If you want to bring in more leads and generate more revenue, there is one key aspect you should look into: your marketing channel. Today’s rockstar guest has pretty much found a marketing gold mine, one that requires very minimal management, has virtually no competition and generates $4 for every dollar spent!
Joe Theriault is, without a doubt, one of REI Radio’s powerhouse students. While he generated leads using other marketing methods prior to radio, he loved radio so much that he went from 0 to 15 radio stations in just five months!
In this episode, Joe talked about his incredible experience using radio as a marketing channel and the phenomenal results he has gotten so far. If you’ve always wanted to give radio a try but are unsure if it’s the right fit, today’s episode might just help you make up your mind!
The Marketing Channel that is Generating $4 for Every Dollar Spent!
I’m your host, Chris Arnold. If you’re reading, you’ve got to hear this story. I’ve got Joe Theriault also known as Joseph as well. What do you prefer? I didn’t even ask you that.
It’s all good. Don’t call me Joseph. I feel like I’m an angel, and I’m the farthest thing from it.
I like Christopher.
St. Christopher. We’re all set. Joe is fine.
Joe is probably the biggest success story we have in REI Radio. When we launched, Joe was one of the first students that we had. He has been with us for months. The story right here and the success he has seen is going to shake you up a little bit because you have students who come in and you give them a roadmap.
There are some people like Joe that get it and they run with it. You step back and go, “That’s how it ought to be done.” This is changing your business. Let’s get into it quickly before we hop into the meat. Joe, give a quick background. Where are you located? How long have you been in the game? Give us a snapshot of who you are and your business.
I cover all of New Hampshire and North of Boston. We stay out of Metro Boston but North of Boston, Massachusetts, all of New Hampshire, and a little bit of Maine is generally the geography. I’ve been doing it for more than six years now. We started out in fix and flip. I left my career as a machinist. If I just did one fix and flip that was it. That’s what I thought I was going to do. I was rehabbing houses. What it’s turned into now and this legit company with ten employees, payroll, marketing budget, EOS, and Traction. This isn’t what I imagined years ago, so it’s pretty cool.
You went into, “I’m going to be this solo investor, solo entrepreneur,” to sitting on a team. You’re moving into leadership and how to operate an organization. You mentioned EOS. If you’re new to the game, there’s a book that both Joe and I recommend you read called Traction because it’s an operating system for how you run your business. My company and your company is built off it as well.
You’re running this thing. You’ve got payroll and you have a little bit of a monkey on your back. Lead generation, having the right marketing channel matters because you’re not just feeding yourself and your family, you’ve got payroll to make. You’ve got to continue to feed this beast in this machine. Before you stepped into radio as a marketing channel, people are always interested in what you were doing prior to that? How are you generating lead opportunities?
The company was built on Inherited Property Solutions. It’s the branding of that, doing direct mail, and being the one that could speak to the niche of Inherited Property Solutions. It was the direct mail thing. That was one because I could execute there and we would do high. My cost per deal was low and my return on investment was high but I was the guy doing that. That wasn’t scalable. We were putting out the most amount of bandit signs in the area. No one beats me in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It’s thousands of thousands.
How many were you putting out? What was the number?
Five hundred a week. I had a driver and a guy putting them out and all that. My first deal came from a bandit sign. It was built on bandit signs, Inherited Property Solutions branding and we went into text messaging. Before anyone knew what text messaging was, we were one of the first Sherpa users. Everyone laughed at me. Brent Daniels laughed at me. All the big players laughed at me with text messaging and now everybody is doing it so it’s pretty funny to see but I hate saturation and I hate competition so here we are with radio.
Of those three, before radio, which one would you say you had the most trust in that was giving you the best return? People are reading and going, “I’ve heard of all those three,” but which was your kind of bread and butter, your favorite of those three?
The texting was really doing well for us but it just took so much of the team’s time with data management. It’s high maintenance. I can’t even describe it to put it into words. I liked direct mail but a lot of people are in that space, I don’t necessarily like it anymore. With bandit signs, there wasn’t anybody doing it at scale either here. I’d have to say text messaging if anything.
That game has changed. I had the same challenge on the direct mail side in 2018. You said, “I hate oversaturation. I hate when everyone starts to do a marketing channel and then the dollar for dollar return drops.” That’s why radio is so valuable because there’s virtually no competition and we’re doing everything on our side to preserve it by limiting the amount of people that we teach this because I don’t want it to turn into what happened with text blasting and with other things as well. For you, I know that’s one of your concerns, “This is working well. I don’t know how much I want to talk about how good it’s been.” What first attracted you to radio? You heard about it. What were a couple of characteristics to go, “I need to execute on this in my business.” What was it?
When we met, you didn’t realize what was happening at that time. I was watching you like a hawk and I caught that you said something about radio and my radar went up. I was like, “Radio. I never hear anybody on the radio stations that I listen to except for Than Merrill and his stupid, ‘I’ll sell you education classes.’” My radar went up instantly when I heard the radio thing from you prior to you even having a class put together yet. That was what drew me in. I knew you had a successful business and I was watching you. Once you said you were doing something.
I remember that. I remember you picking my brain. We were sitting in Brent Daniel’s office in Phoenix, Arizona. I remember sitting there in his office and I remember the questions just kind of started coming. I know it had piqued your interest but this was before we were teaching anyone how to do it. This was still kind of my secret sauce. It’s something I’d been holding onto for more than nine years now. I get it. Number one, virtually no competition. That hits you like, “I don’t know anyone else doing it.” What might be the second thing that attracted you outside of that initially?
The big thing for me was I have a certain amount of leads I need to get each month, which equals a certain amount of leads equals a certain amount of deals equals and a certain amount of profits. Radio is semi-predictable from what I’ve seen. If I put in X amount of dollars, I get X amount of leads. There are variances in there but I wanted marketing channels that require less from me to be in there having to do things. I want to be a business owner, not a data manager having to go by data and spreadsheets. That’s not where I want to be. My big goal for 2020 was to do marketing channels that required less manipulation.
A certain amount of leads equals a certain amount of deals equals a certain amount of profits.
You don’t want to pick up a marketing channel and pick up another job.
That’s what was happening with text messaging. I felt like I was owning a text messaging company like data management. I’m not that guy.
I agree. The phrase I use to maybe best describe radio is, set-it-and-forget-it. You and I relate. We know the pain of managing something that requires a lot of maintenance and the burden that creates on the team. It becomes a bottleneck and more than anything, it creates frustration. It’s because you’re not going to get rid of those things because as you scale it, it just gets more and more complex and requires more and more management. The thing about radio is you scale it and it doesn’t require any work because the radio station’s doing all the management. All you’re doing is increasing your call volume, which you said was the initial thing you wanted to do. I need to make the phone ring.
I don’t want to manage something on the backside that’s going to be a pain in the butt. What was the experience in setting it up? We’re talking about the management of it but on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being an absolute time suck to set this up, 1 being, “This was pretty simple.” Shoot the audience straight. How difficult was it to set up?
For me, it wasn’t difficult because I have a marketing person on the team. For me, this was on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most difficult, this was really like a 2 or 3 from a standpoint of actually getting a phone number, setting it up in CallRail, and getting a commercial recorded. The radio station is going to be called the commercial for you so it’s not hard there. To me, it’s relatively simple from a setup standpoint. It was one of the easier channels that I’ve had to deal with.
That was my experience too. Not only is it set-it-and-forget-it. The work obviously goes on the launch of something and I have found radio only has one hurdle. There are some things you set up to have multiple hurdles. The only hurdle on radio is the negotiation piece. That’s it. You probably agree that everything outside of that’s pretty administrative. Record your ad and all that type of stuff is pretty basic.
The setup of it was probably the easiest part of anything that you’ve set up.
The big question. Everyone reading is going, “It’s set-it-and-forget-it. It sounds nice. It’s easy to set up.” Let’s talk about some returns. Is Joe doing deals on this thing and making any money? Let’s get some context. You started radio months ago and you’re on how many stations right now?
We’re on fifteen radio stations.
If you’re reading, the first thing you would probably tell yourself is, “If this guy went from 0 to 15 stations this must be working because he wouldn’t be launching it at that level.” You and I were talking about how you spent roughly about $25,000 on radio in that timeframe. How much do you have in the pipeline, set to close, contracts, etc.? What are you seeing on that side?
I can break that down a little bit without getting super into the weeds but it’s $25,000 in marketing or hard costs. We just ramped back up heavy here. We’re going at about $2,700 a week on ad spend. We’re at about $145,000 in revenue on the board not including 7 or 8 listings. Plus, I don’t even know how many there are on the board and weeds in the funnel. The funnel is full. We bought a house without buying it for $50,000. It’s simple and easy breezy. Buy it for $50,000 turn around and resell for a hundred. I just got a contract in on Cape Cod. It’s signed. We had signed a deal for $10,000 grand. I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know if that speaks enough volume for it to be working or not working but that’s between two days.
I hear it. Lead volume is strong. Your boards filled up this. You scaled this. You spent $25,000. You got $147,000 on the board. On top of that, you’re like me. Not only are you doing the cash offer side, but you have this other revenue side that we didn’t even add in on what that’s going to equate to, which is eight retail listings. Like us, if they don’t go with a cash offer, we’re going to list the property too. That’s a whole other revenue stream that’s going to be kicking down the pipeline as well. If you’re listing, those results speak for themselves. It’s unbelievable for you to come in five months and do that. You and I were doing some math and kind of shaking this out if you lose a deal here or there but we roughly figure that your dollar per dollar return, that is for every dollar you’re spending, you roughly expect conservatively to get $4 back.
That’s the most important number. With every dollar I put in this soda machine, how many I’m going to get back? With that type of ad spend, if you’re quadrupling your investment, let me just put it that way, that’s something going back to your original point. I need to have something I can depend on, something that’s reliable. For me, one of my favorite things about radio is that it is reliable as well. If you’re reading for the first time and hearing about radio, you don’t have to be like Joe and just go off to the races. That’s the way I’m wired. I’m doing the same thing but know that you can get on your first station really inexpensively. How much was your first station that you got on?
I got a little bit lucky if you want the truth. I tried calling around quite a bit. It turned out we knew one of the large players in the area. One of the large local stations has eleven radio stations on there and they were willing to ball with us. Full disclosure, I had to work on it. Don’t get me wrong, but we ended up doing a $3,000 ad spend which was 300,000 cumes at first. That’s where we started.
When I started, Joe it was $1,500. I tell most people that you can start and get that first station somewhere around $1,000 to $2,000 a month. You went a little heavier. You went to $3,000, which is fine but if you’re reading and going, “I don’t have $25,000,” know that we snowball this thing. My first station was $1,500 because that was the budget that I had at the time for radio going back over ten years. We spend $27,500 a month. We were talking about your goal. You want to take your ad spend up to $20,000 a month. Is that where you want to be?
Funny is what I have on the board that I have to spend basically to make what I need for revenue for the year. If it was up to me, I’d go to $30,000.
It’s scalable. I love something that we can invest in, it works, and then be like, “I’ve got to go find something else because I’ve already hit the ceiling on that,” and that was radio. You can go $2,000 to $10,000, $20,000, $30,000, $50,000. If you want to start going to other markets, take it up to 6 or 7 figures. There are companies that do that nationwide that spend billions of dollars on radio.
I love that it’s scalable. That’s cool. I always like to put myself in the audiences’ seat and go, “This sounds great. We’re talking about all the positives. Give me the flip side.” What has been a challenge or hurdle with radio? Let’s just kind of give the audience both sides of the coin. What was the biggest challenge for you in radio?
If someone calls in from a radio ad, they don’t have somebody else. It’s a really good place to be.
Out of that gate, it’s no different than putting in offers to distressed sellers. To a certain degree, I had to put it in my mind, “I’m buying distressed radio space,” and I had to take 20 noes to get 1 yes. That was the toughest hurdle. I thought this was going to be easy breezy. I’d call some radio. Everyone would be like, “Let’s do business,” but that was not the case. I got a lot of noes, and a lot of people laughing at me. Finally, we got in touch. Something shook out. It started to snowball. In a week alone I’ve had three radio stations reach out to me and agree to my pricing.
Tables have turned, have they not? I agree with you. If we’re being transparent, we are buying our radio like we buy our real estate at a wholesale discounted price. That’s what we teach you. We tell you the number to buy it at and then we have to get to mentally understand that a station will do it because the station does not want you to know that they’ll go down to that rate. They will. They’ll tell you, “We can’t do it,” “You’re crazy,” etc.
It’s no different than buying real estate because if you were to tell the rest of the world who’s not in real estate that we buy houses on a regular basis at $0.60, $0.70 on the dollar, they’ll say, “No way.” That’s not possible because they live in a world where you pay retail. The same as with radio. We have to help our students make that transition to understand. It’s just like we do it on the real estate side. We do the same thing on the radio side. Because we buy it at such a deep discount, that’s one of the key things that makes it so profitable. It’s like buying a house at a deep discount is what’s going to make your profit. Do you agree with that?
That’s spot on. One of the radio reps that we’re still doing business with, if I would’ve called him specifically, we would have never gone anywhere. I knew the VP. He was like, “We don’t ever sell radio at that price. No one calls us trying to buy radio. We sell them what we want them to pay for radio. They either agree or disagree and they get on the radio station.” You came in and said, “This is what I’m paying. Take it or leave it.” It’s really funny to see. It really is.
That makes me happy. That’s the secret sauce. That’s why I tell people, you have to have something honestly like REI radio. I wish I could fully take credit and say, “I figured this all myself out.” I had some coaches that helped me kind of overcome those hurdles, but you’re absolutely right. We are teaching people, not only a marketing channel that no one’s using.
We’re teaching people how to do it in a way that it’s not been done before, a way that’s unique where you picked up stations. I’m sure that makes you feel good to know, “I got the best rate on radio in my entire market.” I know that because my reps are like, “Joe, you’ve got the best rate.’” That’s how you know it’s a winning strategy and that’s the strategy that we’re helping people do.
If you’re reading and you’re like, “I’ve been hearing about radio.” I hear these testimonials coming out now that REI radio’s been up. We got students now like yourself closing deals and making it happen. The proof now is out there. It’s not me talking about how great it is. It’s now the students coming in and going, “What Chris was saying was the truth,” because again, this has kind of been my secret sauce.
Joe, you and I had talked about this candidly. We’re like, “We don’t want a lot of people to know about it.” People are like, “Chris, why do you share this?” I go, “It’s because I just realized I’m not trying to take over the entire United States anymore.” Joe, I’m not going into your market. I’m not going into other states. I’m going to stay in my market. If I can help you, Joe and another market do it, what’s it going to hurt me? I’m not coming to your territory. Let’s share this value as well.
The place to start is to book a call. You’ve got to make sure your market is open because we’re doing exclusivity per market, particularly depending on the size. It might have 1, 2 or maybe max 3 if it’s a huge city, but a lot of these cities only have 1 or 2 people. Book a call and go to Wholesalinginc.com/reiradio. Book a call before this is fundamentally all sold out. Guys like Joe and I will be on the side talking about how our businesses are doing well particularly with everything that’s going on because of radio.
Going back, you made a great point. The tables have turned. You had to humble yourself on that initial call. They don’t know who Joe is. You’ve got to fight to get that first rate. I told you what will happen. Over time, you’ll get branded in your area and then they start knocking on your door. That’s what you’re finding now. They’re seeking you out. It’s no longer, “I’m Joe. This is what I’m trying to do.” It’s, “Joe, what do we get to do to get you on our radio station?” Is that what you see is happening?
I’ll tell you what I see is happening. You want some positivity here. We played in front of 2.4 million QM. The state of New Hampshire has a population of 1.4 million, and we’re in there. There isn’t a person that I don’t meet in real estate that doesn’t say, “Joe, if I hear another one of your damn ads again.” I had my cousin that does real estate in Mass and she’s like, “Joe, congratulations. You’re on Kiss. That’s like a 900,000 cume station.” The radio stations are reaching out to me now saying, “We’ll give you the pricing.” The guy that laughed at me the most was like, “You’ll never get on the Red Sox station,” is begging me now to get on the radio station with them. They’re hounding me now.
I laugh because I experienced all this myself on my own and now, it’s so good to share it with someone like you because now, I’m like, “I know all this. I went through it.” I’m laughing because now I got someone over here and I’m watching, I’m going, “I know exactly what you’re talking about.” If you heard cumes or whatever, all we’re talking about is the listenership. When he says over 2 million cumes, let’s put it this way, that is a lot of people hearing that ad.
The amount of branding that you’re getting for your business, the celebrity status that you’re moving to in your area where people are like, “Joe, I heard you,” you’ve got to understand. Here’s the next thing you’re going to experience. You’re getting a little bit of it now. It’s when all of a sudden, everyone starts to elevate you to celebrity status. They start to act a little bit differently around you. I’m telling you that’s the next thing that’s coming down the pipeline, Joe because everyone knows who you are.
It’s no different than the attorney that we all know on the radio. When we see out somewhere, we’re like, “That’s that attorney I heard.” It happens psychologically in the mind, and that’s what you’re creating. I don’t know that you can put a price tag on that type of branding. We’re getting into what Coca-Cola and Apple are. These companies have done so well at a global level. You’re starting to do that at a local level and creating that brand new. The last question, wrapping up, if somebody is reading, what’s the last thought you would leave them with if they’re like, “Should I make a decision on this? Should I move forward?” What would you tell them? We’ve said enough but bring it home.
If you’re in Mass or New Hampshire, don’t do it. Stay away from my area. Let’s just put that out there because that’s the kind of guy I am. I’ll be frank with you. Stay out. Otherwise though, you definitely should. It’s a channel that is predictable. What’s really nice about this too is not ten other people texting them. Generally speaking, if someone calls in from a radio ad, they don’t have somebody else that’s a professional to service them. You’re the only you basically. It’s a really good place to be. Hypothetically, I don’t like missing calls, but if you miss that call, you get back to them. It’s not like PPC, Pay-Per-Click, where it’s ten other people advertising. If you don’t get back to them within one minute, they’re on to the next person. Here, you’re the only one. They’re calling you. It’s a different style lead.
We’re not list-dependent. Everything else is list-dependent. Everyone is battling over a list. I don’t care if you cold call, direct mail, RBM or text blast. The reason it’s over-saturated is it’s different methods going after the same list. We’re not list-dependent. We’re hitting an audience that’s not getting touched or untapped. I’m glad you brought that up because that means it’s nice to go on an appointment where I’m not going up against five other wholesalers.
Joe, I appreciate you coming on. I appreciate the candidness. I loved this interview. It’s been fantastic. Let me say publicly, I’m super proud of you. I know what your future looks like. When I can see someone like yourself come in, run with this at this level, I know whatever other opportunities you get, you’re just going to crush it. There’s no telling where you’re going to be a couple of years now. I’m super proud of you and so glad this has been great for you. To the rest of you, go to Wholesalinginc.com/reiradio. Book a call. Until next time, in which we add more value, we will catch you then. Thanks so much.
- Joe Theriault
- Be sure to join the Wholesaling Inc Facebook group
About Chris Arnold
Chris Arnold is a 15 year Real Estate veteran who has closed over 2500 single family real estate transactions in the DFW metroplex. Chris is the founder of multiple companies that are managed by a US virtual team, which allows Chris to run his organizations while living in Tulum, Mexico full time. His passion for leaders has led to the creation of Multipliers brotherhood which serves the top 5% of real estate entrepreneurs out of the US. Most recently Chris has launched his REI Radio coaching program. This program is designed to teach real estate investors the marketing stream that everyone knows about but NO ONE is doing!