In this episode, Matt chats with Kendra Cooke, coach to the real estate industry’s top 1%. To get to the top, Kendra recommends creating your own inventory because it puts you in control, and can be planned. Everything in real estate comes down to having a plan and sticking to it, and in this short episode Matt and Kendra cover numerous topics that with planning and accountability can take your business to the next level.
Kendra Cooke relocated to middle Tennessee from southern Illinois in 1988 to pursue a career in law, but quickly changed paths and immersed herself in real estate. Over the last 28 years, Kendra developed a successful real estate career, delivering great service to more than 100 families annually while working less than 40 hours per week. In August 2017, Kendra took on additional responsibility at CORE headquarters as senior leadership of the Realtor® coaching program and providing leadership and mentorship to the sales team. The old cliché, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person,” rings true for this southern belle, who still finds time to run, read, and volunteer for several non-profits.
You can connect with Kendra here:
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Kendra C. | 00:00:02:21 | Listen, most of us in business have the same three needs. We need leads. We'll eventually need a team and we need profit. So when we start having those conversations, we attract that kind of information and it makes us successful.
Matt M. | 00:00:20:06 | Hey, everybody, thank you so much for tuning in today. We are super, super lucky. We have one of the top real estate coaches in the country on with us today. I think this market is so different from markets we've seen in the past, but so many fundamentals are the same. So I wanted to bring someone in who has experience coaching agents throughout different markets.
Matt M. | 00:00:40:03 | She's had an amazing career. Kendra Cooke, welcome to the show.
Kendra C. | 00:00:43:02 | Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here.
Matt M. | 00:00:45:27 | So I just want to jump right in. You coach the top 1% of real estate agents throughout the country. How did you get there? Like, where did it? Did you just start as a coach? I know you didn't, but why don't you give us kind of the origin story?
Kendra C. | 00:00:57:10 | Yeah. No, I am a 32 year licensed realtor myself, so I actually hired the core training for my coach back in 2005 to help me maneuver a crazy market and then became a coach with them, kept my real estate business, and then in 2017, sold my business and moved here to run our real estate division and really help it grow.
Kendra C. | 00:01:18:20 | And I'm still licensed, but I'm not in the day to day sales as far as real estate, I'm in the day to day operation of coaching.
Matt M. | 00:01:24:24 | Okay, that's awesome. So when you're when you're working with realtors right now, you really are working with people that are already at that top tier of business. But what would you say right now is the most important thing that they should be doing? Obviously, their production is already good. They know what they're doing. They know how to be a realtor.
Matt M. | 00:01:42:11 | But what what do you see that people are usually missing, that they just kind of need that kick in the butt from you or that spark on?
Kendra C. | 00:01:48:18 | Well, I would tell you, we focus on three areas of everybody's career. So first and foremost, lead generation. And so right now I'm traveling the country speaking about creating your own inventory, because in this market, we're going to have to go back and figure out where to get our own inventory and bring back some old habits that we let die when the market was so great.
Kendra C. | 00:02:06:24 | The second thing we really focus on is team. A lot of people get to a level where they cannot do anymore alone and they need to figure out how to create a team. But there's not a lot of information in the real estate world that says, Who do you hire first? How do you train them? How do you pay them?
Kendra C. | 00:02:20:24 | How do you leverage their skills to help you go back and do your number one job, which is prospecting? Right? And so we focus there. And then the third piece is the financial piece. Most people want to shy away and not talk about profit and loss. They don't want to talk about investing of your income and accumulation of wealth to retire someday.
Kendra C. | 00:02:36:27 | And we absolutely make sure that everybody in our program is working to accumulate wealth. So someday they have enough money to retire or change the planet or do whatever they want to do.
Matt M. | 00:02:47:12 | What I want to dive into all three of those because I think those topics don't get discussed enough. So on the first one, creating your own inventory. I hate as a marketer when I talk to an agent or a lender and I ask like, Hey, how's your business going to go? Oh, you know, it's great, but the market doesn't have inventory.
Matt M. | 00:03:01:06 | So I'm just waiting right there, just in hope mode where they're hoping that a client is going to call them to list a house. But you have no agency in that, right? Like, you have no way to control that unless you come up with a strategy to create that inventory and to make some deals happen. So how are your agents and how are you coaching them to kind of create that inventory and kind of tave their own pave their own path in this industry?
Kendra C. | 00:03:23:21 | So great question. So here's here's the biggest thing that people need to remember are National Association of Realtors tells all of us that everyone in your database knows five other realtors on the minimum. Right. So if you're not constantly communicating with people who know, like and trust you somebody else's, so that's the easy place to go to create your own inventory as your current clients, your past clients, your business partners, your database, all of those things, we know we should be doing that.
Kendra C. | 00:03:51:21 | But a lot of times we don't seem desperate. And I remind people that you are right. You are desperate, you have bills to pay, things to take care of. So you must work the easy piece, but then to add other things to it. So in this market right now, we're we're having to create more inventory. We are having to leverage people who we know in our sphere.
Kendra C. | 00:04:09:21 | So head hunters, recruiters, small business owners that have 40 or 50 employees, those people need to help their employees buy a home so they're more stable, more likely to stay in their position. Knocking doors, right. We used to all knock doors before the malls. Now a lot of people listen. This will be like, what the heck is that?
Kendra C. | 00:04:26:29 | No MLS. But when I got started, we didn't have an MLS computer. We had a book that by the time we got the book published and printed it in our hands, everything was already sold. So knocking doors, social media, a lot of people think that social media is you have to purchase leads to be in social media. I'm going to tell you there's ways to leverage your social media accounts to connect with people who have already used you in their home buying and home selling process that people will say, Gosh, you used her.
Kendra C. | 00:04:54:22 | If it was a great experience, I want to use her, too. So we look at social media, we look at our VIP groups, we look at database, we look at doorknocking, we look at we do a concept called a dream book, helping people figure out what their next move looks like and going to find that home being proactive versus sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring to be reacted.
Matt M. | 00:05:14:13 | So stop you right there because this this idea of a dream book. I heard you talk about this previously. Everyone needs to write this one down. So the idea of asking clients what their dream home is really taking notes, really listening and showing them that you care and that you're not just sending them homes off Zillow. Like I don't need a realtor to find me homes that are already on the Internet and to send them to me 10 hours after they hit the market and they're already pending.
Matt M. | 00:05:37:23 | Right. I want someone that's going to listen to me and help me figure out what I know that I want and what I might not know that I want yet. And when you record that, I think what's huge in this market right now for agents is that there are so many people that we've helped purchase houses that don't love their houses, right?
Matt M. | 00:05:53:16 | They're people that we got them a house that is a roof over their family's head. And it's it's in a school district, but it's not the one that they were dreaming of because inventory was low. Right now, if you if you had that dream book, if you were if you were Kendra five years ago and you had all of your clients dream houses, you could now scour the market every single day to look for opportunities and then simply connect the dots.
Kendra C. | 00:06:14:11 | Right.
Matt M. | 00:06:14:19 | Can I call about this house?
Kendra C. | 00:06:16:07 | Yeah. And also marry people that maybe don't realize that they could sell right now because they think, oh, the rates are too high or there's no houses out there. But I might know somebody who wants to list their house in that market, but they're not going to list until we find their house. So it's sometimes it's a three or four person move and it all happens off market because they don't want to put their things out there because they don't know where they're going.
Kendra C. | 00:06:38:11 | But if you know what everybody's dreams are and where they want to go, maybe one person wants to go to like one person wants to leave the like and go to a farm. The farm person wants to come back to the city. If I can connect all those dots, I can create my own inventory and my own paycheck and everybody's happy.
Kendra C. | 00:06:54:02 | So I think we we get in that mindset of we'll just wait till the house hits the market and that's that reactive state. And the people that are making big dollars now are being proactive. We are going to create our own inventory. We're going to find the people that need to move and connect the dots and to pay.
Matt M. | 00:07:09:26 | Real estate has a lot of contracts. I want this podcast to have a social contract as well. Here's what I need from you. If you're listening to the show and you get something valuable out of it or you hear something that you think that's awesome, I want you to send me a GM on Instagram, or if you find my email, send it that way.
Matt M. | 00:07:25:09 | The more feedback that they get helps me to put together better shows and attract better guests. We'll talk about offering value again, like there's a lot of technology out there. Everyone's, you know, worried about, you know, I and Chad, GTP. But at the end of the day, the realtors who are creating their own imagery and creating value for their clients by finding out not not so out of the box solutions, those are the people that are going to make it and who are going to be remembered by their clients.
Matt M. | 00:07:48:27 | I mean, imagine you're at a cocktail party and one of your clients, one person over there at the side is saying, Oh yeah, my realtor just did X, Y, and Z to get me this house. In a market where there's 30 offers on the property and everyone else is like, Huh, I've been working with my realtor and they send me an automated email with six properties for sale and we never get our offers accepted.
Matt M. | 00:08:07:10 | Who do you think they're going to go to? Who are going to create your own Law of Attraction with that too? I love that segment. You mentioned the financial piece, and I know that this one's huge because so many people end up spending their wheels even in a good market, right? In a market where we're all making money, making money is one piece.
Matt M. | 00:08:24:13 | But if you're not doing the right things with investing in your business, you know, putting some aside for, you know, causes, that means something to you, but also saving, doing things that are for your family. It's all kind of for nothing. So how are you coaching agents on this? I think especially for some of our new agents who listen to set their finances up properly at the beginning, rather than waiting until they have a bunch of money and it actually becomes harder is something that a lot of people miss out on.
Kendra C. | 00:08:48:12 | Right. And it's really the hamster wheel, right? We we get into real estate and there is no perfect scenario. Spend money here and it'll give you this rate return. So we start throwing things on the wall and before you know it, you're throwing all your money on the wall, but there's not a lot of things coming back. And so that's exactly where I was.
Kendra C. | 00:09:04:12 | That's how I found the coaching company that I work for now is I couldn't figure out how to get it all done. My time management was crazy, but more importantly, I was literally one bad month away from bankruptcy because everybody that called me and said, Hey, put your name on a moving truck, it'll get you. I'm like, Yes, put your name on the fence of the baseball team.
Kendra C. | 00:09:21:10 | Yes. And so all the money is going out. Going out. And I'm not tracking if it's giving me any return on investment. And so what we do is we teach you how to do a profit and loss in your business every single month. So what are you spending on ad spend, social media spend, team marketing, mailers, postage, signage, your cell phone?
Kendra C. | 00:09:43:26 | We want to know exactly what it costs you to run your business and then put it up against the money that's coming in. So is there more coming, money coming in that's going out? A lot of times what people get on our program, they like it. Then they go, No, we still have checks, so we just keep writing them or putting it on our credit card.
Kendra C. | 00:09:59:08 | And it's a snowball effect. So we teach how to do a piano, track all your expenses, track all your income, are you profitable? Pay your taxes the minute you do your piano so you don't get behind in your R's because we're one of the top five industries that get behind an IRS because we're independent contractors. And then the second piece is your profit.
Kendra C. | 00:10:17:11 | Take that home to your personal budget and live within your means after you save 20%. So that's another big piece. When the market's great, we're all buying bigger houses and bigger cars, but we're not prepared for when the market changes because we're living a little bit above our means. And you can't deny that when you look at it every single month.
Kendra C. | 00:10:35:23 | Here's what it cost me to run the business. Is it profitable and do I make enough to save 20% and live within my means? And so those are two forms that are the most valuable thing that we teach realtors in our program.
Matt M. | 00:10:47:22 | When I think that's especially huge because I remember when I first got exposed to some of those ideas six or seven years ago, I really struggled with the budget side because I looked at my income every month and I'm like, I'm good. Like I have, you know, a couple of dollars more every month than I had the month before.
Matt M. | 00:11:00:10 | And I didn't see the importance of it until all of a sudden I had two kids, I had other expenses, and all of a sudden I'm like, Oh my gosh, like, where where did all the money go? But I'm making more money than I ever made before. So how is this working? And it's because I wasn't looking at it every single month with the same categories, looking to see where did where did the extras come here?
Matt M. | 00:11:19:23 | What did it lead to? Was this worth it? Was this part of the plan or was this unplanned? Right. And I think so many people missed out on that, especially as they start tasting success. Right. I think that's huge. So when you're working with new agents, right, like you had, you had the experience of 30 plus years, although it doesn't look that way.
Matt M. | 00:11:39:03 | How did you what are you telling new agents to do to kick it off? I mean, with people listening to the show who got into the business oftentimes for the right reasons, but they haven't closed the deal yet or they're in their first five years and maybe they're just approaching that first hundred thousand dollars in GCI. What should they be doing right now to set themselves up for success in the future?
Kendra C. | 00:11:58:03 | I think is a great question. People come to us, we coach everybody from a brand new person in the business all the way up to the top. But what I tell people is a lot of times they say, I'll say, do you have a CRM or do you have a database? And then I know and I'm like, Yes, you do.
Kendra C. | 00:12:10:08 | It's right here. This right here is your database. This is your CRM. So it starts with your cell phone. You get all the contacts that you have out of your cell phone into a database. And listen, Outlook is perfect. You don't need to go spend a lot of money. I jokingly say the best CRM is the one you will use.
Kendra C. | 00:12:27:10 | And if it's outlook perfect, right? You can do everything you want to do in outlook. So you get everything uploaded and you see whose addresses you're missing, whose email you're missing, who's cell phones you're missing, and you call them and you say, Hey, I am new to real estate. I want to make sure that I stay in touch with you.
Kendra C. | 00:12:43:00 | So I'm missing this information. But more importantly, let me tell you how you can help me be successful. Listen, people want to help people that they know, like, and trust. So if you've known them from a friend or a family or a previous occupation and they know like and trust you, they want to help you. But what happens is just as you opened this earlier, we say, Oh, everything's great, everything's fine, everything's great, everything's fine.
Kendra C. | 00:13:05:15 | The real estate market is great. The real estate market is fine. They don't think we need help because we don't ask. And so I would tell them as a new agent, be vulnerable. Say, Hey, I need your help. I'm starting a new career. I'm looking for people who need to buy or sell. I'm looking for places to go to meet new people.
Kendra C. | 00:13:21:18 | Can I come along? If you're going to an after hours abet, you know, at the Chamber of Commerce or if you're part of the B and I can I go as a guest, you know, where do you get your late start asking people. Listen, most of us in business have the same three needs. We need leads. We'll eventually need team and we need profits.
Kendra C. | 00:13:38:07 | So when we start having those conversations and we attract that kind of information and it makes us successful. So just start with your database and your phone and let people know what you do. The second thing I would tell you is we do what's called the letter of the heart. We share who we are. Something is going on in our life, not about business.
Kendra C. | 00:13:56:01 | But I would send the very first one out saying, I need you be a card carrying fan. Here's two of my card, my business cards. Keep one for yourself and give one away to somebody who needs my services. Start circulating that information. Don't be a secret agent. But that's where I would tell you to start.
Matt M. | 00:14:13:28 | The Neighborhood Realtor podcast is proudly made possible by the support of our sponsors Treadstone Funding and Neighborhood Loans, Two amazing Midwest mortgage companies that now have offices all around the country. If you're a realtor and you'd like to learn more about connecting with one of our lenders, dammit, and that must be you and offering that to you. It's someone in your market.
Matt M. | 00:14:31:04 | If you're a lender and you want to join the right mortgage company DME, and I'll connect you as well. Don't be a secret agent is huge. It's so number one, I think if you're a new agent, part of now being a secret agent is explain to your customers exactly what you do and exactly who you want to work with and what areas you want to work with them.
Matt M. | 00:14:50:15 | Because I think it's agents who are at real estate agencies where the name is a little bit confusing, like maybe the word banker is in the is in the name of the company. You have to be explicit, right? Like, you have to tell people, I help my clients buy, sell and invest in real estate in these areas, but I can refer you to agents all over the country because referral money is great too.
Matt M. | 00:15:08:26 | But so many people just say like, Oh, well, I post on Facebook and I suddenly mass email out there. My my company provided CRM with a picture of a house that looks like it's in California, but I'm in Michigan and there's no house like that. It just that's not enough. Right. And and I love that you mentioned database being anywhere.
Matt M. | 00:15:23:13 | I think too many people get caught up in like, oh, which system do I need? And they spend hours and weeks in this weird place of trying to figure out how to use a system when really whatever is easiest for them, they will use, whether it's an Excel sheet outlook doesn't matter. Have something that you will use and put more data on it.
Matt M. | 00:15:40:08 | Go deep in your database. When people only put like one one person in the couple's information and half the transactions in America are death, divorce and debt. If you only have the wife in and the husband's not in your database, that is a misstep. Or Trinity or vice versa. Right? What do they do for a living? Where do they work?
Matt M. | 00:15:57:00 | What is the deeper opportunity? Maybe they work at that company, like you said before, small business and they have 50 employees. Could you go in there and bring donuts and do a presentation for them? One of our one of our loan officers this week and realized that he was spending way too much money on his favorite Italian restaurant.
Matt M. | 00:16:10:26 | So he finally went in and said, hey, can I come and do a presentation at your next company meetings? And they said, Yeah, dude, you spent like five grand here this year. Of course I'm going to have 5 minutes. All right. You do a lot of conversation about how waitresses and tip employees can buy houses to utilize from that.
Matt M. | 00:16:26:15 | But it was fun, right? Look for those deeper opportunities in your database. And then I think to tie it back to existing agents out there, there's too many existing agents who I meet with who don't have a plan of what they're going to do with their database in the future. So they're go I made a database when I first got in and I said, Awesome, Who have you added since?
Matt M. | 00:16:45:12 | What have you done with it? Since What is your plan? You need to have a weekly something on your calendar where you're working on your database, but also you need to have a plan. Like Kendra mentioned at the very beginning, these are your current clients, your past clients, your business partners, etc. What are you doing to each of them every year?
Matt M. | 00:17:02:19 | How many calls, how many texts, how many emails, how many break breads, how many letters of the heart? What do they get if you if you can't answer that in your head honestly right now, you're missing the boat on something. Right. So I know we just have a couple of minutes left. What what would you say for agents aside from the in imagery in this specific market that we're in heading towards spring summer, after what I would call a strange December-January, what should agents be thinking about that they might not already be on their radar?
Kendra C. | 00:17:32:15 | The main thing for I would tell you is be present, be impactful, be intentional, be everywhere you can be, and run your business like a business, right? So have a start time, have a go home time list by day, time by schedule. Mine is right here in front of me. Oh, here it is right here. So we live by a time block schedule every single day.
Kendra C. | 00:17:52:25 | Who am I calling today? I already have a call list. I was sheet like this on my desk for everything. This is you, by the way. But I have a underneath my calendar my entire day. There's a sheet for everything I do, so I know where I'm going, what I'm doing, what I need to have to be efficient in that.
Kendra C. | 00:18:08:22 | In that task, whatever it is. I think we just a lot of people in real estate get in because of the word freedom, right? It's written 99 employees and we have no plan. We have no accountability. And I will tell you, I was good at real estate. I became great at real estate when I got structured and system plan and somebody to hold me accountable.
Kendra C. | 00:18:29:18 | Listen, there's so much information out there that we can get inundated with Internet, social media, whatever, and we start chasing squirrels and nothing really is great. It's just a lot. You're spreading yourself says. Then there's a guy that I love this a friend of mine in real estate. He said, You spread the jelly so thin on the biscuit you can't taste it.
Kendra C. | 00:18:49:13 | And so that's kind of what a lot of realtors do. We'll do this, we'll do this, we'll do that. So we'll see what sticks. And I would just tell you, get a business plan. Follow the business plan to a tee with structure and systems and accountability. Hire a coach if you can afford to. And I'll plug in myself.
Kendra C. | 00:19:03:25 | But listen, that is when my business went from good to great. It saved my marriage. I was super healthy. I didn't take time for myself. Now I'm a runner, I'm healthy, I'm happy, my marriage is great. I'm in a great relationship with my kids and my family. And life is really good because I don't stress about money. I've got a little nest egg over there, and if something doesn't go right for a couple of months, like the market we've been in, I don't have to fear of losing everything because I'm prepared.
Kendra C. | 00:19:28:06 | So that's really what I would tell people.
Matt M. | 00:19:30:01 | I mean, that quote of just running real estate like a business, I think I'll want to dive into that a little for a second because so many people in real estate and in lending, they get to that $250,000 income level. And at that point, right, like you're running a small business. And I mean, we had an agent on the show who had done 600 transactions last year on a small team of a couple of people.
Matt M. | 00:19:51:01 | That's eight. I mean, he's like the CEO of a large company at that income level. Yet a lot of people don't know their metrics. A lot of people don't know their numbers. A lot of people don't have a CFO, for instance, or someone really diving into that every single month and planning for the future. And that's where I think so many of us, it eventually it works when things are really easy, but it doesn't work for the long term, right?
Matt M. | 00:20:13:01 | And that's, I think, something consistently that you and I have both seen from people see talking to people around the country and they're not spreading yourself too thin is so important because there's so many squirrels that we could look at in real estate. There's so many opportunities. I mean, it is literally there is money in the air. You just have to figure out which which leaves you want to grab and which trees you want to shake down.
Matt M. | 00:20:35:04 | But without that direction and that daily plan, whether that's your time. BLOCK And even a deeper time like who you're calling at that time, it can be really easy to miss out on that. Yeah. So, Kendra, I really, really appreciate this advice. I think everyone should have picked up at least two things that they can implement in their business today.
Matt M. | 00:20:51:00 | If someone wanted to kind of get a taste for what the for what you're coaching program, the core is all about, you guys have any events coming up or what's the best way to kind of get started and figure out if it's right for them?
Kendra C. | 00:21:01:16 | Absolutely. You can visit us at the core training dot com. Obviously we have three levels of coaching. We kind of lay it out there for you. We do have an event coming up. It is a qualifying event. It is in San Antonio, Texas, May 10th through the 12th. If you are producing over 15 million and you're looking to dig into how to generate more leads, how to run a team and how to make more money and be profitable, I'd love to have a conversation with you.
Kendra C. | 00:21:24:18 | You can call us here at the four one 800 6606670. Or you can email me. It's just Kendra key and Ray at a core training dot com. Thank you so much.
Matt M. | 00:21:36:06 | Awesome. Kendra thank you so much for your time today. And if someone has a specific question for you, is it okay if they email you just just to reach out?
Kendra C. | 00:21:43:02 | Love. Love to have any conversation. Happy to talk to us.
Matt M. | 00:21:46:28 | And hey, enjoy the rest of your day and hopefully I'll see you soon.
Kendra C. | 00:21:49:01 | Thank you so much, Matt. Bye bye.