943: Overcoming Tragedy and Changing Clients’ Lives with Kimberly Tocco

December 21, 2020
Kimberly Tocco knows firsthand how hard it can be for struggling families to become homeowners. She overcame personal tragedy and financial hardship to buy a home when Realtors told her it would be impossible. Since then, she’s given back over $500,000 of her own commissions to help families realize the dream of homeownership. On today’s podcast, Kimberly shares how building a business based on giving turned her into one of Arizona’s top Realtors. She also offers tips for new agents and discusses her brand-new book, Overcome: Memoirs of a Suicide.
Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • About Kimberly Tocco [0:58]
  • Covid-19’s impact on the Phoenix housing market [3:38]
  • Giving commissions back to struggling families [6:54]
  • The worst day in Kimberly’s life [9:58]
  • The moment Kimberly discovered her purpose [14:03]
  • How a no-quit attitude made Kimberly Rookie of the Year [16:43]
  • Building a real estate business on the basis of giving back [20:40]
  • What new agents need to know about real estate [22:46]
  • Overcome: Memoirs of a Suicide by Kimberly Tocco [24:52]
  • Kimberly’s first Facebook Live property showing [28:50]
  • How Kimberly got a spot on HGTV [31:20]
  • Kimberly’s next book on suicide prevention [37:04]
  • Big goals for giving back in 2021 [39:50]
  • Kimberly’s final words for listeners [42:13]
  • Plus so much more.
Kimberly Tocco Author, OVERCOME Coach and Public Speaker, CEO Tenacious Productions and The Intuitive Realtor “It is not what you go through, it’s how you come through it.” – Kimberly “Tenacious T” Tocco Kimberly is an experiential solutionist who established a career all based on having a tenacity for life. Her story is a difficult one…but it has fueled a fire that will never stop, never give up, never stop believing in JOY On March 22, 2011, Kimberly’s then 13 year old son walked up stairs and took his life. He passed in her arms turning her entire World upside down. Just two years after losing him and wallowing in grief, she decided that suicide would NOT overcome me. She was going to OVERCOME suicide. Over the last 7 years with sheer grit and focus, Kimberly rose to the top of her field using her creativity and disruptive marketing. Top producer, multiple award winner for inspiration and philanthropic work giving back over half a million of her own commission in rebates to help families gain home ownership. Not AFTER the sale, but right there at the closing table relieving some of the financial burden. HGTV Featured her in her own inaugural episode of POOL HUNTERS with her actual clients making the top 10 most watched show of the night! Then to the launch of her book, OVERCOME: MEMOIRS OF A SUICIDE , holding #1 on Amazon in its category for 2 weeks March 2020. Kimberly’s purpose is not just real estate. Through Homeownership or Sales, she helps families who have been through hardships start a new chapter. She has been down the toughest of roads and can really connect to her clients, even the ones who are just looking for an agent who will fight for them as if it were her own deal.  Kimberly’s hardships have given her a gift in many ways as she was deeply empathic yet also have extremely strong instincts earning her the name of “Tenacious T” out in the Real Estate Field. Kimberly has over 90% of her buyers close on their homes with instant equity, having identified the right home in the right market and a 87% rate of all offers ACCEPTED in bidding wars. For her sellers, Kimberly has broken records for top sales in the subdivisions consistently, sometimes the highest price ever. Kimberly is a problem solver and consider herself to be a solutionist, again, having a 99% rate of closing on time. Thank You Rockstars! It might go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: We really value listeners like you. We’re constantly working to improve the show, so why not leave us a review? If you love the content and can’t stand the thought of missing the nuggets our Rockstar guests share every week, please subscribe; it’ll get you instant access to our latest episodes and is the best way to support your favorite real estate podcast. Have questions? Suggestions? Want to say hi? Shoot me a message via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Email. -Aaron Amuchastegui

Aaron Amuchastegui: Hi, I’m Aaron Amuchastegui and welcome to Real Estate Rockstars. Real Estate Rockstars, this is Aaron Amuchastegui. Welcome back for another episode.Today’s episode, it’s going to be great and it’s going to be really, really unique. I get to interview Kimberly Tocco today. Kimberly has a lot of exciting stuff to share about. She’s going to be able to share about how great her first year in real estate was, how she’s been able to build the team, how she’s been able to use those, and a lot of actionable things that all you listeners are going to be able to hear. She’s also going to be able to share that it wasn’t all ups and downs. When we asked her about what would her TED talk be? It was about overcoming tragedy. How do you overcome tragedy to succeed?

I’m not going to take away from the story that she is going to tell, but I do want you guys to be ready to listen, to buckle up because I promise this is going to be a really, really good interview. Kimberly came to us as broker agent of the month for Arizona. She got recommended to us over from Broker Agent Advisors that, “Hey, this is a girl that you need to talk to.”

She had just gotten that award as broker agent of the month and it was a great– We’re going to be interviewing a few of the broker agents and Kimberly gets to be our first and I’m really happy to have her on the first. She’s got a book, she’s been on HGTV. Her first year she was rookie of the year. We’re going to talk about all that. Kimberly, welcome to the show.

Kimberly: Hi. Thank you for having me. I’m so excited.

Aaron: I’m so excited to get to talk to you. Right before we got on, we talked to you over in the Scottsdale area in Arizona. Is that where you started your real estate career out there?

Kimberly: Yes, it is. Actually, I moved here in 1983. My parents came down for a little conference and while my father was working, my mom went into an open house and bought it, so we had no choice, but to come on down, and here I am.

Aaron: What month was that conference? Do you remember?

Kimberly: In 1983, I believe it was August. It was extremely hot because we stayed at the old Regency Resort and lived by the pool for the week that we were doing the conference. Yes, it was hot.

Aaron: That’s actually crazy. I was expecting you to say like, “No, we were living somewhere super cold. We came to Arizona in November, and she was like, okay, this is paradise.” Moving to Arizona in August when it’s hot– I lived there once and the August was the month that I left Arizona and thought this is too hot for me. I got to get out of here.

Kimberly: It was a dry heat, man.

Aaron: I’ve heard that. Now that I live in Texas, I understand the difference of dry heat because we do start sweating at nine in the morning out here.

Kimberly: We had lived in Utah and they were just sick of the cold, the wet, and the restaurants were fabulous, the shopping was fabulous. It was so different from Ogden, Utah and it just– It was it and I’ve been here ever since. I love the Valley. I’m a desert girl.

Aaron: Before we get into how it started, what has 2020 been like for real estate out in your area, out in Phoenix?

Kimberly: It’s a really interesting dynamic because we were already heading down to a very low inventory situation before COVID hit. We had been on about two years where it would have been the lowest I’d ever seen it. About 8,600 single-family homes available for the entire Maricopa County, that was everything. Now we’re at about 4,700 single-family homes available. The shift, as far as COVID slowing things down, never occurred here. If anything, it has increased our sales.

We have over 215 people moving here a day and that’s increasing daily because everyone coming in because of lockdowns, yet we have no inventory. We went from being able to sell homes within a week or so to getting about 20 offers in 48 hours on the listings that we have. That being said, nobody wants to sell their home because there’s no place to go. Again, it’s a little tight. It did slow down my personal business a little bit, but it also forced me to look at my business and change it and adapt to the times.

Aaron: It is sure has been an interesting time for all different areas. In some there’s plenty of neighborhoods out there where people are moving out of, plenty of states and cities, people are moving out of. When you say people came to Arizona because of their lockdowns, I was there for Thanksgiving and restaurants were open. People had to wear masks to go into places, but it didn’t seem like much social distancing. It felt pretty close to business as usual. Is that how it feels for people living out there?

Kimberly: We’re fighting for that. We’re fighting for the small business owner, for the restaurants and we’re being very respectful. We do wear a mask when we go into the restaurants and we try to stand apart or pick a table that is apart. We are fighting for our gyms to stay open. It’s the same thing. We put our masks on, but we want business as usual here. We have such a thriving Valley that we cannot afford to shut us down and we’re going to fight for it. Everyone’s fighting for that right now to keep our businesses open. If I have any say, so it’s going to stay that way.

Aaron: Yes. You say, “Open it up.” How many transactions have you done this year?

Kimberly: This year I’ll be 20 at the end of the month. It’s only 20 this year, but I also launched my book. I changed a brokerage and I completely changed my business. I’m very proud of the 20 transactions that I did, but it’s not my usual. Like anything else, I’d beat myself up a little bit, but the transactions I had were very quality and the people that I wanted to work with, I’ve learned to say no.

Aaron: One of the secrets to success that we’ve talked about over the last couple months on the podcast secrets discussed for 2020 is focusing on the good and staying grateful and being able to say like, “Hey, no, there were plenty of things that went wrong this year.” Being grateful for the 2020 transactions you had, especially considering that you changed brokerages and you launched your book. We’ll get a chance to talk about that stuff too. What’s the average sales price out there that you guys are working with?

Kimberly: My specialty is I work with families that have been through hardships so that they can start a new chapter. In that realm, it’s usually teachers, first responders, VA, military, special needs families. Because I give back 25% of my commission to help with their closing costs. A lot of the times, they barely have enough down and they can’t afford the closing costs. They can’t afford the extra thousand dollars for moving and I’m going to do what I can to help them. 300,000 to 450,000 is my average sale price. Correct.

Aaron: 300,000 to 450,000, you give 20– you say 25%, 20% of your–

Kimberly: 25% if it’s a family with a special needs child or they’re taking care of special needs adults, I’ll give them back 1%.

Aaron: That’s incredible. That’s an incredible thing to have that be something that you’re so confident to actually put out there and say like, “Hey, this is what I do.” It’s not something that you’re afraid to see. It’s not something you do every once in a while. You use your money to help. You say, “I’ve been in that. I know that where you’re starting, especially if you’re starting over.” That’s incredible. With that specific group, is it mostly sellers, is it mostly buyers, or is it 50/50?

Kimberly: It’s 50/50. I’ve developed a real talent and structure for listings. Also, I used to be a private investigator, so I can find that elusive deal for my buyers and make sure we get as much as we can for their money. I love both aspects of it, the challenge of breaking records for the top dollars sold and then finding that elusive deal so that family can find joy again.

Aaron: I’ve been trying to mentally prep myself for the next stage of this interview because I know that your story wasn’t always all happy. I would like to have you share as much as you can with the group of– I think it’s your first year of real estate. It’s what made some things happen, but let’s go back to that adversity. The things that you felt that really changed your world.

Kimberly: My husband and I were fortunate that we were successful in real estate, even without having a license. I used friends to buy real estate and we did really well during the 2004, ’05, and ’06. We were in our dream house and short sales started to happen. The first thing that we were hit with was short sales and then having to find rentals after that, rentals that didn’t foreclose on. By March of 2011, we had been doing pretty well. We were in a rental that we both really enjoyed. We were trying to save again. We were going to take our first vacation to Hawaii again.

We had four boys, 14, 13, and 3-year-old twin boys. It was a hectic time. My husband’s a Scottsdale firefighter. One of our twins has autism, so I was at home taking care of him. On a Tuesday morning, Jason, my 13-year-old, he was 6’1″, could pitch at 80 miles an hour, most popular kid in school. The boy that we relied on. We had a little argument over breakfast, but he was really off that morning. I’d never seen him that angry over just not eating breakfast. There was something wrong.

My husband just said, “Hey, look, I’m going to go to my uni meeting. You go upstairs. Your mother’s going to finish getting the kids ready and I’ll come back and we’ll talk. You’re not going to school like this.” Because he was just mad. He went upstairs. My husband left for the uni meeting and I heard Jason’s phone ring. Then my husband called me. He said, “Where’s Jason?” I said, “I don’t know. He’s upstairs.” I heard a noise. I’m like, he’s probably throwing his baseball against the wall because that’s what he did. I went upstairs to look for him and I smell a gunpowder, gun smoke.

Of course, I start panicking and screaming and I found him on the side of my bed and he had used my gun to shoot himself. I did immediately obviously, call 911, started working on him but I remember distinctly feeling him just his body reflex in his last breath before the ambulance got there. My son was dead.

Aaron: Wow. It was at a time in your life where you guys had felt like you were getting momentum again. You had a rough time during that that financial crisis of, hey, everything was going great and then there’s a real estate crash. You were impacted with that roughly like everybody. Around 2011, you’re like, “Okay, now, it’s starting to get better.” I can only imagine the whirlwind that happens after that. I can’t even begin to imagine, how do you get to start to pick yourself up again? How does that become the story? What’s the survivor story that really changed after that?

Kimberly: Exactly. It was. Everything was kind of a blur for a while and my husband, thank God, he obviously kept working and kept moving forward because he knew that he was going to have to hold us together for a while. It did take about two years. I was doing little things, trying to do a baseball charity in his name. There’s these little things that you do but you’re hit with the stigma of suicide. It was about two years later, January of 2013 that I looked up at my family, and my twins were laughing and having fun again. My older boy, he was balancing himself. He was doing better than I was.

It was when I looked at my husband, he looked at me like I was going to break and you could see how thin he was. He’d been working himself to death to keep us together. I said to myself, “You can’t keep doing this. You have to do something to change your circumstances. You’ve got to stop being the sad little mom that’s crying in the corner. Get up and do something.” The one thing I thought of was, you know what? I know enough about real estate. I’m going to get a house for us again.

Well, we had had a short sale in 2010, a bankruptcy just after Jason in 2011. We had to. We had to do the bankruptcy. There was no way I could keep working. We’re a year out of a bankruptcy, two years out of a short sale, and I asked, I talked to friends, I asked many real estate agents, no one would go down that road with me. They were all like, “Honey, you’re just not going to be able to get a loan. We’re not going to be able to close on that. Even if you find a lender that says yes, it’s never going to go through in the end as an extenuating circumstance loan. Nobody can get one. At least that hadn’t happened here in the Valley.”

I spent two months, from January to March, working with a lender who after about 150 document emails, we got approved for an extenuating circumstance loan. I still couldn’t find a real estate agent to help me because they just didn’t believe in it. Middle of March, the anniversary month, two year anniversary month of my son’s passing, March 21st, I got through school and got my real estate license, passed the test the first time. By June 1st, I’d found that elusive deal and closed on our home.

Aaron: Go ahead.

Kimberly: In that moment, that’s what changed the trajectory of my entire life because I walked into that house and I gave the keys to my husband and I saw the children running around. It was when I looked at him, you got to remember this is a man that has carried his family for years just trying to keep us alive and sane, and he smiled. He had his feet again. He had a foundation again. It changed everything in me. I said, “This is what I have to do for other families. I have to do this. I have to figure out a way to do it.” That’s what started me on this crazy-ass career.

Aaron: Listeners out there, I tried to warn us that this would be a unique interview. Not like as many of our others that I was mentally prepping for. That is heavy stuff, Kimberly. When you get to talk about all of it and the short sale to bankruptcy and a suicide, that is stuff that when it happens, some people say, “I’m never coming back from this.” There’s somebody out there maybe even considering a short sale right now or considering a bankruptcy or they’ve been through it or they have and they’re listening and you get to be that proof that it’s like, “No, don’t take no for an answer.”

You had people saying, “No, I’m not going to be your lender.” You fought and you fought and you fought, and then you found a lender. Then people said, “No, I’m not going to be your agent.” Then you said, “Okay, then I’ll be my own agent.” That’s incredible by itself. Then having the experience at the end of what finally, getting to hand the keys to your husband, that is the miracle that agents get to do all the time. We talk a lot about having investors as customers, we talk a lot about how to be successful in real estate.

There’s a lot of ways to be successful in real estate but there’s also that exciting, unique thing that real estate is that the house is where people spend the most time. A house is an amazing moment for some people and most of those people when they get into their first house, they go, “I never thought this could be mine,” or when they get into their dream house, they go, “Our kids are going to get married in the backyard,” or, “Our kids are going to go there,” you get to see have all those experiences.

That to you, it was not only, hey, you’ve now succeeded and no one would really help you in your time, people in real estate wouldn’t really help you in your time of need. You saw that as then the opportunity. Your first year as an agent then, that was your first transaction. Then you were rookie of the year, 3 million transactions. How did that happen? How did you say like, “Oh, my gosh, I need to do this for other people?” How were you able to turn up the volume so quick?

Kimberly: Well, I remember that day, giving him the keys and then we went back home, we were having to move everything and I was sitting in front of my laptop with no more than a job change for my marketing budget. How was I going to compete with the farming, the postcards, the flyers, the fancy, the Maserati driving suit-wearing, who am I?

Aaron: What year was this again?

Kimberly: 2013.

Aaron: 2013. That’s a busy time for real estate in Arizona.

Kimberly: Yes. You’ve got the Jason Mitchell, the Andrew Blue, you’ve got established agents that are doing 100 million in transactions and why is someone going to choose me? I said, “Well, because I’m tenacious T. I have tenacity. Nothing is going to stop me. I’m not backing down. I will not take no. I will find a way to get that house just like I did for me. I’m going to put myself in those shoes.” That’s how I kept introducing myself online to friends. I just told them, “Hey, give me an opportunity. I’m going to change your life.” That’s what happened. It just started rolling in and I found out I’m pretty damn good at this because, again, I won’t take no for an answer. I’ll figure it out. I’ll find a way.

Aaron: It seems like your biggest strengths of that time was the no-quit attitude, that you’re going to find a way and that you fought out asked people and said, “Hey, give me a chance to change your life.” Like, “Hey, I just experienced the miracle of home ownership again, and made me feel so good. Give me the chance to help you change your life and you’re going to solve every problem.” How quickly after you started making those announcements, did you get a client to say, “Yes, help me find a house,” or, “Come help me sold my house.”

Kimberly: I did. I’d have to go back and look, it was about five transactions the following three months, and then I did six rentals in one weekend. I just kept going whether it was rentals or purchases, but the one niche that I found was, again, families that I would talk to, they were ready to make the move, but they didn’t have enough money. So I’d heard of Heroes Home Advantage. In Arizona, you don’t have to be a member of anything as long as it’s a federally recognized group.

Almost immediately I did start giving back a portion of my commission towards closing costs, which was really hard because we still have a family of three kids and you’re barely making it in the first year of real estate anyway. I was still like, “Okay, it was 25%. Oh, take it,” because one thing that I was always coached on, in the beginning, was, “No, make your money now, you can give back your money later and you can make foundations.”

Aaron: I’ve heard that. I’ve absolutely heard that.

Kimberly: It’s the family on the other side of the signing table that needs that money now. They could care less 10 years from now. If I’m rolling in the dough and send them a gift card. They need that money now. I wasn’t going to wait for that to happen. I was going to give it to them now, because that also gave me a sense of joy. It gave me a sense of purpose and I knew my son would be proud of that. That giving attitude, I built my business on the basis of giving back. That’s how it’s worked for me.

Aaron: Wow. In a very authentic giving back, because there are brokerages out there that their promise is, “Hire us, and we’re going to give you part of your commission back.” That’s a statement, but that to me is different. It’s the same, but different. I guess it’s different because now I’ve heard your story. I’ve heard what it’s based on. That’s not a hook, that’s not a marketing trick. That’s not a way to get people to come to you. It’s because you absolutely care about helping that person on the other end.

Think about back to your first year. If you were going to give yourself advice now of what would you have done different or what would you focus time on? Or what should you be ready for if you were going to go back in time and just say, “Hey, here’s Kimberly, here’s three things you need to know about real estate.” What would those three things be?

Kimberly: Number one, which I had an idea of how difficult real estate was going to be. Number one would be, this is going to be the most difficult career of your life, but it will change your life and keep following your gut, keep being creative and stand out as someone different. I’m one of those people who doesn’t really believe in going back and could or would or should is. It’s going back and looking at the fact that everything that I learned was necessary for me to reach this level now. I went into it with the attitude of, I have to give it my everything, my all. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to be a super bowl commercial man.

Aaron: You give it your all. I liked the idea of clearly telling yourself like, “Hey, this is going to be hard, but the benefit is it will change your life.” The benefit is, is it’s an amazing career that the amount of success that people can have, there’s no other career or industry like it where you can, if you’re willing to take the bull by the horns, if you’re willing to solve all those issues. I mean, there’s nothing like real estate out there. I can’t think of any other kind of sales job or business where you can create as much, like give back as much like the amount that you’ve able– By giving away 25% of your commission since 2013, have you calculated how much money you’ve given away?

Kimberly: It’s close to $545,000.

Aaron: That’s fricking amazing. People that are telling you, like, there is something to be said about people say, “Hey, make your money now and save it, and later you can change the world.” I tell you what, it adds up a lot faster. If you change the world every day or every week or every month, giving away $545,000 of your commissions to individual families who are mostly, like they said, now, it’s a lot of times that’s people that have just dealt with like loss or trauma or really rough life experiences. They’ve come to you because they’ve said, “Hey, Kimberly, you’ve also dealt with this, help us.” Then you’re going to go help them.

Seven years later, you’ve been doing this business. You have all sorts of different stuff that’s going on, and then at the beginning as you said, you have a book this year, what’s your book?

Kimberly: There’s a couple more pieces that came into play. I had that first year, I made rookie of the year and there was something that kind of went off in my head because I’d already been talking openly about the stigma of suicide, about the reality of when someone is, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your child. What happened?” If you say to that person, “Well, it was cancer,” you immediately get the empathy and, Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, but when you say to that person, it was suicide, they kind of go back and they look at you and they’re like, “Okay, well, suicide. That means that you were probably a bad parent.”

There’s so many nuances that go around suicide that I knew I needed to tell his story. I needed to tell our story. I had been blogging about the difficulties, the rawness, that how crazy you get, you lose your mind and you were absolutely correct when you said that when something like that happens to you, you are never the same. I like to think of it as the day that my son died, I also died. I had to figure out who the fuck I was again. Sorry about that F-word but I had to use it. I decided that the main reason I needed to be extremely successful in this business is so that people would listen to me when I had something to say about suicide and tell them my story.

I was driven. I just knew that I had to keep going, I had to keep powering through and I had to make a name for myself, which included getting on HGTV. It was video. It was marketing early. It was, they did Facebook Live, just came out and I’m like, “I’m not interesting enough for Facebook Live,” but it really still was all I could afford because I was already giving away so much of my commission. I couldn’t afford the marketing. Open houses, all of that shore, but how was I going to make a name for myself become successful so I could launch my book. It was exactly through that, taking the bits and pieces of what Russell Shaw does and the Calloways do.

My favorite parts of what different agents were doing that created this entire package that I could serve up to my clients and also giving back of my commission to help them so that I could make a name for myself and write a book that would heal. I did that.

Aaron: It’s really powerful for you to mention the stigma behind suicide, right? You’re right, like somebody, so many different versions of that conversation. I’m sure you see it in people’s faces the way that it changed. It’s the same, like it’s drug addiction. There’s all sorts of stigmas out there on things where it’s, “Hey, you’ve lost a child.” If it’s in these categories, the conversation, the look I’m sure is different. There’s other categories where it’s sympathy and the idea that you said people should be listening to you just like they would someone else, like no matter what the story is, I’ve lost a child, no matter what the answer is, the sympathy and the empathy should be the exact same.

It should be you lost a child and that wasn’t what you experienced. Part of your drive was, “Hey, when I get to be really successful, people will listen to me more and then I can change the world.” I think for anybody out there that’s listening, that has a purpose, that has something that drives them, that has something right now that people aren’t really listening maybe you can use that as a driving force to be successful, to do your best, to have that. There’s so many stories of the people that tell you no or the people that keep you going and keep you working hard.

You had a little different twist of that of saying, “Hey, if you could get really successful, then people would listen to you. Then they would change your life. You started talking on Facebook live because you didn’t have a marketing budget. Then that turned into HGTV. Before we talk to HGTV, when you did your first couple of Facebook Lives, what did you do? If somebody has never done one and they were like, they’re thinking about what’d you do your first couple?

Kimberly: I distinctly remember this. I was at an open house and the open house is like really cool. There was beer there too. I’m like, “Okay, not that I recommend this, but I had a couple of swigs of beer, calm the nerves down.” I literally went on and showed my personality and was like, “Hey, here we are, look at this soft, close drawers, full extension poles.” I just pretended I was Vanna White in the house and made it fun. I didn’t show them the hairs of my nose as I walked around with the phone, I said, “I’m Vanna White. I’m going to show you this house and you’re going to buy it damn it.”

I just wanted to show them who I was and the excitement that I had for the house. I got through it and I was sweating. When I went back and looked at it, I was very proud of myself. Anyone should be proud of themselves. I do have a little trick that will help agents. If there are very nervous about going live, one of the things that they can do to practice is go onto your computer, use your photo, whatever you can film yourself with, close your eyes and tell a story about your favorite experience or an experience that you had.

You notice when you close your eyes and you just start telling the story and shut everything out, that it flows naturally because it’s truth, because it’s something you’re passionate about. Close your eyes, think of the story of the house. What kind of story is the house telling you? Open your eyes? Click on the phone live and tell that story.

Aaron: Agents, if you guys are listening and you have not tried to go live yet on social media, Kimberly gave you two great tips there. One was simply going to an open house and showing people the house. That takes a little bit of the center of you, get to focus on the house but bring your personality to show your version of it. If you like something on the house, if you don’t, being able to go show that house and then if you get a little bit of stage fright, the closing your eyes, as Kimberly was speaking, I’m closing my eyes and picturing going through that step.

Telling yourself a story and then going live before you have a chance to think about it especially if you don’t have a marketing budget. We’ve talked a lot about social media this past year especially on the podcast but if you don’t have a marketing budget and your biggest way to get new clients is through your sphere, that’s a great way to talk to your sphere. It’s a great way to get top of mind and have them see you right away. How did that turn into HGTV? How did you get on HGTV? Did they call you? Did you call them? What was it?

Kimberly: Like many agents out there, I had done the Tom Ferriss, the Craig Proctor’s, the cold calls, the gambit of business as usual for agents. I knew I was going to have to make a name for myself. I was very, very good at, again, telling stories but also creating videos of those stories. I started making really different lifestyle videos from my listings. They were watched quite a bit. Cindy Baggish, the casting director for this particular new show called Pool Hunters, it’s a spinoff of House Hunters saw one of those videos and sent me an email.

This is what’s key and this is what agents really need to listen to. If I had missed that email, if I hadn’t opened that email, or if I had opened that email and said, “Oh, that’s a crock.” I would have missed that opportunity. Look at every email, answer every email, answer your phone, get back to your clients. In this case, I got back to her and they loved me. I happen to have a really high-priced home that I had sold, the family was great. It all came together. It was synergy. Late September of 2018, they filmed that. It takes a year for it to come out. It was beautiful. I made the experience for them and myself as smooth as possible. It was life-changing 100%.

Aaron: When you talk about email in this busy world, I’m guilty of it. It’s really easy to go through the email and think, “Gosh, this cold email, I don’t have to reply to this cold email. I don’t have an obligation to or I’ll never get a deal or it’ll never turn into anything.” There’s a lot of emails I get that go unreturned, honestly. As you talk about that, there’s so much truth to you never know which one though turns into something amazing. You never know which person saying they need a mentor becomes your right-hand person.

You never know when that person says, “Hey, can you help me with this,” they actually will get a deal done, or when it’s HGTV, and really easy to think this isn’t real. You reported on it but actually have it turned into something else. You got to have an awesome experience with that. Did you feel like that boosted sales or is it something that it’s just a cool thing that now you can point people to when they’re trying to figure out who Kimberly is?

Kimberly: I like to think of, I’ve won a few different awards and I’ve done different accomplishments through over the years, I like to think of it as a layer cake. Layers that are going on my cake, making it bigger and bigger and bigger. I still haven’t frosted my cake yet. I’m putting the layers on. It gives you credit. You can’t put HGTV on your signature line unless you’ve been on HGTV. You can’t pay for that. That was the one piece that I needed in order to finish my book and launch it because it gave me so much credibility.

It also was an opportunity to expand my presence by announcing in local newspapers that I was fortunate enough to get into USA Today about my story. It was just a launching platform for my son for his legacy. I can’t say that it increased business. It didn’t really increase business. It increased my following so to speak. My platform to speak on suicide.

Aaron: It increased your cake and put that resume, it added an extra layer to what you put on the signature line. For people listening out there, that’s a lot of what life is too. You go volunteer at this thing and it doesn’t turn into a deal that day or you join the Country Club and you don’t feel like you’re getting or you do different things, you donate to this group, you help support this group, you’re a sponsor at this event, it just becomes layers. You don’t necessarily know what deal turns into what. You don’t necessarily know which step along the way turns into something great.

Instead of looking for an immediate result, it’s really easy for me to say, what was the immediate result of that? There’s no immediate result but you’re so glad it’s one of your layers because when somebody is trying to compare Kimberly and someone else, or suicide prevention and someone else, why should I listen to Kimberly about suicide prevention? You get to, “Go look at my cake. Look at what I’ve built here. Look at who I am. I’m not just a person. I’m a person fighting really, really hard.” What’s the name of your book?

Kimberly: It’s Overcome: Memoirs of a Suicide.

Aaron: Overcome. Wow.

Kimberly: I’ll tell you a little bit about the book itself takes passages of my first year that I blogged. The first year I blogged about really significant pieces and just the struggle of it. I take the piece, and then I reflect back on that as the human I am today and explain to the reader how I got through those moments. It’s almost like a guidebook but it’s also the story of how I pushed through and the exhaustive efforts that I put and yet I came out in the end with joy and success and ready to write the next book. It was a really beautiful journey.

Aaron: What is the next book? Do you have something in mind?

Kimberly: Yes. I had a feeling when I finished this book what it was going to be. It’s called Overcome, Tenacious Angels. At the end of my other book, I talked about, “Come on, son. We are ready to fly. We’re ready to go.” This next book is all about the expansion of awareness to our community, not only of suicide but how to prevent it. What you can do to put your face in the sun and give yourself five more minutes to respite, to rest, to reset. It is so important in these times with suicide being so rapid that they know we can overcome. I did it. You can too.

Aaron: Wow. I can’t wait for the next one too. We’ll have the links to her book in the show notes. You guys can go get a copy, the template can be really easy to find though, too. We talk about Kimberly’s layers. Again, she does have multiple humanitarian awards with the different things that she’s growing. She was broker agent of the month for Arizona through broker agent advisor. That was how we got introduced to Kimberly and why I’m so glad that we got to have her on today and get to talk to her.

Like the other layers, the HGTV, the rookie of the year that as she’s growing, the first person I’ve met that gives away 25% of their commission, no matter what, to their clients that are in need to help them. That is an amazing, amazing story. You’ve got the book that’s next. Right now, do you spend a lot of your time on most retirement real estate? Do you spend it on outreach within the community? What’s the biggest stuff you’re going to focus on as you hit? 2021, I hope is very different than 2020. I can look back at 2020 and find the positives but there were also plenty of things that I wouldn’t wish on anybody to experience out there. What’s your big focus of 2021?

Kimberly: There was a couple of things especially in 2019 as I started elevating. I was surrounding myself with people that I thought were the right, I’m going to say energy. When COVID hit, it forced me to slow down and really look at everything and I decided to wash everything out and start completely over because now is the time to reinvent your projection of yourself. We’re not really interested in what the big teams can do for us if you’re a consumer. You’re interested in what that one person can do for you.

I had to work on, “You can trust me. I have been there. I have done that. I launched intuitive realtor.” My gifts as an empath, of a solutionist, of being able to act quickly, a house whisper. 2021 for me is really dialing in. Still saying no to the clients that I know just don’t work for me. Really dialing in and further helping those families who are really going to need me. There’s going to be a lot of foreclosures happening and I do pro bono work if you’ve lost a child or a spouse.

2021 is the tenacious angels’ attitude, where everything that goes into my business, I’m going to create an outlet to help other families. This includes when it comes to my marketing. This is where agents can get really creative. Instead of buying a bunch of postcards, I’m going to buy a bunch of gift cards for the ER workers and hand them out. They can go across the street and get a coffee when the cafeteria is closed. That’s my marketing. My marketing is giving back.

As a new agent, if you’ve got $100 to spend, are you going to spend it on two flyers that you’re going to hand out on the street? Or are you going to take that $100 and buy let’s say 10 gift cards. Take it to your local fire department, and just tell them, “Thank you.” Leave them a business card that’s going to go further than anything else and you’ve also given back to your community.

Aaron: Yes. What a double benefit there. You get to get back right now to the end of the year. Plenty of people are thinking about how to give back and how to donate. Man, if you’ve never been inspired to give back before. Now that you’ve heard this, podcast listeners, you must be inspired to do something to give back now. I love just the simple idea of the– My wife loves to go out in the summer. She’ll go out with my daughters. They’ll buy 500 popsicles. They’ll go into Downtown Austin to the area where there’s the homeless are set up all day and it’s 110 degrees out. They just give everybody popsicles.

The next week they’re going out and they’re giving everybody blankets. It’s just really a simple stuff that they go do but you can pick the easiest spots to go to. I hope that by listening to Kimberly and the adversity that she’s faced, that all of you will challenge yourselves to do that. To challenge yourself to give back. Challenge yourselves that no matter what you’ve been through. A short sale, a bankruptcy, a loss. There’s so many things there that Kimberly did to overcome and now she’s changing the world.

In our last couple minutes, Kimberly, I just want to give you the floor if you want. What are the things you want to tell people you haven’t had a chance to yet? People will want to know how to find you, how to find more about you, just the last couple minutes is yours to say whatever you want to say.

Kimberly: For the newer agent again, again, I want you to remember that you don’t have to change to be the change. You don’t have to be the Maserati driving suit-wearing agent. There is a person that needs you to be exactly who you are right here, right now. Telling your story on who you are. How you can help your clients on a daily basis through social media. Through doing small little things that we’ve talked about today will set a pace for yourself that will result in abundance for you.

To those who are faced with poverty, not being able to eat, trapped in a home where you feel like you can’t escape. Courage is within you. Again, turn your face to the sun. Give yourself five minutes to just think. You are loved. You can create anything. I am a girl with a GED who didn’t start real estate until she was 41 years old. I’ve launched a book. I have my own podcast. I got on HGTV and I’ve been making well into the six figures for several years.

Anything is possible and you can overcome anything. Suicide is free will staring at you in the face and asking you to choose. I’m asking you to choose life today to see out.

Aaron: Yes. If there was ever a mic drop. Kimberly, you’ve been amazing. It was an honor to get to interview you today and talk to you about your story. I can’t wait to see what you do next. For you guys that are out there listening. Go find her, right? Tenacious Real Estate. Kimberly’s got the podcast, the book, the HGTV stuff. We’re going to continue to follow you and maybe I’d love to have you back next year and hear how 2021 is looking as you’re accomplishing your new goals. Kimberly, thank you again for joining us Real Estate Rockstars. Thank you for listening.

Kimberly: Thank you.

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