Stand on your own — Be comfortable with the idea of standing in a dark room, with nobody around you, by yourself. The people you thought were standing with you may not truly be there. My willingness to leverage myself and risk everything is the purest example of this.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathleen Black.
Kathleen Black is one of North America’s leading real estate 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.
The success of KBCC centers around integrity, honesty, and results-driven measures, the very things that represent Kathleen. Kathleen has been named twice as one of the Top 100 Elite
Women Driving the Future of Real Estate by REP Magazine and as one of Top 20 Emerging Leaders by T3 Sixty’s 2018 Swanepoel Report. She was recognized within the top 1% of Realtors in the Toronto Real Estate Board, has ten plus years 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.
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! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular 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 her 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 my 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 its 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 tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
Some people are born entrepreneurs, and I would say I fit into that criteria. There are always early signs: The proverbial lemonade stand, an innate youthful rebelliousness, a way of seeing things differently, and an early discovery of the power to manifest.
I knew as an 8th grader that I could manifest whatever I envisioned. Every milestone I reach comes from an inspired flow state — a practice of inner work I leverage now as one of Canada’s leading Real Estate Coaches and Trainers, delivering my proven success techniques to Agents and Teams across North America.
I have never done things the easy way. I had a tumultuous childhood that culminated in me leaving my home while still in high school. I self-funded my university education and completed it as a new mother.
I saw a need for more women voices in a female dominated industry (Real Estate), where there were predominately men being highlighted.
The more that we show and highlight women in these professions and positions, more women will follow them to lead successful careers.
We can have a landslide of valuable women, but if we don’t learn to listen to and respect their voices as valuable, then is it going to matter in the end? Women leaders are only as valuable as the people they serve are open to hearing value from them and other different perspectives.
At the end of the day you have to be committed to getting there, and even though the disparity is there, in most industries, the top 10 percent of performers or skill sets, the disparity is almost invisible.
You have to be so good that people can’t ignore you, and that is what I chose. I wanted it to cost others more by ignoring me. I chose to build and offer results so good that they spoke for themselves.
We all have a simple choice, to plant and nurture seeds with our focus and determination, or to attempt to will ourselves through ceilings and obstacles. I built my own stages to house our message, network, and results. we do not need to play in broken houses, when you can build your own.
Can you share a story about the funniest 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 percent 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.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I don’t think there has ever been one person. A lot of my opportunities actually came from overcoming challenges, so some of the people who gave me some of the opportunities I had are also people who presented massive challenges for me and my career.
At the end of the day, it’s relying on great mentorship, there’s not only one person I can name.
There were definitely brokers who gave me great advice and now we’ve built programs in place that we’ve created together, like Paul Baron from the #1 Century 21 Brokerage for the country, C21 Leading Edge in Canada.
I’m grateful for our team, I have an amazing group of people who support me and there’s no way I would be able to do what I do without them.
We have a collaborative leadership team who are very entrepreneurial, and who take ownership over what needs to happen. It’s very collaborative without a director style delegation, everyone owns their portion of the business. That is how we thrive.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
Disrupting an industry is positive when you have a female dominated industry that frequently only highlights males, and someone takes it upon themselves to build stages where women are welcome and spotlighted in the industry.
We need more women carving out leadership positions so that we are able to model them, and see that we are capable of doing this, so that we don’t have to apologize for being our personal best versions of parents if we choose to be, or spouses or friends, in order to do what is needed to have the business we want.
Disrupting an industry is negative when those who think they’re being positively disruptive by holding onto old trends. see people taught with methods that are not working but were working with lesser models. The Real Estate market used to be a one level market, it was between the brokers or agent and the buyers or sellers. The complexity of the current Real Estate market is far more complex than it used to be.
We’re still approaching this business with a one-dimensional mentality that is not serving us and doesn’t make sense because it’s irrelevant.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
1. Stand on your own
Be comfortable with the idea of standing in a dark room, with nobody around you, by yourself. The people you thought were standing with you may not truly be there. My willingness to leverage myself and risk everything is the purest example of this.
From a spiritual standpoint, I believe I am meant to perform service to people in sales-based functions. I cannot afford, either spiritually or financially, to be distracted from my greater purpose. The trials and tribulations in the business along the way, I believe, serve only to remind me that I’m strong enough, and that my intentions are pure enough to overcome them, and that they existed to educate me and enrich our offering to our clients.
3. Plant the seeds without expectation
In the tarot world, they call it the fool’s card. Many would suggest that if anybody knew what was going to be involved in overcoming all of the obstacles that stood in the way of our current place, that only a fool would knowingly choose the path I did. I made a conscious decision that whether it took 2, 5 or 10 years, that’s where I was going. Ironically, every time I have made the commitment the results typically materialize faster than hoped.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
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.
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?
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
I think it depends. If we look at the statistics, there are lots of challenges that are in place for women executives.
We find ourselves travelling along a less than carved out path of leadership. There is less support, developed over the years for powerhouse women in our industry.
At the end of the day, if you want acceptance and approval, and you want to not be seen as an ice queen, there’s a battle you have to face.
You have to be able to stand strong in a storm and rise out of lots of little fires that will surround you, because in my experience a strong woman leading is not seen as naturally positive when compared to a very strong man leading.
To be a top leader in this industry you need to be unapologetically strong in order to be capable of carving out an efficient business.
This is a difficulty for women, but it can also be seen as an opportunity. You’re either going to hit ceilings, or plant seeds, you cannot do both. If as a woman, you’re looking at your restrictions and the reasons why you might fail, those are not going to propel you further. If you look at those things and create for the future, you can plant seeds and nurture them to create things that aren’t in existence yet.
As much as you do have a statistical bias against women executives, you also have the power to be positively disruptive to change the system and give the spotlight to the voices that haven’t been heard.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
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.
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.
How can our readers follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!