As we begin the new year and reflect on the past year, what would you say was your biggest lesson in 2021?
I continue to work on my personal growth and spiritual growth. A continual lesson for me is choosing to always have gratitude. In the sales world, you find yourself constantly reaching for a certain goal. There is a balance you have to maintain between striving to accomplish goals and becoming too focused on achieving the next best thing. My lesson is to have gratitude and focus on what you do have, not on what you don’t have. In gratitude, you continue to grow personally, gain perspective, and are able to grow and shape your business. You have to run your race; everyone’s race and journey are different.
It sounds like being in gratitude helps you stay focused on your race. We often talk with clients about putting their blinders on like horses do in races to stay focused.
I have to continually remind myself of that. Comparing yourself and focusing on others will never lead to a fulfilling life. I can’t be Jennifer Lopez. I can’t be Halle Berry. I can continue to be the best version of Kenya. I feel that God created me and I am unique and special. I have to continue to discover what that is within Kenya and not what’s within everyone else. I see it as authenticity at its best. As I get older and wiser, I continually learn the importance of running your own race. There is a great purpose for you to continue running.
You’re talking a lot about comparison; do you ever feel it might be beneficial to pay attention to others and what they are doing?
I think it’s good to see what other people are doing in terms of their business because it gives you a blueprint of oh, that’s possible. If they achieved it, it can give you a marker that you can get there, too.
That reminds me of when Simon Sinek talks about having a “worthy rival.” Someone who is worthy of comparison because they push you to be better.
Exactly, it’s not about comparing yourself and beating yourself up if you haven’t achieved what they have. You want it to come from a place of growth.
What are you looking forward to in 2022?
First of all, the coaching program I’m in. Since I’ve been with YPP, it is amazing to see the growth I’ve made personally and in my business. With YPP’s support, I’m accomplishing new goals. I am focused on investments, building my wealth, and continuing to increase my volume. For me, that’s stretching myself to 51 units. I never really cared about setting goals before, but since partnering with YPP, I want to push myself and stretch. I don’t have the vernacular to communicate how much I’ve grown with YPP. Writing my goals down and completing the Meaning Behind Money sheet was transformational.
It sounds like you really enjoyed our business planning process. How did the YPP process support you in creating your 2022 goals?
Completing the Meaning Behind Money work brought such meaning to what I told my coach and where I wanted to see my business go. It wasn’t easy to sit down and complete in one hour; I truly had to give it time and thought. Through this process, you’re looking at your goals and putting meaning behind them. I’ve never really looked at goals like that. If we’re just chasing money, that’s not exciting for me. Money is a tool. More importantly to me, it’s why am I doing what I am doing? Why do I want to reach that goal? Thinking through that was transformational for me.
Personally, the worksheet helps me stay on track. If I experience hardships or challenges, I can pull that sheet out and say “These are my goals. These are my non-negotiables. This is the meaning behind them” and that keeps me focused and motivated even on the rough days.
One thing I’ve found in laying it all out is that once you define it, you realize you are jeopardizing your future when you compromise.
Having the goals written down on that sheet keeps my spark lit. It truly helps to keep the blueprint in front of you and keep yourself moving towards those goals and accomplishing them. The YPP business planning process has been an instrumental part of my personal growth.
One thing we have noticed is how committed you are to honoring your lead generation time, something many salespeople struggle with. How do you honor that commitment?
I’m a former athlete, and those values have stayed with me; I’m very coachable. If you tell me to do something, I’m going to do it. Lead generation has always been a part of what I do. For the first few years that I was in real estate, I was doing real estate part-time while teaching. Once I dedicated myself to real estate, I had people tell me “You have to get on the phone and cultivate relationships”, and they were right. I am consistent with my lead generation and focused on nurturing relationships and I’ve seen the growth in my business and what dedicated lead generation does for me.
How do you stay engaged with your lead generation?
I find things to get excited about that continue to challenge me. Right now, I am excited about utilizing all the technology we have. When you call your clients and your database for years, sometimes they don’t want to hear your voice all the time. In this market, you must get creative with how you connect with people. One of my 2022 goals is to utilize social media at a higher level. At the end of the day, I am always better in person. Nurturing relationships through text and calls helps me to set that appointment so I can get in front of people face to face. Consistency is key– be consistent and you’re going to see your work pay off.
How long did it take for you to see the impact of your consistency?
It took three years before I saw that consistency pay off in my database. For the first couple of years, I was building my database and my consistency really started to show 3 years later with repeat and referral business. I’ve realized that I’m better in person where people can feel my energy and authenticity and that’s how I grow my business. The more I get in front of people the better. Lunch, happy hours, coffee, golf, whatever. My focus is always to set that appointment. Connecting with your database is crucial.
You increased your price point substantially this year. Tell me about that process.
For me, it was work smarter, not harder. I identified people in my database that would be at that higher price point I wanted to hit. Through this I deepened my connection to physicians and those in the medical community. This is my primary focus now and I have a lot of physicians who refer me business.
How did you integrate yourself into the medical community?
I started with the people I was already currently seeing; my optometrist, my dentist, medical professionals I’ve known for years. I’ve had the same dentist for 15-20 years now. Having those partnerships and seeing them yearly, it became a friendship and a relationship. Once I incorporated pop-bys, it became a place of networking for me. Anyone in the medical field that I was already connected with, I would ask for referrals.
I told people “Hey, I’m not teaching anymore” which was a great segue into “I’m in real estate now.” I was well-known in the community because I taught these people’s children; I had won teaching awards and they knew me from my teaching career. I would tell them “You know if I could take care of your children all day, I could walk you through buying and selling a home.” It was strong for them to hear that. It wasn’t something I was fabricating, and they knew I was a teacher and I taught for ten years, so they know “Ok, we saw Kenya doing her thing”. It was authentic. I was confident in my script and that helps. You teach people how to view you so when you come from a place of confidence and you communicate that, they trust you.
How long did it take you to build a sizeable database in the medical community?
I would say it took a good five years to build my medical database, and it’s something I continue to work on. I had to be very intentional – it didn’t click right off the bat. It was a journey and still is. My focus is to be that go-to realtor for the medical community. It started with one doctor who’s a medical director who’s like a sister to me. I told her “Here’s the focus… I need to be helping anyone and everybody in your hospital that is selling or buying a home”.
One of my neighbors is an ER doctor and she’s a traveling doctor. With us being neighbors and friends, that’s how my network began for the ER doctors. I started to realize that their lives are hectic, their schedules are so grueling that when it comes to Real Estate they really need someone who can take the reins and who they can trust. With this in mind, I focused on creating an experience for them so when they’re at work, they can be at work. ER doctors don’t have time to do a lot, so I create a red-carpet experience for them throughout the process. I tell them “Let me handle all the real estate stuff so you can focus on your job.” They can trust me to carry on and they don’t have to be so hands-on in the process to get them to the finish line.
I got more ingrained with the people being referred to me. I’d tell them “Send me your schedule” and I’d schedule time with them on their off weeks. I would do lunches, dinners, happy hours with them; essentially, spending money on them so I could connect with them and build these relationships.
How did you know that what you were doing was working?
I keep a spreadsheet where I label my doctors and track my referrals. By maintaining a spreadsheet, closing deals for these physicians, and keeping a tally of the business and pouring back into them, I started seeing the manifestation pay off. You have to work at it.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to raise their price point?
I would suggest taking a look at the people of influence and affluence that you feel connected and aligned with. You need to identify who that is, and that’s different for everyone; maybe you want to focus on attorneys or politicians. Look at your own database to see who’s in there that is a person of influence and affluence; take them out and start having those conversations and letting them know what you’re looking to do. When you help people, they want to help you back. Identify who your client is and be laser-focused.
How do you define success?
For me, it’s about looking at the purpose God has given me and really discovering that. Why am I here on this earth? My purpose is bigger than business. Success for me is being in a place where I am fulfilling God’s purpose here on this earth and it’s about how I make people feel. When you leave this earth, I remind myself that it’s not about what you said, it’s how you made someone feel. Success is about being a servant, having friendships and relationships, and leaving a legacy. It also comes back to me and having a clear identity of who Kenya is. I don’t want to be in a place of chaos or confusion, I want to be in a place of clarity and knowing I get up every day to help people. I am blessed to be a blessing. Who can I bless today? My cup is not filled if I am not helping others.
If you could put any saying on a billboard, what would it be?
Love others. Love you. Give. Faith.
What is a book you think everyone should read?
The Bible. The One Thing by Gary Keller; I feel like he’s a genius. I also love The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. That book is relevant not only in your business relationships but your personal relationships as well.