Who could have thought that getting on the radio could offer access to handsome deals, even much more than those from cold calls or prospecting? Our guest for today’s show is an REI Radio student who closed his sizeable deal from radio advertising after only 30 days of going live. Marcelo Valdez now has two radio stations and is in the process of negotiation for a third station in the next month, and that’s three stations in 90 days! He joins Chris Arnold to tell his wholesaling story, what marketing strategies he is doing, and how far it got him to this day. With that, he will dive into how he bumped into wholesaling, expanding his radio stations and business, and what his marketing portfolio looks like. Learn how he is growing his wholesaling business and getting the hang of radio and its benefits. Listen and enjoy this episode!
How One Tribe Member Closed His First Radio Deal in Less Than 30 Days
I’m grateful that you are with us to hang out. I love bringing on somebody that comes out of the gate, closes a big deal off the radio and says, “Some of these other marketing channels, I got to wait six months or a year.” One of the things I love about radio is its immediate delivery. Call start coming in quickly and we see most of our students execute close-out contracts, I like to conservatively say within the first 60 to 90. The person we have on who I’m excited for you guys to meet closed his first deal on the first 30 and a very sizable deal at that. Marcelo Valdez, welcome to the show. I’m glad to have you. What’s cracking? How are you?
I’m good. Thanks for having me on.
How long you’ve been in the game, give a little bit of a snapshot of who’s this guy that’s on and a little bit about your real estate background.
I first came to San Diego in the military, when I got out, I went to graduate school here, decided I wanted to stay in Southern California. I ended up having a career in a big well-known company here in San Diego. I spent a couple of years living overseas. I did three years in Brazil, came back, went out to the UK for a while with my wife, who I met in Brazil and came back. I traveled a lot. I was traveling literally millions of miles a year.
When my daughter was born, I thought, “I don’t think I want to do this anymore.” I jumped, I had already been doing a little bit of real estate stuff on the side and I owned a couple of real estate properties here in San Diego, and I love it. I got into it. One of the things I noticed a few years back was how it was basically impossible to find anything on MLS. Now, it’s gotten worse. I heard about this thing wholesaling.
I like to know when did you hear about it, how did you hear about it? What made you even go, “I’m going to look into this?”
I somehow ran across it. I wasn’t looking for wholesaling, Todd Toback for a while, was doing some of his Apple Podcasts and he did the one thing with Tom Krol like a 90-day challenge. I was like, “What in the hell are these guys talking about?” I had no idea what they were talking about.
Tom and his all high energy. Excited about it.
I thought, “This is cool.” My wife, of course, thought that I had gone insane. I tried to do a couple of other things at the same time. I was doing some other stuff. I wasn’t dedicated full-time. I was in full-time like 100% a few years ago.
I’ll point again, everyone loves this question because we’re all interested in how to create opportunities to convert motivated sellers. In the last couple of years, what has worked for you on the marketing side? What have you tried and been like, “That didn’t work or wasn’t a fit for me?” Give us a snapshot?
I did a pretty fair amount of trial and error. I started with postcards and I went to Wholesaling Inc., they had a thing in Utah. Brent Daniels spoke and I was like, “Look at that guy. Unlike me, that guy’s got great hair and a great smile.” I liked what he was saying about cold calling and it made a lot of sense. My wife had even done some similar stuff in the financial industry in bank in Brazil. I was like, “Let’s do it.” I signed up for his course, the both of us. She and I both started off doing the cold calling herself and it’s worked well.
I’m amazed because you started on the TTP side with Brent Daniels. You’re still doing it after and I know Brent would love to hear this, after a few years, you’re still down with cold calling, it must be working.
Advertising on the radio gives you a huge level of credibility.
I want to grow the business. You see a lot of things that come and go. People talk about texting and text blasts. I tried a little bit of that for about a month or so and then there’s all these upended weird messages and stuff that was on there. I was like, “Forget this. I’m going to stick with the cold calling.” I’ve got a few people that are doing a great job for me, I’ve trained them up well. The question is, “What else am I going to do?” I have done postcards but very targeted.
How’s that working? A lot of people now keep saying that. If you bring up postcards, they’re like, “I still do direct mail but,” and they always say it’s a sniper or it’s targeted. What are you seeing on that side? I see this a lot. I don’t hear as many people going, “I send out 20,000, 40,000 pieces a month anymore.” Everyone’s like, “I sniper it.” What are you seeing on that side for your business?
A couple thousand a month.
Not working better than trying to go bigger volume?
It’s not working very well at all. I could send out 20,000 but then I would be broke. On the TTP side, I’m profitable.
Your cold calling is profitable, you’re doing direct mail at a small level but even then, we’re having a candid conversation, which I love and not bringing you the return that you’re looking for there and you’re doing radio. My big question is you’re going to choose anything out there, ringless voicemail, we talked about, you could go into digital marketing, you could do bandit signs, it’s on and on, why do you choose radio out of everything?
To me, it just made sense. Number one, I don’t know of anybody in my market that’s been doing it. The way you talk about it is set it and forget it. A lot of this other stuff takes a lot of work. Even the prospecting, you got to double-check things, you got to make sure the right lists your calling. I’ve been managing people. I have this small team but they’re great. You got to manage and I liked the idea.
Here’s my question, you’re on the other side of the radio now, is it truly set and forget it in your opinion? Are you having to do a lot of maintenance to keep your radio station up and going?
Like anything, you want to stay on top of it. I want to double. Now, one of my tasks is to go and check the post logs, find out what advertising has been going on. When you’re training, you set up for $100 a month but now, is it $100, $25, $50?
You’re saying you’re trying to interpret data and analyze it, right?
Yes, you want to check it. The calls come in, you answer them and you don’t have to do much more than that. That part, I really love.
With our radio campaigns, the only thing I do is exactly what you’re doing. I have a monthly call with my Director of Marketing Grace, that helps with the radio and Sierra, my COO. All I do when it comes to radio is interpret the data with it. When it comes to like, “Is there any real work, adjust things, tweak things?” No. The only work ever comes is when we decide to pick up another station.
From my angle, the only real work comes into sitting down and talking about the data and, “How’s that station producing? Do we feel like we might get a better return if we go over to this station?” We’re doing 62nd spots and we want to drop that down to 30 spots. I feel like the best way I can describe what we do in radio is fundamentally just tinker with it.
The way I do things is I do it first and then I figured out how to go and hand it off. Now, it’s still me and my wife, especially because of COVID. I thought about an acquisition manager but I would want to have somebody who’s standing next to me. It’s still me doing the calls and going to face-to-face meetings. I’ve pushed that off for now. Some of the tinkerings you talk about, I’m doing that myself but eventually, I would like to be able to handle a lot of that stuff off and even the management of the stations to someone else, which within for me personally, make it very much set it and forget it.
You’ve been up on radio live for a month. This is what’s interesting though. Honestly, Marcelo, a guy like you comes in and you put radio in the hands of certain people like yourself and this is what I see happen. Thirty days live, you’re not on one station but you’ve already picked up another station that went live a week ago. Now you’re live on two stations, you’re starting to look and negotiate to have a potential third station of a size in the field on that. It’s possible that in another 30 days conservatively, another month, you’ll be on a total of three stations?
Possibly. My goal is I want to get another deal done from radio and that’s my trigger to then add a third station.
That’s another 30 to 60 days. We’ll say three stations in 90 days, roughly.
I go by quarters. My thought is by the end of the first quarter, if we’re up on three stations, I’m happy.
This is what I love people to understand about radio is it’s so affordable if you’re new because our average student is paying $500 to max $2,000 a month for a station but it’s normally around $500 to $1,500. It’s super affordable. If you’re getting in the game, you’re going to spend more than that on direct mail. That’s a pain to manage anyway but then you can come in on Marcelo and you have the ability to swing to the other side of it being valuable for you because you can scale it. You can go from 1 to 2 to 3 stations in the first 90 days. Let’s talk about pricing. How much are you paying for the first station?
If they run all of my ads, it would be $2,000 in a month.
You’re in San Diego, anyone thinking Cali, San Diego, you’re going to be at the top. You’re right within that of what we’re talking about $2,000 and how much was the second station you picked up per month?
You got two stations for a total of $2,900, $3,000. Even though when we divide that in half roughly, that’s $1,500 per station if we were doing an average as well. You were in San Diego, which is again, it’s like Dallas. That’s more of an expensive place to market and to make stuff happen. You’ve already closed the deal on the books, been paid out in the first four weeks, what was the size of the first deal you closed?
That was a $34,000 deal. It was out of my market. I want to say it was my first day of advertising but it might’ve been the 2nd or 3rd call I had received. I didn’t know what to expect. We had just gone on air. The guy had called me and said, “I heard your ad.” It was funny because my ad says, I’m not quoting exactly, “My tenant doesn’t pay their rent houses.” He says, “Do you buy? My tenant doesn’t pay their rent houses.”
Going on the radio is simple and doesn’t actually require that much effort. This makes it a good idea to try for beginners.
Did he actually say that back to you because he heard it about the ad?
No. He said, “I have a property and the tenants are not paying the rent. I heard you say that you bought that kind of a property, do you do that?” I said, “Sure.” Of course, I never had. I then called a guy I know in Riverside who’s another wholesaler there. I said, “I got this deal.” He’s like, “I got a good list. I got guys, they’ll buy with a non-paying tenant.” He did have somebody else who had already talked to. He said, “Somebody who’s going to go in, take a look at it and that person offered an amount.” I said, “I can offer $5,000 more than that because the weekend had gone by.” He said, “Call me on Monday.” I called him on Monday and I said, “If our fee is $5,000 more, can we do it now?” He said, “Yes.”
One of the reasons why he went ahead and did that is because I offered some more money but also because when you’re on the radio, as you also say, and that was another thing that I like, is it gives you some credibility. You’re like, “If this guy’s on the radio, he’s legit.” That helped a lot for him to say, “A little bit more money and you’re legit. Let’s do it.” To make the long story short, the deal closed within about two and a half weeks after getting it under contract.
I love that you came in, got it up, did a $34,000 transaction within the first month. As we were talking, continue to have more in the pipeline. I guarantee, as I talked to you again within the next couple of months, you have more deals to talk about as you’re closing. I want to ask you because you and I were talking about this, you’re in a couple of years now. What do you perceive to be your ideal, let’s call it, marketing strategy portfolio? It’s going to have three things in there that you think and what do you think it’s going to consist of, what is going to be the value of each one and why are you setting it up this way?
I’m going to probably stick with the three that I have now, which are prospecting, the radio, cold calling and also targeted direct mail. Certainly through this year, I can’t see anything else that I would need to add. I’m already doing okay, even with the prospecting. That’s enough to manage, first of all, especially being just myself and my wife. As we add more folks, something else will come along but I don’t see anything changing through this year. Those will be the three legs of the stool for sure.
From a marketing strategy standpoint if you’ve got, “How many things should I be doing? What’s too many?” I always tell people 2 to 4 is where you want to be. One year in trouble because you have all your eggs in your basket. If you have more than four, you’re honestly half asking them.
You’ve got so much going on that you’re spending too much money at that point.
You’re not really becoming an expert even. 2 to 4 strategies at one time, depending on the complexity of the strategy. Two might be enough but they’re big strategies. You might do all radio, all television and spend a bunch of money on that, it depends. I’m curious, Marcelo again, I love this because cold calling works and the radio is working. Cold calling is outbound and radio is inbound. Contrast those two though. What are you seeing the difference now that you’ve got the radio up and going versus cold calling? They’re both working but they’re very different in nature. What have you noticed on the differences between the two?
If I were to pick one thing, it would be immediacy. The people that I’m talking to and I’ve spoken to a few that I haven’t done deals with but they’re ready now. Whereas when you’re prospecting, “Call me next year, maybe in 90 days,” they’re both good, they’re just different and the one was immediacy. Number two would be the volume. You’re going to get a few calls from radio and I don’t have enough experience yet to speak with mastery but I would imagine it’s going to be much less, 5 to 1 or 10 to 1 lead versus prospecting. My average, I’m almost embarrassed to say this, I’m going to about 70 to 1 leads to close on a cold call.
It was going to be between 10 and 20, depending on your capability to convert. Twenty leads are going to be a deal and you’re 70 on cold calling. We want you to hear this because, as we always say, marketing channels work. I don’t have seen any that don’t work. They all work if you work them. I see people go, “Cold calling doesn’t work and tax blast.” They all work. Once you have decided, it’s what’s the best fit for you. I like what you say, the thing about radio is it’s immediate and again, you’re newer and I want to confirm it is. You launch on radio, people have not heard that message before and they start calling in instantly.
I don’t know anyone that for the most part, doesn’t get calls coming in within the first week. If they don’t, we’re usually like, “That’s interesting, let’s recheck some stuff.” You’re getting the immediacy on top of that and you’re right, this is why I think it’s good for someone that’s new. You’re getting a lower manageable call volume but a much higher quality lead.
I know a lot of people that have been doing direct mail, cold calling or text blasting, they’ll tell us like, “I’m doing radio and I’m only getting X amount of calls and they almost feel like something’s wrong because they’re used to these high-volume calls,” but how many of those calls were telling you don’t ever mail them again?
The effort that people go through that, either mailing the stuff back to me with a full written letter telling me calling and giving me. I’m like, “The amount of effort these people did, do they do this to every postcard or letter they give?”
What’s funny is it’s such a backward thing and that is this, I feel like people should be looking at direct mail or cold calling, etc. going, “Why are there so many calls coming in?” It’s because they understand that where you want to be is a low call volume, higher quality. Not that something’s wrong with that but that’s the norm.
Everyone’s so used to doing these spam approaches that they’re used to having a high call, they’re not used to good what I would call a manageable call volume that’s high quality and they think something’s wrong. I’m like, “That means something’s right.” If you’re reading, I know a lot of our students are now around the country coming in and go, “Chris, the big thing for me is getting to hear from the other REI radio students. It is such a positive thing.”
Here’s the thing I know about REI radio on all of us, we’re also consistent in what we’re telling you like, “3 to 4 returns, set it and forget it, immediacy.” Marcelo, a guy like you will come in and say, “Chris, everything you said it was going to be is what it was.” This is a very consistent marketing channel, which I love.
Now’s the time to jump on it, to be honest with you. We’re getting to that point where we sold more of the markets out for 2021, if you’re thinking radio and that’s a good fit for you. I always tell you to do your due diligence, find out what’s the best fit for you. If you’ve been thinking about this thing, it’s time to jump on it. Make it happen, get it up and going.
Go to WholesalingInc.com/reiradio, book a call, jump on board and get this bad boy set up for you. I’m telling you now with such confidence because we set so many people around the country. When I first came in, it’s like, “Is this going to work in every market? Is it going to work with new students and season?” It was under speculation. I believed the data but I didn’t have the data. At this point, I’m like, “It works for everybody in every market and I’m seeing it.” That’s what excites us because it’s such a great marketing channel.
Let me ask you this, Marcelo if somebody is reading and so forth, debating around this radio thing and like, “Should I go? I get it, I’m super skeptical about anything before I sign up,” what would you tell someone that’s on the fence now trying to figure out this is the best fit for them? What would you say, “The one thing I want you to know about radio is this?”
The simplicity on it. I would say that the most important thing, especially as somebody newer, is simplicity. The other stuff does require more effort.
It’s funny people throw out different words to describe it and I don’t know that I’ve had a student choose that particular word but I think you nailed it. The thing that I love about radio now that you say is the simplicity of it. A super simple marketing channel. There’s not a lot of complexity. People get in and they’re like, “This is exactly as easy as you guys said it would be to run it and do it.”
I’m looking to move to a different calling platform and I just delayed it. It’s not really that hard but it’s an effort to migrate to new platforms like, “Crap, I haven’t done it,” but this is much simpler.
I’m proud of you for coming in doing a deal in the first 30 days on two stations already. We’ll be looking at sizing up your third within the first quarter. You and I were talking like even have a bigger goal for the year. I got to be honest as I was getting to know you and seeing you go through this program, I always get feedback from my team on different students and so forth. I have no doubt you’ll be exactly where you told me you’re going to be in about twelve months. I could probably have you back on going, “He said he was going to be X amount and he’s there.”
Let’s do it. Let’s set the date.
Marcelo, thank you so much. To the rest of you, as always, we appreciate your time popping in and hearing about radio. Until next time. We will catch you soon when we add more value. Talk to you later.
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!