What happens if you put radio in the hands of someone who’s extremely seasoned and methodical? Expect that it will bring in massive conversions!
Mitch Colluzi has been a licensed real estate professional since he was 18 years old. His father was an investor, contractor, and landlord who candidly shared his real estate knowledge and wisdom with him while he was growing up.
In this episode, you’ll learn why Mitch decided to give radio a try and how he was able to take it to the next level. If you’re considering using radio but unsure how you can make it work in your favor and maximize its benefits, this is one episode you can’t afford to miss!
How One Wholesaler Used Radio to Corner the Market in His Territory with Mitch Colluzi
I’ve got a treat for you. You’re going to want to stay for what we’re going to talk about. Here’s a good question. If you took radio, a great marketing channel and you put it in the hands of someone who’s extremely seasoned, on top of that extremely methodical in the sense of understanding systems, metrics and KPIs, what could radio do in the hands of someone like that?
I’ve got Mitch Colluzi. He’s a good buddy of mine. He’s a Multipliers brother. We put radio in this guy’s hands and you’re about to learn how he took off with it. What you’re going to get is Mitch’s story around radio, why he chose radio but more importantly, how he scaled it. At this point, from what I understand, he’s on almost every single station that has a market and he did this in a matter of a couple of months.
Mitch Colluzi, welcome to the show. What’s happening?
Thanks. I appreciate you having me on. I’m looking forward to chatting through this because it’s been game-changing for our business. I’m super excited to talk about it with the group.
For those who don’t know Mitch, give us a snapshot of what Mitch’s business looks like, how long you have been in the game and where you are doing deals out of.
I’m a third-generation investor. I’ve been doing this since I was walking. My father was a developer in Northwest Indiana. I followed up with that quickly, having my license as soon as I turned eighteen. We’re now in Central Iowa. We control the Des Moines Metro area. Our business model is a little unique. We’ve got a real estate brokerage, an acquisition and a full-blow construction company. We touch everything. Radio is fantastic for that acquisition side.
What have you been doing for lead generation before? When we bring a seasoned guy on, people are always looking for marketing channels trying to figure out, “What are some of the bigger players doing?” What were you doing to find deals before radio?
Before radio, we’ve always done the typical mailers. We did a ton of network nurturing, massive amounts of community involvement, networking with the other investors and bringing a lot of authority to our market from there. The majority of our leads, 85% of them came from word of mouth.
We got to touch on this because everyone says ringless voicemail, text blasting. How did you generate 85% of your business through word of mouth? Break that down. Did you have people call around to build relationships and do events? Give us the 80/20 of how in the world do you get that much referral word of mouth business.
The biggest thing is advertising the projects that you’re doing. When you’re on a project, if you’ve got a house, make sure everyone knows that you’ve got that, including your neighbors. It’s the easiest way to deploy that because the neighbors see something transition whether it’s the sale of old ownership and the yard getting cleaned up. All of a sudden, they’re activated. They’re like, “That house is cleaned up. The other one down the street that we know that’s vacant, that one should be cleaned up too so let’s call this guy.” Putting those signs in the yards, having conversations with people not over the phone but in-person to know the neighbors and to recognize that there are people around here and not just houses.
Are you door-knocking? Are you going door to door and saying hello? How do you do that?
I personally door knock. We’ve also got a bandit sign that we’ll throw on that front yard. It’s not a bandit sign because it’s on our property that says, “We buy houses. Let us help you.”
You’ve taken the fix and flip approach of, “I’m going to have a presence in this neighborhood because we’re rehabbing this deal and I’m going to use that presence to be magnetic by utilizing signage.” You go door-knocking and introduce yourself. Who doesn’t love someone taking an old, junky house in a neighborhood and making it better to raise the overall value and aesthetics of the neighborhood? It totally makes sense.
We are not part of our local REIA. What we did was we started our own version of what I would call REIA. We’ve got an investor network here in town and what’s that done is it has drawn a lot of guys that are starting up in our area as well as established players to our meetup. It’s a networking pool. There’s no charge and no sales. There’s none of that. That’s brought in a ton of word-of-mouth leads for guys that can’t maybe convert stuff. As you position yourself as the authority, more leads come.
Would you say that’s the 80/20? You work in the neighborhood and do the flips, hosting and creating yourself as an authority by creating a network where people can give back. If you’re reading, here’s the question I want to make sure that you learn about and the answer when I ask it. Mitch, of the 85% of your revenue in 2020 that you generated from this, what was your cost of marketing?
That was a big, old zero in 2020.
It would be safe to say if you’re reading, Mitch has large profit margins. This is great. If you’re newer to the game particularly and you feel like, “Do I always have to launch a marketing channel? Does it going to cost me a lot of money?” Mitch, we’re like you. We do a lot of cold wholesaling, which is word of mouth working with investors to bring us deals. We love those deals like you do because we make more profit because we don’t have marketing behind that. I like this. I don’t want to say it’s fresh from the standpoint that no one knows it exists but it’s fundamental that people go, “Why am I not doing that?” That’s the same thing about radio.
Just because you can’t do the deal, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to capitalize on the revenue.
That was eye-opening for me too from a passive channel. Everything else we’re doing is fairly active. It requires continual involvement in everything. The radio has been revolutionary.
You’re over here kicking ass 85% of your deals and no marketing. What attracted you to radio? Why come in and start to spend money in that direction?
That comes down to predictability. We did over 100 deals in 2020. Looking forward, I’m like, “Can we replicate that year over a year of word of mouth?” We’re moving to a new neighborhood. We’ve saturated the neighborhoods that we were getting those leads generating it. Looking forward, we’re like, “We have the game plan for that so let’s keep that going. Also, how do we make this more predictable at a city level rather than a neighborhood level?”
Let’s jump on to radio. You decided to sign up and you’re looking for predictability. Everyone is looking for consistency when it comes to their marketing channel. What was your experience in setting it up? On a scale of 1 to 10, this was a heavy lift. One is this was pretty easy to lift. I know everyone doesn’t want to come in and get a second job by launching a marketing channel. What was your experience in the setup of radio?
It’s three. To me, I enjoyed the negotiation with the business side of it. When I’m negotiating with sellers, that’s a different type of negotiation. You don’t get to be harsh, you don’t get to be mean, you don’t get to drive. I don’t drive the price with my sellers at all. On the other side of that, moving to the negotiation with radio, you got to drive and enjoy that. For me, it was a three. The overall deployment was simple. It’s one radio copy and we kept it super simple. All of the script you recommended, add in a few other tweaks that rhymed in there and it’s the same thing on every station.
It’s pretty much a set-it-and-forget-it model. That’s what we say. One thing if I say it. It’s another for a guy like you, Mitch, who sees it, comes in and goes, “Let’s set it and forget it.”
The invoice comes in, I pay that and I don’t have to think about tweaking it.
You don’t need to answer the phone when it rings. Let’s talk about your setup. When did you launch radio? Do you remember when you went live?
Yeah. July 13th or July 15th, 2021 was our first radio ad somewhere in there. We’ve been running for over two months.
How many radio stations are you on?
We are on eleven stations.
How many stations are in your market?
We are three away from having all of them, excluding iHeart.
You’re going for a monopoly.
We’re going for every station. We’re in negotiations for the other three. We’ll have those soon. It’s just a waiting game. They’re being a little stickier.
People are reading and going, “Twelve stations, Mitch.” I’m curious. What is your ad spend per month on these twelve stations? How much do you spend a month? What’s that monthly check you got to write?
It’s $2,798 to be on twelve stations. First of all, from a marketing channel standpoint, that’s cheap to be on twelve. The reality is this is the value of being in a smaller market. People ask me, “Chris is it better to be in a small market, mid-market or large?” I go, “They all have pros and cons.” One of the great pros of being in a small market is that you get a monthly bill as Mitch does for the number of stations he’s on. People want to understand numbers. We call Mitch The Method Man. He’s methodical and tracks everything. The guy is a systems guy. Give us some data in the sense of what you feel like you’ve seen happen over the first couple of months with radio.
I pulled averages of appointments and all of those things and I’m happy to share those. We’re setting six qualified appointments per week.
Six a week for the first two months so that’s over a first eight-week period.
That was a ramp up too. All of those didn’t go live at the same time. I pulled stats all the way across. We’re seeing that number growing. It’s trending upwards. On average, we’ve been at nine. We went from 6 to 9 on average. Over the first few weeks, it was a little lower because we didn’t have all those stations on there but six is on average.
Give us the next set of numbers after that. What have you got?
The more buyers and vendors that you know, the more likely you are to get referrals back.
In addition to that, we’re getting eight unqualified or out-of-area leads on average per week since we started. Those can all convert into referrals of some sort to somebody else.
I love your mindset around that. It’s because I can’t do the deal, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to capitalize on the revenue. It’s impossible by referring that out to someone else to do the deal.
Those calls come in and we talk to them, we try to analyze the situation they’re in and give a brief recommendation. If it’s something that’s out of our area, we ask if they want to be connected to one of our partners outside of the area. I haven’t had a no yet. Every one of them is like, “Here you go.”
What’s the next set of numbers after that? It’s looking good so far.
In addition to that, we’ve got five contractors or buyers calling us per week to get on our lists. It’s not just seller leads. There are people looking for jobs. There are contractors looking for work. We’ve got buyers coming out of the woodwork. This is a market that we’re fairly well-known in and we’ve got a pretty robust buyers’ list and these are new buyers getting at it.
Now some might complain and say, “I don’t want to get a call from a contractor or a vendor.” You have a different mentality on this. Mine is much like yours because you’re looking at the bigger picture. Why is it valuable to get calls and not just sellers but people wanting to do business with you? What is that creating? What’s the outcome?
Pure authority. It’s a constant effect. The more buyers and vendors that you know, the more likely you are to get referrals back. Contractors can’t necessarily afford to buy their grandma’s house and fix it up. They might call you now, especially if you’ve nurtured them.
You see those as an opportunity to get ongoing leveraged referrals. I would imagine another benefit is that your cost to flip, etc. starting to go down because you’re creating competition. Now you’re the authority and you’re the celebrity on radio. People want to do deals with you. Now you’re at a place of authority to negotiate better pricing.
That’s on both ends of the spectrum, both from the buyer side as well as the contractor side. When we send stuff out, we don’t necessarily wholesale, we wholetail. Everything that we put under contract, we buy and close ourselves. When we send stuff out, they know that process, they are recognizing that and they also know that’s the price. These guys are on the radio all the time. They know what they’re doing and they know the price tag.
What’s the next set of numbers after that? For those who analyze out there, what we call high-C personalities, you’re going to be chomping in the bit. What’s the next set of metrics you’ve got?
We’ve got an average call volume. Monday through Friday, there are eleven calls. Every day, we’ve got eleven inbound on average. The peak is we’ve had eighteen calls in one day.
You’re averaging eleven calls per day off of a spend of around $2,800.
We’ve got those peak calls at eighteen so that’s our capacity monitor. That’s the most calls we’ve had off radio to date. As you know, the radios fluctuate. We don’t have set spots. We have a set timeframe. What we see is we might have five ads run on a Friday. If we have five ads run on a Friday, when we look back, “That’s why we had eighteen calls a day. They’re blasting out on all those stations.” With as many stations running sometimes it stacks. All of those stations might run quite a few times on that one day and generate those phone calls.
Take us to some of the juicy stuff. People are like, “You’re getting call volume, great. Let’s talk about some deals. What do you get as potential profit or executed contracts?”
We are converting one-third of the appointments we go on from radio to contracts.
That’s strong. What your findings are these are high-quality appointments.
We put eight deals under contract and six of those were radio-based.
I want you guys to know this. We have students that come in. We’ve all been at that place of growing our business. We utilize that tool differently if we’re new to the game. I’m new to the game in some areas and it takes me longer to work that tool. This is when you put Dale Earnhardt someone like that and put him in a car that already knows how to drive it. They’re showing you the capacity at which you can drive this thing. That’s why you’re seeing when someone seasoned as Mitch comes in, he can crush a model like this, which I love. Is there any other data after that that you want to bring home?
Radio is an easy choice to make. Make sure you’re ready for the call volume. You are going to get phone calls. You are going to get motivated by the sellers calling you.
What we’ve taken away from every call we get is a huge motivation level. It’s different than anything you get off postcards. We’ve got pay-per-click, YouTube ads, and all of those things running. Motivation is fundamentally different. These guys want to be talked to. Our team enjoys talking to the inbounds off radio.
My team didn’t enjoy talking to direct mail leads or anything like that and getting yelled at. They like the quality call. They perceive you as professional because of radio. That becomes a much different type of conversation when they feel like they’re dealing with someone that’s more sophisticated versus “I’m responding because you spam me.” You’re starting off in a different place. Is that what you’re seeing?
Absolutely. They want to be there, talk to you and share their situation to see if you can help them because they view the person that answers the phone as an expert and they look forward to the next step in that process.
Any last couple of numbers for us? This is good stuff.
I’ve got a cost per lead if you’d like me to share that.
People are curious. Cost per lead will vary but go with it. What’s your cost per lead?
We’re at $116 per appointment qualified.
$116 is decent for cost per lead. What are you seeing overall in the sense of pipeline? What type of profit do you feel like you’re going to see? You’re at a turning point, you’re locking up deals, you’re starting rehabs. Can you give us a conservative estimate of what type of profit you feel you’ve fundamentally generated in the first sixteen days?
I’ll do it by $100,000. Based off $100,000, I expect to return about $18,000. If we buy a $100,000 property, I expect to return about $18,000 in profits off of these leads.
How much do you think you have in potential profit for how many deals you get locked up?
A lot. I don’t have that number. Conservatively, it’s $400,000.
That’s incredible. You came in and took over that market. We interview students that have 1 or 2 stations. This is what happens when you get a force multiplier that every time someone turns on the radio and Mitch is down, they’re hearing him. I’m sure at this point. They’re like, “This guy is everywhere.”
There’s another gentleman in town that advertises not in the real estate space but in the car space. Instantly, they associated us with him because he’s on every station and he does a similar piece. We have the same authority that he has and he’s been leveraging that for over a decade.
All of a sudden, you begin to catch up with that in a matter of a couple of months.
We’re compared to that continually already. When we talk to people, they mention that.
I hope you learn that. If you’re new, you’re trying to build up credibility in the market. Maybe you’re in a competitive market and you’re dealing with some of the OGs that have been there for 10 to 15 years. You don’t have to wait ten years to catch up from overall celebrity status. The radio will take you there. Mitch is saying that he’s already beginning to recognize that with someone that’s been in the market.
This is the power of mass media. This is why celebrities spend time on television, radio, podcasts social media, billboards, all that type of stuff because mass media works. The numbers are incredible, Mitch. Let’s boil it down. Now that you step back, take a look at radio and what are a couple of the benefits that you go there are a couple of things I’m liking about radio. What are those that stand out most to you about the qualities?
The authority piece is cool. Getting texts from contractors. “I heard you on the radio again.” These are guys that know us, love us and work with us already but they feel the need to text and let us know, “I heard you on the radio today.” It’s that continual reinforcement and authority. It’s cool to be recognized. Sometimes when we’re in neighborhoods, we’re recognized by the neighbors but not our entire network.
I bet this is going to accelerate your referral process too. I’m in the neighborhood, you’re rehabbing a house, I see the sign, I get in my car, I hear the same company then all of a sudden, it’s like, “That guy is on the radio. He’s in my own neighborhood.” I can see how this is going to indirectly start to bump up potentially more on the referral side that you’re doing.
We’re seeing an influx on that as well. Word of mouth referral is increasing. The likelihood of conversion from a previous seller has gone up substantially. They mention it to somebody, they hear us on the radio and then they hear us on the radio again. Maybe they got a postcard in the mail whereas before, they were mentioned and they got a postcard in the mail but it was too long between that so they didn’t make the connection. Now, you recognize our signs and you recognize my voice on the radio. You have the seller company as well as a postcard coming out. Those referrals come to fruition a lot faster.
That’s the power of the force multiplier. Radio is fantastic. We can always touch on all these great points but I know there are some skeptics out there. By nature, when I hear something I’m like, “Yeah.” I always like to ask the flip side, what about radio potentially has been a challenge or maybe a hurdle. Anything you haven’t liked?
We get a ton of spam calls now. I know they’re coming from these numbers because they’re tracked at the system level. Not counted on these stats but we probably get 7 to 8 spam calls a week per number. They’re RVMs as well so they’ll hit the system and then you trigger the sequences and it’s like, “That was a wasted sequence. That’s a wasted follow-up,” or whatever you want to call it.
It’s interesting that you mentioned that. I’ve been doing radio for many years but this is when it started to happen most. I’ll tell you two reasons why. COVID took people back to the fundamentals of having the cold call. Companies that were not doing it had to step back in and go, “We got to pick up the call again.” You tie the elections on with that and we’re in the middle of it. We’ve seen that our spam calls have gone up, traditionally, in comparison to the past years.
We had this conversation and it’s like, “We’ve never had this conversation for years about an increase in spam.” It’s like, “It’s COVID mixed with the elections that are driving that up.” Mitch, traditionally, that will go back down once we get past the elections. I like you brought that up because we’ve noticed that data as well. That’s unique. People are hungry to do business so they’re calling every number that they can pick up wherever that they can get it. That’s good.
The other potential negative is we’re having a hard time breaking through one company locally. These guys are stone-faced. They haven’t budged at all. That’s a little frustrating. You’re like, “I’m doing all this while we’re here. What’s up with you?”
You’ve got that one radio station that’s holding out on you. You’ve been doing it for over two months. We have a saying in REIA radio, they always break. There are always those last adopters that come around that holdout and I’ve had those. I had one company in our area. It’s the golden goose radio station to be on. They’re cocky and they’re number one. It probably took me almost twelve months. They were holding out. The best thing I can tell you is you keep following up and they’ll eventually accept that price at some point. There’s always 1 or 2 that are cocky about coming in and doing business.
For the readers, I don’t know how many of you are operating with CRMs or automated sequencing. We put those guys on a follow-up campaign. Salespeople are not immune to follow-up campaigns. Hit them consistently with texts and emails and build it out. From one company to the next company, it’s the same follow-up campaign for these guys.
Before I go to where do you want to go, I should be talking to someone that’s been doing radio for a year. You’re over two months in. You almost dominated your whole area. What are you thinking you want to do with radio moving forward now that you’ve got this tiger by the tail?
It makes it easy to step into a new market. That’s the biggest thing. It lets us easily say, “We can establish a basis here without having to be deployed in the community like we are now.” It made that scalable.
Getting to that hot topic word doing virtual wholesaling or virtual deals, if you’re going to do that, you’ve got to break into a market. You’re going to do that with direct mail and with text blasting. Mitch is looking at this thing going, “The easiest way to do it is with radio.” I agree. It’s an easy way to get in and test the market and start getting quality leads. There are these little pockets of markets out there and stuff like that where they’re primed for the picking. The great thing is there’s still virtually no competition on radio around the country. It’s fresh for the application of this.
Mitch, I have so much respect for you. One of the reasons I brought you into the Multipliers Brotherhood is because you’re an absolute stud. At this point, if you’re reading, you’re getting one student after another to come in. Mitch has given you a fresh look and given you some straight, raw data on what he’s seeing. He’s also showing you what can be done with this thing if you decide to maximize it.
You have the choice of going, “I want a small, little marketing budget. Do a couple of deals here and there and work my 9:00 to 5:00.” Radio is good for both sides of the spectrum. We are selling out markets. I know less and less of these openings are coming in place because we have one more student coming in and going, “I’ll take that market.”
Go to WholesalingInc.com/REIRadio. Book a call. See if your market is open. If it is, lock it in. Let us help you set it up like we did with Mitch. Mitch, wrapping up here. People are reading and they’re like, “Should I move this radio thing? Should I not?” What would you leave the readers with on that feeling? What would you tell them when it comes to the decision of radio?
Radio is an easy choice to make. Make sure you’re ready for the call volume. You are going to get phone calls. You are going to get motivated by the sellers calling you. Understand what you’re going to do with those. It’s not like driving for dollars or any of that where you can turn it off. This comes and it keeps on coming. Make sure you understand what it looks like.
Be ready when you turn that faucet on.
You can’t turn it off. You got to shut it down to turn it off but you don’t have to.
You call the stations and say, “I need to pause my ads.” Mitch, I love you. Thanks so much for coming on. Thanks for being an inspiration to me and everybody that’s reading. To the rest of you, we will catch you next time when we add more value. Talk to you soon.
Thanks. I appreciate it.
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!