Posted on: April 28, 2021

Luke joins us on the show today to give us a breakdown of his first six months as a real estate wholesaler. He’ll share his experiences with both inbound and outbound marketing—specifically radio—and reveal his barometer for success.

In his journey to build a brand, Luke emphasizes the importance of being nice because, whether you believe in a higher power or not, people matter. So stay tuned to learn how he and his wife were able to close five deals by coupling credibility with authenticity.

Key Takeaways

  • Luke started with inbound marketing because of the demands of his day job
  • Outbound marketing works but it’s not for everybody.
  • The cost of advertising through radio
  • How Luke gets sellers to do deals with him when his competition are offering more
  • If you can help people AND make a profit, it’s a win-win for everybody.

 

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Episode Transcription

Chris Arnold:
Welcome to the Wholesaling Inc podcast. I’m your host, Chris Arnold, as always excited that you guys joined us today. So I’m going to throw out this question, and we are going to dive into this today with my guest. If you are a new real estate investor doing wholesale, fix and flip, whatever your strategy is, do you have to start doing outbound before you do inbound on your marketing? So if I’m new to the game, does that mean that I’ve got to start with cold calling, I’ve got to start with ringless voicemail or text blasting, or can I just skip that altogether and go directly into marketing and just deal with people actually reaching out to me, versus me trying to spam my way into their world in order to close the deal?
So here’s what you’re going to get today. We’re going to talk with Luke Smith, who’s our guest today, and we are going to break apart really his first six months. I love this. He’s fresh. Wait till you hear the stats of what he’s accomplished so far, and we’re going to talk about this debate. What happens if you just straight up go outbound? Who says you got to do what everyone else is doing and start on the outbound rather than just come in and get going on the inbound right away? So Luke Smith, what’s up buddy? Welcome to the show, man. Glad to have you.

Luke Smith:
Hey, Chris. Glad to be here.

Chris Arnold:
Yes. For those that don’t know you, where are you located? Give us a quick snapshot of what you got going on in your world.

Luke Smith:
Sure. Yeah. So I am located in the heart of Kentucky in Louisville, and right now I’ve just started wholesaling about six months ago, joined the Wholesaling Inc tribe there through REI radio, through your program, and then really just excited about some of the momentum that we’re building and some of the success we’re having so far.

Chris Arnold:
Absolutely. So you’ve been in the game for six months, and are you doing this full time or are you also holding down a W2 and trying to do that balance? I know a lot of people listening are trying to figure out how to do a startup and manage their current career.

Luke Smith:
Yeah. So I still hold a W2. Thankfully I enjoy my job and it’s a good job. I appreciate it. So I work for an international retailer. That keeps me pretty busy, but there’s also the flexibility to invest in real estate on the side. So the nice thing is I can wholesale and still hold that job, and really juggle both of those systems and all those tasks all together.

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. So let me ask you this. I feel like, and I’m going to assume this but you can answer it, that the reason you started on the inbound versus the outbound side, so rather than prospecting what you wanted to do is you wanted to market, is because your life mandates it. You’ve got a full blown career here, doing what you’re doing here. You’re at a higher level within that industry that you’re in, and life mandated that you couldn’t get bogged down doing a bunch of outbound stuff like cold calling. You have to be really protective of your time, right?

Luke Smith:
Yeah. Admittedly, at my day job, I’ve got about 75 employees that are underneath me and I manage, so all the time, I feel that I’m getting their inbound and I’m dealing with all of their things or possibly their needs. So the nice thing is looking at wholesaling and investing in real estate, I really wanted, in a way, a passive way to connect with homeowners and people that need our help. So that’s why the radio fit perfectly into that, where they were coming to me, rather than me investing all of this time just to find one potential client and then work through that and it’s not a deal, or whatever it is. So yeah, I would definitely say my schedule mandates that, and then radio just fits into that perfectly because they come right to us and they’re raising their hand, asking me for help, rather than me inserting myself into their life.

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. I told you, we were talking before the podcast, I like that. Inserting yourself into their lives. Again, we’re not saying outbound prospecting doesn’t work. Cold calling works, text blasting works, but it’s not for everybody. So if you’re listening and you’re working a nine to five and maybe you’re doing an outbound piece of prospecting right now, like RVMing, text blasting, whatever, and you’re like, “Man, I’m having trouble juggling my career while doing this.” What Luke’s coming in and saying is, “Well, if that’s the case, I just decided to go tip them off, and I just started obviously doing marketing so that I could create inbound calls.” Now, I want to paint a picture for people who are listening, because you and I are talking. So you’re out driving around. You’re a regional guy. This is a full-blown career, and you’re going to appointments when you can, like on your lunch break or after work. So talk a little bit about the fact of painting a picture of what you have to juggle, because it’s the real thing.

Luke Smith:
Sure. So obviously the company I work for is an amazing company. They’ve given me tons of responsibility, which I love, and every day is different. So I travel around from location to location and supervise those, make sure everything’s in order, and then setting up radio, I’m new to the whole game. So I’m not a company. I don’t have a big office or anything like that. So we set it up in a manner that my wife, she’s the inbound. So she answers the phone. She works from home, and she really is actually the one that’s actually on our radio ads. So they actually hear her voice, and then she answers the phone, which is that other kick. They’re like, “Wow, I just heard you on radio and now it’s Haley,” that’s my wife, “who’s answering the phone.” She’s like, “Yep, that’s me.” So she’ll receive the call, she’ll talk to the client, and then ultimately she’ll transfer it to me and say, “Hey, we’ve got to lead in such and such place.”
The nice thing is with my job, I literally travel all around the state anyways. I can just look at my schedule and say, “Okay, perfect. I’ll be at this house on X day. Let’s figure out if that works for them.” Or I can go on my lunch break or after work, or even sometimes before work. Some of these people will work a third shift, and they’re okay if they get home or they work, that is the third shift. That’s what it’s called, where we work overnight. They’re happy with me visiting at 6:00 AM. They’re okay with that. They’re like, “Yep. I’m off of my shift.” Just come right away so I can visit a property right before, take a look at that, and ultimately we’re using radio and just our online traffic as our two marketing sources. They build upon one another and ultimately they hear us, they see us, and it’s us. The real thing in the flesh, not just some random company with stock photos of people that may or may not exist, even in this state or whatever it is.

Chris Arnold:
I love this concept though of how you are dividing and conquering with your wife. You’re generating these radio leads. Your wife’s taking the call. You’re out on the field, doing what you do. She’s like, “Hey babe, I got one.” “Okay. I’m going to be in that area two days from now, because I got to go up to that region for it.” And then you’re popping in early in the morning before they go to work and closing the deals. I think, Luke, that’s really inspirational because I know a lot of people really like, “Can you really do it? Can you juggle both?” So you’ve created a system here with some help from your wife, and again, that’s not taking a ton of her time. It’s not like she’s taking hundreds of direct mail calls, and half of those are saying stop calling me or mailing me. She’s taking the cherry leads that are coming in, the high quality off the radio.
Now, I want to talk about the data here, right? Because people listen like, okay, you’ve been in six months. I talked to a lot of students, a lot of people around the country doing deals, and I can tell you, a lot of people really struggled to do a deal within their first six months even to the first 12 months. So you’ve been in six months, and technically at this point, you have closed out five deals on the books already. Is that right?

Luke Smith:
Yeah.

Chris Arnold:
Does that put any question in your mind that, hey, I can start on the marketing side and that’s not going to cost me time, I didn’t have to come in and go to the outbound side right away? I mean, that should prove the point in your mind that I can go straight marketing if I want to, to be able to balance it.

Luke Smith:
It out. Yeah. I mean, ultimately I looked at it and I thought, “It’s time or money. Which one are you spending?” I’m very, very busy at my day job. So I’m like, “It’s got to be the money side of things.” But it’s actually worked out in our favor where on one regard, wholesaling, you’re always going to have some skepticism because it’s different. So 96% or whatever the stat is sells with a realtor, everybody else might sell on their own or whatever it is. We fit into that 4% niche there of homeowners that want to work with us. So most people have never done a deal like this. They don’t know what we have to offer. They don’t really understand it, and then we come to them as complete strangers.
But the nice thing is, doing marketing this way, they hear us, they hear our message. It’s played over and over and over again. So it’s almost like a built-in CRM rather than mailing them. They just hear us everyday on the radio. So they’re like, “these people are legitimate.” The nice thing too is month over month, we haven’t disappeared. It’s not like, “Hey, it’s March madness. Here’s our ads.: It’s the fact that we’re here over and over and over again. We did a year contract. They know that we’re authentic and we’re real, because we’re showing up day in and day out, week after week after week. Rather than man, they were here in January or February, now they’re still here or whatever.

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. I do want to break this down. So if you’re listening like, “Okay, so Luke started on the marketing side. What did he begin with?” You actually started with digital, doing SEO. So you started driving traffic to your website, of course, which is again inbound. You’re only talking to people who find you and reach out to you. You started with that, and that got your traction going, and then you moved over to the radio piece. So you’re not sitting here just saying, “Well, I’m just doing radio.” You actually are doing two forms of inbound right off the front. So here’s my question. You’ve got this digital piece going out, doing your SEO, driving traffic to your site. What made you choose radio next? Again, there’s a lot. I know your mindset is marketing, but there’s other marketing pieces out there that you could do to drive calls. Why radio?

Luke Smith:
Yeah. So it’s ultimately the biggest hurdle that you have to get through is getting on the radio, which is going through the rep. But the reason I chose radio is because again, I knew my time was limited. So in the evenings, I can easily work on SEO and work on articles or whatever that is, and for their branding, posting, and you can schedule out all your posts, which again is nice because really, eight to five, I’m working. But on social media you can schedule out all those, those are posting. The same thing with radio. You can pick your schedule, design it Monday through Friday. Certainly we’re flexible on when they play those ads, but I knew that those were going to go, even though I’m not the one that has to push the button to make those ads go. They are going to go. I heard it on another podcast that marketing needs to be done for you, in spite of you, and I’m like, “That’s what I need with radio, because they are going to do it whether I’m ready for it or not.”
So the nice thing is obviously convincing my wife to be that lead intake. I tried to do it for literally a week, and I’m like, “This is too much,” because I’m getting them from online and I’m getting them from the radio. I was literally sneaking away at work trying to answer these calls, and that wasn’t working. I’m like, “All right, I definitely need to have a better approach.” I wasn’t giving the leads as much time as I should, because I’m like, “Okay, I actually have to go,” in my mind, but they don’t know that. So ultimately, switching that over so she can be that first line of defense. She can talk to them. She can give them a 30 minute conversation if that’s what they want out the gate, and then, “Hey, my husband Luke, he’s going to come out and visit. We’ll figure out a date and time that works for everybody. He’ll reach out to you.”
But obviously radio just fits so perfectly into what we were already doing, because it really is that force multiplier where they hear us, they see us online, they see us on social media. They just know that we are the real deal. It’s actually us that are actually doing the job. They see pictures of me going to houses, me smiling with homeowners that we’ve sold their house and helped them move on. So it really is that force multiplier that I don’t have to be there to manage it. It doesn’t feel like hamster wheel marketing. Yes, I have to pay for it every month, but it’s going to be done without me really engaging. I mean, I haven’t talked to my rep after we signed the deal. I haven’t talked to her in the last two and a half months.

Chris Arnold:
Love it. I love that phrase, hamster wheel marketing. I’ve actually not heard that one. I’m writing it down [crosstalk 00:13:18] marketing channels. So here’s my question for you. You’re focused on doing what you’re doing, making the phone ring or sending people to fill out a web form. What is the quality of lead that you’re finding on radio? These people want to talk to you, are they motivated? How do they compare to someone you would talk to, let’s say, if you had spammed them in order to get in front of them? What are you seeing there?

Luke Smith:
Sure. Luckily I’ve dealt with them, mainly my wife deals with them. She is super shy compared to me, which is great. But even for her, the nice thing is it’s opened her eyes, because they are coming to you like you are the celebrity in the market. They are coming to you like you are the expert. Even though I’m not, she would be probably even one step further removed, because she doesn’t listen to the podcast or read all the books and everything. I’ve had to coach her up and train her on it. But I gave her a basic list of questions like, “Listen to them, ask them these questions, qualify them.” Kind of like what Brent Daniels does with the four pillars there. It’s like, “Okay, let’s just get this dialed down, and then just be genuine, be authentic, be yourself and just handle that call.”
So the leads are definitely motivated. We are not interrupting their day. They’ve picked up the phone. They had to type in our number that we said to them on radio, and reach out and say, “Hey, I’m calling you about my property.” So what I love about it is they’re not mad at all. They’re happy that we answered it. And then again, my wife is the voice on the radio. So then they hear her, and then she’s the one answering the phone. They’re like, “Wow, Haley, you’re real.” And then she’s caring, she’s considerate, she’s empathetic. She listens to them really well, and takes all of her notes down. So ultimately, the nice thing is that they are happy to talk to us, and then sometimes they’re like, “All right, that’s it, we got to go. We’ll cut you off there.” But I just think they are coming to you excited that you’re willing to take their call, rather than almost us wedging our foot in the door and being like, “Hey, can I just have a minute of your time?” Like you’re some sort of solicitor.

Chris Arnold:
Absolutely. It is funny. As we’ve been doing this podcast, this is the piece I see you getting most excited about is the quality of calls. It really is nice to talk to people that really want to talk to you, and not like man, I’m having to navigate this conversation. As you said, I put my foot in the door and yeah, they’re peeking through and still willing to talk with me, but I got long ways to go to build that trust, versus your wife’s picking up the phone and they’re like, “Happy to talk to you, heard you on the radio.” You’re right, you already have that celebrity status, which I love. So how long have you been advertising right now on radio, live with your ads?

Luke Smith:
So I joined the program in December, and then we closed the deal with our radio rep in mid January. And then we actually started, we went live the first week of February. So we’ve been two months, and this is going on, I guess the second week hereabout in April.

Chris Arnold:
Okay. So about two months. How many stations are you on already?

Luke Smith:
So we are on two stations now, and then I’m working on another two currently. So yeah.

Chris Arnold:
[crosstalk 00:16:24] Three to four.

Luke Smith:
I know. That’s the goal. I know if I can get there, I’m going to have enough traffic. I’m just planning. If you do the numbers backwards and you think about, “Okay, this is how many leads we have to get to close this many deals.” I think we can get there, and the ultimate goal is that long term, I go into this full time. But I want to make sure I’ve built that runway first.

Chris Arnold:
Okay. Makes sense. So here’s the big question, you’re on two radio stations. What is it costing you monthly to advertise? What’s your total budget for those two stations?

Luke Smith:
$10,000. Just kidding. No. So it’s $1,000. That’s probably what most people think, that it would be $10,000.

Chris Arnold:
I think people driving down the road were like, “What?” And then you come back with, “Yeah, actually it’s only $1,000 a month.”

Luke Smith:
Yep. No, that would be how much it would cost if you didn’t take your course and you didn’t follow what you’re supposed to do, and you just let them serve you whatever they’re willing to.

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. I mean, that’s the secret sauce of what we’re helping people do. We’re showing them how to buy radio at such a massive discount. So this is what has kept people away from radio for years, Luke. One of the big reasons is they just assume that it’s not affordable, and you’re right. If you go in the regular way, you could be, honestly. That’s probably not too far stretch. Knowing how deep of a discount we buy, you could be paying anywhere minimum five, but maybe up to 10K. You’ve got two stations at a thousand bucks total because you’ve come in and negotiate so low.
So you know between you and I that you’re going to close one or two deals and have paid that thing for the entire year. So you’re up on it two months, and here’s the thing I love about marketing, is you don’t have to sit around with IC on the outbound side, which you got to get that flywheel going and get that momentum. You’ve already come in and you’ve already closed the deal within the first two months, and you’ve already got another deal that’s pending and going to be getting closed out as well, in the first 60 days.

Luke Smith:
Yep.

Chris Arnold:
How does that feel?

Luke Smith:
It feels great, honestly. It’s nice. Even for me, we just closed the one last week, that’s actually the biggest deal I’ve done too. So that was the other exciting thing. I’m like, “Wow. Radio bought that for me.” So do you want me to go into the deal, or speak to it a little bit?

Chris Arnold:
I want to talk about the aspect of the deal that you shared earlier, because I think this was important. I asked you, I said, “Tell me what, Luke, you feel like you do that’s unique.” Those that are listening, I always like, what’s your superpower? What are you doing in your business that is really driving the success? Because I think if people are listening, they’re like, “Man, six months, five deals closed, no background in real estate.” You’ve got a background in grocery, retailer market. So you don’t come from a world of real estate. It’s like, “How did you do that?” We started talking about this deal, and you said, you know what’s interesting, utilizing what I think is my most important tactic. There were people that were offering 10,000 more than me and I still got the deal. So here’s my question. How in the world do you get a seller to do a deal with you when your competition and the wholesalers you’re going up to are offering 10,000 more? How do you do that?

Luke Smith:
Sure. So I think the radio plays that important part at the upfront. Almost blink, that first instinct that you don’t even know. It’s just your subconscious. You ultimately trust somebody a little bit more, but then ultimately going in there, it’s just being nice to people. I’m going to get that on a t-shirt that just says be nice to people, because I feel like that’s all we do is just go in, be empathetic, and listen to them. Truly just by being nice to them, that’s what makes them choose us. Obviously, we’ve got some of that credibility built up on the front side. So I think we’ve already built that bridge of trust with them just from how they found us, how we connected, and then when we couple that with me actually showing up to the property, being empathetic. They’ll look them in the eyes, listen to their situation, figure out a solution, how we can help them, but ultimately just being nice.
So yeah, closing this deal last week, the owner actually said he had people that came to his house, they offered more. He actually dealt with multiple people. He was a little bit shy. As to how, he didn’t like the way his looked on the inside, and he didn’t want to advertise it with a realtor. He wanted it all to be done quietly. So we came in and just explained exactly how we could do that for him, and then waited just like everybody, and he reached out to me and said, “Hey, we want to work with you.” Obviously you’re excited at that point. You’re taking the call. You’re like, “All right, I’m going to get on DocuSign. I’ll send that to you.” But as we close, I ask him, “Tell me a little bit, why did you end up working with us? I knew when I visited that you were actually dealing with a lot of different companies.” And he said, “You and your wife were just so nice. You are genuine. I actually got offers that were $10,000 more, but I wanted to work with you guys because you were the nicest people.”

Chris Arnold:
He literally told you, “I got offers that were 10K more, but I chose you guys because you are authentic, sincere, and genuine.”

Luke Smith:
Yep.

Chris Arnold:
That’s amazing.

Luke Smith:
It is so basic. Yeah. It’s just be nice to people. That’s all you have to do. Obviously there’s more to that, but that’s the barometer for success in some ways. But I know there’s people that probably just went in and they said, “This house needs a lot of work,” or they pointed out all these things. We just talked to him instead of beating him up over his house. He knew his house was bad. So we almost just spent more time talking about him, and it was like, “By the way, what are we here for again? I think it’s the house, right? Show us around.”

Chris Arnold:
Yeah, absolutely. I really do think that stems from a key ideology, and that is you really value the lives of people. There’s the mindset that you really deeply believe that people matter most. There are two types of people in this world. They either look at people as expendable, and it’s something that you exploit in order to get what you need, or you value human life and you really believe that people matter most. So with that secondary mindset, people feel that. Again, we’re EQ people, not just IQ. I feel we have emotional intelligence, and so we can be in a room with someone and we just know whether we’re in their best interest or they are. I’m here to serve myself, or I’m here to serve you.
So I think, as I recap what we’ve talked about, I think if I look at six months, five deals closed, here’s what I see. You made a decision to go inbound with the marketing piece. So that all of a sudden allows you to balance everything, and generate you a good quality lead that you could get in and close. I think that that was key. The second thing is you coupled credibility, being the radio, with authenticity, I care about people. So it’s one, I’m going marketing first. Two, I’m going to do marketing that creates credibility, that makes my job easier to gain trust. Number three, when I do meet these people that reach out to me, I’m truly going to care about their wellbeing and what happens in the transaction. If I listen to your story so far, I feel like those are the three key ingredients that have brought you to success so far. What do you think?

Luke Smith:
Yeah. I mean, no matter what you believe in, I’m a Christian, I’m a man of faith. So ultimately, I know there’s something that we have to reconcile for after this life. But whether you believe in the universe, fate, God, whatever it doesn’t matter, and ultimately exactly what you said. People matter, and they’re not expendable. At the end of the day, I look back on even some of these deals that I know I could have bartered for more, pushed for more. I’ve almost thought, man, I just want that equity in the market in terms of goodwill more so than the dollar amount. Because my needs are taken care of. I have this day job and it’s great. I make six figures at my day job. But building that, a lot of the people that we’ve already worked with, they’ve said, “You guys were so nice. You were so easy to deal with. I’m going to refer my friends and family.” I’m like, yes. That’s actually the long game, rather than the short game where you rip every single penny out from someone.
If we can help them obviously make a profit so I can continue to do this, because ultimately if I don’t make a profit, my wife will say, “Shut it down. Just go to work.” But if we can help people make a profit, it’s a win-win-win. I say it’s a win for me, it’s a win for the seller, and it’s a win for the buyer, and then ultimately everyone around me is winning. So if we can be a blessing to everybody that we interact with, I want them to come back and tell their friends and tell their family and just be like, “Man, this is a really weird way to sell a house.” But then their friends will hear about that, and they might be like, “Wow, I actually do know Susie down the street’s going through a rough time. She needs some help. I’ll refer to her to you,” or whatever it is.
So I’m playing the long game. Same thing with marketing too. I’m in it to build a brand, not to build a spam company that makes money quickly and then disappears or whatever it is. I want that brand so people know us, they trust us, and then when they think of real estate, they come to us rather than just trying to, I don’t want to snag someone. I want them to jump into the net.

Chris Arnold:
Yeah. I want to really say that one sentence you said that really stood out. I want my equity in the market to be in goodwill. Well said. Well said. So if you’re listening and you’re like, “Man, do I have to cold call? Do I have to do text blasting if I don’t want to? I know that everyone tells me that’s my first step, but can I just skip that step and go directly to marketing?” What Luke and I are telling you is if that’s the right fit for you, and you’ve been thinking that but you just needed permission to do it, we’re giving you permission. Just go straight marketing. Again, doesn’t have to be radio. There’s other things out there that create inbound. Radio is just one of those things on the inbound side.
If you’re listening going, “Man, this radio piece, man, very interested, love what I keep hearing about it. Just one story after another about it, the fact that it’s set it and forget it, it creates instant credibility, celebrity status, it’s low maintenance. It’s all of those things.” Then radio might be that fit for you. So if it is, as always, do your due diligence. Check us out. Go to wholesalinginc.com/REIradio. Again, that’s wholesalinginc.co/REIradio. Book a call. See if your market’s open. If so, we’d love for you to jump in and be a part of the tribe, and we can help you get that thing set up and start creating some inbound opportunities just like Luke has as well. So Luke, buddy, appreciate you man. Thanks so much for coming on. It’s funny, you close deals because you’re authentic, and I was just going about to tell you, I was like, “Thanks for coming on just being authentic,” because that’s real.

Luke Smith:
Nice. Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Chris Arnold:
Absolutely. To the rest of you guys as always, thank you so much for joining. Until next time. We will catch you soon when we add more value. Talk to you later.

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