Member Travis Jenkins Land Academy Success Stories (LA 1061)

Member Travis Jenkins Land Academy Success Stories (LA 1061)


Steven Butala:                   Steve and Jill here.

Jill DeWit:                            Hi.

Steven Butala:                   Welcome to The Land Academy Show, entertaining land investment talk. I’m Steven Jack Butala-

Jill DeWit:                            And I’m Jill DeWit, broadcasting from sunny Southern California.

Steven Butala:                   Today, we have member extraordinaire Travis Jenkins from I think Dallas, Travis?

Travis Jenkins:                   Houston.

Steven Butala:                   Houston, okay [crosstalk 00:00:18]. Travis is and has been our number one O2O Offers 2 Owners user and taken The Land Academy Program, in my opinion, to places that Jill and I have taken and really has used it as Jill and I intended for it to be used at like an institutional business level since the beginning. Travis, most of the questions that I have for you today center around that exact concept.

Travis Jenkins:                   Welcome, by the way. Thank you.

Steven Butala:                   We had the good fortune to have a little bit of a pre-show discussion, but when you joined Land Academy, did intend to use it as a super user and send out the level of mail that you’re sending out? Did you intend for this to be this successful for you?

Travis Jenkins:                   I hoped so. I saw the potential of the business, and I’ve been studying business models for several years and I used to teach business. I’m going to give you a very indirect answer. The goal was, yes. From a business standpoint, there is a value triangle and I saw that there is… this is one of the few business models where you can fulfill all three sides of a value triangle, which is quick, fast, and cheap.

Jill DeWit:                            Love it.

Travis Jenkins:                   Most times, you can either do it quick… I said quick and fast, so quality, fast, and cheap, that’s actually what it is, so you can either do it fast with quality and it’s not going to be cheap, or any of those other two sides. When you can fulfill all three of those sides, it puts you in a different stratosphere as far as a business is concerned. I owned a construction company, and so we sold value so we didn’t sell to the cheap home improvement remodeling, we sold to the quality-minded people, which meant we were not cheap, right?

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Travis Jenkins:                   We always fulfilled those two parts of that triangle, and so that precluded us from slowing down during tough economic times because people with money still was doing remodeling. They were still doing remodeling. It’s just a way of looking at a business model. I saw that early on. I also systemized my business to where I didn’t have to work in it, and it may sound like I’m brilliant with it and I come up with that on my own [crosstalk 00:03:35]-

Steven Butala:                   You don’t sound brilliant. Don’t worry.

Travis Jenkins:                   Thank you for that, but I have to tell you that these ideas and these discoveries come from losing everything. I had built a very successful business, and then I lost somebody in my family and it took a very dramatic turn to where I wasn’t able to be present in the business the way I should. We were doing seven figures a month, and so that business wouldn’t operate or couldn’t operate the way that it needed to operate without me being present. Ultimately, I tried to get it back on track. Couldn’t, lost everything, and so went from being affluent, self-made, and I started out with nothing, so I made it on my own the first time. I thought it was the end of the world for me, and it was for a brief period of time.

Travis Jenkins:                   My discovery or my real growth came when I made it back, and then I had clarity that success in business is actually a very flawed process. It’s if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough, and so on a deeper level, I knew that. My real business acumen came when I had to make it. It took me 15 years to reach a level of affluence. After I lost it I built it back in 15 months-

Jill DeWit:                            Wow.

Travis Jenkins:                   And it’s not because I’m special, it’s because of a mentality and also the people that I surrounded myself with. I still had those connections. I still had the people that were willing to follow me for over a decade, and so I built on those things. I give you that background to say I’ve had my rear handed to me and that’s where my skills came from. My high level of assessing of what’s going on, of tracking, of KPIs, of all of those other things, and then I started mentoring. I built back a multi-million-dollar business and I built another one after that. Then, I started mentoring business owners because I really come to the conclusion that I only fit around other business people. If someone is not a business owner, they typically bore me because they have nothing to say that interests me.

Steven Butala:                   It’s such a different mindset, especially if they’re high up in a corporation. It just takes a totally different view of how things go.

Travis Jenkins:                   I didn’t agree with the victimhood mindset. I don’t agree with “Thank God it’s Friday”. Practically anything they say is absurd to me, and so I just started mentoring people and I thought, “Well, I love helping business owners”, and then I started mentoring high-level business owners. That’s kind of how I’ve got to a point where I moved from working in the business working on the business. That freedom to not work in the business anymore, one day I just said… I had the nicest office. I said, “Take my office.” My wife at the time is like, “What?” I said, “Take my office. I don’t need it anymore.”

Travis Jenkins:                   I just quit coming in, and through [crosstalk 00:07:48] systemization, I just had an awakening to where I was there and people asked me questions because I was there. I just systemized everything. I started writing out flowcharts. “This is how we turn the lights on. This is how we open the shop in the morning. This is how we do this.” For a little while, people would call and ask me and I’d say, “Look at the SOP. Look at the SOP.”

Steven Butala:                   We have nine lines of revenue right now, and I came to the realization about a year ago that when I show up in the office, I think we make less money, we’re less effective, and I just wasn’t providing operations value anymore, so now I run what we call, or what I call anyway, the think tank. I’m three or four or five months out front with these new products, and I agree with you on a personal note.

Steven Butala:                   This is the third time for me personally getting wealthy, and the first time was just terrible that I didn’t lose it all, but man, I’ll tell you, it took a punch to the gut. The second time, I knew I could get back on my feet again, but that first time that that happens to you, that’ll make a man out of you. It’s a tough thing to go through, but it was necessary for me, too, for some reason. I don’t know, I’m not sure why, but I totally identify with what you’re saying.

Travis Jenkins:                   You think it’s the end of the world because you [crosstalk 00:09:14]-

Steven Butala:                   Your identity is wrapped up in it.

Travis Jenkins:                   In order to be really, really good at it, you need to take it personal. Some people say it’s not personal, no, it is personal. It is personal. I eat, breathe, and sleep this stuff.

Steven Butala:                   So do we.

Travis Jenkins:                   The acumen level has to be there, and so acumen normally doesn’t come without you getting your rear kicked.

Steven Butala:                   How many properties are you buying? Can you give us some raw numbers? How much mail are you sending out a month? How many properties are you buying? What’s a typical deal look like for you? Then, where do you see it all in six months? I know how fast you’re growing.

Travis Jenkins:                   Well, I’ll throw around some numbers here and try to track as many things as possible. We did a little over 22,000 mailings in the month of August. I didn’t know that we were the number one when we were with O2O. That’s good to know. We’ve done 124,000 mail-outs. I don’t really track the response rate. I do in every other type business, and I don’t in this one because the sales lead gets better on the acquisition side, gets better with time, and so that… it’s always improving. The ROI on mailing is off the charts, so there’s no need for me to worry about that.

Travis Jenkins:                   The last six months has been us just trying to get out of our own way. It’s trying to set up staff members, SOPs, best practices. We moved from Trello to Airtable. Lost… major things fell through the cracks, deals, all kinds of stuff, and so it’s like driving a hundred miles an hour with your hair on fire. It’s a lot of fun, it’s very stressful, and it’s scary at times, but a good life.

Steven Butala:                   Jill and I, once the mail goes out, and this happens every month, we get some deals back in. Some of them rise to the top because they’re so amazing that we forget about tracking the statistics. This happened on Friday, it’s Monday now, but we get this property in and the woman didn’t know that she owned the property adjacent to it, and so Jill tacked on another couple of grand on the acquisition price because she [crosstalk 00:12:20]-

Travis Jenkins:                   She is so happy [crosstalk 00:12:20]-

Steven Butala:                   Because she rolls that way. We’ve created $350,000 of value this month so far, it’s like the 26th, so I stopped tracking the success rate after that happens also.

Jill DeWit:                            Travis knows, it’s because I’ll get calls… I still get calls from 2005. You can’t track that. I just found the letter and they’re so happy.

Travis Jenkins:                   I find myself… I’ve joined… there’s a call that I show up on sometimes. It’s an advanced call and sometimes I’m geeking out on stuff that everybody already knows there, but I can’t help but wonder if everybody understands how profound this lead generation source is to generate. I started Google when Google was brand new. We had pretty much perfected radio and TV in tracking conversions through unique phone numbers and stuff. I have a lineage. I’ve been in business for 28 years and so I was in business way before the internet and so the amount of time and effort that goes into generating this amount of leads on other platforms is off the charts and most people don’t realize it. I used to spend 130,000 a month on radio and TV alone-

Jill DeWit:                            Wow.

Travis Jenkins:                   And so we dominated in the home improvement industry. I spent a fraction of that on these leads, literally a fraction, and those leads are very fickle. They start going bad, they’re like fruit. I mentioned this to you guys. They have a lifespan of a day or two and if you don’t get ahold of them… We’re very focused on getting back with these people, asking the questions, all of those things. You don’t have those barriers in this business, and that’s a very, very big deal. This business allows people with a lower level of business acumen to get into it.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s a great point.

Steven Butala:                   What I love about this business model is that as a teenager and in my early 20s, I was always around manufacturing, which is such a fixed cost-oriented business. You got to plow in so much dough before you even get off the ground at all. What I love about this business is it’s almost a hundred percent variable cost. If for whatever reason you don’t want to send some mail out next month and you don’t want to buy some real estate next month, let’s say you want to go to Tahiti, I don’t care whatever your reasons are, I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t do it, but you can turn it on and off, and as you know, you can do this out of your back bedroom really effectively.

Steven Butala:                   It sounds kind of weird when you say it, but you have complete and total control over how much money you make and it’s predictable and consistent. I don’t want to sound like a commercial, but if there was a better business, I would buy it. I would be involved in it.

Travis Jenkins:                   I second that. The decades it took me to set up a business that runs without me, a couple of decades, so this business, there’s four stages of competence and I had to be in the fourth stage of competence of business within that industry and within business before I would let a business run without me or work remote. This business model, you can be in the early stages of competence, stage three, and work remote or collapse the overhead down. There’s just so many moveable things with this business model that a lot of people and don’t understand.

Travis Jenkins:                   The four stages is unconsciously competent, incompetent, which means you don’t know what you don’t know, consciously competent, and I’m sure you guys know this already, is you now know what it is you don’t know. Three is unconsciously competent, you know how to do something, you don’t know how to teach it. Then, stage four is consciously competent. You know how to do it and yo know how to teach it.

Travis Jenkins:                   You don’t need to be able to teach this business model to other people to start prospering and to start making the type of money that it took me eight years to make off of my business. I could go on and on and on about the many different benefits of this business model, but I completely agree with you. There’s just not anything out there that can hold a candle to it, and so that’s one of the reasons why I saw it for what it was early on. Just like I saw Google coming.

Travis Jenkins:                   I was on an airplane when I read about it in a magazine, and as soon as I landed I called my wife and I said, “You’re not going to believe this. We can capture customers in the buying cycle. They have their wallets out.” She was like, “Oh, that’s great, hon.” I said, “No, you don’t understand.” I had my laptop and I sat up a campaign and so we had tracking numbers back then. We used a specific phone number and that would tell me where that lead came from. The next day I had two leads from Google and I knew… this was that type of thing. When I saw the business model, I saw the potential there for what could happen. Bless you.

Jill DeWit:                            Thank you.

Travis Jenkins:                   I completely agree with you. It’s not a commercial, it’s a fact.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   I have business epiphanies all the time I charge into whatever room Jill is in [crosstalk 00:18:34]-

Jill DeWit:                            That’s true.

Steven Butala:                   And I explain it just like that and she says, “That’s great. Why don’t you just crack open a beer and sit down and calm down and try not to have a heart attack because it’s going to happen again in two hours from now?”

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. It’s true.

Travis Jenkins:                   You need to start texting me with those ideas [crosstalk 00:18:51]-

Jill DeWit:                            I will [crosstalk 00:18:51]-

Steven Butala:                   Yes.

Jill DeWit:                            I will tell him that.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, we should take it out on each other, Travis [crosstalk 00:18:54].

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Travis Jenkins:                   I get it, I get it. You need somebody to disappear off the end with those things. My strength and weakness is I’m myopic at times. I will drill into something and I will stay on it and stay on it, and I’m a right brainer, so I train myself to do that. Most right brainers don’t want to do things like that. I completely understand where you’re coming from.

Travis Jenkins:                   Getting back to your question earlier, we’re stabilizing at right around 150 a month in revenue. We’re very, very close to jumping to those next levels of 250, 350 a month-

Jill DeWit:                            Awesome.

Travis Jenkins:                   I fully expect and I’ve told you this before, I expect that we’ll be at a million a month hopefully within the next six to eight months.

Jill DeWit:                            Love it.

Travis Jenkins:                   Again, there’s no throughput issues in my construction company if we sold $5 million worth of… or 2 million tomorrow. I couldn’t produce a million tomorrow, or 2 million or 5 million. I can sell a million or 2 million tomorrow without having a crew of 40, right?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Travis Jenkins:                   There’s no throughput issues. That’s another benefit of that business model. It’s very easy to scale as long as you are willing to ante and part of the ante is sending mail.

Steven Butala:                   Our biggest challenge from day one to yesterday, our biggest challenge is staffing.

Jill DeWit:                            Totally.

Steven Butala:                   Do you share that concept? Or what’s your biggest challenge let’s say?

Travis Jenkins:                   It depends on what you mean by staffing. We’ve got some really good people finding… Everybody is remote, and so we really like that. That when you hire people remote, it makes it easier to find the best of the best because most people want to work from home and so I don’t care what you’re doing as long as you’re effective with your time. It allows us to go into different areas. It’s just opened things up whenever you hire remote, and I’ve done that across other businesses and so that’s kind of where I’ve gotten that awareness from.

Steven Butala:                   I’m going to take that as a piece of advice, actually. I just wrote it down. We have some of our best people… are remote, but they started in the office with us, so maybe we’ll try that on this next road [crosstalk 00:22:03]-

Jill DeWit:                            I think so, too. Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   We need to hire like five people right now. That’s exactly what I’m going to spend my day on after this.

Travis Jenkins:                   We’re very, very candid, very blunt up front. We say, “Listen, this is a great opportunity. We’re willing to put you in a position to where you make good money, you have freedom, all of these other things, but we’re going to hold you accountable.” Time theft, might as well be stealing something from my house, right?

Jill DeWit:                            Yep.

Travis Jenkins:                   Stealing time, you steal money. We don’t deal with thieves, and misrepresenting something. We lay those things out. We’ve very candid about that during the interview process.

Jill DeWit:                            Yes. I [crosstalk 00:22:54]-

Travis Jenkins:                   People that are concerned about that flinch during the interview process and that’s our litmus test. We get them out right then.

Jill DeWit:                            We just had a transaction coordinator that I was that way. I was very upfront and honest with her about it. I don’t think she took me seriously and at week three very nicely said, “I can’t keep up with guys.”

Steven Butala:                   She couldn’t take it.

Jill DeWit:                            She resigned, and it was all good terms. It was very sweet, she just said, “I didn’t know you guys were serious.” I’m like, “Yeah. That’s how we roll.” Just the volume, she wasn’t really ready for it, and it worked out fine, but I’m with you. Even like with all of our members, we do that, too. We want to let them know up front that, “Hey, if you’re afraid of a spreadsheet, if you can’t answer the phone, there’s all kinds of little things that you need to be [crosstalk 00:23:49]-

Steven Butala:                   It’s not going to work.

Jill DeWit:                            Ready for. I want you to know what you’re getting into.”

Steven Butala:                   Is there a personality type, Travis, that you look for when you hire?

Travis Jenkins:                   From like a Kolbe standpoint?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Travis Jenkins:                   No, I used to do the personality test and so I’m really leaning more towards… Almost all the staff members are women because they’re much better at multitasking [crosstalk 00:24:20]-

Steven Butala:                   Jill, we just had this conversation this weekend? The best people I’ve ever had and even now [crosstalk 00:24:25]-

Jill DeWit:                            Well [crosstalk 00:24:26]-

Travis Jenkins:                   I know that’s not very PC. I couldn’t give two you know what about PC anyways, so the fact is women are just… they can set the ego aside. Our prospects would rather hear a female voice in my opinion. They’re just a better team member for what we’re doing here, and so I almost hired a guy for some analytical stuff, just coding and other things, but pretty much I… Also finding someone that needs a job rather than wants a job is critical to me. People that say they’re high paced and they want a job tend to flake whenever they’re pressed on, whereas if they need to show up and they have that drive, and so those are the things that we’re looking for.

Travis Jenkins:                   The interview is a full contact. We’re either going to scare you by talking to you, or they’re going to be excited. Part of where my construction business went so far awry is we become this gigantic, commercial entity that doesn’t say what it thinks and everything meant to be fluffy and doesn’t hurt people’s feelings. When you’re very candid about your passion, your integrity, your business model, all of those other things, it either attracts them or repels them. That was a big lesson for me is I quit doing what got me there and starting doing what I thought needed to be done rather than being more candid and just forthcoming about the whole thing.

Steven Butala:                   We do an interview with a member just about every week and it’s not often that I actually like take notes and learn, so that’s what I’ve been doing this whole time. I’m with you [crosstalk 00:27:02]-

Travis Jenkins:                   I love [crosstalk 00:27:02]-

Steven Butala:                   We’re going to change our hiring practices because of this.

Travis Jenkins:                   When you say problems with staff, does that mean investing time with them only for them to flake a little bit later?

Steven Butala:                   No, quite candidly, on my personal end, for whatever reason, and we’re allowing this, it’s not them, they feed us a bunch of lines about what they’re capable of, and then we find out after it’s a little bit late that they’re just not capable or interested at all in what they actually said they can do. They just wanted to get a job. Now, we’ve got this whole thing where there’s a trial period and all of that because undoing and doing W-2, it’s just there’s a lot of stuff to it. I really like this. This scare tactic thing, you’re either going to be intrigued by how hard we come at you or, you’re absolutely right, or it’s going to scare the hell out of you, so I’m going to try that.

Travis Jenkins:                   I like it. I like it. It’s kind of the way my father was, is he would bump into you, and it took me years to figure this out. He’d bumped into you just to kind of check your temperature and see who’s in there. You can see when it’s a “hell yes” for somebody, and you can see when it’s a “hell no” for them, and that’s okay, too, you know?

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Steven Butala:                   Using this as a specific example with this last transaction coordinator, she wasn’t afraid of anything upfront.

Jill DeWit:                            No she wasn’t.

Steven Butala:                   I was still trying to figure out where we went wrong there.

Jill DeWit:                            I think that she was really good at learning one system at a time, not six at a time, and that’s where it went and needing to go that fast.

Steven Butala:                   I mistaken [crosstalk 00:28:51]-

Jill DeWit:                            Ramp up quickly [crosstalk 00:28:51]-

Steven Butala:                   I believe, and I’ve done this my whole life for some reason, I just believe that real estate transactions should be like you’re born with it. It’s like drinking a glass of water. When I met Jill, I never explained anything to her [crosstalk 00:29:04]-

Jill DeWit:                            I think [crosstalk 00:29:04]-

Steven Butala:                   The first day, she just… This is before YouTube and stuff, and I just think everybody is innately like that and it’s just not the case at all.

Jill DeWit:                            I know.

Steven Butala:                   People aren’t used to a high level of training and that just annoys the hell out of me, quite honestly.

Travis Jenkins:                   Well, I think what you’re referring to is Jill’s just naturally inquisitive, right?

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Travis Jenkins:                   I think that that’s part of the formula of success. I’m naturally inquisitive. I want to know why.

Jill DeWit:                            THat’s what [crosstalk 00:29:35] Jill is.

Travis Jenkins:                   I don’t have an agenda. I don’t need… I’m not trying to make a fake relationship with somebody over here. Why do you park like that? Why do you do that? Do you always order that? You’re just naturally inquisitive, right?

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Travis Jenkins:                   I think that’s a great trait for somebody that is going to be successful is they had a desire to understand, and so that [crosstalk 00:30:04]-

Steven Butala:                   Professional career is one big research session. That’s all I really actually do for a living is research and implement.

Travis Jenkins:                   Well, and so you’re the left brainer of the group, Jill is the right, right?

Jill DeWit:                            Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Travis Jenkins:                   You’ll find that any businessperson, if they haven’t found their counterbalance, they had to learn to develop that other side because you started out mostly one side or the other. For me, I’m a natural right brainer, and so early on I thought other salesmen were half-heartedly trying when they couldn’t sell as much volume as me. I took personal offense to it because I’m like, “Why are you only selling 50,000 a month? What’s wrong with you?”

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Shouldn’t be that hard.

Travis Jenkins:                   No [crosstalk 00:31:06]-

Jill DeWit:                            Us-

Travis Jenkins:                   Right, right, and so even me and two of my other guys could… three of us could outsell 21 reps, and it’s just the Pareto principle, 80-20, right?

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Travis Jenkins:                   It’s the 80-20, and so those guys wanted to be salesmen. They’re not naturally salesmen. There was a competence issue. There was a confidence. There was a whole lot of other things going on with that.

Steven Butala:                   Could you teach a sales course today? If someone said, “Hey-

Jill DeWit:                            Sure.

Steven Butala:                   “Here’s a microphone, stand up in front of this room and just”… could you do a whole sales course-

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah [crosstalk 00:31:47]-

Steven Butala:                   For like two hours?

Jill DeWit:                            People have been asking me to do that, too, even in books and things. That’s one of the things that comes up. Heck yeah.

Steven Butala:                   That’s great.

Travis Jenkins:                   Well, somebody that naturally has the talent, once you’re taught tactics you can become lethal. Once I learned closes, once I learned tiebacks using their own words against them, all of those things, you’re not going to convince somebody to do something that they don’t want to do-

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Travis Jenkins:                   But you can close them using their own words.

Steven Butala:                   That’s [crosstalk 00:32:27] what Jill does.

Travis Jenkins:                   Right [crosstalk 00:32:29]-

Steven Butala:                   I know this because I’m married to her.

Travis Jenkins:                   Right. She’ll circle back to something you said a few days ago.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh yeah.

Travis Jenkins:                   “You said yourself you were tired of XYZ”, right?

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. Talk to [inaudible 00:32:41] for you.

Steven Butala:                   Jill came home yesterday, it was Sunday.

Jill DeWit:                            Uh-oh, here we go.

Steven Butala:                   She showed me… she went to a jewelry store [crosstalk 00:32:47]-

Jill DeWit:                            I did.

Steven Butala:                   With her girlfriend. She showed me a picture on her phone of a ring [crosstalk 00:32:51]-

Jill DeWit:                            I did.

Steven Butala:                   And she said, “What do you think of this ring?”

Jill DeWit:                            Or then what did I do this morning? I woke up and I said, “Don’t buy me anything, by the way. I don’t need any more rings.” He was already going, “Where’s the store? What do I do?” I’m like, “No, no. I really was just kind of [crosstalk 00:33:02]-

Steven Butala:                   Guess what I’m going to go do later?

Jill DeWit:                            No, no. I was just showing it to him. I don’t [crosstalk 00:33:05] need another ring.

Steven Butala:                   That’s not [crosstalk 00:33:08]-

Jill DeWit:                            He’s on the path to his car [crosstalk 00:33:09]-

Steven Butala:                   If that’s not sales at it’s most perfect moment [crosstalk 00:33:13]-

Jill DeWit:                            I didn’t even know [crosstalk 00:33:13]-

Steven Butala:                   I don’t know what is.

Jill DeWit:                            I wasn’t really trying to, I just like-

Steven Butala:                   Yes you were.

Jill DeWit:                            But I don’t need [crosstalk 00:33:17]-

Steven Butala:                   Absolutely you were.

Jill DeWit:                            I don’t need it.

Steven Butala:                   Let’s just call a spade a spade now.

Travis Jenkins:                   What happens is once you learn persuasion, the art of persuasion, once you become so good at it, it just becomes part of your DNA.

Steven Butala:                   It’s subconscious [crosstalk 00:33:30]-

Jill DeWit:                            Oh, no-

Steven Butala:                   Totally. I don’t even think she… it’s [crosstalk 00:33:32] totally subconscious.

Jill DeWit:                            You don’t know it.

Travis Jenkins:                   I mean [crosstalk 00:33:35]… That’s just the way… you’re born with the natural gifts, but once you learn those other tactics and strategies… Our salesperson is Dana and so I would listen to her and so after the calls I would critique her. People would call in and counter and she would not get an agreement from them. Most people want to be in alignment with their own integrity. We may be asking $30,000 for a piece of property and so they would say, “Give me $25,000.” She would come to me and say, “Would you accept $25,000?” I said, “No”, and we didn’t sell the property. Then, I said, “Now, next time negotiate with him. Same scenario, we’re selling it for 30. He says 25, now phrase it like this. Say, ‘I can’t do 25, but if I go to Travis and I get him to agree to 28, do I have a deal with you today?'”

Travis Jenkins:                   He thinks about it, “Yes.” Okay, now, I’m going to put myself on the line for you here. Let me go do that. Now, he’s given buy-in to his offer, and so that is a way that you tie him back to his own word, right?

Jill DeWit:                            Uh-huh.

Travis Jenkins:                   Now, when you’re calling him back, if he isn’t ready to pay that $28,000, then she’s been empowered to say, “Now, wait a minute, David, you told me that you were willing to pay $28,000. I went and put myself on the line, got an agreement to this.” Normally, you don’t even have to do that. You just call back or she calls back and says, “Good news, you’re approved. How do you want to pay?” Right?

Steven Butala:                   “You’re approved”, I like it. “You’re approved [crosstalk 00:35:48]-

Travis Jenkins:                   Yeah, and so she is basically went to bat for him. If you don’t do that, people will flake on you. They’ll say, “Okay, okay, thank you for letting me know that.” Well, you can hold them accountable for their words. I hear people and I’ve heard on some of the calls and I even forget the context it was in… I think there’s a misperception that people believe that sales strategies can convince someone to buy, and sales strategies don’t convince someone to buy, it compels them to buy, right? They were already going to buy [crosstalk 00:36:28]. They’re going to buy from somebody.

Steven Butala:                   That’s right.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Travis Jenkins:                   Your tactic has compelled them to buy from you, and so that’s just one of the many pieces of the puzzle of sales, of business, of all of the things that we’re kind of talking about here.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   There’s no place that that is more true than actually on Land Academy And House Academy membership because everybody finds us. They’re already looking for some solution and they’re usually business owners like you, other business owners. They’re looking for a better product to buy and sell and that has greater efficiency and less fixed cost and all of that and we just… my whole business model for Land Academy and House Academy itself is just to provide so much free information that you have to do it. I guess that’s the way… it just sells itself. I hate to say that because it sounds like a weird sentence but it really does.

Steven Butala:                   Well, if it doesn’t make sense to you, then that’s fine, but if it does, it does, and you’re a perfect example. You’re exactly the type of person that we want in our group, exactly, which is one of the reasons I wanted to have the interview with you.

Travis Jenkins:                   Well, I think people are either going to get it or they’re not.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Travis Jenkins:                   It’s just end of story.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s it. That’s what my team does is just finding out, is this a good fit for them or not? If it’s not a good fit, then I don’t want to undo anything in six months or two months or [crosstalk 00:38:01]-

Steven Butala:                   Exactly.

Jill DeWit:                            Whatever it is and I don’t want them unhappy, so let’s just not do it. That’s why all of our… we just got properly lead them with your hiring, whatever you’re doing, even selling a property. We tell people, “You’ve got to properly convey what the property really is.” You’re selling a property, you know this. You don’t want them calling you in 90 days going, “Hey, there’s no trees. I saw trees in the photos. There are no trees.” You don’t want that.

Travis Jenkins:                   We give a 30-day money back guarantee.

Jill DeWit:                            I love it. We kind of have an [crosstalk 00:38:29]-

Steven Butala:                   We don’t advertise it, but we do. People come back years later and say, “You know, we just didn’t use it.” We’ll buy it back for a certain price.

Travis Jenkins:                   Well, for me, all I’m trying to do is just eliminate any friction from the buying processes. Some of the older folks are really worried, “This is online, I’m sending my payment”, all of that other stuff. Listen, 30-day money back guarantee. Now, we wait 30 days before we convey the property to them, obviously, where we give them the opportunity. “Listen, if you want to wait [crosstalk 00:39:03]-

Jill DeWit:                            Good idea [crosstalk 00:39:06]-

Travis Jenkins:                   “30 days [crosstalk 00:39:06]-

Steven Butala:                   That’s interesting.

Travis Jenkins:                   “You want to waive your 30-day money back guarantee, then we’ll go ahead and convey it to you right now. Here, sign this document and we’ll sign it over to you immediately.”

Jill DeWit:                            That’s good [crosstalk 00:39:16]-

Steven Butala:                   As a percentage, which one do they choose?

Travis Jenkins:                   50-50.

Steven Butala:                   Wow.

Jill DeWit:                            Wow.

Steven Butala:                   That’s really interesting.

Jill DeWit:                            I like that idea. I haven’t thought about that.

Steven Butala:                   Me too.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s a really [crosstalk 00:39:28]-

Travis Jenkins:                   We have… Most people that reserve the 30-day money back guarantee are people from out of state, and so they’re moving to Texas. It just eliminates that barrier for them in buying the property. We’ve had one person take us up on it and he just went to another property of ours.

Steven Butala:                   Jill does that [crosstalk 00:39:58]-

Jill DeWit:                            We’ve done that [crosstalk 00:39:58]-

Steven Butala:                   All the time.

Jill DeWit:                            Swap out.

Steven Butala:                   It’s great.

Travis Jenkins:                   Yeah, and so just eliminating those things like that. I think as far as the trying to bring people into your organization, the good ones are going to get drawn to you and just don’t sweat the rest.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   That’s it.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   Our membership, the retention rate is unbelievable. There’s just no other way to describe it. I think we offboard maybe one or two people a month, max. Usually it’s zero.

Jill DeWit:                            What’s funny, too, and we’ve had… I just watched it happen this month, too, but people that sometimes life happens and they kind of take a break from us, but then they come back. It’s so amazing and awesome to see members coming back because whatever was going on, they solved it or now they’re committed. I’ve had so many calls of people that said, “I didn’t take it seriously, and now I’m going to and I’m in.”

Steven Butala:                   Really [crosstalk 00:41:01] ask them, too, why they’re leaving, it’s always life. It’s not like it doesn’t work, or, “I just can’t put the time into it that I need to right now.”

Jill DeWit:                            It’s life in the way.

Travis Jenkins:                   This business model is the lubricant of live and-

Jill DeWit:                            It is.

Steven Butala:                   That’s what I think [crosstalk 00:41:15]-

Travis Jenkins:                   Come on, I mean-

Jill DeWit:                            It is. You have to [crosstalk 00:41:18] some people can’t get that, though. They have to…

Travis Jenkins:                   It’s insane. Granted, I have a construction business that runs without me, but this business… I’m working in this business on a regular basis until we get it to the level that… I enjoy the business so I don’t mind working in it, but I’ve done it… we travel all over the place. Rarely is any place we want to travel to, we’re looking at land as a business expense.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly [crosstalk 00:41:54]-

Steven Butala:                   Us, too. It’s [crosstalk 00:41:55] all we do.

Travis Jenkins:                   As far as Uncle Sam is concerned-

Jill DeWit:                            Oh yeah-

Travis Jenkins:                   I was looking at land on the beach in Puerto Rico and a beautiful home, you name it.

Jill DeWit:                            Totally.

Travis Jenkins:                   We were looking at land everywhere and Uncle Sam is proud of me. He’s funding all of it.

Steven Butala:                   They help us out, too, that way.

Travis Jenkins:                   It’s backwards. I think what everybody doing this should do is cut the crap, quit making excuses and take imperfect action.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly. That’s beautiful [crosstalk 00:42:38]-

Travis Jenkins:                   This [crosstalk 00:42:38]-

Steven Butala:                   That’s perfect.

Travis Jenkins:                   All of this waiting for what’s the right answer for this? How many am I going to get if I do this? Take some action. Learn. That’s what wrong with school is learning is not memorization. Wisdom is the distillation of knowledge, so you got to apply it. You have to apply it. When you apply it, wisdom comes out of that. I shared… Again, this was something too basic for the advanced people, but it’s a micro in a macro thing is the IMEAR, implement, measure, evaluate, adjust, and repeat. Implement, measure, evaluate, adjust, and repeat. That’s part of my DNA. I don’t look at that acronym on a daily basis, but that’s how we do things. The micro creates the macro, and so start doing those little things. Anything other than that is just nonsense.

Jill DeWit:                            Awesome.

Steven Butala:                   That’s outstanding advice, actually, for anybody who’s thinking about getting into this or who’s been in it and is not seeing the results that they want. We have a lot of questions like that. We used to do this program called Add A Zero, and you just answered the question completely.

Jill DeWit:                            That’s awesome.

Travis Jenkins:                   I told you before, I think this could be a billion-dollar business.

Jill DeWit:                            Oh yeah.

Steven Butala:                   We’re in the process of… we’re talking to several private equity groups right now. We’re going to start with a hundred million dollars. We’re not exactly sure how we’re going to structure it, whether it’s debt or equity, and we’re going to do a whole program with houses specifically and try to turn a hundred million dollars every 90 days, which we’re using our own money now and a couple of people in our group are funding some of the deals we do, but we’re turning… I don’t know what the limit is, let’s just put it that way. I’m not sure there is a limit. At the moment, we’re only limited by the people that are turning our deals. It’s not the deals themselves, it’s the actual transactional coordination. That is our bottleneck, which is staffing.

Travis Jenkins:                   The agents, we call them agents, and the agent handles the lead all the way up to the point of acquisition, and so we have three people doing that right now. We’re building it in a modular way so that we can drop more [crosstalk 00:45:24] and more people in.

Steven Butala:                   Excellent.

Travis Jenkins:                   We had to put a titled person in that all they did every day was call and babysit and coddle the title deals in title. Where does your agent or… What do you guys call them?

Steven Butala:                   Transaction coordinator.

Travis Jenkins:                   Where do they start and stop in the entire process for you guys?

Steven Butala:                   The transaction coordinator actually does the mail merge. They start that far from the beginning, and we’re doing this in a modular way, too, so that the actual transaction coordinator that we have now, we’ll hire the next one and train them. They do the mail. I choose the counties and I choose like let’s say the acreage and I set the price, but outside of that, they take it from there all the way to the point where the property is acquired and I approve the acquisition price at the end. Usually it’s what’s on a purchase agreement or very, very close to it, and then we’re out. All of our staff members take it from there and they’re held accountable to sell the property within 90 days, which I think is actually a lot of time, but this is both for houses and for land.

Steven Butala:                   What do you think about that model? What do you think about that, Travis?

Travis Jenkins:                   Well, I do something similar. I have a blown up map over here to the left of me of the counties, and so I spend a lot of time cogitating on where I’m going to go next. Even though I’m a right brainer, I love numbers. I have a natural tendency for numbers, and so I’ve been good at it. I’ve created a spreadsheet where I’ve kind of dialed in all of the counties, a hundred people per acre or per square mile and all these things. I do just like you. I target the counties. I do the mailers. I do the pricing. I do all of those things. Our agents handle everything up to the… even gathering, is there utilities on the property? They gather all of that information and then we have a team that promotes it that’s completely separate [crosstalk 00:47:58] because that’s a whole nother thing.

Steven Butala:                   We do, too. We separate it, too.

Travis Jenkins:                   It’s really funny. Our business models are… I know you don’t teach those aspects, those things because it can get so complicated, right?

Jill DeWit:                            Right.

Travis Jenkins:                   Depending on how fast you want to scale this. It’s simple if it’s just you and your spouse, but my model is very, very close to yours.

Jill DeWit:                            It’s true.

Travis Jenkins:                   I’m hoping that me and you can put our heads together and start doing some of the commercial acquisitions because I’m going to need to get my average dollar value turn up considerably to start hitting the numbers that I want to hit.

Steven Butala:                   That’s our answer with houses. That’s why we started House Academy because especially in California, you can buy properties… we’re buying properties at about 7 or 800,000 and selling them for just shy of a million. Trying to turn a hundred-thousand-dollar profit on each wholesale transaction, and that’s without improving the property in any way, I mean not even paint, and it’s working so that’s my answer to get to a billion to place that hundred million and just continually add to it.

Travis Jenkins:                   Well, I don’t know if this is the right setting for it, but what would keep you from applying that thinking to commercial? That’s where the big dollars come in per acre.

Steven Butala:                   I’m totally open to that. I’ll tell you what, I cut my teeth in commercial real estate back in the early ’90s and as a transaction, getting a commercial real estate property acquired successfully, there’s so much stuff involved. That hasn’t been something we’ve focused on, but it’s not something you couldn’t overcome. It takes… To buy an office building or an apartment building, it takes a good 60 to 90 days if there’s a lender involved.

Steven Butala:                   If there’s not, that’s different, and then the other thing is that, and you know this more than most, that decision to sell a piece of property from a land owner or a home owner, are most successful deals are people that, “Thank God you called. I need to get this done and out of my life.” I don’t think Class A apartment building owners are really looking at it that way. I haven’t tested it completely, but I’ll tell you, we used to buy and sell long-term care facilities, nursing home and assisted living buildings, and I don’t ever recall someone saying, “Wow, thanks for calling. I really do need to sell my skilled nursing facility today.” None of that stuff… you can overcome it all.

Travis Jenkins:                   Well, so what if we put a finer point on it and we went after unimproved raw commercial acreage?

Steven Butala:                   I love it.

Jill DeWit:                            I’m doing [crosstalk 00:51:07]-

Steven Butala:                   I love that we do have deals like that [crosstalk 00:51:09]-

Jill DeWit:                            I’m doing it right now [crosstalk 00:51:09]-

Steven Butala:                   In our inventory right now and they are from a dollars and from an ROI standpoint are top performers for commercial land because the property… one single superstar we have right now was that exact thing.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   We bought it from someone who was just like, “You know what? I’m done with this.”

Jill DeWit:                            That’s it. It’s true.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah, I’d love to do some kind of commercial land venture and [crosstalk 00:51:31]-

Jill DeWit:                            Absolutely.

Steven Butala:                   Seek it out. We’re doing a smaller version of it with Mike Marshall in our group right now in Los Angeles.

Travis Jenkins:                   Well, that’s more of what I’m talking about. I think other opportunities are going to open up with the apartments with accelerated depreciation. There’s a reason for businesses to move something out of their inventory and into another inventory, and that’s a whole another conversation, that’s a whole another business cycle, buying cycle, all of those things. Just taking a page out of what we’re doing, I look at commercial stuff now that it falls into the same category as what you’re talking about. “Oh my God, we’re $200,000 behind on taxes on this property. This is a Godsend.” I think those are the ones that we could… Well, whether it’s they’re behind on taxes or whether they want to sell it or whatever, right now we’re getting those properties just coincidental.

Steven Butala:                   That’s right.

Travis Jenkins:                   Whereas, we could be more strategic-

Steven Butala:                   Exactly.

Travis Jenkins:                   About where those are, and with our acumen, we amaze ourselves when we go back four months from what we were doing four months ago [crosstalk 00:53:04]-

Jill DeWit:                            Agree [crosstalk 00:53:04]-

Travis Jenkins:                   Because I’m looking at Dana like, “Why are we buying this thing?”

Steven Butala:                   We do the same thing.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Travis Jenkins:                   How did [crosstalk 00:53:12]-

Jill DeWit:                            Now it’s beneath us. What the heck?

Travis Jenkins:                   How did this get in here? We’re seeing new things. We constantly are talking about these different levels and then I’m thinking on new levels of mailers, of ways to go in. There are untapped markets all over the place.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   We call them [crosstalk 00:53:43] lines of business. We’re constantly opening lines of business. My personal goal is to open a new line of revenue every month until we get to a certain financial goal we have, and we’re on track. It’s working.

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Travis Jenkins:                   If we took the same thought process and went after very targeted commercial property, there shouldn’t be any reason that we couldn’t generate many, many millions of dollars a month doing [crosstalk 00:54:12]-

Steven Butala:                   I agree.

Travis Jenkins:                   Just [crosstalk 00:54:12]-

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Travis Jenkins:                   That alone, right?

Jill DeWit:                            Last time I checked, we have the data.

Steven Butala:                   We have the data and the capital and all of it, so there’s… we should just send a mailer out together, you and I. That’s what I think and just see what comes back.

Jill DeWit:                            Perfect.

Steven Butala:                   I think I would love to do that, like high-end commercial property, like urban commercial property.

Travis Jenkins:                   We’re regularly moving into more and more high-end areas. I’m unfazed by nasty letters or comments. We get a tickle out of it. Dana still reads some of them. I’m like, “Why are you doing that? It’s a waste of time.” All I want to know is, “Do you want to sell?”

Jill DeWit:                            Exactly.

Steven Butala:                   We accidentally hit an oil and gas area in Eastern New Mexico in this last mailer, and-

Jill DeWit:                            It’s funny.

Steven Butala:                   One guy said to Jill in a very light-hearted way, “The amount that you’re offering for my 20-acre property wouldn’t cover the cost of the porta potties [crosstalk 00:55:08]-

Jill DeWit:                            He did.

Steven Butala:                   “That we have on the property right now.”

Jill DeWit:                            It was so awesome.

Steven Butala:                   That’s how I know I priced it right.

Travis Jenkins:                   Exactly. Doesn’t offend me at all. Matter of fact, if people don’t squawk enough, I’m concerned. Right?

Jill DeWit:                            Yeah.

Travis Jenkins:                   I’m concerned, so [crosstalk 00:55:28]-

Steven Butala:                   Unfortunately, man, we’re out of time, but I will [crosstalk 00:55:32]-

Jill DeWit:                            We’ll talk more [crosstalk 00:55:33]-

Steven Butala:                   I’ll put like a basic term sheet and get it over to you on email and we should send a mailer out together. I think it would be a lot of fun. I think we have a lot to offer each other at the level where we are.

Travis Jenkins:                   Okay, yeah [crosstalk 00:55:45]-

Jill DeWit:                            That would be awesome.

Travis Jenkins:                   I agree with you. We need to kind of flesh that idea out because I’m going to have to invest in some staff members that can be dedicated to those types of things. I don’t know if we’re still rolling. Are we having a side conversation? Or did you want to [crosstalk 00:56:11]-

Steven Butala:                   I got to end it here.

Travis Jenkins:                   Okay, go ahead [crosstalk 00:56:13]-

Steven Butala:                   Then, we can…

Jill DeWit:                            Then, we’ll talk.

Steven Butala:                   Yeah.

Travis Jenkins:                   Okay, all right.

Steven Butala:                   We know your time is valuable. Thanks for spending some of it with us today anyway. Join us next time for another interesting episode-

Jill DeWit:                            And we answer your questions posted on our online community found at It is free.

Steven Butala:                   You are not alone in your real estate ambition.


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