878: Win Builders’ Business by Asking the Right Questions with Wyatt Graves

February 3, 2020
When it comes to winning builders’ business, it’s not about scripts or promoting specific services; it’s about asking the right questions. On today’s podcast with Wyatt Graves of Kaizen Home Sales & Services, we cover the questions he’s asked to make builders the backbone of his real estate business. Wyatt also shares the secret to uncovering and achieving an agent’s potential, what he’s most excited about in 2020, and how to bounce back when life throws you a curveball.
Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • Wyatt’s brief bio [1:13]
  • Wyatt’s sales figures [2:08]
  • How natural disasters can affect a real estate business [3:59]
  • Where Wyatt gets buyer and listing leads [15:38]
  • How Wyatt made builders the backbone of his business [16:54]
  • Questions that can win you builders’ business [21:02]
  • What agents need to know in order to win builders’ business [25:13]
  • Wyatt’s advice for rookie agents [28:19]
  • What Wyatt’s most excited about in 2020 [34:45]
  • Wyatt’s donation to the Agent Success Toolbox [37:05]
  • How to break through your goals.
  • Plus so much more.
Wyatt Graves Wyatt Graves is a strategic, innovative, and methodical professional driven to create exponential impact and progress in business and local communities. He leverages resources and network to create quality deliverables across segments of industries and within organizations. Wyatt has an extensive experience with start-up companies, human dynamics and development, and operations Leadership-Management as it relates to small businesses. He is a highly effective leader with an attractive attitude and unyielding pursuit of quality. Since the year 2000, countless people have encountered Wyatt’s care and tenacity. His aim to build successful businesses while achieving healthy lifestyles is contagious with each of his conversations. Being raised in the small town of Watson, Louisiana, Wyatt inspires the average, everyday working man and woman to strive in excellence as they work towards their someday goal, now. Related Links and Resources: Thanks for Rocking Out Thank you for tuning in to Pat Hiban Interviews Real Estate Rockstars, we appreciate you! To get more Rockstar content sent directly to your device as it becomes available, subscribe on iTunes or StitcherReviews on iTunes are extremely helpful and appreciated! We read each and every one of them, please feel free to leave your email so that we can personally reach out and say thanks! Have any questions? Tweet meFacebook me and ask Pat anything. Don’t forget to head on over to Bare Naked Agent for Pat’s answers, and advice. Thank you Rockstar Nation, and keep rockin!

Wyatt Graves: I took my business and marketing background and said, if I can help builders run their businesses better, improve their absorption rates, improve their profit margins on their houses, then that would be my competitive advantage over all the other real estate agents.

Matt Templeton: Welcome back rockstar nation. This is Matt Templeton, and I’m here today with Wyatt Graves, and we’re talking about his real estate team and some of the other projects he’s working on. Wyatt, go and give us a quick introduction. Tell us who you are?

Wyatt Graves: Hey. Thanks, Matt, for having me. It’s Wyatt Graves and I am the team leader of a real estate team that’s brokered inside of Keller Williams, greater Baton Rouge market center. The name of my team is Kaizen Home Sales and Services.

Matt: Baton Rouge, Kaizen home sales. Tell me a little bit about the background of your team. How long have you guys been in business?

Wyatt: We launched our team in January of 2018. I actually have been in the real estate sales world since just outside of high school. This year actually makes my 20th year of being a licensed agent. I was always with a small independent firm until I joined Keller Williams in 2018.

Matt: Now tell me about your sales. How well did you guys do in 2019, what did 2018 look like? What was that?

Wyatt: You mean 2019?

Matt: Yes.

Wyatt: Okay. 2019, look, the numbers are roughly coming in. We’ve been through– Well, it was a natural disaster in 2016 and I actually stepped out of real estate to handle the after-effects of that disaster, which over 100,000 houses and businesses flooded in South Louisiana in August of 2016. I came back into the real estate world, late 2017 and launched this team in 2018 from scratch really.

Man, we’ve been throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what would stick. We’ve been through several people on our team. Compiling our numbers has been a bit of a challenge with turnover and my administrative department. Nonetheless, we’re somewhere in the neighborhood of 112 units. It looks like, I think 41 of those were resale, 71 of those were new construction, and our average sales price is around $200,000 to $210,000.

Matt: You started this team back in 2018. You’ve been working in real estate for a while, 2016 hits, and some changes happened because of a natural disaster. I’m going to dig into that in just a second, but I just want to honor you, for two years you built this business back up to 112 units in this team. That’s amazing. On that, I also want to dig into in just a second, the new home piece. You work with builders and that, tell me what happened in 2016 in Southern Louisiana.

Wyatt: Funny story is that I was at Mega Camp for KW, and I’d been the broker of an independent real estate company that was owned by a builder, a small truck builder if you will. We sold anywhere from 60 to 95 houses a year just for that builder. Then that business allowed me to grow to represent other builders as well. We were doing a lot of new construction development.

We did a lot of new construction houses, and up until 2016, I really represented just builders for the most part as the listing agent. Then I had a couple of agents that worked within our brokerage that represented buyers and resell listing houses if you will. The team really consisted of two administrative folks and myself, one was a licensed agent that worked as the assistant, and then one was over all the office administration and things of that nature.

Historically leading up to 2016, which was going to be a record year, by the way, and in a lot of areas, the flood happened in August of 2016, I think we called it the Great Flood of 2016. Historically I would sell around 100 to 125 houses a year. From anywhere from $22 million, $23 million, to $24 million, $25 million in production with just my two office folks and those other agents that help support new construction, but also had their own book of business.

Matt: In 2016, there was the great flood of Southern Louisiana. I’ve heard this in other natural disasters, but when major disasters happen like this, business sort of shuts down. What happened to your business, what happened to the builders, and everything that was happening around you?

Wyatt: We could probably talk a lot about that, but it was total devastation for us. Every one of the new construction developments that we had houses going in flooded. We were going to have– All this was going to be a record month actually of closings, and literally every development and every new construction house that we had, and I say every, there was that year, very few outliers that did not flood.

For the most part, the entire book of business, every pending contract that we had flooded. The builders, the subcontractors, their screwdrivers, their hammers, their saws, their utility trailers, their vehicles, their personal homes, they all flooded. For a few weeks, even months, we didn’t know how we were going to rebuild our houses. One of the interesting things about being a production building is that our profit margin, they weren’t substantial.

With the flood, which by the way happened in many areas that weren’t supposed to flood. Like they weren’t considered to be in a flood zone, therefore they didn’t have flood insurance. The cost to remedy the house in many cases exceeded what would have been profit margin in the house. You go from showing up to closings as a builder to receive a check, and now you’ve got to write one.

You take that without the builders, without knowing what’s going to happen in the future with builders and the subcontractors coming back. Then you take out that builder buying power. Not only are they not going to make profit on that book of business that was being built, but now they’re actually writing checks to get them sol. Which is taking money out of their checkbook to allow them to continue expanding and start new developments and start new projects. It was a lot of uncertainty to say the least.

Matt: That’s crazy. I don’t even know, what do you do to dig out of that? What did you do with your real estate business at that point? You have no sales, you’ve got more expenses than you have income coming in, what was your strategy?

Wyatt: Well, that’s where the real fortunate opportunity came to me, and just being a general business-minded person. I started selling real estate right out of high school and it was really my college job. I got a degree in business management and entrepreneurship and that was always my approach to everything in life, what’s the business model that we need to have to make this work?

I had opened many other businesses along my career. I have been in the childcare business for just as long as I’ve been in the real estate business, and opened and ran other small businesses as such. There was an opportunity to go and work with a dental assisting school and expand their locations across the country. The owner of that school happened to be my neighbor who was a dentist.

I’d been working out with him and the CEO of that business for many months, leading up to the flood. In our workout sessions, they would train me, like physically at the gym, because they were both a lot more knowledgeable than me. Then I would coach them on how to grow their business. We had that relationship already in the making so that after the flood it worked out to where I got hired on to go work for them planning their dental assisting schools across the country.

That started in November of 2016, just after the flood, and I think we went from 12 locations of their school to, we may have hit 32 actual opportunities. I’m not sure if they all ended up working out. We grew a lot in that 10-month span that I worked for them. Literally took a step out of real estate just because we lost every pending contract. We lost every listing and we had to do something to supplement our income, just to keep things going, plus rebuild our own houses and rebuild all the things that we lost.

We got the property and a HOA management company that was in an office building like 7,700 square feet, and it had five feet of water in it. We had to rebuild that and relocate all of those employees and work through that. Plus work through all the properties we managed, all the homeowner’s associations that we managed. It was a bit of a chore. I took that job to just have a steady, consistent opportunity while we regathered our thoughts to regroup for the next season of our life.

Matt: I think there’s a lesson here, and our listeners can associate and feel that. We’ve all been at a point, at the low point in our life when everything seems against us. We’re in a hole and we’ve got to figure out a way, and I think that’s a great story. You had all this success in real estate, you sold all these houses, and tragedy strikes that’s outside of your control, and then you just go make it work. You figure out how to make it come together.

I think oftentimes Rockstar Nation, you guys are experiencing this as well, in the middle of your real estate career there are times where you hit ceilings or you hit low points or something happens and you have to figure out, “Am I going to do this or am I not? What am I going to do to make this all come together?” I appreciate that story.

Matt: Going back to after you get out of the flood, and after you get back into real estate. 2018, you relaunch a real estate business, you’re back in the new home sales again. You really start representing builders. Tell me, and I stole the answer, but tell me a little bit more about where your business comes from? What are the lead sources or the sources that you’re getting your business for your real estate team?

Wyatt: Just to go back just a few steps. The week of the flood, Keller Williams was having their annual Mega Agent Conference in Austin, Texas. There exploring opportunities to bring the independent brokerage into the KW world so that we could start a team. That we could start representing the buyer leads that came through from all the new construction.

For those numbers that I quoted, the 100, 125 units a year, that was all new construction listings. We represented very few buyers, we would always just agents and let the collab agents work that. It was always my intent from that point to come back and build a team. My track record and the historical production that I’ve always had to hang my hat on, came from representing builders.

That really came from probably 15 years ago, I didn’t want to pick up the phone and make phone calls. I think we can all relate to that, especially if you weren’t sure what to say. Especially 15 years ago, I wouldn’t have known what to say other than, “Hey, I’m a realtor, and I want to sell your house.” In an attempt to avoid that, I took my business and marketing background and said, “If I can help builders run their businesses better, improve their absorption rates, improve their profit margins on their houses, then that would be my competitive advantage over all the other real estate agents. As such, they would sell more houses, they would build more houses.”

I really focused in on new construction at that point and made builders my backbone to the business that I had. Coming out of the flood, taking that dental assisting gig, I just realized, and I came to accept too, Matt, that I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a visionary and I am crazy. I’m not going to– I hate the status quo. I always want to challenge the rules and systems, and I want to go at the speed of light.

I just came to accept that that’s just who I am and I’m born to be that way, and I’m going to embrace that trait about me being an entrepreneur. In July of 2017, around about that time, I decided that I would go back and launch a real estate team at Keller Williams and that it would be rooted on building relationships. That it would be rooted in helping the community live the life that they want. Coaching them, teaching them, and providing relevant timely value to the community at large. That that would become the basis from which I would generate leads for a real estate machine if you will.

January of 2018, we launched my team. My team is called Kaizen Home Sales and services. Which kaizen, is a Japanese proverb saying the stance for continual improvement. Man, we see that. We see ourselves offering continual improvement in the community from the things that drive me and my passion to help others. Especially young adults and young parents from being in the childcare industry, early childhood education, and early childhood development is really important to me, and helping others do a good job at that. We see Kaizen in that space but then we also see Kaizen being applied to new construction and to our builders.

A lot of our builders are mom-and-pop builders, they’re not national builders. That’s really where the opportunity has always provided itself to us, in that we’re enabling smaller builders to maintain their competitive edge in a market where there’s such competition with regional and national builders. We can talk about that in a little bit, but Kaizen can be applied to that, and then it also can be applied to the people that work on our team.

You join the Kaizen team, we’re real big on helping you find clarity around where you want to go. Then providing a path of coaching and tools and resources and relationships that help you get there. We launched Kaizen Home Sales and Services in 2018, and have been running like crazy ever since.

Matt: I can hear in that a really beautiful vision for your community, for your clients, for the people that work on your team. Each person has a role in how you’re helping them both get that never-ending improvement and also how you’re giving back to your community. I love that beautiful vision. Thinking specifically about the clients you’re working with or specifically in the builders, what are you doing to– obviously you’re pitching that vision. What are you doing to attract them? When you saying that they’re saying, “I absolutely want to work with you. You’re the best person to represent me and list my new builds.” What are you saying?

Wyatt: I think it’s not a matter of what I’m saying as much as it is a matter of what I’m asking. I’m asking the builders, “Where are you going? You built 15 houses last year, is that all you want to build, or do you want to build 50? Do you want to build 500?” Those questions about vision are so applicable to everybody in every space that we come into contact. If it’s recruiting talent to our team or recruiting a builder, or even a buyer or seller, what’s the end game? Where are you headed?

For our builders, when I start to ask them questions about where they want to go in five years from now, many of them don’t have a clear vision of where they want to go in five years from now. Just like everybody else that struggles with finding clarity around where do they want to be in 5 years from now or 20 years from now. By asking those questions, that in and of itself is our edge.

Because most people don’t think that way and it’s not a matter of where the builder or the client wants to go, but most people approach builders with all they can do. The feature, feature, feature. This is what I can do, this is what I can do, this is what I can do. We’ve got to take time to find out what the builder wants. Hey, for some builders, they don’t fit in our world, they don’t share the same vision that we do, which is fine. By asking those questions, we find out who’s going to be in alignment with what we offer to builders and to the new construction community, and then it usually is a good fit.

Matt: That’s beautiful. Everything that we’re studying and seeing right now and teaching our agents, it’s about creating experiences for the clients. Like what are the custom experiences that they’re experiencing, and what I hear you saying is that a consultative approach is the best way to get them in alignment with you. Or to even understand how to serve them or give them the experience they want and it’s naturally attracting to those leads. They want to be with somebody who sees them or acts as an advisor to them and sees a way to help them get better. I love that consultative approach.

Matt: What questions? You’re asking them questions about where they want to go. What nitty-gritty details would someone need to understand in the building world to be able to provide these types of consultations to the builders?

Wyatt: Well, in terms of where are you headed, I love what Jay Papasan and Jeff Woods are doing over at The One Thing with Gerry’s book in terms of what’s called the goal setting for the now. Like I’ve become– Well, I shouldn’t say, become. I am on a journey and a path of mastering the goal-setting for the now process. There’s a lot of free content that your listeners can go online at the1thing.com and download to just start having the conversation with themselves.

Then being able to share that with their clients, especially if they want to get into business with builders. That’s just walking them through the goal-setting for the now process. As such, you’ve got to know the market. You’ve got to know the market, you’ve got to be an expert. When you tell a builder, “Hey, I want you to go spend $1 million or $500,000 or $5 million on this development. We want to build this product, this square footage, with these amenities, at this price point. And, oh, by the way, I think the absorption rate will be whatever we think it will be.”

Look, you don’t have to be the expert in that, you just have to know somebody that is. You’re just the facilitator, you’re just the agent, you’re just the connector. If you can partner with a local appraiser in your town, that is I’m going to say, more so than just the average appraiser but somebody that is running an appraisal firm. Where they have a team of researchers and a team of market analysis folks that can help you understand what the absorption rate is, where there’s some holes in the market.

Then you go find the dirt and present it to those builders who have a clear vision of their own systems of wanting to scale, wanting to grow. So that your team and your system at your real estate sales office can meet those needs.

Matt: I love that. Attract the clients through our consultative method, find out what they want. Then go solve their need by knowing the data, looking for actual dirt. I heard that very tactical message right there that I want the listeners to hear. If you go find the dirt for the builders based on where they want to go and based on what the stats say is the next opportunity, they’re going to give you opportunities to list their property if you’re the one that’s helping their business grow and find those connections. I love that.

Wyatt: If you have the dirt, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll get the listings for whatever that dirt brings. You go get the dirt, secure it, and then bring it to three to five different builders and say, “Hey, this is what the vision for this. Here’s the reason why I know it will work.” They will more than likely list with you and you would have to fail miserably to lose that opportunity.

Matt: I have a couple of last questions for you, and then I want to get into some of your new projects and what you’re working on, but real fast, what would you give a rookie agent? Actually, in fact, what would you tell yourself if you were a rookie agent? What’s the one piece of advice you would give yourself in that position?

Wyatt: That’s a good segue question. What you just mentioned you want to talk about, it’s all about the who. It’s all about the who. It’s finding a tribe of people that are already where you want to be, that’s it. Then go befriend them, go get into some kind of relationship with them and just start at the very least going to the same meetings. Getting on the same calls with them.

Because you’ll hear the way they converse with people. You’ll hear keywords, you’ll hear key concepts, you’ll hear strategies, and you will start to become like them. I really, really believe that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. It’s really about getting into relationships with the right who’s, to get you where you want to be.

Matt: That’s a great answer. It’s ironic because we met and connected through a tribe or through a group of individuals that were on a wealth-building journey, are on a wealth-building journey, a healthy, wealthy, wise tribe called GoBundance. Our listeners have heard of GoBundance before. In fact, if you’re interested in hearing more about GoBundance, you might check out the new book, “Tribe Of Millionaires.”

You can get it on Amazon. It talks about that journey of being around and who you put yourself around, and what the lessons you can learn by surrounding yourself with people that are higher thinkers and pushing you to be a better person. I’m curious, specifically in this journey you’re on, who are you surrounding yourself with? Obviously, you have GoBundance, you have Keller Williams. What are the various tribes or groups of people that you’re surrounding yourself with to up-level yourself in your real estate career?

Wyatt: For sure. In July of 2017, the whole manifestation of the decision to get back into real estate was started because I found Jeff Woods. You know who Jeff Woods is. He’s the vice president of The One Thing, which is a great, great movement and community of being intentional and prioritizing what matters most. They were having their first annual goal-setting retreat that November.

At the same time that I found Jeff, and The One Thing, I also found Jeff, and The Mentee Podcast. That’s where he was really just doubling down on that notion that I just mentioned that we credit Jim Rhodes for the quote that you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I joined The Mentee Podcast and the Inner Circle Network with Jeff Woods. Then I registered for The One Thing goal-setting retreat.

I doubled down there and I upgraded my pass to the VIP pass so that I could be among people who were really intentional about setting goals. I went to that retreat in November of 2016. I met two folks there that were also part of Jeff’s inner circle, and they invited me to apply for Jeff’s mastermind with the inner circle that was going to happen that following February.

I applied for the mastermind and I went, I got in. I went totally just completely on a leap of faith. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, it was the largest class training mastermind. I didn’t even know what a mastermind weekend was, but I just knew that it was going to have some people that I needed to be in a relationship with. I went and there I met John Broman, who’s a part of the GoBundance tribe with us, and I met Justin Donald. I just saw that he was featured on I think entrepreneur.com and advertising some of his wealth and successes that he’s made.

I met some incredible people there and became buds with Jeff Woods. Then that led to literally being invited by David Osborne to GoBundance. GoBundance has provided a lot of content and classes and conversation and connections with other people that are helping us, even in my own real estate world. Such as folks that have mastered the brokerage work of mobile home parks.

Now I’ve got builders and investors that I’m able to have high-level conversations with. With vetting deals based on the calls and conversations that I get to have with people from the GoBundance world. That led me to starting Kaizen. Being around and in business with Jeff Woods, around the mentee. I also met Atree and became a master business coach. That community has led to a whole lot of exceptional leaders and business that shaped everything that I do on a daily basis with our coaching calls that we have through master business coaching, and H-World.

You take Jeff Woods, you take the GoBundance guys and Pat, and Atree, and then that’s led to me being at the market center with Chuck Roberts. Chuck Roberts is our regional director. He’s one of 31 or 32 people that get to work with Gary Keller. He owns our market center and he’s in our office. I get to have conversations with Chuck Roberts often in terms of helping me build the real estate business that I’m on the journey to build.

Matt: Tell me, and actually let me just verify or sum up something you said that I really appreciated. It’s all about relationships, and the relationships that you choose to put around you and the relationships that those people tend to introduce you to and who you become as a process of those relationships. I know that you’ve gotten some other opportunities through these relationships. What’s next for you? You’re working, you still got Kaizen, you still got these other builders you’re working with, and other cool projects with. What’s next on the horizon for 2020?

Wyatt: We’re really excited about what’s on the horizon for 2020. Last year when Jeff Woods took over– As Jeff Woods got fully involved with The One Thing world, he had to put The Mentee Podcast and the Inner Circle membership-based community on the shelf. Just rubbing shoulders with him and those guys and those folks in that community, man, it just really started to reveal itself as an opportunity.

I texted Jeff and I said, “Hey, if you ever want to think about taking the mentee off of the shelf, and you’re looking for a new host, I’d be interested in that conversation.” Maybe that was a year ago, if not sooner than a year ago. That started a series of conversations that ultimately led to me purchasing The Mentee and The Inner Circle from Jeff, and him helping me this year relaunch The Mentee Podcast and The Inner Circle membership-based community.

Matt, man, I’m super fired up about that. Because that takes my vision for Kaizen Home Sales and Kaizen community and pouring value into the community. It enables me to do that on a whole new level. Even coupled back in with The One Thing and The Seven Circles, and just helping people find clarity around what’s most important to them. We’re going to be launching The Mentee Podcast.

I’m relaunching The Mentee Podcast in the next 30 days, and we’re going to relaunch the Inner Circle Mastermind community, of course, with Jeff’s help. I’ve got some really, really phenomenal guests lined up to be on the show and just sort of rebirth that. I’m looking forward to what opportunities those relationships and those conversations will lead to. I’m really looking forward to the people that joined the show, and the mastermind community, and find clarity around what’s most important for them, and really see them start to crush their goals, whatever they are.

We’ll talk about key relationships, business goals, finance goals, goals with your job, physical goals, spiritual goals, personal goals. As I mentioned earlier, parenting is a passion of mine, and even a foster community is important. We’ll be addressing various categories of goals, not just real estate, and not just wealth building, but just approaching the whole gamut of what may matter most to different people. We’ll be approaching that with The Mentee Podcast, for our guests and the Inner Circle memberships, for sure.

Matt: As always, we have a free gift for our listeners. I’d love for you to share, what’s the free gift that they can get by signing up on our website.

Wyatt: We’re going to supply you guys and the listeners with a guide, Seven steps to Building the Good Life. I always start off by asking people, what’s the good life? People ask me, what’s the good life? The question is really for you. You decide what’s the good life, you decide what the good life is. The guide is all about walking you through the step-by-step process to help you get clarity right around, what does your good life look like?

Then identifying key people that are already crushing it at a high level. Then connecting you with a plan to help you get into relationship with some of those folks so that you can start to live your good life.

Matt: If somebody who would like to connect with you or send a referral. where can they find you? How can they communicate with you?

Wyatt: They can email me. My email is Wyatt, wyatt@kaizenhomesales.com. They may not get an instant response, but I’ll see it and I’ll be in touch with them for sure. You can look us up on the internet too. We’re kaizenhomesales.com is our website. I’d be happy to help anybody that is interested in exploring how we have really helped our builders compete in the new construction world.

Matt: Of course, check out The Mentee Podcast, where we get your podcasts. There’s a whole slew of old interviews with Jeff, and hopefully, new interviews coming soon, I hear with Wyatt, so that’s awesome. We really appreciate you, Wyatt Graves, here with Kaizen Home Sales. Thank you so much for our conversation today, and we look forward to talking to you more in the future.

Wyatt: Thanks, Matt.

Matt: Appreciate you.



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