Kathleen Black: “Get Strategic”

Get Strategic — If you start out strategically, with a strategic model, you will consider future needs for more time, relief, or somebody who can oversee parts of your business as you grow. A strategic model will give you clarity and strategy. Once you get those two components, you need to be able to take your existing business […]

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Get Strategic — If you start out strategically, with a strategic model, you will consider future needs for more time, relief, or somebody who can oversee parts of your business as you grow. 
A strategic model will give you clarity and strategy. Once you get those two components, you need to be able to take your existing business to create a business structured to grow.
A strong strategic model will allow you to reinvest in the business in the right places to offer the top client experience to the public, while also reinvesting in your business platform.


As part of our series about how to create a trusted, believable, and beloved brand, I had the pleasure to interview Kathleen Black.

Kathleen Black is one of North America’s leading team coaches and trainers, delivering her proven success techniques to agents and teams around the world. That growth is worth billions in additional sales volume annually across her client network with 80% of her clients being national top 1% producers. Kathleen, the best-selling author of “The Top 1% Life”, will help you to expand your business, at a fraction of the time and cost, using the tried, tested, and true “KBCC Ultimate Expansion Strategy” that has powered her client growth into the most efficient, productive, and profitable teams in the world, powered by performance cultures.

The success of KBCC centers around integrity, honesty, and results-driven measures, the very things that represent Kathleen. Kathleen has been named twice Top 100 Elite Women Driving the Future of Real Estate by REP Magazine and Top 20 Emerging Leaders by T3 Sixty’s Swanepoel Report. She was recognized within the top 1% of Realtors in the Toronto Real Estate Board, has ten plus years, over 20,000 hours personally, of agent development experience, and hundreds of teams attribute their growth and success to Kathleen’s leadership.

Kathleen is also the driving-force behind the Ultimate Team Summit, the largest team specific

Real Estate summit in North America and the Ultimate Mastermind Series of events, including the 100 Deal + Ultimate Mastermind. Recently recognized as a Global Leader Making the World a Better Place by the Women’s Economic Forum.

Kathleen lives in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada with her two free spirited, independent, and very loved children Ethan and Ella, and their cat Ethel.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Beginning my career as a RE/MAX Real Estate Agent and working my way to being recognized within the top 1% of Realtors in both the Durham Region and on the Toronto Real Estate Board, many would agree that this level of success is the pinnacle achievement amongst their peers; but for me it was only the beginning. Identifying the need, I set out to work on further developing the systems and platform of educational programs and coaching methods to which I attributed my own professional and personal success.

With the launch of KBCC in 2015 and building upon my 10+ years of Team and Agent development and guidance, hundreds of teams (80% of which are top 1% producers) have attributed their growth and success to my integrity, honesty and results driven leadership directly or through one of her coaching programs.

I was selling real estate as a busy single mom of two children and I had done a lot of content and systems development with a look to creating better work life balance. The team I worked with was creating a coaching company and I had a background in psychology, so it just seemed like a natural fit to try to become involved. That coaching company found itself in some challenging territory in early days and there were differing opinions within the ownership as to how it should be resolved.

This ultimately resulted in the departure of the director of coaching and I was given the opportunity to step into that role within 18 months of the company going live. I had been a coach for just under one year at that point. It was really a chain of complicated events that led to a great opportunity for me.

Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

An example that I give often is I used to mentor, coach and train while I was relatively new to selling, so I often had someone shadowing me.

I ended up realizing a couple of years into it when I left a buyer presentation, which I would sign 98 per cent of, with one of my mentees, when she told me that she had seen me present my buyer consultations many times, and that she had learned so much, but the logo on the PowerPoint said ‘Your Team Name Here”.

I didn’t even realize that for two years I had been using my coaching company’s version of my buyer consultation and it didn’t even have our team logo on it, and yet I was still signing 98 per cent of all consultations I sat down in front of and attended.

When building a business, it’s really easy to say you need the perfect brand, but in reality, what you need are the clients.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our company stands out because we build strong businesses, in an industry that is often still relying on old methods and models, which are increasingly less and less effective.

We stand out because we actually track, and have a strategy that works to expand, where teams are making much more money than traditional brokerages and offering superior value, where team members are able to sell much more and have more time.

I think in an industry where we have all male top thought leaders, we stand out in being a female led team, but also a team that is committed to efficiency, productivity, and profitability, without looking at it as if it’s a bad name.

We bring a systematic, process driven approach which allows us to be more agile and to lean into technology changes, instead of fearing them.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We’re always expanding. We’ve currently been expanding our resources to help people obviously during the COVID-19 pandemic, to suit their needs of moving remotely.

But COVID-19 has definitely given another reason for top producers to build systematic process driven businesses, where clients get a higher level of services and the team or brokerage have a more organized way to conduct more business and transactions, while also having a life.

Our focus is on making sure the teams and brokerages that we support have a quality of life, to enhance their lifestyles in order to sell more homes. Our systems are allowing them to hit two very important goals at once.

We’re also expanding our services globally, by building systematically, we’re offering teams 16% higher profit margins than a typical team model would. Having agents on the top teams using our models sell 10 to 20 times the average transactions on most of their local Real Estate boards. Additionally, we’re aiding them in converting at up to 7 times higher when they get to our advanced conversion systems.

We’re really committed to helping our agents build the most efficient, productive and profitable teams in the world. Why would agents follow another path and journey when we’ve already created this path with a predictable track record with our agents?

Ok let’s now jump to the core part of our interview. In a nutshell, how would you define the difference between brand marketing (branding) and product marketing (advertising)? Can you explain?

Branding is the purpose and experience, in which your brand runs itself on. When our company started, our vision was to help busy entrepreneurs, who were largely in the sales industry, carve out a business that had the structure necessary to give them the freedom they wanted.

We found that a lot of entrepreneurs feel structure is restrictive, when in fact it gives them the path they need to give them the ability to leverage and scale so that they can have a successful business and life.

At the end of the day, what we found, was that we had to empower people in order for them to take empowered action, which is vital to create a structured business.

The purpose of our company is to power up people so they can build the businesses and lives that they are capable of leading, that they don’t choose to build until they approach it with a higher level of consciousness and confidence.

Advertising is taking that meticulous approach to your business, and choosing what aspects are the most marketable, and how you would engage a specific audience with advertising campaigns.

Can you explain to our readers why it is important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, in addition to the general marketing and advertising efforts?

It’s important to invest resources and energy into building a brand, because it shows your clients and your audience that you care.

Without a brand, you will not find as many conversions, or retention as you would like. By building an amazing brand, you set yourself apart from your competitors, you are individualistically you, and no one can change that.

By investing in your brand, you are only furthering its purpose and experience, which benefits your clients and your audience best.

Can you share 5 strategies that a company should be doing to build a trusted and believable brand? Please tell us a story or example for each.

  1. Unique Client Process — Your clients cannot see what the purchase or the steps leading to the purchase look like — if they did they wouldn’t need us. Many top producers confuse personally delivering value, with the value our clients hire us to provide. Your clients are hiring you for a unique experience and results.
    You are the master of sourcing the playbook to create your unique client process for your business, set to your standards, regardless of who is face to face for delivery. This unique client process is not optional to expand your business, it is a necessity we work with you to achieve.
    This also happens to be one of the vital systems that safe guarded and later expanded production this year, during lock downs, and restrictions as we entered the virtual world.
  2. Consultants Approach — This approach is the secret sauce to these specific sales steps as through testing people favored consultants over salespeople.
    With scripting, as with all of our systems, we choose to take the approach of the consultant opposed to the “pushy salesperson” the public anticipates from us.
    A Consultant seeks to establish a need and educate a client. This allows the client to self-discover their best course of action and come to a logical conclusion. We coach our clients to achieve the best possible outcome for them.
    This sets us apart from the public perception of a “pushy salesperson” who pushes a client towards their own desired outcomes in the salesperson’s best interest as opposed to the clients. The following principles depict the Consultants approach.
    In order to adapt the consultant’s approach toward your business, you’ll need to review your current approach with clients.
    The advisor and consultant approaches allow Real Estate agents to guide their clients through the process with the utmost confidence. They know they’re analytical, and that they offer wisdom and knowledge that they’ve integrated for their client to feel like they’re covered, and that they’ve done they’re due diligence.
  3. Humanistic Approach — Take the humanistic approach. We’re all looking to relate to people, especially when we’re looking to a brand that we all love and trust. Instead of thinking of your business as a faceless entity, think of the humans who work there and those who interact with the brand.
  4. Build Relationships — When you relationship build, you’re also building your brand’s reputation. Your audience, and your clients are some of the most important people when it comes to building your brand and getting people to entrust your brand. If you build a personal relationship with your clients, they’re going to consider your brand a friend.
    Loyal customers stay for the way a company creates and delivers a product, not the product itself.
  5. Emotional Quotient — It’s crucial now, more than ever, to establish meaningful connections with your clients, which is where “emotional quotient”, or emotional intelligence, comes in, but only if the Real Estate team can take all the unsimplified jargon out and understand it for what it is.
    Using EQ to understand different personality styles is vital to creating and maintaining relationships, especially during this unprecedented period of time.⠀
    It will help you identify observable behaviors associated with various personality styles and how to successfully connect with each one, by customizing your communications.

In your opinion, what is an example of a company that has done a fantastic job building a believable and beloved brand. What specifically impresses you? What can one do to replicate that?

I’m not sure I’m able to pick out one specific brand.

In order to create a trusted and beloved brand, you need to begin with transparency. If you want trust, you have to be honest. Transparency will show your customers your honesty. By showing your audience this honesty, they will put more trust in your business to create a trusted reputation for your brand.

Take the humanistic approach. We’re all looking to relate to people, especially when we’re looking to a brand that we all love and trust. Instead of thinking of your business as a faceless entity, think of the humans who work there and those who interact with the brand.

Relationship build. Your audience, and your clients are some of the most important people when it comes to building your brand and getting people to entrust your brand. If you build a personal relationship with your clients, they’re going to consider your brand a friend.

Loyal customers stay for the way a company creates and delivers a product, not the product itself.

For example, our Consultants Approach sets us apart from our competition, which in turn creates a long term ripple effect of proving our reputation right, that we are a leading North American Real Estate coaching company who deeply care for our clients.

Our company stands out because we build strong businesses, in an industry that is often still relying on old methods and models, which are increasingly less and less effective.

We stand out because we actually track, and have a strategy that works to expand, where teams are making much more money than traditional brokerages and offering superior value, where team members are able to sell much more and have more time.

I think in an industry where we have all male top thought leaders, we stand out in being a female led team, but also a team that is committed to efficiency, productivity, and profitability, without looking at it as if it’s a bad name.

We bring a systematic, process driven approach which allows us to be more agile and to lean into technology changes, instead of fearing them.

When our company started, our vision was to help busy entrepreneurs, who were largely in the sales industry, carve out a business that had the structure necessary to give them the freedom they wanted.

We found that a lot of entrepreneurs feel structure is restrictive, when in fact it gives them the path they need to give them the ability to leverage and scale so that they can have a successful business and life.

At the end of the day, what we found, was that we had to empower people in order for them to take empowered action, which is vital to create a structured business.

The purpose of our company is to power up people so they can build the businesses and lives that they are capable of leading, that they don’t choose to build until they approach it with a higher level of consciousness and confidence.

In advertising, one generally measures success by the number of sales. How does one measure the success of a brand building campaign? Is it similar, is it different?

Measuring success in terms of conversions or sales is still relevant for a brand building campaign.

Word travels fast, if you do not have a unique client system in place, you will not retain, or generate new customers, therefore it’s important to keep your eye on retention stats and how many new customers you’re bringing it.

If your branding is doing well, you will see a spike in conversions and sales, and that is when you know your brand is getting out there.

What role does social media play in your branding efforts?

As a Real Estate Coaching company, we are always striving to make as many personal connections as possible.

On social media, we like to take the humanistic approach. Our business is not a faceless entity, we have our team members and clients consistently posted on our social media channels to show our audience and potential clients, that there are real people who are involved with our brand.

What advice would you give to other marketers or business leaders to thrive and avoid burnout?

Long days at the office along with constant work-related emails after hours can all contribute to workplace burnout.

But even without a physical office to go to, burnout can happen working from home, and it feels like it’s even more likely now due to the added stress of the coronavirus pandemic.

In order to not feel the burnout, I recommend following these four key steps.

  1. Get Strategic — If you start out strategically, with a strategic model, you will consider future needs for more time, relief, or somebody who can oversee parts of your business as you grow. 
    A strategic model will give you clarity and strategy. Once you get those two components, you need to be able to take your existing business to create a business structured to grow.
    A strong strategic model will allow you to reinvest in the business in the right places to offer the top client experience to the public, while also reinvesting in your business platform.
  2. Create your ‘Perfect Week’ — We’re all living in a different reality right now, we’re not leaving the house, we have different people pulling on our time, and some people may have their kids at home with them, along with other distractions.
    So how do you find the element to work this other aspect of life into your day to day when everything was running smoothly before?
    You have to sit down and create your perfect week, not because you want to, but because you absolutely have to. You need to grab control of your life again, to do yourself and your business the ultimate favor, succeeding.
    If we make every effort to live each week and begin each day trying to have the perfect day, it just might happen.
    Life isn’t perfect, but the perfect week gives us a game plan to follow and guide us through our days.
  3. Focus on your Non-Negotiables — When planning your days or weeks, make sure you take your non-negotiables into consideration. These are the things that no matter what is in your day’s plan, won’t change.
    Now that we’re in a day and age where we’re having issues in regard to the many things that are being thrown at us on the daily, we will go into overwhelm.
    Overwhelm can mean we’re snapping at our loved one’s, having skin reactions, feeling anxious, and more. Overwhelm makes us want to surrender, and take shelter, but unfortunately we cannot do that. We have to operate in this new normal.
    By ensuring you’ve covered your non-negotiables, you’re ensuring that you can make sure your cup is filled and that you’re okay. When you’re okay, you will not be overwhelmed, you will be at 110% for your clients, loved ones and family.
  4. Practice Makes Perfect — A lot of Real Estate agents overlook practicing the key steps in their sales process, like scripting and presentations, which puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to competing with agents who are consistently practicing their materials. 
    It’s crucial to have a daily or weekly allotted time, where you can ensure the conversations you have with your clients are seamless and professional in every aspect.
    Mastery is nuanced. To understand nuance, you must live among it, bathe in it, and breathe it. Mastery becomes the essence of us. We practice mastery without thinking.
    This is when you successfully turn something that you consciously knew you didn’t know into something you know and, finally, into something you know unconsciously.
    This is where you can present a presentation while focusing 100% on your client. The presentation no longer requires any mental bandwidth or conscious focus. Your body knows to have your finger click next on the laptop to move the slides without needing to look at the screen or visually assess which slide is next.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Conscious living. I think people who are conscious about who they are, their values, and what they’re bringing to the world are typically better parents, better team members, better community supporters, better people.

I find the ability to ‘do good’ is just more naturally present for people with a conscious mindset. If I can help people raise their consciousness and see their abilities and power, they will ultimately serve the world through their greater purpose with ease. If KBCC can have any influence on people leading themselves versus looking at others, that’s a win!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favourite life lesson quote is something that I’ve heard in my head since I was very young and that’s “You’re built to win”, and when you believe that, when things get hard, you’re going to lean in and really win or learn, so either way you win overall.

Some of my most devastating losses in life and in business catapulted me forward ten times more than I could have ever gotten without them.

‘I was built to win”, allows me to see things in my favour as I’m working in a place of abundance and I’m trying to see myself in the world.

I’ll always try to be better because I want to do good here and I want to have the resources in order to be and do good.

I need a strong business in order to make the changes and impact I want to make for myself and in order to contribute and have a positive impact with as many people as possible.

We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

Glennon Doyle’s most recent book ‘Untamed’ has had a very deep impact on my thinking. I can honestly say that I have never read a book that I could relate to such an extent. I felt like I could have written that book. I have such an affinity for her values and the need for relentless leadership.

Her book demonstrates such a remarkable message to stand-up unapologetically and build what you’re meant to build.

Her book has been a treasure to me because it’s allowed me to feel less lonely, some people say that alpha women don’t travel in packs, but I’m lucky to have an amazing leadership team and I would never get anything done without them.

It’s also inspiring to me that she works on the ground with charities to get average donations of 25 dollars Glennon founded Together Rising as an expression of her belief that the surest way to lift a family or community is to lift one woman at a time — that when a woman rises, she brings her people up with her. Her charity initiatives are incredibly inspiring and life changing.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/10528394/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathleenBlackCoaching/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathleenblackcoaching/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kbccoaching

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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