no means ready to start my own meetup. However, I partnered with a guy who was very experienced and it has just been incredible. A lot of things have come from that. So now deals are coming our way that never would have. Our last several wholesales have been joint ventures with newer wholesalers that don’t have a cash buyer’s list or don’t have as robust of a cash buyers list, especially when COVID-19 hits, 90% of the cash buyers go away. So just getting on the radio is also helping that authority. I just had one of my realtors I work with, I’ve done deals with him for about a couple years now. He just sent me a voice memo in a group text with other guys. “I hear you on the radio, Brent.” And that’s that was it. And it was on a station I had never even heard of. I thought I was on 95.1. He said 96.9. So I’m, “Great. I didn’t even know about that one.” So it was nice.

Chris Arnold:
I love it. I love it. We call that celebrity status, and there are so many things you can do once you have celebrity status in your market, right? You can be the authority and be the one receiving deals from other investors because they trust you. They’re, “That’s Brent Bowers. That’s that guy on the radio.” If you go up head to head with another wholesale person and the seller is sizing you up and you have celebrity status and they heard you on the radio, and the other person spammed them via RBM or texts, you got the upper hand on that all day long.
And so one of the things I’ve learned being in the business as long as I have is there is importance in generating leads, which we talk a lot about, all the strategies, but you also have to build your brand. And in the beginning, the lead generation, I think is the most important because you’ve got to drive revenue. But over time you begin to understand that what will last and what will bring the most revenue in longterm will be your brand.
And this goes to the guys like Gary Vaynerchuk, all the guys that we follow that have those personal brands. They’ve learned to definitely maximize that. And that’s what I hear. You’re on that road getting that call from that realtor in that group text, “Hey man, I heard you on the radio.” Do you feel like that kind of elevated you a little bit in their mind? “Okay, this guy just leveled up a little bit.”

Brent Bowers:
Absolutely. Absolutely, because I love it too. It’s, “This is the same guy. And this realtor, I will say if all realtors were like Jake, man, we’d be in trouble as wholesalers. But he brings me deals all the time as well. He shows me all the other wholesalers’ deals and, “Yep, got it. I’ve already spoke to him about it.” And it’s cool because it’s I’ve already seen the deal, but he’s sending it to me. So he’s, “Man, I can’t…” He’s just trying to bring me something that I haven’t seen. So yes, I think it is another notch in the elevations, which was pretty cool. And it makes you feel good, and it boosts the ego a little bit.
And I don’t care who you are. If you’re in real estate, you’ve got a little bit of an ego. I mean, look at the President of the United States right now. I mean real estate guy, ego. And I love what you talked about the brands. Tony Robbins says, “It’s very expensive to create a brand. You should market when you’re first getting started.” But we’re kind of doing it simultaneously with the radio. We’re branding ourselves and we’re marketing all at the same time for a very affordable price. So…

Chris Arnold:
Yeah, absolutely. Let’s get on this. Let’s talk about this pricing here and then we’ll take a step back on your experience in setting it up. But let’s go to pricing because you hit on it. People automatically assume radio is not affordable. I throw that out all the time. It’s, “Well, if radio is so good, why are more people not doing it?” They’re going, “Well, I assume that I got to start with a budget of five to 10,000.”
Now people have heard me say the very first station I picked up, I picked up for $1,500, which meant in Dallas Fort Worth, I was running ads at $15 an hour. I actually still had that station. So $15 for a 60 second spot. And I think initially some people were questioning me on that. What price do you have your radio spots that for a 60 second spot where you’re at? How much?

Brent Bowers:
Five dollars an ad.

Chris Arnold:
Say that again. How much?

Brent Bowers:
Five dollars.

Chris Arnold:
I mean, it’s unbelievable. And so I think though, and what you realize of part of being a part of REI Radio is to understand where you would end up if you potentially did it on your own, which most people do, and where we’ve taught you to negotiate at. So where did they start at for a 60-

Brent Bowers:
Yeah, they started me at $50. They wanted $50. I had her come to my office just to kind of, “Hey, you’re coming to me.” type thing. And she laughed at me when I gave her my offer. And in grace, she helps with your training. She’s, “Maybe bump it up to $10 an ad.” So I did and we started there and then they came back. They came back when everyone started, I wouldn’t say pulling out of radio, but struggling with radio because COVID-19 kind of really affected a lot of people. So they came back as soon as COVID-19 kicked off they were calling me.
And I kind of slow roll them. I didn’t answer the phone for a couple days. Emails, didn’t answer it. I was, “You know what?I’ve been affected too by this. My income is slowing down quite a bit. I could do my original offer at five dollars an ad.” “No, no, no, we can’t do that. We can’t do that.” “And I understand if you can’t, it’s no problem. But I know you probably can. But it’s okay if you can’t.”
And I hung up the phone. I ended the call nice. And only way I knew to do that is because in your course, you teach all these negotiation strategies. “We don’t need radio today. We’re probably going to get it next month or the following month.” So I went into it not trying to be on radio yesterday. I went into it, “Hey, this might be a longterm process.” So I looked at the calendar. I was on the radio exactly three months later from when I started your course, or actually when I paid for the course not started it. So it took exactly three months to be at the price I wanted, the price you guys told me was the optimum price.

Chris Arnold:
And that’s the secret sauce if you’re listening. It’s the ability to understand that an ad to the rest of the people out there, they’re paying $50. We’ll call that retail Brent, right? But as investors, we’ve learned to buy things at a wholesale price. That’s how we make money as real estate investors. And to the rest of the world, when we tell people that we buy houses at 50, 60, 70 cents on the dollar, a lot of times they don’t believe us because people really sell it that it’s the same with radio, and the money is made on the purchase. So at five dollars, if you close one deal, you pretty much have paid for that two or three times over for the year. And you’ll of course be closing more deals than that on it, which is huge.
So I love the fact that you got in at five dollars for a 60 second spot. And remember that’s not just during COVID, you lock in for a contract for a year. And when that renews, most of the time you can keep that price because they know and you know that they’re willing to go at that rate.
And I do tell people right now they are more negotiable than I’ve ever seen them. So there’s a window that’s working right now to get in and take advantage of a bit of the pain.

Brent Bowers:
Yeah. Do it now.

Chris Arnold:
Now let’s talk about setting up radio. You gave the timeframe. Is radio a difficult lift? It was a lot of work to set up? What did you find? What was your experience in the actual setup?

Brent Bowers:
No, it wasn’t a lot of work. And oh, I’ll be honest. I almost subbed it out to a virtual assistant, but I was, “No, I’m going to kind of keep on this one. It doesn’t seem like it’s too much work.” So I actually kind of stuck with it. And I mean, I think your course was not even six weeks long, the videos were just directly to the point, which I like. I hate when the video is over 15 minutes. So it was just powerful. It was, “Here’s what you need to do.” No fluff. And yeah, it made total sense. And when I contacted the radio stations they were, “Well, obviously you’ve done this before.” So they kind of respected me right away as far as like they knew I knew what I was talking about. So I would say that you could do this really in about four weeks, be on radio. I might’ve been a little slower student, honestly.

Chris Arnold:
So on a scale of one to 10, 10 being a heavy lift, hard to get up and going, one being, I’ll use Tom Krol, easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Where would you rank the difficulty on setting it up?

Brent Bowers:
Two.

Chris Arnold:
A two? Yeah. It’s a light lift is the way that I look at it, which is great. So it’s not tough there.

Brent Bowers:
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Chris Arnold:
People are listening and I’m the type of guy that likes to ask the other side. So I’m listening. I’m going, “Wow, this sounds so great.” Let’s kind of flip it. What was the biggest challenge? What has been the biggest hurdle with radio so far?

Brent Bowers:
I would say-

Chris Arnold:
And again, just so you know, what, you’ve been live for weeks? So, I mean, you literally just went live on radio.

Brent Bowers:
The biggest challenge for me was the sales associate. She was just so friendly, so talkative, knew her job so well, it was she just wouldn’t stop talking. I would say that was the hardest part. I was, “Oh man, she’s calling again.” So I knew I had the plan for 10 minutes if I answered that phone call. That’s probably the hardest. And I’ll be honest. I haven’t even paid for this radio spots yet. iHeart just approved me on credit or something like that. They invoice. So I haven’t even got the first invoice. I hope they remember to send me the bill. I probably should check into that.
That’s how easy it is. If you don’t have a lot of cash to start out, you could just float the 30 days, get a deal, which we’ve already had. I’ve already looked at a deal that I actually checked out myself, not my acquisition team. I mean, it was just, “I’m interested in this one. I’m going to go drive and check it out.”

Chris Arnold:
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s important. You can pay at the end of the month. You actually have the ability over time as you build up credibility. I don’t know if you know this, you can push your billing back up to 90 days.

Brent Bowers:
Oh, wow. Yeah.

Chris Arnold:
Which is huge because that means that you’re closing deals to pay for the marketing that you just did, which is great, versus other marketing, where you’ve got to put out a lot of money and it takes time for that money to come back. You can actually potentially bring in money before you even pay for it, which is super cool.

Brent Bowers:
So kind of like cold calling. It took me two years. I paid for that a long time ago.

Chris Arnold:
Now I know for people, and one of the reasons I brought you on is it’s COVID-19 and people throw that on every type of lead generation. And they’re, “Okay, so with radio right now, you’ve been up four weeks? Are you getting calls? You getting opportunities so far?”

Brent Bowers:
Absolutely we’re getting calls. I was actually just texting my acquisition manager. Weirdly someone literally just called off of radio. LOL. So I was asking her to give me the numbers and she’s [inaudible 00:20:03] a call from radio. So yes, we’re getting calls. Absolutely we are. It was actually, I can tell you absolutely three calls for sure. One was already someone we had already looked at her house. We didn’t want to buy it. And she called us from the radio. And then I won’t tell you what my acquisition manager said. She was, “Hey, the blank, blank, blank lady called from radio this time.” We didn’t want to deal with her. So we pick and choose who we buy from, by the way.

Chris Arnold:
I feel like you should. You don’t want to deal with difficult people. But I think what’s powerful and what I’ve realized as well, is you’re getting call volume in the middle of COVID. Can you imagine as things are starting to open up over the next 30, 60 days, that that volume is going to go up even more when everyone is back to their normal commuting structure, which is really cool.

Brent Bowers:
Oh yeah. I didn’t think about that. That’s true.

Chris Arnold:
Plus you’re creating awareness so that when the dam breaks of all that need and desire to sell, people have been hearing you on the radio, which I think is important as well. You’re getting ahead of it.
So let me ask you this, where do you think you want to go with radio? Again, you’re new to it, but as you’re starting to think longterm compared to your other marketing strategies and so forth, what are you starting to get a vision for? And I know that you’re new. I’m pulling you in, but I wanted to interview someone that was right out of the gate and how they were feeling.

Brent Bowers:
You know, I really haven’t thought too much about it. I mean, obviously I’m going to stay with the iHeart station I’m currently on. But once I start tracking these KPIs and if we’re making a $3.50 return or a $4.50, whatever it is for every dollar we spend, why not go to another station? Because I’m on a country station. Maybe the next one will be classical because that was the next one on my avatar, my John [inaudible 00:21:45] for the people that we buy their houses from. So expand radio because if I could turn it into spending two dollars to make seven dollars, that sounds like a better deal than spending one dollar to make $3.50 because we’ve got the two dollars to spend, but we want to put it towards the right marketing channels. If I can get rid of bandit signs, I’ll do it.

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. Yeah. And again, I did the same thing. I took the approach of snowballing it, which is what you’re talking about. And so I started with one station, I got traction, started bringing in money, rolled it into two, three. Now we land somewhere between six to seven stations at one time. And our budget is 27,500 per month. And at that level we’re still maintaining $3.50 cents. And that’s in Dallas Fort Worth, which is actually one of the more competitive markets in the country. So I’m excited for a place like you where you’re the top dog and where you can kind of take this thing, which is great.
So if you’re listening and you’re, “Man, I’ve been hearing these guys talk about radio. We’ve now been coaching long enough where we’ve got students who are coming on the other side. They’re live on radio. They’re starting to close deals, make money because we literally just launched this a few months ago. But what you want to do is book a call, go to a wholesalinginc.com/reiradio. Again, wholesalinginc.com/reiradio, and book a call.
And again, Brent, you know how it is. We do exclusivity and market. So depending on the size of the market, we’ll put anywhere between just one, two, if it’s a really big market, maybe three, but we already have markets that are sold out. So you definitely want to get in and see if your market is actually available as well.
And then Brent, I wanted to give you a shout out. I don’t know if you know this, but I know you’re going to be working on this as well. I told my team about the land stuff that you’re working on. And so you’re going to be getting a call from my team to be talking to you to learn more about how you’re structuring your deals on land. So I want to give you a shout out as that’s kind of an area of expertise and I know you’ve got some stuff coming down the pipeline on that for some education for those of us that want to grow on that end of our business in a stronger way.

Brent Bowers:
Yes. I’m telling you what, I’m loving the land. I was worried. We keep talking about COVID-19. I was worried that, “Oh my goodness.” We have 55 land notes. And we started land probably about it’s about a year and a half now almost two years starting seller financing our notes. We’ve only had one default and I shouldn’t even say a default, late payment. Now my tenants on the other side are home renters. Some of those guys have been late and not paying, but I was a little worried about land, but the passive didn’t stop. And so basically we’re liking the land right now.

Chris Arnold:
I love it. I love it. And we’re interested in kind of learning from you and following you on that. So wrapping up, somebody is listening. What are the last two things you want people to understand about radio? If they’re, “Should I consider this? Is this a good fit?” What would you want to hear them? Because you were that person listening on the other side. What would you say to them?

Brent Bowers:
Yeah. So you kind of hit it on the head. Mail, when I started with mail, you pay for that list, or you can get it free from the county some lists. Those are good lists. But you put the work in as well just to get the list. And then you send it through the mail house and you’re going to pay. We just paid for mailing yesterday and it hurt. I was, “Oh my goodness. I don’t know if I want to pay that price.” But we still did it. So that mail hasn’t even went out and we paid for it already.
Now let’s go to radio. I’ve been on the radio for 30 days and I haven’t even paid for an ad yet. So if you’ve got cashflow, tight cashflow, or you’re just starting your business out trying to… I mean, I was there a couple of years ago. I financed my wholesaling company on a credit card, which I don’t recommend doing that, but whatever it takes to get the job done. So if you’re kind of tight on cash, maybe radio is the answer because you could float it 30 days, 90 days. That gives you that deal. And you might make a $5,000 profit on the deal or you might make a 37 or $57,000 profit. You never know. That’s my advice.

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. Absolutely. And what I always tell for the new person as well is you probably don’t have time to manage something that’s a lot of work. It’s much easier in the beginning to just let the phone ring, convert those deals, and spend your additive time on actually building your business, working on it. Not necessarily in it. And so that’s why I like radio as well. It just doesn’t bother us.
And I’ll close with this. I believe it was you that said, “Every time I pick up a marketing channel, I don’t want to feel like I just picked up another job.” Was it you said that?

Brent Bowers:
Yeah. That was definitely me because every time I added it-

Chris Arnold:
[crosstalk 00:26:21] I was, “That’s how I feel about marketing. I’m trying to add a marketing channel, not another job.” So I thought that was so well said. So Brent, thank you for your time buddy. Thanks for hanging out. And man, I enjoyed it. And to the rest of you, we’ll catch you next time and we’ll talk to you soon to add more value. Talk to you later.

Brent Bowers:
Bye.

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