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.
Episode 676: Inbound vs Outbound Marketing – What is the BEST Marketing Method for New Real Estate Wholesalers
As always, I’m excited that you joined us. I’m going to throw out this question and we are going to dive into this with my guest. If you’re 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? If I’m new to the game, does that mean that I’ve got to start with cold calling, ringless voicemail or text blasting? Can I skip that altogether, go directly into marketing and deal with people reaching out to me versus me trying to spam my way into their world in order to close the deal?
Here’s what you’re going to get. We’re going to talk with Luke Smith, who is our guest. We’re going to break apart his first six months. I love this. He is fresh. Wait until you read the stats of what he has accomplished so far. We’re going to talk about this debate like, “What happens if you straight up go outbound?” Who says you got to do what everyone else is doing and start on the outbound rather than come in and get going on the inbound right away? Luke Smith, what’s up? Welcome to the show. I’m glad to have you.
Chris, I’m glad to be here.
For those who don’t know you, where are you located? Give us a quick snapshot of what you got going on in your world.
I’m located in the heart of Kentucky in Louisville. I’ve started wholesaling and joined the Wholesaling Inc. Tribe there through REI Radio, through your program. I’m excited about some of the momentum that we’re building and some of the success we’re having so far.
You’ve been in the game. Are you doing this full-time or are you also holding down a W-2 and trying to do that balance? I know a lot of people reading are trying to figure out how to do a startup and manage their current careers.
I still hold a W-2. Thankfully, I enjoy my job and it’s a good job. I appreciate it. 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. The nice thing is I can wholesale and still hold that job. I juggle both of those systems and all those tasks altogether.
I feel like that the reason you started on the inbound versus the outbound side, rather than prospecting what you wanted to do as 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. Life mandated that you couldn’t get bogged down doing a bunch of outbound stuff like cold calling. You have to be protective of your time.
It really is nice to talk to people that really want to talk to you.
Admittedly, at my day job, I’ve got about 75 employees that are underneath me and I manage. All the time, I feel that I’m getting their inbound and dealing with all of their things or possibly their needs. The nice thing is looking at wholesaling and investing in real estate, I wanted in a way a passive way to connect with homeowners and people who need our help. That’s why the radio fits perfectly into that where they were coming to me, rather than me investing all of this time to find one potential client, and then work through that and it’s not a deal. My schedule mandates that and then radio fits into that perfectly because they come right to us. They’re raising their hand and asking me for help rather than me inserting myself into their lives.
I like that, “Inserting yourself into their lives.” We’re not saying that outbound prospecting doesn’t work. Cold calling and text blasting work but it’s not for everybody. If you’re reading and you’re working a 9 to 5, maybe you’re doing an outbound piece of prospecting right now like RVM-ing and text blasting and you’re like, “I’m having trouble juggling my career while doing this,” while Luke is coming in and saying, “If that’s the case, I decided to go a different route. I started doing marketing so that I could create inbound calls.” I want to paint a picture for people who are reading as you and I are talking. You’re out driving around like a regional guy. This is a full-blown career. You’re going to appointments when you can like on your lunch break or after work. Talk a little bit about what you have to juggle because it’s a real thing.
The company I work for is amazing. They’ve given me tons of responsibility which I love and every day is different. I travel around from location to location, supervise those, make sure everything is in order and then setting up the 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. We set it up in a manner that my wife is inbound. She answers the phone and works from home. She is the one that’s on our radio ads. They hear her voice and then she answers the phone, which is that other kick. They’re like, “I just heard you on the radio and now it’s Hailey.” That’s my wife who is answering the phone. She is like, “That’s me.” She will receive the call and talk to the client. She will transfer it to me and say, “We’ve got a lead in such and such place.”
The nice thing is with my job, I literally travel all around the state anyways. I can 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 work the third shift and they’re okay if they get home. They work the third shift. That’s what it’s called. They work overnight. They’re happy with me visiting at 6:00 AM. They’re okay with that. They’re like, “I’m off of my shift. Come right away so I can visit a property right before and take a look at that.” We’re using radio and our online traffic as our two marketing sources where they build upon one another. They hear and see us. 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.
I love this concept of how you’re dividing and conquering with your wife. You’re generating these radio leads. Your wife is taking the call. You’re out on the field doing what you do. She is like, “I got one.” “I’m going to be in that area two days from now because I got to go up to that region for it.” You’re popping in early in the morning before they go to work and closing the deal. That’s inspirational because I know a lot of people are like, “Can you really do it? Can you juggle both?” You’ve created a system here with some help from your wife. That’s not taking a ton of her time. It’s not like she is taking hundreds of direct mail calls and half of those are saying, “Stop calling me or mailing me.” She is taking the cherry leads that are coming in and the high quality off the radio.
I want to talk about the data here. I talked to a lot of students and people around the country doing deals. I can tell you, a lot of people struggled to do a deal within their first six months, even to the first twelve months. Technically, you have closed out five deals on the books already. Does that put any question in your mind that, “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.” That should prove the point in your mind that, “I can go straight to marketing if I want to, to be able to balance it.”
I looked at it and thought, “It’s time or money. Which one are you spending?” I’m very busy at my day job so I’m like, “It has got to be the money side of things.” It has worked out in our favor where in one regard, in wholesaling, you’re always going to have some skepticism because it’s different. Ninety-six percent or whatever the stat is sells with a realtor. Everybody else might sell on their own. We fit into that 4% niche there of homeowners that want to work with us. Most people have never done a deal like this. They don’t know what we have to offer. They don’t understand it and then we come to them as complete strangers.
The nice thing is doing marketing this way, they hear our message. It’s played over and over again. It’s almost like a built-in CRM rather than mailing them. They hear us every day on the radio. They’re like, “These people are legitimate.” The nice thing too is month over month, we haven’t disappeared. It’s not like, “It’s March Madness. Here are our ads.” It’s the fact that we’re here over and over again. We did a year contract. They know that we’re authentic and real because we’re showing up day in and day out, week after week, rather than, “They were here in January or February. Now, they’re still here.”
I do want to break this down. If you’re reading, Luke started on the marketing side. That’s what he begins with. You started with digital doing SEO. You started driving traffic to your website, which is again inbound. You’re only talking to people who find you and reach out to you. You started with that. That got your traction going and then you moved over to the radio piece. You’re not sitting here saying, “I’m just doing radio.” You’re doing two forms of inbound right off the front. Here’s my question. You’ve got this digital piece going on, doing your SEO and driving traffic to your site. What made you choose radio next? I know your mindset is marketing, but there are other marketing pieces out there that you could do to drive calls. Why radio?
The biggest hurdle that you have to get through is getting on the radio, which is going through the rep. The reason I chose radio is because I knew my time was limited. In the evenings, I can easily work on SEO and articles. For their branding and posting, you can schedule out all your posts, which is nice. From 8:00 to 5:00, I’m working, but on social media, you can schedule out all those postings. It’s the same thing with radio. You can pick your schedule and design it Monday through Friday.
Certainly, we’re flexible when they play those ads, but I knew that those were going to go. Even though I’m off, I’m not the one that has to push the button to make those ads go. They’re going to go. I heard it on another podcast that marketing needs to be done for you in spite of you. That’s what I need with the radio because they’re going to do it, whether I’m ready for it or not. The nice thing is convincing my wife to be that lead intake. I tried to do it for a week. I was like, “This is too much,” because I was getting them from online and the radio.
I was literally sneaking away at work, trying to answer these calls and that wasn’t working. I was like, “I definitely need to have a better approach.” I wasn’t giving the leads as much time as I should because I was like, “I have to go,” in my mind but they don’t know that. It’s switching that over so she can be that first line of defense. She can talk to them and give them a 30-minute conversation if that’s what they want out the gate and then, “My husband Luke is going to come out and visit. We will figure out a date and time that works for everybody. He will reach out to you.”
The radio fits so perfectly into what we were already doing because it is that force multiplier where they hear us and see us online. They see us on social media and know that we are the real deal. It’s us that are doing the job. They see pictures of me going to houses and me smiling with homeowners that we’ve sold their house and helped them move on. It is that force multiplier that I don’t have to be there to manage. It doesn’t feel like hamster-wheel marketing. I have to pay for it every month, but it’s going to be done without me engaging. After we signed the deal, I haven’t talked to my rep for the last few months.
Be nice to people.
I love that phrase, hamster-wheel marketing. I’ve not heard that one. I’m writing it down. You’re focused on doing what you’re doing, making the phone ring or sending people to fill out a web form. What’s the quality of lead that you’re finding on the radio? Do these people who 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?
Mainly, my wife deals with them. She is super shy compared to me which is great. Even for her, the nice thing is it has opened her eyes because they’re coming to you like you’re the celebrity in the market or the expert. Even though I’m not, she would probably be even one step further removed because she doesn’t listen to all the podcasts or read all the books. I’ve had to coach her up and train her on it. I gave her a basic list of questions like, “Listen to them. Ask them these questions. Qualify them.” It’s like what Brent Daniels does with the four pillars there. It’s like, “Let’s get this dialed down and then be genuine, be authentic, be yourself and listen to that call.”
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 the radio and reach out and say, “I’m calling you about my property.” What I love about it is they’re not mad at all. They’re happy that we answered it. My wife is the voice on the radio, so then they hear her. She is the one answering the phone. They’re like, “Hailey, you’re real.” She is caring, considerate and empathetic. She listens to them well and takes all of her notes down. The nice thing is that they’re happy to talk to us. Sometimes they’re like, “That’s it. We got to go. We’ll cut you off there.” They’re 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, “Can I just have a minute of your time,” like you’re some solicitor.
As we’ve been doing this show, this is the piece I see you getting most excited about is the quality of calls. It is nice to talk to people that want to talk to you and not be like, “I’m having him navigate this conversation.” As you said, “I put my foot in the door. They’re peeking through and still won’t talk with me, but I got long ways to go to build that trust,” versus your wife Is picking up the phone. They’re like, “I’m happy to talk to you. I heard you on the radio.” You’re right. You already have that celebrity status which I love. How long have you been advertising on the radio live with your ads?
I joined the program in December and then we closed the deal with our radio rep in mid-January. We went live the first week of February.
How many stations are you on already?
We are on two stations now and then I’m working on another two.
It’s 3 to 4.
I know that’s the goal. I know if I can get there, I’m going to have enough traffic. If you do the numbers backward and think about, “This is how many leads we have to get to close this many deals,” I think we can get there. 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.
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?
$10,000. I’m just kidding. It’s $1,000. That’s probably what most people think that it would be $10,000.
People who are driving down the road were like, “What?” You then came back with, “It’s only $1,000 a month.”
That would be how much it would cost if you didn’t take your course and didn’t follow what you’re supposed to do, and you just let them serve you whatever they’re willing to.
That’s the secret sauce of what we’re helping people do. We’re showing them how to buy radio ads at such a massive discount. This is what has kept people away from radio for years. One of the big reasons is they just assume that it’s not affordable. You’re right. If you go in a regular way, that’s probably not a too far stretch, knowing how deep of a discount we buy. You could be paying anywhere minimum of $5,000 and maybe up to $10,000. You’ve got two stations at $1,000 total because you’ve come in and negotiated so low.
You know between you and me that you’re going to close 1 or 2 deals and have paid that thing for the entire year. You’re up on it for two months. Here’s the thing I love about marketing. You don’t have to sit around in what I see on the outbound side, which you got to get that flywheel going and get that momentum. You’ve already come in and closed the deal within the first two months. You’ve already got another deal that’s pending and going to be getting closed out as well in the first 60 days. How does that feel?
It feels great and it’s nice. We closed one. That’s the biggest deal I’ve done too. That was the other exciting thing. I was like, “Radio bought that for me.” Do you want me to go into the deal or speak about it a little bit?
I want to talk about the aspect of the deal that you shared because this is important. I said, “Tell me what you feel like you do that’s unique.” Those who are reading, I always like, “What’s your superpower? What are you doing in your business that is driving the success?” I think if people are reading, they’re like, “Six months, five deals closed, no background in real estate.” You’ve got a background in the grocery retailer market. You don’t come from the world of real estate. 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 who are offering $10,000 more than me and I still got the deal.” 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?
Radio plays that important part at the upfront. Almost that blink, that first instinct that you don’t even know. It’s your subconscious. You trust somebody a little bit more, but then going in there and being nice to people. I’m going to get that on a T-shirt that says, “Be nice to people,” because I feel like all we do is go in, be empathetic and listen to them. Truly by being nice to them, that’s what makes them choose us. We’ve got some of that credibility built up on the front side. We’ve already built that bridge of trust with them from how they found us and how we connected. When we couple that with me showing up to the property, being empathetic, looking at them in the eyes, listening to their situation, figuring out a solution how we can help them, but ultimately being nice.
People matter and they’re not expendable.
Closing this deal, the owner said he had people who came to his house. They offered more. He dealt with multiple people. He was a little bit shy. He didn’t like the way his property looked on the inside. He didn’t want to advertise it with a realtor. He wanted it all to be done quietly. We came in and explained exactly how we could do that for him, and then we waited like everybody. He reached out to me and said, “We want to work with you.”
You’re excited at that point. You’re taking the call and you’re like, “I’m going to get on DocuSign. I’ll send that to you.” As we close, I asked him, “Tell me a little bit. Why did you end up working with us? I knew when I visited that you were dealing with a lot of different companies.” He said, “You and your wife were so nice. You were genuine. I got offers that were $10,000 more but I wanted to work with you guys because you were the nicest people.”
He told you, “I got offers that were $10,000 more, but I chose you guys because you were authentic, sincere and genuine.”
It’s so basic. Be nice to people. That’s all you have to do. There’s more to that, but that’s the barometer for success in some ways. I know there are people who probably went in and said, “This house needs a lot of work,” or they pointed out all these things. We talked to him and instead of beating him up over his house, he knew his house was bad, we almost spent more time talking about him. It was like, “By the way, what are we here for again? I think it’s the house. Show us around.”
I do think that stems from a key ideology and that is you value the lives of people. There’s the mindset that you 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 believe that people matter most. With that secondary mindset, people feel that. We’re EQ people, not just IQ. We have emotional intelligence. We can be in a room with someone and we know whether we’re in their best interest or they are like, “I’m here to serve myself or I’m here to serve you.”
As I recap what we’ve talked about, if I look at six months with five deals closed, here’s what I see. You made a decision to go inbound with the marketing piece. All of a sudden, that allows you to balance everything and generate a good quality lead that you could get in and close. That was key. The second thing is you coupled credibility, being the radio, with authenticity, “I care about people.” It’s like one, “I’m going to marketing first.” Two, “I’m going to do marketing that creates credibility that makes my job easier to gain trust.” Three, “When I do meet these people that reach out to me, I’m truly going to care about their well-being 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?
I’m a Christian and a man of faith. No matter what you believe in, I know there’s something that we have to reconcile for after this life. Whether you believe in the universe, fate or God, it doesn’t matter. It’s 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 or pushed for more. I’ve almost thought, “I 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 said, “You guys were so nice and easy to deal with that I’m going to refer my friends and family.” I was like, “Yes.”
That’s the long game rather than the short game where you rip every single penny out from someone. If we can help them make a profit so I can continue to do this, if I don’t make a profit, my wife will say, “Shut it down. Just go to work.” If we can help people make a profit, it’s a win-win-win. I say it’s a win for me, for the seller and for the buyer. Everyone around me is winning. If we can be a blessing to everybody that we interact with, I want them to come back and tell their friends and family like, “This is a weird way to sell a house,” but then their friends will hear about that. They might be like, “I do know Susie down the street is going through a rough time. She needs some help. I’ll refer her to you.”
I’m playing the long game. It’s the 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. I want that brand, so people know and trust us. When they think of real estate, they come to us. I don’t want to snag someone. I want them to jump into the net.
I want to say that one sentence you said that stood out, “I want my equity in the market to be of goodwill.” If you’re reading and you’re like, “Do I have to cold call or do text blasting if I don’t want to? I know that everyone tells me that’s my first step, but can I 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 needed permission to do it, we’re giving you permission. Go straight to marketing. It doesn’t have to be the radio. There are other things out there that create inbound. Radio is just one of those things on the inbound side.
If you’re reading going, “This radio piece, I’m very interested. I love what I keep hearing about it, just one story after another about it. The fact that it’s set and forget creates instant credibility and celebrity status. It’s low maintenance and all of those things,” then radio might be that fit for you. If it is, do your due diligence. Check us out. Go to WholesalingInc.com/REIRadio. Book a call and see if your market is open. If so, we would love for you to jump in and be a part of the tribe. We can help you get that thing set up and start creating some inbound opportunities like Luke has as well. Luke, I appreciate you. Thanks so much for coming on. It’s funny. You closed deals because you were authentic and I was going about to tell you. I was like, “Thanks for coming on just being authentic.”
Thanks for having me.
To the rest of you, as always, thank you so much for joining. Until next time, we will catch you soon when we add more value. I’ll 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!