When Matt Kolker graduated from college, his talent and ambition earned him an opportunity to work for the largest legal publisher in the world. He was the youngest person in his position in the entire company. Over time, he found that the organization he was working for did not mesh with his personal values. “I liked the sales, but I wanted to try a new industry,” Matt recalls.
Matt was attracted by the challenges associated with the real estate industry, as well as the opportunity for good salespeople to earn great rewards. He eventually began working at Keller Williams Realty with husband and wife team, Paul and Emily Hervieux. Since that time, Matt says that he “has grown significantly.”
Matt attributes much of this growth to the leadership of the team’s coach, Walker Clark. Through his team’s positive spirit and dedication to strategies imparted by Walker, Matt has found a perfect fit for his own values about life and sales. “I’ve experienced other coaching programs, but this is more like what I learned growing up and playing sports.”
“His programs and coaching style gave me tools that have been life-changing. It redefined sales for me and showed me how selling was the exact opposite of what I’ve been taught in other sales training programs. It has helped to catapult my productivity. My attention is now on what I want, rather than on what I don’t want. I have played team sports and I knew that I wanted to be on a team. We have the same core values and the same way of thinking. We have a great creative synergy that makes sense.”
You can’t argue with success. Year-to-date, the team has closed 200 transactions and acquired over 300 listings. “I lead the buyers department, and Paul and Emily handle the listing department and so much more,” Matt explains. This arrangement plays to everyone’s strengths.
“There are 15 people on our team, including administrative and sales. Walker coached the team to achieve their personal and professional goals. He also provides sales training with the philosophy that “sales” is a service directed to improving the lives of customers. We believe that we have the power to move others towards a more fulfilled existence. What we do is educate. We are educating our customers in order to empower them.”
Matt explains that the team’s philosophy is best described as an “authentic approach to sales.” Other training programs that he has experienced focus on memorizing scripts with a one-size-fits-all method. “I never felt comfortable doing that, and people don’t like that….I’ve noticed that people kind of tighten up when you start talking about business, so we just have a conversation. When we can get to know them and help them to open up, then we can give them information to make a decision and really help them. We believe that by having a service mindset, the energy we put into others will come back to us. In sales, most people like to talk, but if we can listen and understand our clients’ goals, we are in a better position to help them.”
According to Matt, the positive energy in his office is contagious. This is especially valuable for clients since real estate transactions are often very stressful. “This is what really separates us from other sales teams….We still do a lot of short sales. That can be a very emotional time for a client. We like to make people feel taken care of. They know we have a lot of clients and are working on a lot of files, but when they feel like they are the only one, that’s great,” says Matt.
Matt’s team invests in a regular schedule of educational events for the community. Based on the demand and feedback from participants, the team has increased these events from one per week to two per week for the past year. Training seminars are held in different neighborhood locations, utilizing various venues like college campuses and business conference centers, so that they are convenient for people to attend. The workshops help home buyers to learn about the current trends in the real estate market and what their options are for buying or selling a home. “Whatever situation they are facing, we try to provide them with the best information so that they can make a good decision from there.”
The erratic market fluctuations of the past few years have had little impact on the way that Matt and his team conduct business. “We really don’t focus on economic changes….Most factors that affect the economy are out of our control. So I focus on what I need to do every day to help my team to be effective. That is what I can control. Our client focus is on education. The market trends just affect the kind of conversation we are having. People just want to be educated, know that they are making a good decision, and they can trust the person they are working with.” According to Matt, one of the most rewarding things about his job is receiving phone calls from happy clients, saying thank you for helping them to make the best decision for their circumstances.
Matt’s proudest accomplishment in his life, however, is his wife and children. “I’m very proud of my family. My wife and I have three young boys. They are the biggest reason that I do what I do.” Matt expresses that living with integrity is so important, because “kids are smart. They know when you do what you say….I try to lead by example with my children.” In keeping with that commitment, Matt also invests time in the community by working with local school boards, coaching kids’ basketball, volunteering with religious organizations and participating in his college alumni association.
“I am part of a dedicated and exceptional team. We all know our roles, and we are all committed to growing and becoming better people, both personally and professionally. We all respect the value of each team member and their contribution to the team. If there is no synergy, a team doesn’t work. I’m surrounded by really good people who want to help other people. I believe that when people work with us, they are getting the best. Writing contracts and the day-to-day aspects of real estate are interesting, but I love the people I work with.”