In our December episode of Monday Market Minute, Carrie McCormick from @properties talks about how she built her business and brand in real estate. She gives credit to the way she was raised for her two characteristics: patience and accountability. She emphasizes how important it is for her that her clients get the feeling of trust, credibility and easy communication out of her brand. Last, Carrie and D.J. discuss the importance of saying “thank you” to your clients/partners.
If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!
Please follow Carrie on Instagram by clicking here.
D.J. Paris 0:00
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All right welcome to keeping it real the largest podcast for real estate agents and by real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris I am your guide and host through this show and today is our monthly series called The Monday market minute with Carrie McCormick from the Carey McCormack Real Estate Group here in Chicago with at properties. Now Carrie is a top 1% producer in Chicago with over 20 years of experience helping buyers, sellers and investors. In fact, in the past 12 months out of 46,000 real estate agents here in Chicago, Carrie is currently ranked a number 14 Actually maybe even lower than that lower meaning higher in the rank. But as of last time I checked, she’s was in the top 15 And always is She’s a true superstar and an expert in everything from first time homebuyers, veteran investors and luxury properties. She also works a lot of developers and is often chosen to represent their high end developments. Now please visit Carrie McCormick at her website, which is Carrie McCormick r e.com. But also absolutely follow her on Instagram. We’re actually going to be talking to Carrie today about branding. And she there’s no better example of an amazing branding. A realtor who does branding, then Carrie, so follow her on Instagram, which is at Carey McCormick real estate. There’s also a link to that in our show notes. So at Carey McCormack, and McCormack has to cease at Carey McCormick real estate Carrie, welcome once again to the show.
Carrie McCormick 2:21
Thank you, thank you love being here with you.
D.J. Paris 2:25
love having you. And we’re going to do something a little different today. We were Carrie and I were talking and the first time I met Carrie, she was actually a guest on our show this is many years ago. And then she decided to come on monthly. And we’re so grateful to have her as a partner comes on to talk about what’s going on in the market. And we’re now in the latter part of December, we’re on you know, wrapping up the year. And we thought we’d go back and revisit something that I think we did talk about on their very first time we mentioned but that was cash like three or four years ago. Yeah, so we want to talk about how Carrie grew her business. And we’ll give an abbreviated version of that, because we do have that full interview from from years ago, which which we’ll link to, but specifically branding, right, I think branding is really so much of a realtors for perception, or how people perceive realtors in the industry. And it really is difficult because there’s all sorts of different ways that realtors can brand themselves from the ones who do extraordinarily silly kind of, you know, marketing efforts to people that are ultra serious and professional. And then of course, everything in between and realtors are given a wide berth to really build their brand. So you have built your brand, I would say for you the words that come to mind when I think about your brand would be professionalism, elegance, just but but also like kind of cutting edge too. So even though you know you’ve been in the business 20 years, you are, you know, all of your branding looks fresh up to date on trend. So you must keep adapting that with the times. And I’m so curious to know how you keep your branding looking so remarkably current as sort of things, you know, our tastes evolve and change. But let’s let’s start kind of at the beginning of how you got in real estate.
Carrie McCormick 4:19
Well, that’s thank you for all of that. That was very kind and, you know, I truly love what I do. And I think when people do love what they do, it just kind of shines through and it’s it’s authentic, and it’s organic, and you’re able to be who you want to be. And that’s kind of where this all was born from. And just to kind of take a step back. As I was mentioning someone I’ve been getting a little bit more of like the questions of, you know, tell me a little bit about, you know, how you grew up and you know, tell me about your childhood or tell me about you know, whatever it is going way back when I’m like you know it doesn’t really matter and a lot of people don’t really care but as I’ve thought through A little bit of it, you know, I wanted to share with you and then with the audience, just how I did build that brand. And it really, if I look back into my life as a young child, like just 789 years old, you know, my natural state back then as a young child was very entrepreneurial. At 12 years of age, I got my first job.
D.J. Paris 5:23
What was your first job?
Carrie McCormick 5:25
So I worked at a catering company, well, this, you guys will laugh, I was a golf cart driver on a golf course, sure, they did catering then and apparently, way back when you didn’t matter how old you were. So I drove a golf cart on the golf course, and served refreshments as a 12 year old. So but I was very rebel spirited back then. And I didn’t follow the rules. I wanted things done my way. And it was really not kind of being out of being stubborn. But it was truly because I felt there was a better way to do things or to better experience things. My mom didn’t like it very much that I was, you know, had that kind of attitude. But again, it didn’t, it wasn’t born out of, you know, I’m, I’m going to break rules or not follow rules. Because of that, because of I didn’t want to it was, hey, this could be done better. You know, so let’s do it this way. So I would bend the rules. But I was raised by a single mom, she was a working mom. And she always put people first. And she was kind of that Martha Stewart, us kind of person. And, you know, because, you know, I was raised by a single mom that worked very hard, and, you know, was very authentic to what she did. I kind of got my drive and my work ethic from her. So, you know, you fast forward, you know how I grew up into a young adult, I started to learn patience and accountability, which those two lessons along with, like my drive, and my grit, definitely propelled my career.
D.J. Paris 7:08
When you say patience, can you get a little bit more specific? Do you mean, the patience to have the sort of the ability to wait for something to happen as long as you keep moving forward? Or is patients around something else?
Carrie McCormick 7:23
Well, it was. And I think we live in a world now where everything is so fast paced, and we want what we want. But you know, early in my career, things were a little bit slower. And, you know, I knew I wanted to be successful. I knew I wanted to sell luxury real estate early on, I knew what I wanted. But you know, you just couldn’t snap your fingers. And it was there. So the patience became something that I learned because I had to work hard. You know, I mean, I had to build, I had to do all that grinding work of, you know, again, way back when, you know, I would knock on people’s doors, you know, I would cold call, there’s all that stuff, that when you’re in the thick of it, you think, you know, I’ll never make it. But you know, it’s being persistent. It’s having the patience, it’s having the drive, it’s all the things that we know that we need to have, you know, to have our success. So, you know, again, how did this young like rebel spirit, bring me into real estate, you know, and then I say, Well, I think real estate actually came to me. And actually, I’ll tell you guys a very quick story of how I got into real estate. So again, a couple decades ago, I was in advertising. And I had a really beautiful office, it was looking over millennium, well, what is now Millennium Park. And I’m not sure what happened on that specific day, but I just remember, something didn’t go my way, whatever it was, and I’m like, I’m gonna go out for a walk. So I left the office and again, this is by Millennium Park. And I started walking and you know, as you’re kind of your mind is going and walk in and just kind of huffing and puffing along and I ended up in the west loop. And again, this is wow, that’s that’s quite quite a walk. This is I must have been really angry. So this is back in the late 90s. In the West, what is obviously now the west loop, which wasn’t what it is now. So when I got to the it was on Monroe Street was Monroe, or Madison, I should know this, but was on Monroe and Madison. There was a sales trailer or like a trailer home, sitting there and there was construction going on, there was a big digger there. And I stopped and I looked and some gentleman came out of the door, his of the sales trailer, the trailer, and he says, you know, you can’t be on the site, you know, you need to get off. It’s an act of construction site. And you know, I’m just looking around, like, what are they doing? I mean, it was just the weirdest thing to me. And he came out and he talked to me and he said, you know, what are you doing here? And I said, Well, I’m just curious, like, what’s going on? And what are they building? Here’s like, oh, you know, let me tell you, we’re gonna build Have a condo building on this site, you know, and we’re going to have X amount of units and blah, blah, blah. And I said, Who’s going to live in this neighborhood? Right? And he’s like, Well, you know, we’re thinking professionals, and you know, it’s so close to that. And he’s like, giving me like the sales pitch, because he probably thought I might be a good buyer for him. And I just started telling him what I thought. And I’m like, Well, this is what I, you know, why would you do that? And, you know, it’s funny. He says to me, he looks at me goes, Are you in real estate? And I’m like, Well, yes, I am. I’ve been, of course I wasn’t. And he said, I want to talk to you, you’ve got some really good ideas. I kind of like the way that you think, meet me at my office next, whatever, next Thursday. So I’m like, great. So I leave, I walk back to my office, I get on the computer, how do I get my real estate license? You know, it was, you know, like a week’s Crash Course. Sign up for the real estate class, which of course, didn’t start till the following week, I met with Tom at his office, and I told him the truth. They said, you know, with all due respect, you know, I, I signed up for the course, I’m not licensed. But I signed up for the course and I will have my license by x date. And he was completely fine with it. He thought it was kind of funny. And he was thankful that I told the truth. But he hired me. He said, You know, I like that you push the rules with me. I like that you didn’t agree with everything I said, I liked you know, your energy and your enthusiasm. And he hired me. And that’s how I started my career in real estate.
D.J. Paris 11:41
Oh, yeah, that’s, it’s really interesting. I think, oftentimes, especially for, you know, bosses or employers, they’re often looking more for quality, or qualities or personality types than they are experience. I’m in the process, right now I get to be part of this group of investors and makes me sound more important than I am, it’s not a big deal. But there’s about 50 of us. And we’re going to be finding a technology company in Las Vegas of all places, like a startup that is, you know, need some seed money. And so we’re all, you know, pooling a little tiny bit of money together to help these, this company, we’re all get to decide on which company and there’s a bunch of them, that one that are competing for the money. And so we’re I’m in the process of now looking at businesses that I have no experience with, and probably wouldn’t be able to have the eagle eye to go, oh, that’s the one that’s going to succeed. So it’s a total gamble on our end, because it’s not a real estate related, all the companies, none of them are real estate related. So what I’m like, Well, I don’t know enough about any of these technology sectors to make a really good decision on who’s got the best business plan. So I have to just go with the qualities that I see in these, the these owners, the startup founders, and that’s the only thing I get to go on. And so I I’m in the process of doing that now. And I’m like, well, this person seems like they, they have a great personality, and I never quit attitude. So you know, and I think probably a lot of people get into professions, because someone saw something in them that, you know, that they thought, oh, once they learn the skills of being part of this particular industry, they already have the personality. So they’re gonna You just have to, like, just wind them up and push them in the right direction. So I suspect that’s exactly what happened to you.
Carrie McCormick 13:36
Yeah, well, I feel like I got lucky. I feel like I got lucky. So, again, that’s how I started in the business. And then you fast forward into, you know, one of your questions was about branding, and, you know, building a brand. And what I’ve learned through the last couple of years is that the word you know, to define the word branding or brand, it’s not a logo, it’s not marketing or advertising, I like to say that a brand is your reputation and how someone feels about you. Right? You know, and just like you said, You’ve you had some really nice comments about my brand. And, you know, I didn’t set out and say, you know, Carrie McCormack, you know, this is what I am, it’s just, it’s a feeling that somebody gets, you know, when they see my name or see my marketing or see anything that I do, and I think it’s important for all of us when you’re when you have your own business is to be your own brand, Ambassador and have your own identity. You know, I’ve seen some folks, you know, and I think it is flattering when someone takes like a social media post or something and they just duplicate it or they copy it and you know, I think they say it’s, it’s flattery, you know, but it’s it’s not them, right you know, like if You take my post and repost it and put your face on it. It’s just, it’s not you, it’s not authentic. So, you know, I’ve spent quite a bit of time just figuring out what’s important to me. And you know, what’s my style and my reputation. And you know, how I want others to feel when they’re around me. And I think it’s important. Also, when you’re building a team, or you know, you have people working for you, is to those people that, that are there that they have the same identity for you, meaning, if my, if my assistants are in front of my clients, I want my clients to feel there. You know, that it supports my brand, and how I want to treat people. So it’s the energy that you put out there and it creates that brand just kind of becomes its its own.
D.J. Paris 15:48
Yeah, let us I’m curious on if you were to think about what feelings you want your clients to have, you know, after the transactions completed, they’ve either bought their home sold, the home moved in rented, you know, whatever the transaction is, and they think back to their experience, you know, what are some of those feelings that you want them to, to have in the weight as they think back about, you know, your performance as their realtor?
Carrie McCormick 16:16
Yeah, you know, everyone listening, who’s a realtor, we all work so hard. And when we just do it, you know, sometimes it may we make it look easy that what we do, but, you know, I want my clients to feel like they number one, that they can trust me, because I always always have my clients, best interests, and I’m a fiduciary, you know, so I have to protect my clients, and I want them to feel like that they are protected, the decisions and advice that I give them, is for them, you know, it’s not for me, it’s not for my company, or any it’s all about them. So I want them to feel like they’re in good hands. I want them to feel that, you know, they I trust that they can trust me. Absolutely. Communication, I also think is important, I want them to feel like if they have a question, they can call me anytime, and I’m gonna pick up the phone, so that I’m there for them. So that’s, and I feel like because that is truly how I feel about what I do, again, that my clients can 100% Trust me, I’m always there for me, they can pick up the phone, I will make the best decisions, possibly for them and their property. It’s grown my business, because it’s authentic. And it’s truly how I feel.
D.J. Paris 17:40
And, you know, it’s it’s so interesting, because I suspect a lot of realtors who haven’t had the experience is that you’ve had and the length of time in the industry, you know, something a lot of people struggle with is, is yes, I want to do a good job. But they don’t maybe forward think and say when this transaction is over, what do I want my clients to actually feel about me, and you just very elegantly sum that up. And I think, then it’s like, okay, I want them to know that I put their best interest in front of my own, that I have a fiduciary, which by the way that in and of itself is a really important thing for all of our listeners to understand about your business as a real estate agent, as Yes, you are. And you can have that conversation with your clients about what that means and what responsibility that you take to do that. But at the end of the day, you have a list of things that you want your clients to feel after a transaction. And then comes the hard part, like you said, being able to contact you at any time, the hard part is now you have to live up to to all of those expectations that that you want your clients to, you know, to feel that that you’ve met. So but it also probably drives all of your behavior, I imagine. Because you know, I know, like, example here at the firm I work at is we have just about 800 agents. And when I started we had just a couple of agents. And so we’ve grown a lot, but we always have thought of ourselves as a small little mom and pop family company. And even though we’re not so small anymore, that’s still kind of our identity. So I have to make sure when I’m talking to agents who are thinking about joining the company, I work for that I say just just so you know, we still think of ourselves that is our brand is we are this little mom and pop company. We try to treat our agents, you know, as best as we possibly can. But you know, if I say oh, we have 800 agents, somebody might think, Oh, I’m just another number, you know, or there’s firms that have 1000s of agents, you know, and there’s small and bigger firms, but our brand is actually where this little tiny company that just happens to be bigger than when we started but so so I always make sure that you know and when I tell agents who joined our firm, I’m like we’re our job is to make sure that you never say I don’t really like it here. But in order to do that, you know we have to treat agents and again, I don’t work with buyers sellers. You know, I work with realtors. And so I have to make sure our Realtors feel the same way your clients feel about you. And so but But you’re right, it’s it really governs all of our behavior at our company is how do we take such good care of people that they don’t want to leave and go somewhere else at the same with you. And but that there, there it is the hard work. Because if we do get a phone call from one of our agents that you know, 10pm at night saying, oh my god, I’m gonna lose this transaction, this deal is gonna fall through. Oftentimes, we have to step up and do that, even though we’re like when we really started, you know, at five o’clock, we all go home. But we really have to have to be there. So I can appreciate the the sort of how specific you are with wanting that. And then I can also appreciate how difficult it is to meet to meet those needs. But that’s where all the reward happens. So you’re you are somebody who is hot, I mean, nothing was handed to you, which is I’m always so impressed with people who, you know, are able to be to excel in this industry without really any specific hand help or handouts, obviously, you’ve got help along the way. And you consider yourself lucky for having to walk by that developer at the time. But the end of the day, like probably 1000 Other people walked by that developer that same day, right, and you had the you really had no business talking to them, because you don’t know anything about that business that that industry, and yet you did. And that demonstrates an impressive quality, you know, to anyone that’s looking to employ somebody, I once I once hired, I was like trying to hire an assistant. And we, this is back when Craigslist was like the place to put your job posting. And we probably got 100 responses. And it was just for this menial position. It wasn’t even a high paying position, it was embarrassingly, like maybe it was maybe we must have just been paying, you know, minimum wage or something. And so we got all these, you know, really earnest responses people wanting to, to be the assistant. And, and it was just like, oh my god, there’s 100 of these to go through. And then a woman just walks in, she was in her 20s. And she goes, I wanted to like hand my resume in person, because I know you’re probably getting a lot of those. And we just kind of looked at each other, my boss and I and we’re like you’re hired. Like if you’re gonna come all the way down here just to walk into our like crummy little office for, you know, a crummy job that you’re probably not going to want in three or four months. No, no, no, no, she she is that still there? But, but but not, but because she went on to bigger and better things? Because of course she did. Because that’s the kind of person that is going to go on to bigger and better things. And so that’s exactly what happened with you. And you and I’m not in any way suggesting, you know, you were a professional. You had a good career as before that we’re just
Carrie McCormick 22:51
very fortunate. Yeah, no, that’s exactly it. So you know, it’s, it’s taking chances, and it’s, you know, really is all about hard work. And you know, sometimes too, it’s being in the right place at the right time.
D.J. Paris 23:06
Apps, it’s so much of being in the right place at the right time. The good news is, if you just go to a lot of different places, and you you you put yourself out there at some point, someone’s going to be like, Wow, that’s impressive. And it’s happened to me, it’s it, you know, and it is what I will tell you, though, back to the branding thing, because I’m really curious if you agree with this. So I was thinking as you were talking about the feelings you want your clients to have about you. And when I was also mentioning, we want our agents to think about our company the same way your clients feel about you. And I was thinking that, and again, it really does become like our North Star. And it certainly is your North Star. Because if you don’t fulfill those obligations, those commitments you’ve made, which are really your own personal sort of values to your client, if you don’t honor those, almost perfectly, if not perfectly, you run the risk of the client thinking well, she didn’t really deliver on that, or, you know, it was a lot of just marketing, whatever. But it probably governs your behavior, I imagine, right? Like, you know, although that’s my North Star, I want everyone to go wow, she worked really hard for me, she had my best interests in mind. I could contact her she was knowledgeable, she always got back to me or she was available. And that probably in some ways frees up some anxiety you have about like, you know what to do so that people feel that way?
Carrie McCormick 24:29
I do. But it is interesting that you know, every there’s so many different personalities out there. And you know, a lot of people comment that, you know, we could be psychologists and all that stuff. And it is there’s one client in particular. I mean, I went above and beyond in the amount of work that I did for this client, but it’s all because it’s what I do, right. And we got the deal closed and again, it was for this year. It was one of the hardest deals, but it was severence it was it was everything you could possibly think of. I didn’t get a thank you, you know, but it’s not about that, you know, but I was just thinking like, I mean, I did the best that I could but you know, someone, you know, their expectations was, of course, she’s going to do that, you know, but sometimes a little thank you goes along.
D.J. Paris 25:20
Yeah, I think it’s a really good time as a marketing tip as well to remember to say thank you to your clients not carry, of course carry does this, but carries saying, Gosh, it would be nice for this person to recognize all the work I did. It’s a great really reminder for all of us to recognize all of the work that we are all the help that we get as well. So if there are people in your life, friends, family, co workers, maybe a mentor, or just people you admire in the in this industry, or just in life in general, reach out to them and tell them, even if it’s somebody you’ve never met, you know, we’re lucky to get some of our listeners write us and say things about how we helped their business, we would really never know that if we didn’t get that feedback. I mean, we assume we’re helping people. But unless people tell us, we honestly don’t really know. And so I would encourage everyone is your marketing tip. Even if it’s somebody you sold a home to four years ago, pick up the phone and wish them a happy holidays and say I just you know, especially if you really liked them, say I just want to tell you four years ago, I remember closing in your home, wasn’t that a fun time? Or? Or wasn’t that a difficult time or whatever the experience was, and just say I just want to thank you for being my customer four years ago. You know, very few people ever do that. And I think that’s a great opportunity. Definitely. This is the, the time of year where we we all you know, try to give thanks. And, and really a lot of a lot of times we think people know that we appreciate them. But they probably don’t is because you say it in your head all the time about how much you appreciate somebody. I know I deal with this in my primary relationship with my girlfriend is I think I must be complimenting her all the time. Because in my head, I do that. And then I’ll find out oh, I didn’t say anything out loud. I just I’m always thinking about how great she is. Am I telling her how great she is? As often as I should? Well, no, I’m probably not. And you know, that’s that’s something to consider is think about. Gratitude gets you a lot of just
Carrie McCormick 27:23
you just say it to everyone, everyone wants to hear it. Right? No matter what you do who you are, everyone wants to hear it.
D.J. Paris 27:30
And people I have found in my life when you are really authentically grateful to people, then they they will they will be by your side forever. Everybody wants to feel appreciated. So we appreciate Carrie for coming on our show for years and years. And continuing to do that she does not have the time really to do this. One of literally one of the top producing realtors in Chicago and the Chicago and hola Chicagoland area, not just the city. And so we appreciate you. So on behalf of all our listeners, we say thank you for being consistent Carrie is never missed. I think there are one or two times we had to reschedule because you know, just things got busy. But Carrie has not missed. She’s continues to be on the show and really helps our audience learn what it’s like to be a top producer, and what every one of our agents can do to kind of get to where you are now. So on behalf of everyone we say thank you. And on behalf of carrier You’re welcome. On behalf of Carrie and myself. We also say thank you to all of our audience for continuing to listen and support us. Thank you for another great year carry. This was a Gosh, three or four years now together. And we are so honored to have you. And just as a quick thing before we go please everyone follow Carrie on Instagram, go to her website or I’m sorry, we’ll go to our website too. But before you do that, follow her on Instagram this is really if you want to see branding in action authentic branding and action that looks brand new, every single post she does looks new, it looks hip, it’s hip, his Gosh, I’m dating myself, but but it does it look it’s on brand. And I always say that you are right on on trend for everything that’s cool and going on. And as a marketer, I can really appreciate what you do. So follow her on Instagram, which is at Carey McCormick real estate. Again, McCormick is with two C’s. So Terry McCormick real estate and also go to her website, which is Carrie McCormick r e.com. And before you sign off, I know you’re ready to hit the end button or the fast forward to the new next podcast episode. But please tell a friend think of one other agent that could benefit from hearing from Carrie about branding and send them a link to our episode. And please leave us a review on whatever podcast app you might be using, whether it’s Apple podcasts, or it’s what used to be iTunes or Google Play or Pandora or Spotify or wherever. Leave us a review that lets us know what we’re doing right and what we can do to improve so thank you Carry for another great year and we will see you in 2022. Thank you