Just Start Real Estate with Mike Simmons

In this episode, I am joined by Chris Arnold. Chris is the Co-Founder of COSA Investments, one of the largest wholesale companies in the DFW Metroplex. COSA is operated and managed by a US virtual team which has allowed Chris to run his company while living in Tulum, Mexico. He is also the founder of Arnold Elite Realty which is a cutting-edge boutique brokerage consisting of a team of seasoned agents. 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!


Chris contends that having a real estate business can afford people freedom of time, freedom of resources, and freedom of location. Even though he started traditionally by representing buyers, Chris soon branched out and has become very successful in one of the most cutthroat markets in the country.


As we are currently in a sellers’ market, the real estate business is very competitive, but people who are building their businesses now are in great shape and poised to really thrive. This is why I wanted to talk to Chris about his business processes and how he promotes and grows his business.


I asked Chris to explain to me his business flow from the point of when they first get a lead. He used the analogy of the bus. You have all the seats on the bus that need to be filled (referring to positions that need to be filled in your company), but as the boss you have your butt in each one. As a leader, Chris said quickly find that you need to “fire” yourself as quickly as possible from each seat by finding a more qualified person for that particular spot. This can be humbling, but is necessary for him to be able to operate his business at the visionary level.


Chris stressed that they have had to develop really good systems for every aspect of their company’s process, and he pointed out that EVERYTHING is a system, even a routine as simple as getting up in the morning. Some processes they have implanted which have proven to be very successful are answering calls live and not allowing them to go to voicemail, having their prospecting assistants pre-qualify leads, and upon discovering a hot lead, the call is transferred automatically to the acquisition manager. They do this using Grasshoper software and you can find the website link at the conclusion of these show notes. Chris said they do not contract any properties without first doing an inspection, so the acquisition manager will recommend which ones need to be scheduled. They employee their own inspector, so the whole process can be complete within 48 hours. Whenever possible, the acquisition manager will complete the deal over the phone, again to decrease time delays and increase scalability.


When I expressed surprise at their company’s ability to close deals over the phone, Chris said it all starts with belief. People in this business need to overcome the myth that you have to meet in person and begin to develop their skills for connecting with people over the phone. Of course, he says it is not black and white and that older people may need a handshake and smile, but even if 50% of their business is done over the phone, that markedly increases their scalability.

They employ two full-time people responsible for closings and pushing deals through the title companies, and a director of dispositions who is solely responsible for re-selling properties.

All of this allows them to boast of a contract to close period of 23-25 days, when most companies are more in the range of 50-75 days.


I then asked Chris how they are finding your leads and he talked about the four marketing pillars they concentrate on: online marketing, direct mail, co-wholesaling, and their most effective strategy, radio ads. Chris pointed out some interesting facts about radio ads including how there is virtually no competition in this medium, it is cutting-edge for finding property, it is a trusted vehicle for advertising, and fits well with their target audience of consumers 50+ years old. They have found that when you advertise on radio you have instant credibility and achieve something akin to celebrity status. After quite a lot of split-testing, Chris has found that they get far more leads with the ads he has recorded himself versus using someone well-known, with a recognizable voice.


I asked Chris to tell me about some of the lessons they have learned about radio advertising in the nine years they have been using it. He said the biggest thing is that people automatically assume they cannot afford it, but like with real estate, they do not pay retail for airtime. Chris says the key is to do research and find the pertinent reports on a station in order to negotiate effectively. Like anything else, being an intelligent buyer is incredibly important.


We then discussed other ways of finding deals, including co-wholesaling. We compared our experiences and stressed that it is about control. I talked how in my company we require the other person needs to stop marketing the property and cannot accept other offers after our company takes control of the contract. This is so important in maintaining good relationships with other people. Chris talked about how they are always proactively building relationships with other wholesalers in what he termed the “learn/earn model.” Other people will bring him deals and he will educate them along the way, because they stress the importance of caring about growth of others and how it adds a lot of value to their own business through networking.


Chris has found that the return of investment for radio ads is now similar to what it used to be for direct mail. There are a couple of advantages to utilizing radio rather than other methods, such as it is not list-dependent, is low-maintenance, and it hits a wider audience. I asked him how often he changes is radio ads and surprisingly he said they have basically run three ads in nine years. Again, split testing shows the repetition of a precise message becomes hypnotic and is very effective.


Chris spoke about how people who are new to radio can get intimated because of all variability, but like he stressed earlier in the show, it works to your advantage when you can hire someone experienced in this arena. His company has branched out into assisting others in exploring and getting started with this type of marketing. Chris said those who are interested in are welcome to visit his website at wholesalinginc.com/reiradio and book a consulting call. He finished up by stressing how important it is to figure out what works in this competitive market and to differentiate yourself, doing the little things that matter so much to achieve success.


Notable Quotes:

“The driver [of working in this business] is always freedom and what we can do with that freedom.”

- Chris Arnold


“Living the Caribbean life was something I always dreamed of being able to do.”

- Chris Arnold


“You can have the business that you want, where you want, in this industry.

- Mike Simmons


“The flip side of that pain [being in a competitive market] is you are going to see some of the greatest innovation come out of that market. This makes you really good at what you want to do.”

- Chris Arnold


“I’d rather take a fast nickel than a slow dime [wholesaling vs. flipping].”

- Chris Arnold


“I like the velocity of wholesaling.”

- Mike Simmons


“What we sell and beat out others on is professionalism.”

- Chris Arnold


“Just do the things you can control.”

- Mike Simmons


“Radio: marketing source that everyone knows about and no one is using.”

- Chris Arnold


“We buy our radio like we buy our real estate: at a discounted, wholesale prices.”

- Chris Arnold


“Anyone who has experienced high-level success, they stood on the shoulders of someone else and learned from them, whether it is an athlete or an entrepreneur.”

- Mike Simmons

 Links and Resources:

Rich Dad Poor Dad



Direct download: Using_radio_ads_to_fuel_your_Real_Estate_business.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT